Tame your computer – build a bullet list

23 Oct

Microsoft Excel does not have a built-in function to create a bulleted list like in Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. But during a course yesterday I found out you can create one using a nifty keyboard shortcut.

Here’s how:

  • Select the cell where the list is to appear.
  • Press ALT + 7 on the numeric keypad.
  • Type your text.
  • Press ALT + ENTER if you want to insert another bullet in the same cell.
  • Repeat steps 2 – 4.

With thanks to Alex for the tip inspiration!

Related tips:

Tip # 506: Fast way to start a bulleted or numbered list (Microsoft Word and Outlook)
Tip # 458: How to add, find and remove line breaks (Microsoft Excel)

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Tame your computer – get back!

19 Sep

The go-back-to-where-I-was-happy (aka Undo) button seems to be well-known among most people. It allows you to reverse one or more operations and restore a document or an e-mail message to its previous state.  It is useful when you find that you have accidentally deleted some text or have performed some other operation that has unintentionally modified your document.

But even though the Undo button seems to be the first tool anyone remembers, a lot of people seem unaware you can simultaneously undo or redo a series of operations in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access. (Why not in Outlook beats me!)

Here’s how:

  1. Click on the down arrow at the right side of the Undo button. (The button is located on the Quick Access Toolbar.)
  2. Select the desired actions from the list that you want to reverse.

You can also redo actions that have been undone. Redo is also great for repeating an action. By the way, only in Excel, you can redo several undone actions in one go, similar to the undo action described in this tip.

Oh, and for the keyboard shortcut lovers among us:

  • Press and hold the CTRL key and press the Z key to undo an action.
  • Press and hold the CTRL key and press the Y key to redo (or repeat) an action.

Finally, some trivia … Apparently, you can do unlimited undos in Word and (individual ones) in Outlook, as well as up to 100 in Excel. By default, you can “only” undo up to 20 actions in PowerPoint, but you can increase that by following the steps as described in this tip.

Tame your computer – take a backstage shortcut

12 Sep

Those of you who like keyboard shortcuts no doubt use CTRL + P to open the “Backstage view”, from where you can preview and print files. But did you know you can also use keyboard shortcuts to flick through the pages of your document, rather than clicking on the Next Page and Previous Page buttons at the bottom of the window?

Here’s how:

  • CTRL + P: Switch to print preview
  • ENTER: Print the document
  • PgUp or PgDn or your arrow keys: Flick through your pages in print preview
  • CTRL + HOME: Move to the first page in print preview
  • CTRL + END: Move to the last page in print preview
  • ESC: Go back to your document to make changes before you print. (You might want to check out tip 417 if you have to do this a lot.)

By the way, I cannot find a quick way to jump to the right hand side of the Backstage view. So either use your mouse or press TAB until the previewed page is selected (13 times, if you’re counting) so you can use your arrow keys, CTRL + HOME and CTRL + END.

That’s it for this week! If there are topics that you’d like to see covered in future (or if you know how to quickly jump to the right hand side of the Backstage view) please let me know.

Related tips

Tip # 417 : Make changes to your document from the Print Preview and Print page (Word 2010)

Tip # 404 : Fit a worksheet on the printed page (Excel 2010-2013)

Tame your computer – get smart with SmartArt

2 Sep

Hope you’ve all fallen in love with SmartArt, introduced in Microsoft Office 2007?! (I still encounter people who don’t know about this nifty feature, hence the question.)

My only bugbear about SmartArt is that it’s difficult to tweak individual bits. Perhaps you want to remove one of its arrows. Or animate a specific part of the graphic. Well, you can do so once you convert the SmartArt into individual shapes.

Here’s how:

  1. Consider duplicating the slide (CTRL + D) as this is a one-way process.
  2. Right-click on the border of the SmartArt graphic.
  3. Select Convert to Shapes.

If you struggle with or don’t like the right-click, the Convert button can be found on the SmartArt Tools Design tab. And if, like me, you love keyboard shortcuts you may want to check out ungrouping the SmartArt graphic by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + G twice.

Related tips:

Tip # 501: Change the emphasis of a SmartArt graphic by changing its direction

Tip # 355: Tweak your SmartArt graphics

Tip # 268: Convert an existing bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic

Tip # 230: Draw three concentric circles with text in each

Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.

Tame your computer – paste it PDQ

19 Aug

Do you ever copy and paste text from, say, the web or applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint into an email message? If so, you probably first open a new email, then click in the body of the message and finally paste what’s on your clipboard. If so, you can save yourself some time …

Here’s how:

  1. Copy the text or figures or file, as normal.
  2. Switch to Outlook. (Remember ALT + TAB or WIN + TAB to flip through your open windows?)
  3. Press CTRL + V.

Whatever you copied in step 1 is automatically included in the body of the new email message. And as mentioned in step 1, this even works when you copy a file, which will add the document as an attachment to the email. That said, if you want to share one or more files with somebody in your organisation it might be better to send a link to the item, rather than an attachment. See tip 431.

Finally, you can obviously do this copying and pasting even smarter using a macro, but I think the method described above is a great time-saver in itself.

But speaking of macros … on 6 – 7 September we run our next two-day Excel VBA course, aimed at anyone who needs to understand and write code that operates within Excel. If you want to learn how to automate repetitive tasks, add new functionality to Excel and format data into reports why not come along? See http://www.roem.co.uk/msexcvba.php for more detail. Oh, and it’s guaranteed to run!

Related tips:
Tip # 419: Preview and flip through your open windows
Tip # 431 : Send links rather than attachments

Tame your computer – fail-safe your formulas

6 Aug

By default all cells in a worksheet can be modified by anyone who has access to that file.

If you want to prevent other users from changing, moving, or deleting formulas you can make those cells read-only. Other data in the sheet can still be changed.

Here’s how:

  1. Select all cells in the worksheet by clicking on the top left corner of the sheet. (Or click in any empty area and press CTRL + A.)
  2. Right-click anywhere in the sheet and click on Format Cells (or use CTRL+1).
  3. On the Protection tab untick Locked and Hidden.
  4. Click OK or press ENTER.
  5. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click on the Find & Select arrow and click on Formulas.
  6. Right-click any of the selected cells and click on Format Cells (or use CTRL+1).
  7. On the Protection tab tick Locked and Hidden.
  8. Click OK or press ENTER.
  9.  On the Review tab, click Protect Sheet.
  10. Enter a password in the Password to unprotect sheet box and click OK. Re-enter the password in the Confirm Password dialog box.
  11. Click OK or press ENTER.

Step 10 is optional, but if you do not set a password, anybody can remove the protection by simply clicking on the Unprotect Sheet button on the Review tab.  The warning message that pops up even tells you the way to unprotect the sheet.

* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.

Tame your computer – colour your calendar

27 Jul

Back in January 2016 I told you how to add public holidays to your Outlook calendar. By default they are displayed in white, but the colour can be changed by applying any of the available category colours, making them easier to spot between work stuff.

Here’s how:

  1. Double-click on one of the holiday entries in your Calendar. (For example, press CTRL + G and type 28/8 to jump to our next Bank Holiday Monday.)
  2. Click on Categorize, followed by All Categories.
  3. Click on Holiday (not in Master Category List) and click on New.
  4. Select a colour of your choice and press ENTER or click OK twice.

If you work closely with offices in other countries you might want to add and colour-code those as well. By assigning colours you can quickly see what’s coming up and plan accordingly.

Speaking of holidays … with summer in full swing and a break on the horizon why not have another look at the five tips to prevent email overload upon your return from holiday?

Related tips:
Tip # 417: Add holidays to your calendar
Tip # 489: 5 tips to prevent email overload upon your return from holiday