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Tame your computer – Happy N(ew) Year

5 Jan

Hello and welcome to the first tip of 2021. Happy new year!

Speaking of new … do you use the File tab when you want to create a new document in Office? (That’s four clicks – not that I’m counting.) Or perhaps you click on the New button on the Quick Access Toolbar? (That is, if you stuck it on there.) Or perhaps you love keyboard shortcuts and use CTRL + N?

But did you know you can use this intuitive keyboard shortcut (the letter N for new) for so much more?

Here are some suggestions:

Word, Excel and PowerPoint : open a new document
Outlook : create a new email message or a meeting, contact or task – depending on what part of Outlook you’re in
Teams: start a new chat
Chrome and Edge : open a new browser window with cursor in address bar
Internet Explorer : open a copy of your current web page in a new window
Windows: open a copy of your current folder in a new window

By the way, on 1 January 2001 I turned my idea into reality and started my own business. So … happy 20th birthday to us. I would like to thank my clients for the opportunity to work on some amazing projects. And to my all-important course participants for choosing me to help tackle their time-consuming and frustrating day-to-day tasks. I wouldn’t be having a birthday if it wasn’t for you!

Related tips
Schedule your e-mail message to be sent at your preferred date and time (Microsoft Outlook)
Find the best time to schedule a meeting (Microsoft Outlook)
Open several workbooks with a single click (Microsoft Excel)

Tame your computer – beef up your branding

1 Dec

When you want all your slides to contain the same fonts and images (such as your company logo), it’s best to make those changes in the Slide Master. This will change the design and layout of all your slides, giving your presentations a consistent look.

But if someone sends you a presentation that does not use your company branding or you start with a whole new blank presentation, you can quickly change the overall design of your slides to match the design of an existing presentation. No need to manually update the Slide Master.

Here’s how:

  1. Open the presentation you want to apply the design to.  (Or start with a blank one.)
  2. On the Design tab, in the Themes group, click the More button. (The tiny drop-down arrow in the bottom right corner.)
  3. Click on Browse for Themes.
  4. Navigate to and select your file that contains the design you want to add.

The design and layout of your master slides have been updated automatically and are ready to be used for new slides that you add to the presentation. You can also change the layout of any slide using the Layout button in the Slides group on the Home tab.

Click on the Slide Master button on the View tab if you need to make further tweaks to the design of all slides.

With thanks to the lucky tip subscribers who attended last week’s PowerPoint Hints and Tips webinar for this week’s inspiration!

Related tips

Tame your computer – handout heaven

10 Aug

CleverclogsTipTime2Last month I told you that one of the rules to prevent “Death by PowerPoint” is to keep it simple. Another suggestion is to limit each bullet or text slide to no more than six lines with six words per line. PowerPoint slides should not be seen as a handout!

This makes me realise that I’ve never written a PowerPoint tip about creating handouts. I’m not talking about Handouts when you click on the Full Page Slides option from File/Print, although you might want to check out 3 Slides.

What I’m referring to is that you can export a tiny version of your slides – called a “thumbnail” – along with any speaker notes to a Word document, that you can edit, format and print as normal. That way you can stick all your wordy explanation in the speaker notes – rather than on the slides – and print your handouts from Word. Or you can use the Word document as a crib sheet for yourself, as the speaker. You can even “automatically” update the Word document if any of the existing slides change.

Here’s how:

  1. In PowerPoint 2010 select File, followed by Save & Send. In PowerPoint 2013 onwards select File, followed by Export.
  2. Click the Create Handouts button.
  3. Click on the next Create Handouts button.
  4. Select your preferred layout. (I personally like the default one: Notes next to slides.)
  5. If you want to be able to update the Word document if your presentation changes, click Paste Link.
  6. Click OK.

The presentation opens as a new Word document. You can double-click any of the thumbnails to open the linked presentation.

If text or images on your existing PowerPoint slides have been changed and you want to update the Word document, right-click the thumbnail and select Update Link. Or press CTRL + Aright-click any of the thumbnails and select Update Link to update all existing slides.

Three warnings about this though … It doesn’t update speaker notes. It won’t include new slides. And you would break the link if you rename the PowerPoint presentation. That said, you now know how easy it is to create the handout, so perhaps you don’t even do step 5.

With thanks to Kathryn for this week’s tip inspiration!

Related tips
Magnify part of a picture on your slide
Save the current document, presentation or worksheet as a PDF
Attach a PDF version of an active document to an email message
Save a slide as a picture

Featured event
If you like this tip, why not sign up for the 60-minute PowerPoint webinar, planned for 23 September. Twenty pounds only! All you need to take part is a headset or audio through your computer and a good internet connection.

Tame your computer – make it big

21 Jul

CleverclogsTipTime2Clear, persuasive communication – between individuals, within teams, among departments, to clients – is a vital part of any successful organisation and – if used appropriately – PowerPoint can help keep your audience engaged through the length of your talk.

One of the rules to prevent “Death by PowerPoint” is “keep it simple”, but – if used sparingly – animations can add visual interest and help your listeners to focus.

For example, you might want to magnify part of an image on your slide.  Depending on which version of PowerPoint you use, there are various ways to do this. Here’s a tried and tested method that works in all versions. (With thanks to Donna and Emma for this week’s tip inspiration.)

Here’s how:

  1. Insert your picture, as normal.
  2. Copy and align the pictures.  (CTRL + D or press CTRL + SHIFT and move your mouse down a bit, which makes aligning the copy much easier.)
  3. Right-click the picture and Crop it to remove unwanted areas.
  4. On the Animations tab in the Animation group, click on Appear to add the first effect.
  5. In the Advanced Animation group on the Animations tab, click Add Animation and select Grow/Shrink to add the second effect.
  6. In the Timing group on the Animations tab, select With Previous from the Start drop-down list.

It’s easier done than said. Honest!

Related tips
Top ten Microsoft PowerPoint shortcuts
Nudging objects, such as AutoShapes
Shortcut key to quickly copy and align drawing objects 

Upcoming courses
Our current course schedule can be found online.  To open our business safely during the COVID19 outbreak we ordered Gino, a personal air sanitizer that can eliminate microbes from air around you that has been tested in approved labs against Coronavirus. (See if you want to find out more.)

For those who prefer to stick to virtual training, why not have a look at our 60-minute webinars for a wealth of Microsoft Office quick wins. Alternatively, any of our standard courses can be delivered as short virtual training sessions.

Tame your computer – box clever

9 Jun

CleverclogsTipTime2PowerPoint has some nifty design features to bring your presentations to life. (SmartArt springs to mind.) But there might still be times that you need to use the good old Text Box to add text to shapes or objects on your slide.

There are two ways in which the Text Box button can be used. Most people I train draw a box (I guess, as the button implies) and then type inside that box. This is great if you roughly know the exact size and location, but do you know the second method, that I believe is slightly faster?

Here’s how:

  1. Click on the Text Box button in the Text group on the Insert tab.
  2. Click anywhere on the slide and type the text. (Press ENTER to move to a new line.)
  3. If necessary, (with the box still selected) drag any of the sizing handles that surround the text box to resize it.
  4. If necessary, point to the border of the text box and drag it to a new position. Or simply press any of the ARROW keys to nudge it.

 Related tips:
Tweak your SmartArt graphics
Convert an existing bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic
Draw three concentric circles with text in each
Adjusting text within an AutoShape 

Tame your computer – some colourful pointers

2 Mar

CleverclogsTipTime2Back in October 2013 I wrote a tip on how to turn your mouse into a laser pointer, so you could draw attention to something on a slide. In PowerPoint 2010 you can do this by pressing CTRL and your left mouse button, but to be perfectly honest, I had difficulty remembering the trick as it was so unintuitive.

If you agree and have upgraded to version 2013 or 2016, you might like the new shortcut.

Here’s how:

  1. Start the Slide Show as normal. (F5, anyone?)
  2. Press CTRL + L to switch the laser pointer on.
  3. Press CTRL + L to switch the laser pointer off.

If you don’t like the red pointer, you can make it green or blue:

  1. If necessary, end the Slide Show. (For example, press ESC.)
  2. On the Slide Show tab, in the Set Up group, click Set Up Slide Show.
  3. Select your preferred colour from the Laser pointer color list.
  4. Click OK.

Related tips
Top ten Microsoft PowerPoint shortcuts
Turn your mouse into a laser pointer

Upcoming courses
Our current course schedule can be found online. Book more than one person from your organisation on the same course, on the same date, and you get 10% off.

Tame your computer – get your show on the road

2 Sep

CleverclogsTipTime2You can save your PowerPoint slides in a variety of ways, depending on what you want to do with it.

When you save your file it will – by default – be saved in a way that’s most suitable when you’re still tweaking your presentation. This means that if you want to present it to an audience you have to click around to start the Slide Show, which can be a nightmare if you’re shaking nervously or have a mouse that’s more like a shopping trolley.

Back in 2011 I told you how to make a slide show that automatically starts when opened. I know that can cause duplication as well as frustration when you want to edit the presentation, so why not simply open the presentation in slide show …?

Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to the .ppt or .pptx file, as normal. (WIN and type .ppt anyone?)
  2. Right-click the file and select Show.

This will also prevent you from running the risk of giving away the content of your presentation, as the Slides thumbnail pane is not visible in this view.

Related tips
Save the current document, presentation or worksheet as a PDF
Save your presentation so that it always opens in Slide Show view
Save a slide as a picture
Techniques for running panic-free presentations
Keyboard shortcut to start slide show from current slide

Tame your computer – use more commands

15 Jun

CleverclogsTipTime2Do you sometimes have the need to send a PDF version of your document to someone? If so, do you first save it as a PDF and then attach it to your email message? Or perhaps you use the Save & Send option from the File menu? But that’s four clicks and it can be faster! Especially once you have added the relevant button to your Quick Access Toolbar. (This customizable toolbar can be found in the upper-left corner, next to the relevant Microsoft Office program icon.)

Here’s how:

  1. Click on the arrow at the far end of the Quick Access Toolbar.
  2. Click on More Commands.
  3. In the Choose commands from drop-down list, select All Commands.
  4. Scroll down the alphabetical list and double-click on E-mail as PDF Attachment.
  5. Click OK or press ENTER.

If you do this from Excel and your workbook has more than one sheet, the entire document will be converted and attached. Each sheet will be displayed on a separate page.

Related tips:

Tame your computer – go to it

6 Apr

CleverclogsTipTime2There are various nifty built-in navigation tricks you can use as you deliver your PowerPoint presentation. The one I frequently used to use was right-clicking anywhere on the screen and selecting Go to Slide, as well as Last Viewed. But I say “used to use” as that option is no longer available in later versions of PowerPoint. And as I don’t like the See All Slides alternative – it shows a thumbnail of all slides, by which time I worry nobody in the audience is paying attention anymore – I’ve found a new way to refresh my memory to jump to a specific slide.

Here’s how:

  1. Start the slide show as normal.
  2. Press CTRL + S.
  3. Double-click the slide you want to display (or click it and press the Go To button or G).

This obviously relies on the use of titles when you create your slides. If you don’t and you happen to know the slide’s number, you can simply type the slide’s number and press ENTER to jump to it.

Related tips:
Navigate through your slides while presenting
Navigate to a specific slide during a presentation
Techniques for running panic-free presentations
Black out the screen during a presentation 
Keyboard shortcut to start slide show from current slide
Save your presentation so that it always opens in Slide Show view

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