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Tame your computer – jump to it

13 Oct

Have you noticed that Microsoft introduced a new Tell me what you want to do box?

If – like me – you have been ignoring it up to now, you might want to fall in love with it. (Thanks for the nudge, Jo!) No, it isn’t like the old Microsoft Help where you had to know what it was you were after… In Office 2016 you can type the sort of thing you would normally “Google”. And there is obviously a rather intuitive keyboard shortcut to ask your question.

Here’s how:

  1. Press ALT + Q.
  2. Type the option you’re looking for. (You don’t even have to know what the feature is called.)
  3. Press ENTER or click on Best Action to open the functionality.

For example, in Excel you can simply type dropdown list or dropdown. There is no need for you to know it’s called data validation. Or type case or upper in Word to open the Change Case functionality.

Sometimes, what you’re after is listed underneath Best Action so might want to keep an eye on the list of options. For example, type recall in Outlook to find information about how to recall an email message. Or type animation in PowerPoint and click on Add Animation under Actions to quickly select your preferred animation. (To prevent Death by PowerPoint I’d recommend keeping it simple and using Appear.)

If it doesn’t come up with a Best Action or you would simply like to read up a bit more about the functionality, click on Get Help on or use your arrows and press ENTER. Even in the explanatory text you will get Take me there or Show me buttons.

ALT + Q can even be used to find recent files, but (spoiler alert) let me write a separate tip about that.

I obviously still hope you feel that yours truly has value to add … After all, you don’t know what you don’t know!

Speaking of which, why not join one of my next 60-minute webinars or book a course …?

Upcoming courses
The current course schedule can be found online. Hope to see you soon – be it virtually from the comfort of your own home or socially distanced in our training venue!

Tame your computer – webinars lead to quick wins

25 Aug

CleverclogsTipTime2As some of you know I began publishing tips back in 2003. Seventeen years later and I’m still passionate about sharing easy ways of using MS Office and aim to crank out a tip on a weekly basis.

To help you put these “quick wins” into practice I recently developed a series of 60-minute webinars, giving you the opportunity to see the hints, tips and time-saving shortcuts in action. So if you have been saving my tips to work through at a later stage, why not join one of the webinars?

Here’s how:

  1. Choose the session about the package you use the most. (Or do all four and become an Office wizard!)
  2. Watch me do it. (Or do it with me during the webinar.)
  3. Try it out afterwards. (Practise, practise, practise.)
  4. Give a shout if you need a hand.

The sessions are £20 only (+VAT) and you can pay securely using a debit or credit card. Just drop me a line or complete the booking form and I’ll send you a payment link.

The price includes a crib sheet and exercise files so you can follow me during the demo or experiment and practise what you’ve learned after the webinar.

Even if you believe you have mastered MS Office, I guarantee you will go away with new and easy to use tricks and shortcuts that you never would have found on your own.

Don’t just take my word for it … As Katherine recently wrote: “This was the most productive hour I have spent in a long time.

Webinar series
60 Minutes of Microsoft Office Hints and Tips
60 Minutes of Microsoft Excel Hints and Tips
60 Minutes of Microsoft PowerPoint Hints and Tips
60 Minutes of Microsoft Outlook and Word Hints and Tips

Tame your computer – top 10 tips of 2019

21 Dec

CleverclogsTipTime2For the fifth year running, herewith your favourite, most commented on, tips from the past 12 months. As I felt it was impossible to cut it down to ten, I cheated and added three more.

With thanks to Sarah, Bart, Jan, Patrick, Clare and Michael for your feedback; it makes my day knowing I’m saving you time and frustration!

  1.  Open the right-click menu using a keyboard shortcut – Office and Windows
  2. Total the data in a table – Excel
  3. Answer and write prefixed comments below the original message text – Outlook
  4. Fill all selected cells with the same text, number or formula – Excel
  5. Find all occurrences of two spaces after a full stop and replace them with one – Word
  6. Show totals above a table column that match specific criteria – Excel
  7. Check the spelling of all worksheets – Excel
  8. Attach a PDF version of an active document to an email message – Word, PowerPoint, Excel
  9. Reduce the number of messages in your inbox upon your return from holiday – Outlook
  10. Go to a specific slide when delivering your presentation – PowerPoint
  11. Organise and find email messages in your shared mailbox – Outlook
  12. Warn before printing, saving or sending a file that contains tracked changes or comments – Word
  13. Quickly spot whether change tracking is on or off – Word

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

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

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

5 Aug

CleverclogsTipTime2In Microsoft Office, commands related to working with your documents appear as buttons on tabs that make up what is called the ribbon.

Back in 2008 I wrote a tip about minimizing the ribbon to create space and see more of the document you are working on. While the ribbon is minimized, you can click any tab to expand it temporarily to find the commands you need to complete a task.

Both methods I wrote about at the time still work, but as Microsoft got rid of the tiny downward-pointing arrow at the far right of the ribbon in version 2016 I thought I’d dust off the tip and give a third way to hide and unhide the ribbon.

Here’s how:

  1. Double-click any tabOR
  2. Press CTRL + F1OR
  3. Right-click any tab and select/unselect Minimize the Ribbon (version 2010) or Collapse the Ribbon (version 2016).

This can be particularly helpful in later versions of Excel if you have tiled your worksheets, as they all have their own tabs and ribbons, taking up a lot of space.

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

Related tips
Make more space on your screen – minimize the ribbon
Tile all worksheets and save the layout

Tame your computer – keep your Options open

22 Apr

CleverclogsTipTime2Do you remember Clippy – the animated paper clip – killed off by Microsoft in 2003?

OK, it might have been annoying, but it offered some great time-saving features that were not easy to ignore. Clippy, Rocky the Dog, Links the Cat, The Genius or whatever Office Assistant you had selected were replaced by tiny smart tags. But I frequently encounter delegates who are unaware of these subtle alternatives.

So here are my favourite three:

  1. Paste Options.
  2. Auto Fill Options.
  3. Insert Options

Next time paste doesn’t do what you want, or you fill cells with data that didn’t follow your expected pattern or you don’t like the format of inserted rows or columns, look out for “Clippy in disguise”. By all means ignore it if all’s fine, but click on the small Options button below the selection and check out the list of choices.

Have a look at the following tips for inspiration:

Tame your computer – jump to it

12 Mar

CleverclogsTipTime2What I often hear from my course participants is that they came away with new tricks, tips and shortcuts that they never might have found on their own. That’s why I started publishing weekly tips back in 2003 (no, that isn’t a typo) and a shortcut of the week in 2013.

The other day I realised I’d never published the keyboard shortcut to enable you to quickly jump between the beginning and end of your document, which can be really useful in big Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. I also use it when I want to start reading at the end of a long “backwards and forwards email conversation”. Oh, and I know the line above reads “Microsoft Office”, but it also works in PDF files and in most browsers.

Here’s how:

1.       Press CTRL + HOME to jump to the beginning.

2.       Press CTRL + END to jump to the end.

For those who use a Mac and cannot spot a Home or End key … press the Function key and the left arrow key to jump to the top of a page, and Function and right arrow to jump to the end of a page. (With thanks to Erin for the inspiration!)

Keyboard shortcuts may sometimes be unintuitive or hard to remember, but remember I drip-feed a new shortcut on my home page  – every week. If you are unsure about any of the shortcuts, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Tame your computer – shrewd shortcut

2 Jan

CleverclogsTipTime2Happy new year to you and happy birthday to us! As we come of age today, we’d like to thank our clients for the opportunity to work on some amazing projects, our associates for bringing their talent to our business and our all-important course participants who selected us to help make the most of their software packages. We wouldn’t be having our 18th birthday if it wasn’t for you.

But back to work …

If, like me, you prefer to use your keyboard rather than your mouse, you know that you can use shortcuts and KeyTips to quickly execute commands. “Right-mouse clickers” might like the keyboard shortcut that opens the right-click drop-down menu.

Here’s how:

  1. Position the mouse pointer in the location you want to display a drop-down menu for.
  2. Press SHIFT + F10.
  3. Use the down arrow key or type the underscored letter to select the menu option.
  4. If the option has a submenu you can use your right arrow key to select it.

If you prefer, you can use the special (Context) key on your keyboard, between the right ALT and right CTRL keys. Or simply stick to right-clicking!

Related tips
Display the right-click drop-down menu using a key on your keyboard
Select commands without using your mouse

That’s it for this week. Best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful 2019!

Tame your computer – the best of 2018: top 10 tips

21 Dec

Hello for the last time in 2018.

For the fourth year running, herewith your favourite, most commented on, tips from the past 12 months. Because of all your feedback it wasn’t easy to whittle it down to 10. (Thanks though – it makes my day knowing I’m saving you time and frustration!)

  1. Move or copy cells using drag and drop – Microsoft Excel – tip_530.php
  2. Display the total number of messages in a folder, including those you read – Microsoft Outlook – tip_532.php
  3. Easy way to convert formulas to values – Microsoft Excel – tip_533.php
  4. Top ten Microsoft Outlook shortcuts – tip_538.php
  5. How to put a zero in front of a number – Microsoft Excel – tip_543.php
  6. Autocomplete formulas including its open bracket – Microsoft Excel – tip_545.php
  7. Manage interruptions by setting up specific notifications only – Microsoft Outlook – tip_551.php
  8. Insert today’s date or current time – Excel and Access – tip_552.php
  9. Find and insert a word with a similar meaning – Microsoft Office – tip_556.php
  10. Send a copy of your calendar as an email attachment to speed up scheduling meetings with externals – Microsoft Outlook – tip_557.php

Oh, and don’t forget to check out this useful tip before you go off on your Christmas break; it contains 5 tips to prevent email overload upon your return.

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

Related tips
Best of 2017 – top 10 tips
Best of 2016 – top 10 tips
Best of 2015 – top 10 tips

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 – 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