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Clever clogs tip time – get stylish with Sway

11 May

Over the years I’ve heard people make snarky comments about PowerPoint and rave about presentation software such as Prezi. I’m not starting a discussion about this (after all, I do my best to make people fall in love with all the nice things you can do to convert existing presentations into high impact slide shows) but I was delighted to find out about Sway – a PowerPoint alternative from Microsoft. (Thanks, Julia!)

Whereas people typically use PowerPoint to present information to an audienceSway is best used to bring online content to an individual who might look at it on a mobile phone, tablet or laptop.

But there’s even more to get excited about … Microsoft 365 subscribers for Windows desktop clients can easily transform their Word documents into an interactive, easy-to share presentation that will look great on any device.

Here’s how:

  1. For best results I recommend applying Heading 1 styles to your Word document. (Anyone fallen in love with CTRL + ALT + 1?)
  2. Select Transform from the File tab.
  3. Select your preferred Style. (I quite like the cleanliness of Studio and Cinema.)
  4. Click on Transform.

This will open your document in Sway from where it is very intuitive to change the look and feel (by clicking on the Design button in the top left hand corner). To share, click on the on Share button in the top right hand corner.

If you select the Anyone with a link radio button and copy and paste the link as normal (CTRL + C and CTRL + V anyone?) everyone can view the content and it will look good on any device, not just a desktop computer. For example, check out this link on your mobile, tablet and laptop.

What you see used to be a simple Word document with a couple of Headings that you can now view by scrolling and swiping, or pressing the spacebar if you use a desktop computer. A button in the bottom right hand corner lets you navigate to different sections and you can Print or Export to Word or PDF by clicking on the three dots in the top right.

There’s obviously a lot more you can do with Sway, but I might cover that in a future tip. Speaking of which … I promise that over the next couple of weeks I’ll move away from all the bits and bobs that only work for Microsoft 365 subscribers.

Related tips

Don’t use your mouse to scroll
Applying and modifying Heading Styles to titles and subtitles

PS To help you put these tips into practice I developed a series of 60-minute webinars, giving you the opportunity to see the hints, tips and time-saving shortcuts in action. I look forward to making you a clever clogs.

Clever clogs tip time – 10 comments on Comments

4 May

Comments in documents are typically used to ask a question or give a suggestion for a change in the document.  As a Microsoft 365 subscriber, you regularly get new and improved features and some have to do with comments.

Other options about this functionality were always a bit “hidden”, so time to share my ten things you may not know about Comments …

  1. Did you spot the new Comments button in the very top right hand corner of your Word application window? You can use it to quickly add a New Comment or jump to the Previous or Next comment. (It’s also there in PowerPoint and Excel.)
  2. But why not make them even easier to access, by right-clicking anywhere on the group name called Comments (not any of the buttons) on the Review tab and click on Add to Quick Access Toolbar? You now have quick access to New CommentDeletePrevious,  Next and Show Comments.
  3. If the Show Comments button is greyed out, select Simple Markup – rather than All Markup – from the drop-down arrow in the Tracking group on the Review tab.
  4. Comments now have a Reply and Resolve option. 
  5. Resolved comments will be dimmed, but can be Reopened.
  6. Don’t waste time trying to hide comments you marked as Resolved. You cannot. If you feel strongly about it, vote for this to be implemented in one of the next releases, using UserVoice, the official suggestion box for Word. So far 22 people voted for it. (I’m one of them.)
  7. Resolve will be greyed out if the document was created or last saved in Word 2010 or earlier. (I hope Microsoft will change this.)
  8. When finished typing your comment, press the ESC key in the top left hand corner of your keyboard if you want to keep your hands on the keyboard. (Otherwise feel free to pick up the mouse and click anywhere in the document.)
  9. Speaking of keeping your hands on the keyboard … use Alt Gr + M or CTRL + ALT + M to insert a comment. (With special thanks to Aurora Walshe who wrote in the chat during a recent webinar that this keyboard shortcut was essential for her when she was an editor.)
  10. Click on the Show Markup button in the Tracking group on the Review tab and untick Comments to completely hide all comments – even from printing. (The Show Comments button described in tip # 2 is a toggle and will still show a speech bubble alongside the document and will also print any comments.)

Word for the Web has even more new features, such as using the @-sign with someone’s name, which will automatically send a mail with a link to your comment, as well as the possibility to mark comments as Done. But as mentioned at the start of this email I write these tips for desktop app users, so this was it for this week! Let me know which of the 10 things you didn’t know and are going to use.

Related tips

PS To help you put these tips into practice I developed a series of 60-minute webinars, giving you the opportunity to see the hints, tips and time-saving shortcuts in action. I look forward to making you a clever clogs.

PPS Follow #CleverClogsTipTime on LinkedIn for more shortcuts, hints and tips.

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 – with a double-click trick

17 Nov

Many many moons ago (back in 2007) I wrote about Word’s Click and Type feature. But I must admit that I had totally forgotten about this dinky way to create, for example, a title page in Word without having to press the ENTER key umpteen times and using the Center button until I saw an ad about Royal Mail’s Click & Drop. (And no, I’m not getting paid to endorse its products ; ) So I felt it was time to dust it off…

Here’s how:

  1. Double-click in a blank area in the middle of the page.
  2. Enter your text or insert a picture, as normal.

For those of you who display the hidden formatting symbols you will notice that paragraph marks have been entered and that the necessary alignment has been applied. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look out for the button in the Paragraph group on the Home tab that looks like a reversed P. Do you ever switch it on? I tend to use it when I inherit somebody else’s Word documents, but don’t have a clue what’s going on. Did they use tabs, or spaces or tables? Is there a page break or a section break? Along with SHIFT + F1 it can really help reveal what’s going on in your document.

By the way, you can also use the double-click trick to insert and align text or pictures with the left or right margin.

Related tips

Let me help put these tips into practice

As part of my quest to help you make the most of Microsoft Office I began publishing weekly tips back in 2003 (and they have been appearing regularly on the Cambridge Network website for 15 years!) .

I meticulously test every tip I write to make sure it is correct, easy to understand and time-saving. To help you put these “quick wins” into practice, I have developed a series of 60-minute webinars, giving you the opportunity to see them in action. 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.

And remember, as I respect the fact that people make special arrangements in their personal and professional lives for attending a course, I never cancel sessions due to insufficient enrolments. Once payment is received, the course is guaranteed to run even if you only paid 24 pounds for a webinar.

Finally, I also run these one-hour sessions for teams, which can work out to be more cost-effective, as I will charge per group – not per person.

Tame your computer – spot the difference

29 Sep

Like lots of companies I recently had to change my business plans. Not what I had expected to do, but you have to adapt and pull yourself together and develop easy to understand and fun ways to tackle time-consuming and frustrating day-to-day tasks … using webinars. Over recent months lots of people told me that one of the best Word tips was about comparing two copies of a document. At the time it was written (May 2005) the steps applied to version 2000; so time to dust it off and write how to spot the differences between two documents using Word 2007 onwards.

Here’s how:

  1. Open the documents that you want to compare. (Not really necessary, but I find that the easiest way.)
  2. On the Review tab, in the Compare group, click Compare.
  3. Select Compare from the drop-down list.
  4. Select the first version from the drop-down arrow under Original document.
  5. Select the modified document from the Revised document drop-down list.
  6. Click OK.

A new third document will list all modifications as tracked changes and the two documents that were compared are unchanged.

If you want to compare changes from a number of versions, select Combine rather than Compare in step 3. (Note to oneself … write a tip about this at some point.)

Top tips – as nominated by you!
Speaking of favourite tips like this one … Helen Percy says hers is CTRL + K. (“My all-time favourite – a quick way to put links into emails. I use this literally every day at work. It saves so much time” she wrote the other day.) Katherine Wiid told me she uses CTRL + 1 and CTRL + 2 to toggle between Outlook’s inbox and calendar, along with CTRL + N to create a new email message and CTRL + L in PowerPoint. And Mandy Allen wrote her favourite PowerPoint tip is converting an existing bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic.

What are yours? I would love to hear from you so that I can put a Top-Tips-As-Nominated-By-You together. (The top 5 as nominated by you back in 2007 can be found here.)

Related tips
Quickly spot whether change tracking is on or off
Warn before printing, saving or sending a file that contains tracked changes or comments
Show changes and comments inline instead of in balloons
Make reviewer names anonymous
Inspect your document for tracked changes
Remove – not just hide – tracked changes  
Comparing two copies of a document

Tame your computer – clear the clutter

22 Sep

Have you ever inherited a file where someone has tinkered so much with the formatting that you might as well start from scratch? As you probably know, there are various ways to clear the formatting of your document…

In Microsoft 365 there is a prominent Clear All Formatting button in the Font group on the Home tab, which in previous versions is a bit more hidden under the More button in the Styles group or accessible from its dialogue box launcher, as described in tip 436.

But if you like using keyboard shortcuts, you can clear all the formatting from the selection, leaving only the plain text. Check out the following and find your favourite.

Here’s how:

  1. CTRL + SHIFT + Z or
  3. CTRL + SHIFT + N or
  4. CTRL + Q

For me CTRL + SHIFT + N and CTRL + Q don’t work in Word 365 so I’ve embraced CTRL + SHIFT + Z as it makes me think of a more powerful version of the go-back-to-where-I-was-happy (aka Undo) keyboard shortcut CTRL + Z.

Related tips
Clear all formatting and styles from selected text
Undo several actions in one go
Reveal, select and modify all text with similar formatting
Applying and modifying Heading Styles to titles and subtitles
See what styles are applied in a document

Upcoming Word webinar
If you want to take editing and formatting beyond the basics why not join my 60-minute webinar and discover hidden features and functions that will save you time in Word and Outlook?

The next one is scheduled for Wednesday 14 October from 15:00 – 16:00.
The webinar is £24 (which includes VAT) and can be booked and paid for using this link.

Tame your computer – recycle and reuse Quick Parts

26 May

CleverclogsTipTime2The other day I had to change the text of one of my “Quick Parts” and realised it wasn’t as intuitive as you might think. So here’s a tip, giving me the opportunity to remind all of you of this underutilised feature to create reusable bits of preformatted text or pictures and logos you frequently use in Word or Outlook.

Here’s how:

  1. If necessary, remind yourself of the name you gave the Quick Part entry or temporarily add the old text. (On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Quick Parts. Or perhaps you stuck the Quick Parts button on your Quick Access Toolbar as suggested in tip 335?)
  2. Modify and select the text or picture.
  3. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Quick Parts, click Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery.
  4. Enter the same name to identify the entry, which can also be used for shortcut purposes.
  5. Press ENTER or click OK.
  6. Press ENTER or click Yes.

In future simply type the name of the Quick Part and press F3. If you prefer or cannot remember what you called the Quick Part, click on the Quick Parts button on the Insert tab – or (by now) from your Quick Access Toolbar.

NOTE: When you have added or modified building blocks and you close down Microsoft Word or Outlook, you will be asked whether or not you want to save them for future use. Unless you want to follow the steps described above again, click on Save.

Related tips

Tame your computer – a TABulous tip

28 Mar

CleverclogsTipTime2There are various ways to insert rows and columns in a table. Come to think of it, I might list them at some point in a future tip. (Watch this space.) But time and time again I notice people don’t know about what I believe is the fastest way to insert a row at the end of a table, underneath the last row.


Here’s how:

1.       Click anywhere in the last cell of the table.

2.       Press TAB.

If you have the total row switched on in a table in Excel, make sure you click in the last cell above the total row.

Simply hold down the TAB key (no need to release it) to add multiple rows.

Finally, I want you to know that I plan to continue to publish my tips during these tricky times. I hope you find them helpful and a welcome respite among all the information about the evolving COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. Stay safe!

Related tips
Quickly jump between the start and end of a row in a table (MS Word and Outlook)
Keyboard shortcut to move rows in a table (MS Word)
Quickly jump between the beginning and end of a document or email (MS Office)
Total the data in a table (MS Excel)

Tame your computer – bring Quick Parts to the table

14 Mar

CleverclogsTipTime2Preparing a new Word training module (more about that later), I fell in love all over again with “Quick Parts”. If only Microsoft had given it a different name, I’m sure it wouldn’t be such an underutilised feature.

I’ve already written tips about how to use it for text and graphics in Word and Outlook, but did you know you can also save tables or part of a table as a “building block” (another unintuitive term, given by Microsoft)?

If you regularly use tables with particular text and formatting you probably copy and paste them from somewhere else. But why not save time and add it to the Quick Tables gallery in Word or Outlook for quick retrieval?

Here’s how:

  1. Select (part of) the formatted table.
  2. Click on the Table button on the Insert tab.
  3. Hover over Quick Tables and click on Save Selection to Quick Tables Gallery at the bottom of the dialogue box.
  4. Type a name to identify the reusable table. This name can also be used for shortcut purposes, so keep it short and memorable.
  5. Click OK or press ENTER.
  6. If the name you typed in step 4 already exists and you do not want to overwrite the existing table, click on No.

To reuse the table simply type the name you identified in step 4 and press F3. If you prefer or cannot remember what you called the table, click on the Table button on the Insert tab and scroll down the list of Built-In Quick Tables to find yours.

NOTE: When you have added or modified building blocks and you close down Microsoft Word you will be asked whether or not you want to save them for future use. (I cannot see a reason why you wouldn’t click on Save.)

Finally, as mentioned at the start of the tip, I’ve added a new Microsoft Word module to our course portfolio, handpicking the most popular topics from the Intermediate and Advanced training.

You probably think “I have been using Word for years and I can make it work to meet my day-to-day tasks.” If you are a “stuck in a rut” user you might want to work smarter rather than harder. But if you don’t have the time to sift through the fast amount of information that’s out there, this new module is for you! Come along on 17 April and discover overlooked and underused tools that can help you save time and streamline your workday. (Team discounts are available and training can also take place at your premises.)

Related tips
Create, store and insert frequently used text and graphics (Word and Outlook)
Create and insert frequently used text and graphics (Outlook)
Tricks and shortcuts for selecting blocks of text (Word and Outlook)

Tame your computer – improve your table manners

5 Feb

CleverclogsTipTime2Do you use tables in Word? It’s a great alternative to using tabs (or – heaven forbid – spaces) and can be very useful when trying to align pictures in your document.

Similar to Excel, you can move from cell to cell in a table in Word by pressing TAB or the ARROW keys. This saves you having to pick up your mouse to click in a cell.  But did you know Word also provides a shortcut to quickly jump between the start and end of your table row?

Here’s how:

  1. Press ALT + HOME to jump to the beginning of the row.
  2. Press ALT + END to jump to the end of the row.

If you don’t have your cursor in a table, these shortcuts won’t do anything.

Oh, and this tip also works when you use tables in Outlook.

Related tips
Keyboard shortcut to move rows in a table
Quickly jump between the beginning and end of a document or email
Quickly jump to specific parts such as pages, tables or pictures
Change column width without changing the width of the table
Calculate the totals for numeric entries in a table
Repeat a table heading on every page