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

Tame your computer – use Paint to perfect your picture

15 Jul

Microsoft Paint is a basic image creation and manipulation program that is part of all versions of Microsoft Windows. It lets you effortlessly crop and resize photos. When you crop photos, you can cut off distracting or unwanted parts. Resizing images can help to make them small enough for certain websites.

Here’s how:

  1. Right-click the image and select Open with, followed by Paint.
  2. To crop, click on the Select button (not its drop-down arrow), drag the cursor around the area you want to capture and click the Crop button.
  3. To resize, click on the Resize button and change the resize dimensions.
  4. Press CTRL + S to save the modified image or select Save As from the drop-down button in the top left hand corner.

The dimensions you choose depend on whether your image is landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical). For example, the optimum image size on this Cambridge Network website is 550 x 400 pixels. If your image is landscape, choose 550 pixels horizontally and make sure the final version of the image is less than 400 pixels vertically. If your image is portrait, choose to make it 400 pixels high in the vertical box and ensure the width is no larger than 550 pixels.

Oh, and if you’re struggling to find Paint in your list of applications, simply press the WIN key and type paint.

Related tips:
Tip 386: Capture, edit, save and share snippets of your screen
Tip 513: Resize and position photos in SmartArt

(With thanks to Judi Coe, editor of the Cambridge Network site, for today’s tip inspiration.)

Tame your computer – open another window

29 Jun

Would it be helpful to be able to move one of your browser tabs to a new window so that you can display it next to another window? In Internet Explorer you can press CTRL + N to open your current tab in a new window, but that will leave the original tab open as well. So why not move it to a new window and display it next to any other window?

Here’s how:

  1. Click on the tab and drag it downwards.
  2. Press WIN + right arrow or WIN + left arrow to “snap” the window to the right or left.
  3. Click in any other window of any of your open applications and press WIN + right arrow or WIN + left to display the windows side by side.

By the way, if you keep pressing the same keyboard combination, your window will go round in circles.  I cannot test this out as I don’t have two monitors, but apparently it even cycles through both monitors.

 

Tame your computer – try tracking tricks

11 Jun

Do you track who changes what and where in your documents, using Word’s Track Changes functionality? Even if you are the only person working on the text, this can be an extremely useful tool!

You might have noticed that deletions and comments are, by default, displayed in balloons in the margins of the document. But if you prefer you can change the settings to show deletions with strikethroughs and comments inline as “ScreenTips”.

Here’s how:

  1. On the Review tab, in the Tracking group, click Show Markup.
  2. Point to Balloons.
  3. Click Show All Revisions Inline.

If you want, you can even make this your default setting.

Here’s how:

  1. On the Review tab, in the Tracking group, click on the Track Changes drop-down arrow (not on the button itself).
  2. Click on Change Tracking Options.
  3. Select Never from the Use Balloons (Print and Web Layout) drop-down list, or – if you prefer – Only for comments/formatting.
  4. Press ENTER or click OK.

With thanks to Caroline for this week’s tip inspiration.

Tame your computer – picture perfect

25 May

Not so long ago I was helping a client update her PowerPoint presentation. We had used one of the SmartArt Graphics that can contain pictures, but wanted to reposition the photo … more head, less body. The right-clickers among you might intuitively try Size and Position, but that applies to the placeholder, not the picture itself. But don’t despair – you can get access to the photo.

Here’s how:

  1. Click on the picture in the SmartArt.
  2. Click on the Picture Tools Format tab.
  3. Click on the Crop button.
  4. To resize the picture, drag any of the corner sizing handles, so that both the height and width change and you won’t end up with a distorted photo.
  5. To reposition the picture, make sure you have a 4-headed arrow cursor and drag the picture to the desired location. Hold down the SHIFT key to “snap” the picture to a perfect horizontal or vertical “grid”.
  6. Click anywhere outside the placeholder to “confirm” the change.

With thanks to Miranda for this week’s tip inspiration.

Related tips:
Tip 501: Change the emphasis of a SmartArt graphic by changing its direction (tip_501.php)
Tip 355: Tweak your SmartArt graphics (tip_355.php)
Tip 268: convert an existing bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic (tip_268.php)

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