March, 2011

  • Formula Watch: Convert to and from ASCII codes in Excel

    If you ever need to look up an ASCII code, say for an HTML entity such as a © or ® symbol, you can simply use the CODE command in Excel: =CODE("©") This returns a value of 169, so your HTML code would be: © It's easy to make your own...
  • Add a background color to your Outlook mails

    If you want your mail to stand out a little from the pack of messages invading your coworkers and clients Inboxes, you can always add a background color. Just be careful not to choose a color that is so dark it affects readability or so garish that it...
  • Print an entire workbook quickly and efficiently in Excel 2010

    A coworker approached me recently with a problem. Her stakeholder was resisting the move to a new Excel template - preferring an out-of-date Word version - because it was proving tricky to print everything out quickly, a step he liked to use to review...
  • Find that mail with Outlook advanced search options

    If you want to go beyond the basic mailbox search, click the Search box magnifying glass icon in Outlook 2010: This opens up a Search Tools toolbar with a number of options. Let's say you want to look at all mail from a particular person, even if it's...
  • Quickly clear formatting in Word

    There are many ways to clear and adjust formatting in Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can use smart tags when you cut and paste, select styles from the toolbar, search and replace formats , and even pick up and copy styles you like with the Format Painter...
  • Adding times together in Excel

    In an earlier tip Calculating elapsed time in Excel , I shared a quick and easy formula for determining the difference between two times. The advantage of that approach is that it doesn't require you to format the cells. The downside is - as Nicky, one...
  • Toggle PowerPoint animations on and off

    If you and your team are reviewing a slide presentation, one way to speed up the process is to temporarily disable animations. In PowerPoint 2007 and PowerPoint 2010, go to the Slide Show tab and click Set Up Slide Show : Now check the Show without...
  • Formula Watch - Convert numbers to and from Roman numerals

    Once you get past 20 or so, converting Roman numerals to Arabic (or vice versa) can be tricky. But you can save time and improve accuracy with a pair of Excel functions. To convert an Arabic number to its classic Roman numeral, use: =ROMAN(A1) Naturally...
  • Adjust the background on your PowerPoint presentation

    If you've ever wanted to pick a theme in PowerPoint but didn't care for its gaudy background, this tip is for you. There's a very quick way to turn off the background in both PowerPoint 2007 and PowerPoint 2010. On the Design tab, select the theme that...
  • Quickly add a cover page in Word

    If you're working on a report and want to add a cover page before printing or sharing it, just go to the Insert tab in Word 2007 or Word 2010 and click the Cover Page button: There are a number of designs built in, or you can download more from Office...
  • Save all open Word documents at once

    The Save All command used to be a hidden feature of Microsoft Word, unlocked by holding the Shift key while selecting the File menu. But this won't work in recent versions of Word. Fortunately, it's easy to add to your Quick Access Toolbar. Go to Word...
  • Add word counts to OneNote 2010

    One great thing about OneNote (besides the fact that it's just plain awesome for notetaking , training documents , and collaboration ) is how expandable it is. Case in point: OneNote 2010 doesn't have a word count feature. But you can get one by installing...
  • Create a PST file in Outlook 2010

    Even if you've created Outlook personal data files before to archive, filter, or otherwise store mail on your local drive, you may not know where to find this feature in Outlook 2010. It's actually pretty quick and easy to do, once you know where to look...
  • Optimize performance in Excel 2010

    If you're an Excel 2010 power user or just want some insight into how certain features can affect performance, you will enjoy this MSDN article: Excel 2010 Performance: Tips for Optimizing Performance Obstructions Here are some quick tips from the article...
  • Remove skipped lines from your Word documents

    When authoring in Microsoft Word, the default template automatically skips a line between paragraphs - which is visually pleasing and does make it easier to read. But what if you're authoring in Word for another destination, such as a blog or social media...
  • An Interview with the Windows 7 Start Menu

    Another candid encounter with a Windows 7 feature. I can't believe my good luck: last minute reservations at the hottest place in town—and I even get a Window table. My lunchtime interview with a genuine power broker in the Windows world—...
  • Hide highlighter marks in Word

    If you use highlighter marks in Word to indicate sections that need work or for some other purpose, you may feel obliged to wipe them all out before printing the document. But there's no need to go to all of that trouble - unless you're really done with...
  • Internet Explorer 8 Toolbars: It's wise to customize

    What kind of world would we have if everyone browsed the same way? No spice. No verve. Less joy. Luckily, Internet Explorer presents us all with an array of modern, tasteful, and—most importantly—customizable toolbars, designed to let each...
  • Reserve travel time in Outlook

    Here's a helpful tip if you frequently book appointments that require a significant amount of travel to and from the meeting place. The quickest solution is to include time before and after the meeting for travel in the Outlook appointment. The problem...
  • Fast forward to a happy ending with Windows 7 Search

    Living in the moment has its joys - but for most of us, that doesn't apply to searching for documents, folders, and other computer inhabitants. Mostly, we just want to get to the finding part as quickly as possible. Fortunately, Windows 7 uses its powerful...
  • Windows 7 Taskbar: All news, all the time, and constantly underfoot

    The Windows 7 feature interview series continues: Yesterday I hit the cafe down the street for lunch and almost tripped over the popular Windows celebrity feature, Taskbar. TB : Say, there, pal, watch your step, can you? JG: Hey, not my fault. You're...
  • Formula Watch: COUNT your cells the easy way

    If you want to get a quick count of your cells, you probably use the Excel status bar . But if you want to include the results in a report or summary, there's an even better way: the COUNT function. There are all sorts of applications for this. You can...
  • Get there faster with Internet Explorer shortcuts

    There are those who will say that, when browsing the Internet, it's all about the journey. Whether that's true for you or you just want to get in and get back out with useful information, these keyboard shortcuts will help. Zoom: Ctrl + and -. Sometimes...