Tame your computer – simplify your search

12 Dec

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a tip about how to find email messages sent or received between certain dates. What I wrote still stands but now I’ve found a much easier way. (Thanks for the inspiration, Jackie!)

Here’s how:

  1. Open the Outlook folder you want to search (If you don’t know where you have stored the message, you can skip this step and use step 4.)
  2. Click in the Instant Search box in the top right hand corner or press CTRL + E
  3. Type received: <start date> .. <end date>
  4. If necessary, click on Try searching again in All mail Items at the bottom of the search results to search all other Outlook folders

For example, received:01/07 .. 31/07 will find any email messages that you sent or received in July this year. (No need to specify the current year.) Or received:01/01/2015 .. 01/05/2015 will find emails you sent or received between January and May 2015.

I obviously hope you have a good reason for hanging on to stuff from 2015, especially because various survey statistics show that we waste too much time searching for documents and email messages. To be precise, according to a McKinsey report people spend on average about nine hours per week searching and gathering information! So only keep what you need – and know how to find it.

Related tips:

Find that needle in a haystack
Find even more needles in that haystack
Reduce irrelevant search results
Search for messages sent to a particular person during a certain period of time
Find email messages sent or received between certain dates

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Tame your computer – rapid repetition

19 Nov

Many, many moons ago (24 March 2006 to be precise) I wrote a tip on how to print a specific row or column on every page of a printed worksheet. This is particularly helpful when your worksheet is too big to fit on one page. After all, you can have 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns!

The instructions were written for Excel 2000, but I bet you’ve upgraded since then and the steps have changed a bit. As I still meet delegates who get very excited when they no longer have to use sticky tape or can stop copying and pasting the data, I thought it was time to write about how to specify rows and columns to repeat on each printed page using Excel 2007 onwards.

Here’s how:

  1. Click on the Print Titles button in the Page Setup group on the Page Layout tab.
  2. Click in the Rows to repeat at top box.
  3. With the Page Setup dialog box open, click on any of the cells in the row(s) you want to repeat on each page.
  4. Click in the Columns to repeat at left box.
  5. With the Page Setup dialog box open, click on any of the cells in the column(s) you want to repeat on each page.
  6. Click OK or press ENTER.

By the way, you still cannot do this if you accessed the Page Setup dialog box from Print Preview.  I would have thought they’d have fixed that by now…

Related tips:
Print the lines between rows and columns to make reading easier
Change the starting page number in the header or footer
Fit a worksheet on the printed page
Print a specific row or column as your title on every page of a printed worksheet

Tame your computer – a smart way to save

13 Nov

Microsoft Word allows you to easily insert illustrations, such as pictures, SmartArt and charts.

So what if, at some point, you want to save all the images you used in your document in a separate folder in order to easily re-use them?

Here’s how:

  1. Open the Word document, as normal
  2. Click the File tab and select Save As (or press F12)
  3. Press TAB and type W until Web Page appears (or select it from the drop-down list)
  4. Press ENTER or click Save
  5. Close the document/web page without saving it (CTRL + W, anyone?)

All illustrations used (including Clip Art, Shapes and SmartArt, if any) have been placed in a new folder that has the same name as the Word document with _files at the end of it. It is typically stored in the same location as the original Word document.

Related tips: 

Create, store and insert frequently used text and graphics

Quickly jump to specific parts such as pages, tables or pictures

 

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

Tame your computer – shortcuts to selection

5 Nov

Since Excel 2007 you can quickly turn a range of cells into something resembling the stock listing paper that mainframe computers used to print out. (Remember those faint green horizontal lines?) It will also switch on the filtering functionality, making it easy to summarise and analyse your data.

It used to be called a list, but it is nowadays known as a table. Hence the fact that both CTRL + L and CTRL + T work to quickly create a table. (See Tip #429)

An Excel table can be thought of as a database. With it, you can store large (or small!) amounts of information and organise it any way you wish. You can also use its powerful Table Tools to quickly retrieve data and manipulate it in numerous ways.

A table typically consists of rows and columns, which you can obviously select just like you would select them in a worksheet. But if you want to select the data only – for example, in order to copy and paste it – you can use some simple keyboard shortcuts.

Here’s how:

  1. Select the entire table, including the table headers: press CTRL + A twice.
  2. Select the data in a row, not the entire row: click the first cell in the table row and press CTRL + SHIFT + RIGHT ARROW.
  3. Select the data in a column (not the entire column): click the first cell in the table column and press CTRL + SHIFT + DOWN ARROW. (Or click anywhere in the table column and press CTRL + SPACEBAR.)

Related tips:

Quickly format and enable filtering of your data

Quickly move to the end of a range of cells in a row or column

Tame your computer – specify your search

30 Oct

I hope you’re using the improved search that was introduced in Outlook version 2007? I don’t mean simply typing in the Search box, but using the different buttons to refine your search. For example, use the From button and click on Has Attachments and This Week to find any message from a certain person that you received this week (as long as it contains one or more attachments).

You might have noticed that the This Week drop-down list is restricting you to search for Today, Yesterday, This Week, Last Week, This Month, This Year and Last Year. So what if you want to search for a specific period?

Here’s how:

  1. Click in the Instant Search box in the top right hand corner or press CTRL + E.
  2. Type received:>=d/m AND <=d/m

For example, received:>=1/9 AND <=13/9 will find any emails that arrived between 1 and 13 September 2017.

If you did not find what you were looking for, click on the Try searching again in All Mail Items link at the bottom of the search results page.

Oh, and don’t forget that your 10 most recent searches are saved and can be found when clicking on the Recent Searches button on the Search Tools ribbon.

Related tips:
Find that needle in a haystack
Find even more needles in that haystack
Reduce irrelevant search results
Search for messages sent to a particular person during a certain period of time

 

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)

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.