The Productivity Hub
Office for Mac 2011
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Create a pull quote in Word
If your Word document looks like a wall of text and you have no pictures, tables, or diagrams to break up all of the gray, try adding some pull quotes. Find short statements to emphasize that will draw your readers deeper in to the document. Once you have your quote in mind, go to the Insert tab and...
28 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
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 dialog box: Best of all, you can dock this so...
16 Jun 2011
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 , Display and check the box to show Object anchors...
14 Jun 2011
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. First, make sure you use illustrations (not photographs...
10 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
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 blog, you know about the two useful shortcuts involving...
7 Jun 2011
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 signs ( === ) gives you a double line: Three underscores...
2 Jun 2011
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 button .) Now scroll down to Replies and forwards...
27 May 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
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 below the Change Styles button on your Home tab...
19 May 2011
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 change the default reminder. Go into File , Options...
17 May 2011
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's own filtering system. If you've made entries...
16 May 2011
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 , Options , Proofing and click the Settings button...
13 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
Spell out page numbers in Word
If the default page numbering in Word doesn't give you what you want, you can further customize it using Field Codes. A great example is spelling out the numbers. It's a quick and easy change to make, if you know where to go. First, turn on page numbering by going to the Insert tab and clicking Page...
3 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
Customize your work week in Outlook
Not everyone works 9 to 5 or Monday through Friday. If your schedule is different from the norm, simply change your work week calendar view in Outlook to match. In Outlook 2010, go to File , Options , and select the Calendar tab: Here you can adjust start and end times, which days you work, and even...
28 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
Save time when reviewing tracked changes in Word
If you review and Accept / Reject changes regularly, here's a quick tip to add some time back to your week and reduce wear and tear on your clicking finger. Don't accept any changes as you read through the feedback from your stakeholders, just reject the ones you don't want. Then click the arrow under...
25 Apr 2011
Speed up your PowerPoint presentation with keyboard shortcuts
When you're presenting, the last thing you want to do is lose the flow of your presentation when moving around your PowerPoint deck to answer a question or activating a presentation feature. Here are some handy keyboard shortcuts that will help make your talks go smoother: Launch from the beginning:...
22 Apr 2011
Make vertical selections in Word
Have you ever wanted to quickly delete unneeded symbols in front of a bulleted list, or select text in a column in Microsoft Word? There's actually an easy way to make vertical selections. Simply hold down the Alt key and then drag across the area you want to select. This works in both Word 2007 and...
21 Apr 2011
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