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

Tame your computer – revise, reuse, rename

6 Sep

If you’re going to create a new file, based on an existing one, but only want your changes saved in the new document you can obviously use the Save As command (or press F12). But did you know it’s also a great way to reuse an existing filename with a similar title?

Here’s how:

  1. Open your document.
  2. Press F12.
  3. Do one of the following:
  • Type the new filename (no need to press the Delete key first) OR
  • Press End to move to and amend the end of the filename OR
  • Press Home to move to and amend the beginning of the filename

Your original document will remain unchanged and all your edits will be in the new copy.

Related tips
Time-saving shortcut key to use Save As command 
Quickly rename or copy a file or folder name 
Quickly add to the end of cell contents

Tame your computer – make a quick exit

25 Aug

If, like me, you prefer to use your keyboard rather than your mouse you might know – or want to know – that Microsoft introduced “KeyTips” in Office 2007, offering a quick way to select commands using your keyboard. One of the favourite KeyTips of my dear friend Danijela is ALT, F, X which will select the Exit command from the File tab.

Here’s how:

  1. Press ALTFX. (Or Press ALT + F4.)
  2. When prompted, type the underlined letter s (Save) or n (Don’t Save) or press the ESC key to cancel the operation.

This will close down the whole application, not just the active document, as described in tip 272.

I’ll update the shortcut archive but in the meantime a big thank you to Dani for this week’s tip inspiration!


Related tips:
Selecting commands without using your mouse
Close a window without clicking in the upper-right corner 

Tame your computer – picture perfect

20 Aug

I’m sure you’ll agree that it can sometimes be a time-consuming and frustrating exercise to get pictures the size and shape you want. But did you know that once you got one the way you like it to be, you can easily replace it with another picture? As far as I can tell you can do this in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, but I think it’s most beneficial in your Word and PowerPoint templates.

Here’s how:

  1. Right-click the picture you want to replace and select Change Picture.
  2. Find the new picture and double-click it.

If you prefer, you can also use the Change Picture button in the Adjust group on the Picture Tools Format tab.

With special thanks to Alison for this week’s tip inspiration!

Related tips
How to change the shape of a picture 
Tweak your SmartArt graphics
Pimp your chart 
Add a cover page
Make the background of a picture transparent 

Tame your computer – clever topping and tailing

16 Jul

Today’s tip is inspired by Phil, the Manager Director at Cambridge Print Solutions, the company which has been printing my course handouts for donkey’s years. (I highly recommend Cambridge Print Solutions. I have been using them to print my training manuals since August 2006 and they have always delivered on time, occasionally at short notice – with a smile and a chat.  And no, I’m not getting commission for this recommendation.)

The most common question they apparently get is about different headers and footers on the left and right side of booklets. As you know, the headers and footers in Word are normally the same on each page. But it is really simple to specify that odd-numbered pages have a different header and footer from even-numbered pages.

Here’s how:

  1. Double-click anywhere in the header or footer area of an odd page (1, 3, 5 etc.).
  2. Select the Different Odd & Even Pages check box in the Options group.
  3. In the Header & Footer group click on the Header or Footer button.
  4. Select the preferred style from the dropdown list (some are specifically for odd or even page layouts) or click on Edit Header or Edit Footer and type your own.
  5. Click on the Next button in the Navigation group.
  6. Select the preferred style from the dropdown list or type your own as described in step 4.
  7. Double-click anywhere in the body of your document or click on the Close Header and Footer button.

There are a lot of other clever things you can do with headers and footers such as numbering on pages in landscape orientation, but you’ll need to work with section breaks for that.  More about that some other time.

Related tips
Add the file name and path to the header or footer
Temporarily hide page breaks, headers and footers

Tame your computer – avoid email overload

9 Jul

With the holiday season upon us, I felt it was a good idea to dust off the tip on how to prevent email overload upon your return from holiday …

Doesn’t it sound tempting to set up a rule that will send all your email received during your time off straight into your bin? Far-fetched? The German company Daimler encouraged setting up the following automatic reply:

I am on vacation. I cannot read your email. Your email is being deleted. Please contact Hans or Monika if it’s really important, or resend the email after I’m back in the office. Danke Schoen.

(See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28786117 if you want to read more about this novel idea.)
As it probably isn’t very likely that you’ll be able to get away with this where you work, herewith five top tips to prevent email overload upon your return:

  1. Switch on your Out of Office message a day early, so you can clear out your inbox before you leave.
    1. Click the File tab.
    2. Click Automatic Replies.
  1. Forward your mail to a colleague.
    1. Click the File tab.
    2. Click Automatic Replies.
    3. Click Rules, and then click Add Rule.
    4. Tick the Forward check box and enter the name of your colleague who has agreed to keep an eye on your email in your absence.
    5. If necessary, click on the Check Names button.
    6. Consider clicking the Delete check box. (You can always rummage through your recycle bin upon your return.)
    7. Click OK three times.
  1. Automatically move messages where your name is in the Cc box to a folder named when I have time to read this.
    1. Right-click any of your messages.
    2. Select RulesCreate Rule.
    3. Click on Advanced Options.
    4. Tick where my name is in the Cc box (11th from the top).
    5. Click Next.
    6. Tick the first check box (move it to the specified folder).
    7. In the Step 2 box, click on the underlined specified link.
    8. Click on the when I have time to read this folder you created earlier or click on New to create a folder “on the fly”.
    9. Click OK.
    10. Click Finish.
  1. Agree with colleagues they all mark messages about meetings or events to expire after a specific date.
    1. Create the message as normal. (CTRL+N, anyone?)
    2. On the Options tab click on the dialog box launcher  (the tiny arrow) in the More Options group.
    3. Tick the Expires after check box.

Upon your return, any messages about meetings or events that happened during your absence have a strike-through the subject line and will be easy to spot for you to delete.

  1. Send out a message to your main contacts one or two weeks prior to your holiday.

Wishing you all a relaxing, stress-free break.