Tame your computer – co-ordinate calendars

8 Dec

CleverclogsTipTime2Following the large interest in and attendance of the PA Day earlier this year, the Møller Centre in Cambridge recently held another event for PAs and EAs and I was – once again – invited to be a guest speaker.

This time I helped the 50-odd delegates to gain control over their and their boss’ busy Outlook calendar. The feature I showed, to help scheduling a meeting with someone outside your organisation, seemed to strike a chord… As they don’t have access to your calendar this can be a bit of a pain, with lots of messages being sent backwards and forwards. Instead, why not send your calendar to someone in another company as an email attachment – or ask them to forward their calendar to you?

Here’s how:

  1. Open your Calendar as normal (CTRL + 2, anyone?)
  2. Click on the Email Calendar button in the Share group on the Home tab.
  3. Change the calendar information you want to include using the various options.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Complete and send the message as normal.

The recipient will see the time as “Free”, “Busy”, “Tentative”, or “Out of Office”, unless you changed the level of detail in step 3. The calendar attachment will open side-by-side to their own, which means they can easily compare its content. Click on the Schedule View button to show the calendars in a horizontal layout.

By the way, you won’t be able to use the Scheduling tool to help you find the best time for a meeting with the “external calendar”, but as all dates that contain appointments in either of the calendars are bold in the tiny calendars in the To-Do Bar you can use that to quickly find suitable dates.  (For some weird reason Microsoft has removed the days-with-appointments-in-bold feature from version 2013 onwards.)

Oh, and the recipient does not have to use Outlook in order to see the information.

Related tips:
Find the best time to schedule a meeting
Display multiple calendar months in the Date Navigator
View multiple calendars at the same time
Quickly jump between the various Outlook components

Tame your computer – find the right word

30 Nov

CleverclogsTipTime2When you proofread your document or email message before finalising it (you do, don’t you?) do you ever spot that you’ve used the same word over and over again? If so, do you ever struggle to find a synonym?

You might know that MS Office offers a Thesaurus, which will suggest other words with a similar meaning to the one you have selected. The Thesaurus button can be found on the Review tab.

Or perhaps you know (or remember this tip) where you can right-click a word? Perhaps you got yourself in the habit of using the ALT + click following  tip 191?

Well, for some weird reason, this last method doesn’t work in PowerPoint, so why not learn a shortcut key that works everywhere?

Here’s how:

1.       Position your insertion point in the word that is to be looked up.
2.       Press SHIFT + F7.
3.       If you want, right-click one of the alternative words and select Insert.

With thanks to Jens for this week’s tip inspiration!

Related shortcuts:
F7: Check the spelling of text
ALT + F7: Find the next misspelling or grammatical error

Related tips:
Find posh synonyms
Translate words or phrases 

Tame your computer – Go to it

13 Nov

CleverclogsTipTime2In my regular series I offer handy tips to help you ‘Tame your computer’. This week I describe a quick way to view frequently used folder content (Microsoft Outlook)…

Back in 2011 I wrote about the fact that if you frequently file emails in a specific folder, you could save time setting up a Quick Step and move messages in one click. But did you know that – if you work with Quick Steps – you can use them to view the content of a folder without the need to use the navigation pane? This even beats working with Outlook Favorites.

Here’s how:

  1. Right-click any of your Quick Steps
  2. Press G (for Go to)

That’s it for this week! If there are topics that you’d like to see covered in future, please let me know.

Related tips:
How to sort your folder list the way you want it 
One-click Quick Steps 
Move email messages into a recently used folder 
Automatically move low-priority emails from your inbox

Tame your computer – easy money

5 Nov

You are probably aware that you can format your cells to display your country’s currency symbol by simply clicking on the Accounting Number Format button on the Home tab. (Exactly. No need to click on the drop-down arrow next to the coins.)

The Accounting format lines up the currency symbol on the left edge of the cell and that’s exactly what I often hear people don’t like. They prefer to apply the currency format, where the symbol is right next to the number. OK, you can right-click the cell and select Format Cells, but it’s four clicks before you’ve applied the new format. (Not that I’m counting.) So why not use a keyboard shortcut?

Here’s how:

Press CTRL + SHIFT + 4

The shortcut is easier to remember if you think of it as CTRL + SHIFT + $.

Any zero values that were displayed as a dash when the Accounting format was used will now be displayed as zeros with decimals.

By the way, to choose Euros or Dollars instead of Pounds, simply click on the drop-down arrow next to the Accounting Number Format button.

Tame your computer – flipping tabs!

21 Oct

Anyone who ever attended one of my courses or is an astute reader of my tips knows I absolutely love keyboard shortcuts. Last week I realised that – although I’ve discussed the power of CTRL + TAB to move between browser tabs, windows and workbooks – I’ve never written a tip about its use to flip through the tabs of a dialogue box.

Here’s how:

  1. Press CTRL + TAB to move to the next open tab.
  2. Press SHIFT + CTRL + TAB to cycle the other way.

That said, if you keep pressing CTRL + TAB it keeps going. No need for the “monkey grip” to cycle backward.

Related tips:
Switching between multiple browser tabs 
Preview and flip through your open windows 
Use a keyboard shortcut to switch between open workbooks 

Tame your computer – timely tips

13 Oct

In trying to improve the quality and effectiveness of our training I always ask delegates to complete an evaluation form. One of the questions is “What is your favourite tip you picked up today?”. Because one of last week’s Access course participants wrote “shortcut for today’s date”  I thought I’d dust off tip 358, as it doesn’t just apply to Excel, but also to Access.

Here’s how:

  1. Press CTRL + ; to enter today’s date OR
  2. Press CTRL + SHIFT + ; to enter the current time

If you’d like the date to be updated every time someone opens Excel or Access, you can insert the date as a field.

Here’s how:

  1. Type =Date() in the Field Properties Default Value box in the table design of Access OR
  2. Type =TODAY() or =NOW() in a cell in Excel

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

 Related tips
Using validation rules to ensure accurate data entry 
Enter the current date and/or time into a worksheet
Save time entering dates 

Tame your computer – eliminate email excess

30 Sep

Are you one of those people who cannot stop themselves from checking their email every time one of those notifications appears in the bottom right of the screen? Perhaps you resist temptation by turning off all notifications? See http://roem.co.uk/tip_402.php if you didn’t know that was possible.)

But did you know you can create a rule to get notifications from certain people or about certain subjects only?

Here’s how:

  1. Switch off all notifications. 
  2. Right-click a message from a person or about a certain topic you want to set a notification for.
  3. Select RulesCreate Rule.
  4. Tick the check box of the person and/or subject.
  5. Tick the Display in the New Item Alert window and/or tick the Play a selected sound check box.
  6. Press ENTER or click OK twice.

In future, when new mail arrives and you ticked the Display in the New Item Alert window check box in step 5, you will get a dialogue box listing all the relevant mail messages. The window remains open even if you’ve read the email by clicking on Open Item. Press ESC (or click on Close) to close it.

To change the notification click on the Edit Rule button in the New Mail Alerts dialog box. Alternatively, click on the Rules button on the Home tab and select Manage Rules & Alerts.

Related tips:
 5 tips to prevent email overload upon your return from holiday 
Automatically move low-priority emails from your inbox
Organise your inbox using colour
Managing interruptions