Archive | August, 2016

Tame your computer – take it to the limit

21 Aug

The other day somebody asked me how they could ‘unlock’ the restriction of  the ~1,000 characters that can be written in an Excel cell.

Well, in Excel version 2007 if a cell contained more than 1,024 characters, or if it contained a formula that returned a result of more than 1,024 characters, only the first 1,024 characters were displayed in the cell. Furthermore, additional characters weren’t printed and did not appear in print preview either.

So if you created your workbook using Excel version 2007 you might still have the restriction described above, even if you are now using version 2010, 2013 or 2016. You can obviously increase the row height and column width of the worksheet, but if you have upgraded, all you have to do is save the existing file as a newer version.

Here’s how:

  1. Open the document, as normal.
  2. Press F12 (or File, Save As if you prefer).
  3. Select the first option labelled Excel Workbook (*xlsx) from the Save as type drop-down list.
  4. Press ENTER or click on Save.

You now have a copy of the document, so you might want to rename or delete the old one. Or, if you are using a content management system, I would strongly recommend saving it as a new version – on top of the old one.

If you are keen to find out more about Excel specifications and limits check out https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/Excel-specifications-and-limits-1672b34d-7043-467e-8e27-269d656771c3 for version 2010 or https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/Excel-specifications-and-limits-ca36e2dc-1f09-4620-b726-67c00b05040f for version 2013 and 2016.

With thanks to Bernice for today’s tip inspiration.

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Tame your computer – now you see it, now you don’t

10 Aug

In Microsoft Word, you can make it easier to read or edit your document by temporarily hiding the white space at the top and bottom of each page. This is particularly helpful if you have been using page breaks and have to scroll large chunks of white space to go to the next page.

Here’s how:

  1. Position your cursor at the top of your document or between two pages and wait for the text Double-click to hide white space to appear.
  2. Double-click.

By the way, any new document will have its white space hidden as well, even if you restart your computer. So at some point you might want to reverse the action … simply position your cursor at the top of your document or on the line separating two pages and double-click as soon as the text Double-click to show white space appears.

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

Tame your computer – handle holiday traffic

1 Aug

With the holiday season upon us, 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 you will be able to get away with this where you work, here are 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.

  • Click the File tab.
  • Click Automatic Replies.

2. Forward your mail to a colleague.

  • Click the File tab.
  • Click Automatic Replies.
  • Click Rules, and then click Add Rule.
  • 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.
  •  If necessary, click on the Check Names button.
  • Consider clicking the Delete check box. (You can always rummage through your recycle bin upon your return.)
  •  Click OK three times.

3. Automatically move messages where your name is in the Cc box to a folder named when I have time to read this.

  • Right-click any of your messages.
  • Select Rules, Create Rule.
  • Click on Advanced Options.
  • Tick where my name is in the Cc box (11th from the top).
  • Click Next.
  • Tick the first check box (move it to the specified folder).
  • In the Step 2 box, click on the underlined specified link.
  • 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”.
  • Click OK.
  • Click Finish.

4. Agree with colleagues so they all mark messages about meetings or events to expire after a specific date.

  • Create the message as normal. (CTRL+N, anyone?)
  • On the Options tab click on the dialog box launcher  (the tiny arrow) in the More Options group.
  • 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.

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

Wishing you all a relaxing, stress-free break.