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Tame your computer – timely tips

13 Oct

In trying to improve the quality and effectiveness of our training I always ask delegates to complete an evaluation form. One of the questions is “What is your favourite tip you picked up today?”. Because one of last week’s Access course participants wrote “shortcut for today’s date”  I thought I’d dust off tip 358, as it doesn’t just apply to Excel, but also to Access.

Here’s how:

  1. Press CTRL + ; to enter today’s date OR
  2. Press CTRL + SHIFT + ; to enter the current time

If you’d like the date to be updated every time someone opens Excel or Access, you can insert the date as a field.

Here’s how:

  1. Type =Date() in the Field Properties Default Value box in the table design of Access OR
  2. Type =TODAY() or =NOW() in a cell in Excel

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

 Related tips
Using validation rules to ensure accurate data entry 
Enter the current date and/or time into a worksheet
Save time entering dates 

Tame your computer – find the filter

19 Mar

If you can’t find the data you’re looking for in a worksheet, it might be hidden by a filter.  When you apply a filter, entire rows are hidden if values in one or more columns don’t meet the filtering criteria. There are three quick ways to see whether a filter has been applied to the sheet.

Here’s how:

  1. If the button next to one of the column headings displays a funnel it means a filter has been applied.  OR
  2. In the bottom left corner of the workbook, on the Status Bar, the number of records found is displayed or it might simply say “Filter Mode”. OR (my favourite)
  3. The Clear button on the Data tab has a red cross next to it.

To get rid of all of the filters in a worksheet at once click the Clear button on the Data tab. Or better still, right-clickthe Clear button and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

In future, if you want to know whether or not a table has been filtered you check whether the Clear button on the Quick Access Toolbar has a red cross and if so, you simply click it to clear all filters.

By the way, if you still cannot find the data, you might have hidden rows or columns. See tip 478 for help on how to find these.

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

Related tips:
Filter dates by month

Find hidden rows and columns in your worksheet
Filter data in a PivotTable and PivotChart using Slicers
Quickly format and enable filtering of your data
Fast filtering

Tame your computer – top 10 tips for Microsoft Word

13 Mar

Following the success of my recent top ten Excel tips (even Microsoft themselves @msexcel tweeted “Great tips!” – woohoo!) here are your favourite Word shortcuts with links to the relevant tips, if any. I hope you enjoy them!

1 CTRL + ALT + 1 Apply Heading 1 style
  CTRL + ALT + 2 Apply Heading 2 style
  CTRL + ALT + 3 Apply Heading 3 style
2 CTRL + ENTER Insert page break
3 CTRL + F Open the Navigation Pane
4 CTRL + G Display the Go To dialogue box
5 F3 AutoComplete Quick Parts
6 F4 Repeat your last action
7 F7 Select the Spelling command
8 SHIFT + F1 Reveal Formatting
9 SHIFT + F3
Toggle between UPPER CASE, lower case and Sentence Case
10 SHIFT + F5 Return to the location you were last working in

CTRL + G also works in Excel and Outlook; F3 and SHIFT + F1 also in Outlook; F4 also in Excel and PowerPoint and SHIFT + F3 also in Outlook and PowerPoint.

Oh, and if you want to add any of the tip pages to your list of Favorites/Bookmarks, simply press CTRL + D.

See for a list of all the shortcuts published since March 2013 when we launched the ‘shortcut of the week’ on our home page.  Keyboard shortcuts may sometimes be unintuitive or hard to remember, but I drip feed a new shortcut weekly, to help you to boost productivity without reaching for your mouse.

Tame your computer – drag and drop with Excel

6 Jan

Happy New Year! Let’s make 2018 the year that you learn heaps and have fun doing so. Hopefully this tip is a good start and worth checking out …

As you know, there are many ways to move or copy cells in Excel. Perhaps you use CTRL + XCTRL + C and CTRL + V? Or are you a “right-mouse-clicker”? Perhaps you prefer the Cut and Copy buttons on the Home tab?  Or maybe you use AutoFill to copy values and formulas into adjacent cells?

But did you know you can also move or copy any cell into any worksheet location by using a drag and drop technique?

Here’s how:

Moving cells

  1. Select the cells that are to be moved.
  2. Point to the border of the selection and wait until the mouse pointer appears as a combination of an upward-pointing arrow and four-headed arrow.
  3. Press and hold down the mouse button.
  4. Drag the mouse pointer to the new location.
  5. Release the mouse button.

Copying cells

  1. Select the cells that are to be copied.
  2. Point to the border of the selection and wait until the mouse pointer appears as a combination of an upward-pointing arrow and four-headed arrow.
  3. Press and hold down both CTRL and the mouse button.
  4. Drag the mouse pointer to the new location.
  5. Release the mouse button and CTRL.

You can also move or copy between sheets by holding down the ALT key when dragging the content over the sheet tab.

By the way, the Paste Options button will not be displayed when you use the drag and drop method.

Related tips:
Copy the content of a worksheet

Tame your computer – specify your search

30 Oct

I hope you’re using the improved search that was introduced in Outlook version 2007? I don’t mean simply typing in the Search box, but using the different buttons to refine your search. For example, use the From button and click on Has Attachments and This Week to find any message from a certain person that you received this week (as long as it contains one or more attachments).

You might have noticed that the This Week drop-down list is restricting you to search for Today, Yesterday, This Week, Last Week, This Month, This Year and Last Year. So what if you want to search for a specific period?

Here’s how:

  1. Click in the Instant Search box in the top right hand corner or press CTRL + E.
  2. Type received:>=d/m AND <=d/m

For example, received:>=1/9 AND <=13/9 will find any emails that arrived between 1 and 13 September 2017.

If you did not find what you were looking for, click on the Try searching again in All Mail Items link at the bottom of the search results page.

Oh, and don’t forget that your 10 most recent searches are saved and can be found when clicking on the Recent Searches button on the Search Tools ribbon.

Related tips:
Find that needle in a haystack
Find even more needles in that haystack
Reduce irrelevant search results
Search for messages sent to a particular person during a certain period of time


Tame your computer – build a bullet list

23 Oct

Microsoft Excel does not have a built-in function to create a bulleted list like in Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. But during a course yesterday I found out you can create one using a nifty keyboard shortcut.

Here’s how:

  • Select the cell where the list is to appear.
  • Press ALT + 7 on the numeric keypad.
  • Type your text.
  • Press ALT + ENTER if you want to insert another bullet in the same cell.
  • Repeat steps 2 – 4.

With thanks to Alex for the tip inspiration!

Related tips:

Tip # 506: Fast way to start a bulleted or numbered list (Microsoft Word and Outlook)
Tip # 458: How to add, find and remove line breaks (Microsoft Excel)

Tame your computer – open another window

29 Jun

Would it be helpful to be able to move one of your browser tabs to a new window so that you can display it next to another window? In Internet Explorer you can press CTRL + N to open your current tab in a new window, but that will leave the original tab open as well. So why not move it to a new window and display it next to any other window?

Here’s how:

  1. Click on the tab and drag it downwards.
  2. Press WIN + right arrow or WIN + left arrow to “snap” the window to the right or left.
  3. Click in any other window of any of your open applications and press WIN + right arrow or WIN + left to display the windows side by side.

By the way, if you keep pressing the same keyboard combination, your window will go round in circles.  I cannot test this out as I don’t have two monitors, but apparently it even cycles through both monitors.