The Productivity Hub

  • Let Office read documents to you

    Too busy to read all of the documents on your To Do list? If you want, you can have your Office applications read them to you. This will work in any Office 2010 program except Access. First, click the arrow icon to the right of your Quick Access Toolbar...
  • Styles at your fingertips in Word

    If you spend a lot of time working with styles, this next tip is for you. And it works in both Word 2007 and Word 2010. To view the active style and quickly change it or modify the base style, you can use the Ctrl+Shift+S shortcut to open the Apply Styles...
  • How Internet Explorer 9 helps you browse worry-free

    Stress is a fact of life, and I even read somewhere that a certain amount of it can be good for you. Internet Explorer 9, however, has no desire to raise your blood pressure or give you an ulcer. Instead, IE9 has a number of security and privacy features...
  • Use object anchors to help place images in Word

    If you've ever grappled with positioning an image in Word in just the right spot in relation to your wrapped text, you should turn on object anchors to show where the image is actually tethered. This works in Word 2007 and Word 2010. Go to File , Options...
  • Save time with OneNote 2010 linked notes

    One of the best features you may have missed in Office 2010 is the tight integration between Outlook and OneNote. Open up an appointment in Outlook 2010 and you'll see a small OneNote button: Click it to open a linked meeting notes section (the first...
  • Modify clip art for your presentations

    If you use pictures in your Word documents and PowerPoint presentations, you probably hunt regularly for useful clip art on Office.com. But you don't have to stop there. Make the imagery your own by changing the colors and even removing unwanted elements...
  • Restrict data entry in Excel with lists

    I recently shared how you can restrict data input in Excel to certain number ranges , such as whole number percentages. But what if you're dealing with a strict set of values, like product names, and you don't want users to be able to create any new variations...
  • The Windows 7 Desktop Gadget Staff Meeting

    Imagine a whole conference room full of highly visible Windows features, and you've got... The Desktop Gadget Staff Meeting Let's listen in as some of the most popular Desktop Gadgets gather. CLOCK GADGET: Okay, great, thanks for being on time. We said...
  • Save time with Outlook shortcuts

    If you've been using Outlook for a long time, you probably know the basic shortcuts: New message: Ctrl+N Mark message read: Ctrl+Q Mark message unread: Ctrl+U Delete item: Ctrl+D or Delete Check for new mail: Ctrl+M or F9 And if you've been reading this...
  • Using Actions in Office 2010

    If you're an old pro at Office, you may be wondering what happened to Smart Tags when you upgraded to Office 2010. They have been renamed Actions, and you have a lot of flexibility in how you use them. Actions are also less obtrusive. There's no longer...
  • Casual Friday: Use OneNote TripBooks to help plan your vacation

    The OneNote team invited 40 travel bloggers to create OneNote documents covering major travel destinations. You can preview them online via SkyDrive and then download local copies to customize in OneNote 2010. Download the free OneNote TripBooks and then...
  • Adding (and removing) fancy dividers in Word

    There are a few different ways to create horizontal divider lines in Word 2007 and Word 2010. The most commonly used one is done by typing three hyphens ( --- ) and then pressing Enter : If you want a dotted line, use three asterisks ( *** ): Three equal...
  • How Windows 7 prevents bad things from happening to good PCs

    Even my pet crocodile Spike (a rescue from the pound) can't give my PC the kind of protection he gives my home. Fortunately, Windows 7 wards off the evils and dangers that constantly threaten my PC's well-being. Here's how: 1. My PC's watchman. User Account...
  • Compare and merge slides in PowerPoint 2010

    One of the little trumpeted but extremely valuable features in PowerPoint 2010 is the ability to compare and merge slides from separate decks. To use this feature, first open your main presentation file and go to the Review tab. Click the Compare button...
  • Automatically close mails when responding in Outlook

    If you find Outlook getting cluttered with windows when you're replying to mails, there's an easy way to clean things up. This works in both Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010. Just go to File , Options and select the Mail tab. (For Office 2007, use the Office...
  • Manage templates in OneNote 2010

    If you struggle with creating and applying templates in OneNote, the Template Manager add-in has been updated to work with OneNote 2010. This unsupported tool from OneNote team member Jeff Cardon lets you create and apply templates with relative ease...
  • With Internet Explorer 9, sites take center stage

    The web has always been about the browser, yes? Browsers are our windows on the online world. And what everybody truly admires in a good window is... cleanliness. Clean is good on its own merit, but there's another view here. With Internet Explorer 9...
  • Restrict data input in Excel

    We all enter bad data into Excel from time to time. Maybe you're rushing, or someone distracts you, or you've just been doing it too long without a break. And when you open a document up to colleagues to help maintain, your data is only as good as their...
  • Automatically download images from trusted senders in Outlook 2010

    When receiving HTML emails, you know doubt have noticed that Outlook 2010 blocks images by default, like so: The reason is to protect you from identifying your account is active when opening messages from unscrupulous spammers, who will detect when you...
  • Change the default width of your Excel cells

    If you're always expanding the width of your cells in Excel, perhaps the default width isn't working for you. Here's a quick fix that works in Excel 2007 and Excel 2010. On the Home tab, click the Format button in the Cells section and then select Default...
  • Restrict style changes in Word

    If you want to limit the use of styles and themes in a Word document that you and your teammates are collaborating on, there's a tucked away feature that does just that - and it works in both Word 2007 and Word 2010. First, click the tiny launcher button...
  • A candid conversation with the Windows Action Center

    Feature Interview: Want some action? Talk to this guy. He was walking so fast and keeping such a low profile I might have missed him, except for that unmistakable pennant fluttering over his head. "Action Center?" I called. "Got a second...
  • Set your own default reminder alert time in Outlook

    If you're like me, you like to be prepared for your meetings. This can mean extra time for reviewing documents, brainstorming ideas, and printing handouts - not to mention travel time. If you're frequently late or unprepared for your appointments, simply...
  • Get the new Outlook Hotmail Connector

    If you use the Outlook Hotmail Connector, you may have already been prompted to update to the new version: This version 14.2 update corrects a number of sync issues, improves performance, and turns off the junk mail filter in Outlook in favor or Hotmail...
  • Customize the Word grammar checker to match your style

    Tired of the Microsoft Word grammar checker underlining mistakes that are actual part of your personal writing style or company style guide? Try tweaking the settings to reduce the green squiggles that indicate a grammar error. In Word 2010, go to File...