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Tame your computer – Best of 2017: top 10 tips

17 Dec

Hello for the last time in 2017.

Here are your favourite, most commented on, tips from the past 12 months to get you inspired for the year ahead. I hope you enjoy them!

  1. Schedule your e-mail message to be sent at your preferred date and time (Microsoft Outlook)
  2. Fast way to start a bulleted or numbered list (Microsoft Word and Outlook)
  3. Reopen recently closed tabs (Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox)
  4. Find the best time to schedule a meeting (Microsoft Outlook)
  5. Show changes and comments inline instead of in balloons (Microsoft Word)
  6. Change the colour of public holidays in your calendar (Microsoft Outlook)
  7. Protecting your formulas (Microsoft Excel)
  8. Quick way to paste content of the clipboard into an email message (Microsoft Outlook)
  9. Create a bulleted list in your workbook (Microsoft Excel)
  10. Find email messages sent or received between certain dates (Microsoft Outlook)

Oh, and don’t forget to check out this handy tip before you go off on your holidays; it contains five ways to prevent email overload upon your return from a break.

Wishing you a relaxing holiday season. Remember: Escape isn’t just a button on your keyboard!

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.

Tame your computer – the top 10 tips of 2016

19 Dec

This will be the last tip of the year as I’m pretty sure that you’re all ready to tuck into mince pies and mulled wine.

So here are your favourite, most commented on, tips from the last 12 months. Don’t forget to check out number 6 before you’re off on your Christmas break!

  1. Add holidays to your calendar (Microsoft Outlook) –
  2. 10 tips for safe online banking –
  3. Make text look like it was marked with a highlighter pen (Word and Outlook) –
  4. Stop AutoCorrect from capitalizing text following specific abbreviations (Microsoft Office) –
  5. Create, store and insert frequently used text and graphics (Microsoft Word and Outlook) –
  6. Five tips to prevent email overload upon your return from holiday (Microsoft Outlook) –
  7. How to remove limitations of what is displayed in a cell (Microsoft Excel) –
  8. Set the default colour of a hyperlink (Microsoft Outlook) –
  9. Automatically move low-priority emails from your inbox (Microsoft Outlook) –
  10. Change the emphasis of a SmartArt graphic by changing its direction (Microsoft Office) –

Wishing you a relaxing holiday season. Escape isn’t just a button on your keyboard!

Tame your computer – get smart with SmartArt

11 Dec

Don’t you love SmartArt?! They are quick and easy to create and you can choose from many different layouts, making it easy to communicate your message or ideas effectively in Excel, Word, and Outlook, but mainly – I guess – PowerPoint.

But what if you need to change the emphasis or reverse the flow of your SmartArt graphic? Well, you can switch the layout of the SmartArt graphic between left to right and right to left with one simple click.

Here’s how:

  1. Click anywhere in the SmartArt graphic that you want to change.
  2. On the SmartArt Tools Design tab, in the Create Graphic group, click Right to Left. (If you don’t see the SmartArt Tools Design tab, you didn’t click on a SmartArt graphic.)
  3. To switch back to the original direction of your SmartArt graphic, click Right to Left again.

What happens depends on the type of SmartArt, but, say, you used a basic chevron process (“arrows pointing to the right” for you and me) … one click on Right to Left and hey presto, the arrows are pointing the other way.

By the way, the feature isn’t available for all SmartArt graphics and the customisation might get lost when you select a different layout, but I still really like the feature.

For more tips about working with SmartArt graphics see:

Tip # 355: Tweak your SmartArt graphics (Microsoft Office)

Tip # 268: Convert an existing bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic (PowerPoint)

Tip # 230: Draw three concentric circles with text in each (Microsoft Office)

Want to learn more? For a  schedule of my upcoming courses, click here. Affordable. Guaranteed to run. And fun!

Tame your computer – make a quick exit

25 Sep

Would you say you are a neat and tidy person or do you keep lots of files open and spend some time at the end of the day closing them all? If the latter, it can be quite tedious and time-consuming to click in the upper-right corner of each document. Perhaps you fell in love with tip 272 and use CTRL + W?

But there is a quicker way to exit the program and close all open files. And don’t worry, it will prompt you to save files, if necessary.

Here’s how:

  1. On the File tab, select Exit. (Or press ALT, F, X.)
  2. If prompted, press S to save or N not to save. (Notice the underscored letter in the buttons.) Or use your mouse.

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

Tame your computer – make an exception

22 Feb

As you have probably noticed, Microsoft Office automatically corrects typical capitalisation errors. For example, it will automatically capitalise names of days and capitalise the first letter following a full stop or exclamation or question mark.

But what if AutoCorrect makes an unwanted correction? You can obviously undo it by pressing CTRL + Z (or the Undo button if you insist).

But if you use a lot of specific acronyms or an abbreviation with punctuation at the end of it, why not work with an exceptions list? (In Word and Outlook, when you undo an AutoCorrect, the unwanted corrections that you undo are automatically added to the list of exceptions.)

Here’s how:

  1. On the File tab, click on Options.
  2. Click on Proofing or type the letter p. (In Outlook, click Mail, and then click Editor Options.)
  3. Click on the AutoCorrect Options button.
  4. On the AutoCorrect tab, click on the Exceptions button.
  5. Type the word – including the punctuation; for example, Cambs. – in the relevant box on the relevant tab and click on Add.
  6. Select any of the exceptions you want to remove and click Delete. (OK, I’m not a native English speaker but as far as I know, if an abbreviation consists of the first and last letters of a word, you don’t need to use a full stop at the end, so you might want to delete certain exceptions such as Mr. and Dr.)
  7. Click OK (three times).

And here’s something nice for a change … the exceptions list works across MS Office. So once you’ve done it in Word, you don’t have to do it in Outlook or Excel. (That said, they don’t seem to end up in the list in PowerPoint.)

Finally, over the years I’ve encouraged you to use AutoCorrect for words you typically mistype, create abbreviations for words you use a lot or add words that contain international characters. See tips 27, 127 and 229 if you want to have another look.
* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.

Tame your computer – the top 10 tips of 2015

22 Dec

Hello for the last time in 2015. Here are your favourite, most commented on tips from the past 12 months to get you inspired for the year ahead.

I hope you enjoy them!

  1. Display your flagged messages in a “For Follow Up” folder (Outlook 2010-2013)
  2. Jump to a specific application on the taskbar
  3. Always check spelling before you send a message (Outlook)
  4. In a hurry? Take a shortcut! (Windows 7)
  5. Print the lines between rows and columns (Microsoft Excel)
  6. Delete tricks (Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and Access)
  7. When replying to a message that is not in the Inbox, save the reply in the same folder (Microsoft Outlook)
  8. Quickly access your Web browser history
  9. Keep the column width when pasting (Microsoft Excel)
  10. Jump to and print just part of your document (Microsoft Word)

Merry Christmas! I’ll be back  in 2016. In the meantime, I’ll continue to post a shortcut of the week on Roem’s home page.