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Getting rid of formatting (8/13)

Many of us spend lots of time formatting our documents, but once in a while we need to get rid of all formatting and either start over or just insert text and take advantage of existing formatting. The most sure-fire way to do this is to use Notepad*. Open Notepad by clicking the Start button and typing Notepad in the search bar, then click Notepad as shown here.
A blank Notepad window will open as shown below.

Any text that you paste into Notepad will automatically be cleaned of all formatting. You can then just copy and paste into your target document and you will be left with just plain text!

*Notepad is a simple text editor for Microsoft Windows. Learn More

Training for Microsoft Office applications (5/13)

We are often asked for advice on training for Microsoft Office. There are many options – here are some that we have seen used successfully:

  • Use the HELP that is included with Office. This is best for individual features – just press F1 or select the question mark that is found in the top right of your window. This will often bring up the subject that you are hoping for, because it uses the context of what you are working on at that particular time. This HELP has improved drastically over the years – there are now videos, examples and in some cases samples to use as part of a tutorial.
  • Try the Microsoft Office Community. This is a forum that is run by Microsoft employees and includes input from “Contributors” who are recognized as expert users. Most questions have been asked before – search for your question and you can usually find helpful information.
  • Checkout the training on Office 2013 on Microsoft’s website. This is just one option – there are many others that can be found by searching on microsoft.com.
  • Try an online training website such as Lynda.com. You can find online courses for almost every software program you have ever heard of. We’ve had a subscription to Lynda.com for years and have found it very worthwhile.
  • There are countless videos on YouTube that offer Office training. For example, searching on “microsoft word 2013″ brings up numerous tutorials.
  • We have worked with local training organization New Horizons and have been very impressed with their in-person training courses.

Microsoft Office Tips and Tricks (4/13)

We had a terrific seminar on Office 2013 at Wildfire at the Tysons Galleria in April and our Microsoft speaker made this Office Tips and Tricks document available. Lots of good information all in one document, so we decided to share!office-2013

Format Painter – Styles for the lazy! (4/12)

Most of us know that we could use Styles and other fancy tools to format our Word documents (as well as Excel, PowerPoint and more) but the truth is that finding the time to master Styles just isn’t going to happen for many of us. (If you are someone who wants to master styles go to the end of this article; we’ve suggested some excellent reference sites.) In the meantime – here is a tip for the rest of us!

You’re working on a document and love the way that your heading (or paragraph or imate or…) is formatted. Format Painter allows you to copy ALL of the formatting associated with that part of your document to a new section. Simply:

  • Select the text or graphic or cell that has the formatting that you want to copy. If you want to copy only text formatting, select a portion of a paragraph. If you want to copy text and paragraph formatting, select an entire paragraph, including the paragraph mark.
  • On the Home tab, in the Clipboard group, click Format Painter. The pointer changes to a paintbrush icon. Note: Double-click the Format Painter button if you want to change the format of multiple selections in your document.

  • Select the text or graphic that you want to format.
  • To stop formatting, press ESC.

You can read about how to properly implement Office 2010 Styles here or take a look at this information from addictivetips.

Outlook Social Connector – Outlook 2010 (9/11)

This is a social tool that really can be useful. Bottom line – it will display a photo and brief profile from one of your social networks (for each contact in the email who has a profile) at the bottom of the Outlook window. There are a couple of reasons this is great:

  • Helps you associate names and faces – we all do business with many people over the phone and via email. When you do meet face-to-face it is awfully nice to remember what someone looks like – people love it when you remember then and this makes it easier.
  • Keeps you up-to-date with their updates (from LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) without having to go to those sites

The Outlook Social Connector requires Outlook 2010. By default it is minimized and appears as a single line at the bottom of the Reading Pane. To use the Outlook Social Connector, click the expand arrow, or drag the top of the minimized pane up until it is the size that you want. This opens the People Pane, a new area in Outlook where you view and access information that the Outlook Social Connector displays from social networks. You need to download an Outlook Social Connector for each social network that you want to use. Here are a couple of the more popular ones:

Here is a link to a video that will walk you through the steps if you’d like a little more instruction.

Outlook – Automatically Color Code Your Email (8/11)

Did you know that you can set Outlook 2010 to automatically color-code emails that meet certain criteria, highlighting messages from specific senders, email with specific words in the email, email that is sent just to you, and much more. To do this select View > View Settings > Conditional Formatting > Add as shown below:

his is best illustrated using an example:

BEI is selling a new archiving service from a company called LiveOffice. So during the evaluation, contract negotiation, setup of our internal service and initial selling phase I might want to make sure that all emails with the word LiveOffice are highlighted in a special color. To do this:

  • View > View Settings > Conditional Formatting > Add
  • Enter the name “LiveOffice”
  • Select Font and choose a font that is easily noticed – this example uses Bold, Red and a little larger than the standard font. Select OK
  • Select Condition and Search for the word LiveOffice In: subject field and message body. Select OK 3 times.

You’ll now see the formatting that has been designated – as shown below.

A few notes:

  • You can do this with Office 2007 – just go to the Tools > Options menu instead of View Settings.
  • There are many possibilities for Conditions – you can highlight email from a specific person, email that is sent only to you, etc. You can even make email that is NOT sent to you (where you are BCC’ d) a special color (maybe light gray) so that you know it is less important.

WORD 2007 & 2010: Using the Status Bar (7/11)

WORD 2010 has a Status Bar at the bottom of the of the WORD window that puts lots of information right in front of your nose. As an example, the status bar below has information about what page is currently being edited as well as Word Count, Track Changes and Page Layout.

Right-Clicking on the Status Bar brings up the Customize Status Bar Menu, allowing you to determine which features you want accessible via the Status Bar.

You can also click on the individual items on the status bar to either toggle between settings or bring up sub-menus. For example, clicking on the Word Count brings up a set of statistics about the document content:

Clicking on Track Changes: On toggles between Track Changes: On and Track Changes: Off. Experiment with the options and see what is most useful for you.

Changing Text to Columns in Word & Excel (4/11)

Have you ever been faced with a list of names or other text that you’d like to separate into individual columns (for example, first and last names)? It is often useful to parse a full name into its associated first name and last name. In the past, you could either commit to cutting and pasting, or go through a lengthy process to use Word and/or Excel to move the text around. Office 2007/2010 makes this process much easier.

Excel

  • Select the text that you would like to convert

  • Select Data > Text to Columns

  • Select Delimited

  • Select the Delimiter used (often a space, tab or comma)

  • Next select the Column data format and the Destination for the newly formatted data

  • Select Finish

Word

  • Select the text that you would like to convert to columns

  • Insert >Table > Convert Text to Table

  • Confirm the Number of columns, the column width (Autofit usually works) and the character that separates the text (again, often a space, tab or comma)

  • Select OK

Word – Protecting Your Document (10/10)

Do you need to keep people from making changes in your documents – or maybe restrict them to only making certain kinds of changes? Word provides this ability:

  • Select Review > Protect > Restrict Editing
  • Check “Allow only this type of editing in the document:”. You’ll now see the options below:

  • Selecting:
    • Tracked Changes will only allow people to make changes this way – very useful if you are asking for comments that you want to incorporate later.
    • Comments will only allow people to insert comments.
    • Filing in forms will only allow reviewers to enter information in specific fields that you have setup in a form.
    • No changes is just what it sounds like – read only!
  • Once you are satisfied with the protection option, select “Yes, Start Enforcing Protection”.
  • You will be prompted to enter a password – note that you don’t have to enter a password, but if you don’t then your protection is not very strong!

Note: These instructions reference the steps for Word 2010. Word 2007 has similar capabilities; click here for an article that will step you through the process.

Quickly Change Document Spacing (Word 2010) (7/10)

We often finish a new document and think that we’d like to change the spacing of the text – either for readability or because we want it to be fewer (or more) pages in length. Word 2010 has a very easy way to do this: Select Home > Change Styles > Paragraph Spacing

Then, by selecting the various options (No Paragraph Spacing, Compact, Tight, Open, Relaxed or Double) you can achieve the result you are looking for. Or, select Custom Paragraph Spacing and define your own style. Just keep in mind that line spacing determines the amount of vertical space between the lines of text in a paragraph and paragraph spacing determines the amount of space above or below a paragraph.




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