The Productivity Hub
Office for Mac 2011
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The Productivity Hub
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Oops! I Forgot to Save It!
One of the best things about Office programs (and just about any other application, for that matter) is that when I close a file without saving, I get prompted with a familiar message: It’s simple, I know, but I can’t tell you how many times this has saved my bacon. I also can’t...
17 Jan 2012
Embed Office 2010 documents on the Web
If you have a blog or web site, you no longer need to worry about whether your site visitors have Office installed. You can embed Office documents directly onto your page. First, you'll need a free SkyDrive account at https://skydrive.live.com/ - just login with your Windows Live ID, or create one if...
27 Jun 2011
Save time with Excel shortcuts
If you've spent any time with Excel, you probably know that the Enter key advances you to the next cell in a column, and the arrow keys move your focus to the next cell in any direction. Here are some lesser known shortcuts you may want to add to your repertoire: Fill down: Ctrl+D Fill right: Ctrl+R...
23 Jun 2011
Formula Watch - Working with DOLLARs
In most cases, you want to keep your dollar values in Excel as numbers so they can be used in math functions. But there may be cases where you want your dollars converted to text, say to concatenate them with other text strings. Just use the DOLLAR function: =DOLLAR(B10,2) This would take the value in...
21 Jun 2011
Add popular commands to your Office 2010 ribbons
The Office team has compiled customers' favorite commands across all Office 2010 applications, which you can download to add as a Favorites tab in Access, Excel, InfoPath, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Project, Publisher, Visio, and Word. For example, the Favorites tab in Word puts Save , Send , Properties...
20 Jun 2011
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 on the Office application for which you want to...
17 Jun 2011
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 when entering data? That's easy to do too...
9 Jun 2011
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 an icon that pops up when Office detects a word...
6 Jun 2011
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 level of training and attention to detail. Fortunately...
24 May 2011
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 Width : Now enter a number that represents the...
20 May 2011
Office for Mac 2011 Service Pack 1 now available
If you're running Office for Mac 2011, you can now download Service Pack 1 . New features include performance improvements, Excel Solver integration, Outlook server rules, mail redirects and resends, and support for Apple Sync Services including iPhone and iPad. Note: If you use the MobileMe service...
12 May 2011
Formula Watch: Create custom placeholders with REPT
When filling in empty cells with placeholders or inserting leader characters between columns, try the REPT function. You simply specify a character or string and the number of times you want it to repeat (up to certain limits for Excel, well into the thousands of characters). For instance, if you're...
10 May 2011
Combat procrastination with Office
I like to log tasks and track my activities in Office apps, whether it's building a schedule in Excel , converting emails into tasks and reminders in Outlook , or even jotting notes in OneNote . This helps my productivity in a few ways - it helps me break down larger tasks into smaller ones and keeps...
6 May 2011
Close Office application misfires while they load
Have you ever mistakenly launched the wrong Office application? I know I have - sometimes my mouse slips and I click the wrong icon locked on my Windows 7 taskbar, or I'm rushing and mix up the Outlook and PowerPoint icons. The good news is that, if this happens, Office 2010 users don't have to wait...
5 May 2011
Ribbon Hero 2 makes learning about Office features even more fun
You might remember how Ribbon Hero , introduced last year, made learning about Office features as you work seamless and enjoyable. But it wasn't really a game, even though it did track your score and progress. Now Ribbon Hero 2 is here, and it really is more of a game - but one that teaches you Office...
29 Apr 2011
Formula Watch: Lock Excel formulas so they don't change when you paste
How many times has this happened to you? You're copying and pasting some Excel functions and they change to reflect the cells relative to where you pasted them, but you want the original values intact. There's a neat trick that will make this problem quickly vanish. Just use the F4 key. Here's how it...
26 Apr 2011
Office 365 public beta is now available
The cloud-based version of Microsoft Office and related services, called Office 365, is now in public beta. This means you can sign up to try the subscription service, which offers your favorite Office applications plus SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync services via the Web using most devices. This delivers...
19 Apr 2011
Formula Watch: Quickly CONVERT measurements in Excel
If you've ever need to translate Celsius to Fahrenheit, miles to kilometers, or teaspoons to cups, all you need is the handy CONVERT function in Excel. Simply enter your value, its measurement unit, and the target unit for conversion, and you'll get your answer. Here are some useful examples: =CONVERT...
12 Apr 2011
Make eye-catching tables quickly in Excel
If you spend a lot of time creating and manually formatting new tables in Excel, there's a better way. Simply select the range of cells that you want to include in your table and click the Format as Table button: You'll be prompted to confirm your cell range: And then you can go in and customize...
4 Apr 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 ASCII chart in Excel. Just select cells in a column...
29 Mar 2011
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 before submitting requests. I helped her streamline...
21 Mar 2011
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 of our readers, noted in comments - that you're...
17 Mar 2011
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 use it to count how many records are in a spreadsheet...
15 Mar 2011
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 to help you get started: Use the XLSB file format...
7 Mar 2011
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, you can place a number directly into the parentheses...
1 Mar 2011
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