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Janet's Weekly Tips, Tricks & Reminders

Janet Stead computer training

Tip #1:

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Both WORD 2007 and WORD 2010 are missing the “lower X" at the top-right corner of the screen – typically used to CLOSE a document. If you click the only X there is – you close the PROGRAM.

To avoid this – use the keyboard shortcut W (short for “weeeee…we’re done"). It will allow you to save the document (or not) – just like the (missing) lower X – and remain in the word program.

Works – but is not needed - in Excel, PowerPoint and outlook.

Tip #2:

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EXCEL 2003, EXCEL 2007 AND EXCEL 2010

You have typed an equation into a cell.

Now you want to copy that equation all the way down to the bottom of the same column.

Remember your friend “Phil" (officially the “fill handle").

Sitting on the cell that contains the equations that you want to copy – point the mouse at the fill handle (the little black square at the bottom-right corner of the cell) – so that your mouse pointer appears at a black plus sign.

Now…instead of dragging the mouse down the column (like a mere mortal)…..double-click the mouse button.

Voilà (that’s French)…the equation is instantly copied to the bottom of the column.

Tip #3:

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Want to make a 100-slide slide show...for a party/wedding/funeral/etc....in UNDER 1 MINUTE?

  1. Make sure all the photos are in the same folder.
  2. On the INSERT tab - click the UPPER portion of the PHOTO ALBUM button.
  3. Click the FILE/DISK button.
  4. Locate - and double-click - the folder containing the images.
  5. Select all the photos (using CTRL [A] (the keyboard shortcut for SELECT ALL) works well).
  6. Click the INSERT button.
  7. Back at the Photo Album window - click CREATE.
What took you so long!(g)

Tip #4:

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WORD 2003, WORD 2007 AND WORD 2010


Scenario: You have a number of paragraphs in a row and there’s one that is in the wrong position…it needs to be moved up (or down) the list of other paragraphs.

And press [ALT] [SHFT] ↑ or [ALT] [SHFT] ↓ (depending on whether you want to move it UP or DOWN the document). The paragraph is automatically become selected and start bopping up (or down) your document.

Can you say Yay?

Tip #5:

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EXCEL 2003, EXCEL 2007 AND EXCEL 2010

More about our friend Phil (the Fill Handle)

Scenario: You are sitting on a cell that contains the word January (or Monday). You know if you drag the Fill Handle (the little black square located at the bottom-right corner of the cellpointer) and drag down or across that February, March (or Tuesday, Wednesday) will appear in the adjacent cells.

But you don’t want February, March (or Tuesday, Wednesday)….you just want the word January (or Monday) repeated.

Remember….you can CONTROL Phil/Fill…using the [CTRL] key!

Whenever the Fill Handle wants to complete a sequence – but you would prefer it do it’s “ other” job (copy)….just hold down the [CTRL] key before dragging the Fill Handle. And vice versa…if the Fill Handle wants to copy but you’d rather it complete a sequence…use the [CTRL] key.

See? Being a [CTRL] freak is a good thing!

Tip #6:

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EXCEL 2003, EXCEL 2007 AND EXCEL 2010

Life is short...make it COUNT!

Remember….if you want Excel to count how many cells contain numeric entries – use the COUNT function (ie, =COUNT(range)). Cells containing non-numeric entries (ie, text) will NOT be included in the answer.

But if you want Excel to count how many cells in a range contain any sort of entries (numeric or text)….use the COUNTA (short for Count All) function (ie, =COUNTA(range)).

Tip #7:

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OUTLOOK 2003, OUTLOOK 2007 AND OUTLOOK 2010 - never overlook an email from an important sender again

We all get sooo many emails every day that you can miss the odd one. What if it’s from a very important client (I mean…they ALL are!) or your boss?....or....one of my TIPS!

You can make the subject header (that line that shows the sender’s name and subject) stand out whenever the email is from a certain person:


click the AUTOMATIC FORMATTING button - then click the NEW button.
*Type a name, for this automatic formatting, in the NAME box (ie, Hot Tips from Janet).
Click the FONT button - then select the formatting that you want to apply - then click OK.
Back at the AUTOMATIC FORMATTING window, click the CONDITION button.
At the FILTER window, click the FROM button – select the person who’s so special – then click FROM
Note: If the person’s name/email address is not in your Address Book – you can type their email address directly into the FROM box.
Click OK. Click OK. Click OK. Click OK.
Any emails that you have already received from the targeted person – and any new emails that arrive from this person – will have headers appearing in the selected format/style.


Click the VIEW tabl
Click the VIEW SETTINGS button
click the CONDITIONAL FORMATTING button - then click the ADD button.
Type a name, for this automatic formatting, in the NAME box (ie, Hot Tips from Janet).
Click the FONT button - then select the formatting that you want to apply - then click OK.
Back at the CONDITIONAL FORMATTING window, click the CONDITION button.
At the FILTER window, in the FROM box - type (or select from your Address Book - the person who’s so special – then click FROM or OK (depending on whether you typed the email address or selected it from your Address Book)
Click OK - until you are right out of the ADVANCED VIEW SETTINGS window.
Any emails that you have already received from the targeted person – and any new emails that arrive from this person – will have headers appearing in the selected format/style.

Tip #8:

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EXCEL 2003, EXCEL 2007 AND EXCEL 2010

Speed up your data entry...2 tips for the price of 1!

If you need to enter the same data (text, numbers or equations) into a range of cells – rather than type it then copy it to the adjacent range of cells – type it into the entire range at once:

  1. Select the cells into which you want the (same) entries to appear. (Keep in mind you can use the [CTRL] key to select multiple random cells).
  2. Type the entry
  3. Do NOT press [ENTER]…..instead….press [CTRL] [ENTER]. Voilà (that’s French < g >)

Now…let’s roll up the old sleeves and make this tip earn some serious respect…

One of my earlier – and most awesome – shortcuts explains how you can do a super-quick copy of an entry (usually an equation) by sitting on that equation and double-clicking the Fill Handle. As long as there was a column of data on either side of the equation column – the cell entry would be instantly copied to the end of the end column (as determined by the length of the adjacent column).

One thing that will stop that shortcut from working….encountering BLANK cells (in the adjacent column). I also suggest using a 0 (zero) instead of leaving a cell blank – specifically because of this issue.

But you have MANY blank cells that you would like to populate with zeroes – but you don’t want to do it manually. Of course not!

  1. Select the range of cells that contain the blank cells (that you want to populate with zeroes – or whatever else).
  2. Press [CTRL] [G] to display the GO TO window.
  3. Click the SPECIAL button.
  4. Choose BLANKS – then click OK. All the blank cells in that range will be selected.
  5. Type your 0 (zero) or whatever else it is that you want in all of the selected cells.
  6. Do NOT press [ENTER]…..instead….press [CTRL] [ENTER]. Nifty noodles!

Tip #9:

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The next time you need to zoom in or out in a program or document – don’t waste your time with the standard VIEW/ZOOM menu or tab…

With your non-mouse hand, hold down the [CTRL] key on the keyboard. While holding down the [CTRL] key – roll the WHEEL on your MOUSE forward (to zoom IN) or back towards yourself (to zoom OUT).

Quick and easy. Just like Betty Crocker.

Tip #10:

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WORD 2007 and WORD 2010

The CHANGE CASE button ain’t so hot...

You’re in Word and you’ve typed some text in the wrong case (all lowercase when it should have been all uppercase, for example).

In Word 2007 & 2010 there is a CHANGE CASE button on the HOME tab (shown here). But it’s yucky!

Mainly, it requires too many steps: you have to click on the button then select the desired case.

Instead, stick to the old tried and true keyboard shortcut: [SHFT] [F3] ... it's worked for the past 20 years...it's still the most efficient method.

….select the text whose case you want to change….then press [SHFT] [F3]. You will be toggled between the different case states: ALL UPPERCASE, all lowercase, and Initial Caps (first letter of each word or each sentence (if a period is present). Just press [SHFT] [F3] until your text is in the case you want.

You be the judge.

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Tip #11:

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Hopefully you are already familiar with Excel’s AutoFill feature: if you are typing a list and start to type an entry that matches a previous entry in that column/list - Excel will try to facilitate quick data entry by displaying (in black) the rest of the entry. If that IS what you were intending to type – press [ENTER] and Excel will complete the entry for you. If that wasn’t what you intended – then finish the entry yourself.

HOWEVER…what if you’d just like to repeat the entry in the cell above you – without Excel jumping in? Just press [CTRL] ' (that’s [CTRL] apostrophe)

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Tip #12:

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WORD 2003/2007/2010: Create a super-quick 1-page Poster

If you want to make a quick 1-page poster for some fun event – add a PAGE BORDER. They’ve been around since the Leafs won the Cup (ok…not THAT long...but a long time).

Create your page.

Then add the page border:

WORD 2003: From the menu, choose FORMAT then BORDERS AND SHADING. When the BORDERS AND SHADING window appears – click the PAGE BORDER tab at the top of the window. Click the ↓ of the ART drop-down box…and choose a border style. Click OK. Ooh-aah.

WORD 2007/WORD 2010: Click the PAGE LAYOUT tab – then click the PAGE BORDERS button (in the PAGE BACKGROUND section). Click the of the ART drop-down box…and choose a border style. Click OK. Ooh-aah.

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Tip #13:

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OUTLOOK 2007/2010: Printing these tips…on a single page

Thanks to Rita for asking “how can I print your tips on a single page?”

Answer: You have to print the tip email through Internet Explorer. These instructions are only good if you are using Outlook (2007 or 2010) and Internet Explorer (version 7 or higher).

  1. In OUTLOOK, open the email message that you want to print.
  2. On the MESSAGE tab – in the MOVE section – click the ACTIONS button – and choose VIEW IN BROWSER. If you see a security message – click OK.
  3. Now that you are in (the message) Internet Explorer – choose FILE from the menu – then PAGE SETUP.
  4. In the PAGE SETUP window, make sure the ENABLE SHRINK-TO-FIT option is selected.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Press [CTRL] P (the keyboard shortcut for PRINT in all Microsoft programs).
  7. Select the appropriate printer – then click PRINT.
Good question, Rita.

Tip #14:

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OUTLOOK 2007/2010: Printing a blank monthly calendar page

You would like to print the current month’s BLANK calendar page – but you have already filled in the month with appointments. Here’s what to do – create a new calendar and print it :

  • RIGHT-CLICK the INBOX (left-hand Navigation Pane) – and choose NEW FOLDER.
  • When the CREATE NEW FOLDER window appears, type a name (ie, Blank Calendar)
  • Click the ↓ of the FOLDER CONTAINS drop-down – and choose CALENDAR ITEMS.
  • Click OK.
  • Switch to Calendar View. You should see your new Blank Calendar – as well as your existing (checked) calendar.
  • Place a ✓ beside the new, blank calendar – then remove the ✓ from the main calendar. (You must do it in that order – you cannot turn off the main calendar before turning on the new calendar…it just won’t happen).
  • Press [CTRL] P (the keyboard shortcut for the PRINT command).
  • Make sure that MONTHLY STYLE is selected – and the appropriate printer is selected.
  • Click PRINT. One blank calendar coming up! Print any other blank month pages that you need.
  • Don’t forget to turn your regular calendar back on when you’re finished
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Tip #15:

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GENERAL: Does your laptop keeping changing the keyboard language on you?

Sometimes you are typing along, on your laptop, and all of a sudden you’re getting an È when you ask for quotation marks – or you get an É when you expected a ? symbol.

There are keyboard shortcuts – for changing the keyboard language – that accidentally get pressed…changing your keyboard language on you without you realizing it.

Try [CTRL] [SHFT] (together – at the same time). This method is the keyboard shortcut for having to grab your mouse and reach down and click on the keyboard icon (shown here) in the system tray and change the keyboard language back to US.

Why does this happen? Because sometimes you (yes, YOU) accidentally hit that same key combination yourself (maybe you meant to press the [CTRL] but were sloppy and hit the [SHFT] too) – causing the keyboard language to change.

If [CTRL][SHFT] doesn’t work the first time – press them again. Sometimes you have more than two keyboard languages setup on your laptop (as shown here – I have three keyboard setups) – so you’ll have to toggle between all of them. Or…reach down with your mouse and click and choose US – but [CTRL][SHFT] is faster.

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Tip #16:

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Any text on a PowerPoint slide – be it a numbered/bulleted list or a paragraph – is contained in a text box/frame.

You know that any time you want to format text that has already been typed – you must first select the text.

You can quickly select your text with only 1-2 clicks. No need to point, hold down your mouse button, drag and release.

  1. Click someone within the text – so you can see the dashed text box frame (1st picture) surrounding the text.
  2. Now, point to the text frame so the mouse pointer is a four-headed arrow (2nd picture) – and click on the text box frame – so that the frame turns into a solid line (3rd picture). There! You just select ALL the text in that frame.
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Any time you have one object that you want an exact duplicate of – just select the object and press [CTRL] D (the keyboard shortcut for Duplicate).

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You can also duplicate entire slides: Select a slide (in the Slide Pane that goes down the left-hand side of the Normal view) and press [CTRL] D.

And… [CTRL] D also duplicates objects (not text) in Word, Excel and Outlook!

Tip #17:

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POWERPOINT: Access to inaccessible slides

We’ve all received them…slide shows (extension .pps) that arrive by email of gorgeous European castles or breathtaking scenery. If you double-click them the slide show runs automatically (so that you don’t have to know how to go into PowerPoint and start the slideshow) – but you can’t get your hands on the individual pictures…some of which you’d love to add to your desktop wallpaper collection.

Well…as long as it’s a PowerPoint 2003 Show (.pps) – you CAN easily convert it to a regular PowerPoint Presentation…where you have access to all individual slides and all pictures on them!

  1. Save the file/attachment on your computer. Start up the Windows Explorer (remember the [WINDOWS KEY (shown here at right) + the letter E shortcut to start it up).
  2. Locate the file.
  3. Right-click the file.
  4. change the .ppt extension to .pps – and press [ENTER].
  5. Now, start PowerPoint – open the file – and voilà (that’s French, again)
  6. You now have access to the individual slides and pictures
  7. To save a picture as an individual picture file – right-click the image and choose SAVE AS PICTURE. Give the picture a decent name – it’s now YOURS!

This awesome tip is, unfortunately, only doable to PowerPoint 2003 files. But that’s ok – you can still watch the shows in 2007/2010 (you just can’t convert the new .pptx files to .ppts and steal the photos).

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When you first get your Windows program it is set to HIDE the file extensions (fine, if you’re a Kindergarten baby!). But you cannot change the file extension if you can’t see it! To make your file extensions visible:

  1. In Windows Explorer (which, of course, you started up with ÿ (WINDOWS KEY) + E):
    • Windows XP: from the menu, choose TOOLS then FOLDER OPTIONS.
    • Windows 7: click ORGANIZE (top-left corner) then FOLDER AND SEARCH options.
  2. Click the VIEW tab.
  3. Remove the ✔ from the HIDE EXTENSIONS FROM KNOWN FILES TYPES box.
  4. Click OK.

Tip #18:

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I’m only going to give you two shortcuts – because I think there’s a better chance that you’ll actually use them if I don’t overwhelm you. Baby steps.

#1 – You have a bunch of programs running. You would like to check the temperature on one of your desktop gadgets. Instead of minimizing all the programs that you have running – just hold down the WINDOWS key (ÿ) and tap the [space bar] (keeping the WINDOW key held down).

All your program windows will become transparent – so that you can see whatever it was that you wanted to see on your desktop.

As soon as you release the WINDOWS key – you are back in your (active) program. Nifty-wifty. (Yes, I said “nifty-wifty”)

#2 – Maximizing a window. Typically, mere mortals click the MAXIMIZE button (shown here) at the top-right corner of the program window that they are trying to maximize. Excel 2010 training GTA

HOWEVER, there are two other ways…

For the mouse lover: Just double-click any part of the TITLE BAR of the program (that you want to maximize). (This works in both Windows XP and Windows 7)

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For Windows 7 (only) keyboard people: ÿ

Tip #19:

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Are you using the shortcuts from Part 1? I hope so! If not – go re-read them (and use them!) before trying these ones. Go on. It’s good for you. Better than broccoli.

Remember the object of all these tips – to turn you into a POWER USER of epic proportions!

#1 – Use [SHFT] and the mouse to open up another instance of a program that you have displayed on your Quick Launch toolbar. For example, you have Word running. You want to open up another instance of the program. You could press [CTRL] N (for NEW DOCUMENT). Nothing wrong with that! But you can also hold down the [SHFT] key and click on the program icon (down on your Quick Launch toolbar).

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#2 – Sometimes, when using Windows Explorer, it is nice to be able to click (once) on a file and see a preview of it (in the Preview Pane) – sometimes that nasty preview Pane just takes up too much space on your screen and you’d like rid of it. You can use your mouse to drag the left border to and fro to make the pane wider or narrower – but that’s a bother. Just press [ALT] P to toggle between Show Pane and Hide Pane modes. Try it. Seriously, right now.

#3 – Scary party trick. In a previous tip I showed you how you can zoom in and out using the [CTRL] key and the wheel on your mouse (probably the shortcut I use the MOST). If you don’t have a wheel on your mouse or you prefer all-keyboard, you can use the ÿ key and either the + (plus sign) to zoom IN or the ÿ key and the – (minus sign) to zoom OUT. Just be warned: this will cause the MAGNIFIER program icon to appear on your taskbar and a ghostly magnifying glass to hover over your screen. (You could just press [CTRL] + on someone’s computer (to make the ghostly magnifying image appear – then wonder off to a safe distance and watch them scratch their head) Excel training Mississauga

Tip #20:

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BLANK SUBJECT LINES – Just don’t do it. With the amount of spam circulating these days, many people (Your Highness (me) included) simply delete emails that arrive with blank subject lines. Even if it is from someone you know – the scammers and spammers use those tricks. Always include a (meaningful) subject line.

TYPOS - Either proof-read (preferred) and/or Spellcheck your email before sending it out. People see these mistakes as a combination of laziness and low IQ – neither being good! The most common grammatical errors we see in business writing today – the incorrect use of: There, Their and They’re; Loose and Lose; Affect and Effect; To, Too and Two; “that” instead of “who” when referring to an action committed by someone (e.g. “the man that ran the newspaper” should be “the man who ran the newspaper”). Spellcheck doesn’t always catch these issues – you must proof-read!

Thank you to askthemanager.com for this additional one:

i.e. and e.g. – These are both abbreviations of Latin terms and only one is misused – primarily because almost no one knows how to use e.g. (HRH included until I read this tip)

i.e. is the Latin abbreviation for “id est”, which means “that is.” In business writing, users often include i.e. to mean “for example.”

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e.g. is the Latin abbreviation for exempli gratia, which means “for example.” If we’re going to use Latin abbreviations, we should understand what we’re doing. A good online resource that can help you understand what different words, phrases and abbreviations mean, e.g., Dictionary.com.


CHAIN EMAIL – The young man is missing – please help. He’s NOT missing! He was never missing – not even 4 years ago when that email originated. Check with the proper authorities (e.g. the police) before forwarding those emails. The email that, if sent to 10 friends within 10 minutes, will bring you luck or wealth? It will bring you viruses and unwelcome addition to spammers email lists. And make your geeky friends not so quick to pay attention to email that arrives with your name on it. Stop it. All of it. Right now.

Tip #21:

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With your data organized into folders and sub-folders and sub-sub-sub folders – sometimes it is cumbersome to have to continually drill down (double-click a hierarchy of folders/sub-folders) to a folder that you use often.

Add the folder to your Windows Explorer FAVOURITES section quickly and easily:

  1. Start up the Windows Explorer (remember: ÿ E is a fast way to do that).
  2. Locate the folder that you want to add to your Favourites – it doesn’t matter if the folder is visible in the left-hand (Navigation) panel or the right-hand (Explorer) panel.
  3. Point to the folder – and HOLD DOWN your RIGHT mouse button.
  4. Drag the folder to the FAVOURITES area (top of the Navigation Panel) so that a dark line appears between two of the existing items (as shown below) and a CREATE LINK IN FAVORITES pop-up appears. [Warning: if it reads Create Link In anotherfoldername it means you are pointing at one of the other items already in the Favourites list – don’t let go or your shortcut will end up in the wrong place).
  5. When the pop-up reads CREATE LINK IN FAVORITES - release the mouse button.
  6. Choose CREATE SHORTCUTS HERE from the pop-up menu that appears.
  7. There’s your shortcut – it’s only ever a single click away.
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Tip #22:

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Scenario: Someone emails you a request. You WANT to do it – but you’re tied up right now and concerned that you might, after receiving the other 200 emails you get every day, forget about it.

Just DRAG the email from the Inbox to your CALENDAR icon. Drop it off – and a new appointment window opens. And there is the email request in the body of the new appointment. Set a time and a reminder – then SAVE & CLOSE. That way Outlook will remind you to do the job. And if you don’t have time then you can click SNOOZE so that Outlook will keep reminding you until you do it.

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Tip #23:

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You are working on a long document. You’re tired. You finished some edit somewhere within the document. SAVE it (by using [CTRL] S, of course!) and close down for the day.

The next day you want to resume where you left off. I used to leave an xxx in the spot (still do sometimes, being paranoid).

But if, as soon as you open the document, you press [SHFT][F5]….Word will take you to your last editing location.

Pretty sweet. Try it. Go on. Right now.


You’re in a hurry to run out the door…but you have four Word documents on the go and you want to re-save ALL of them in a hurry.

WORD 2003 – Easy…just hold down the [SHFT] key while you select the FILE menu…you will see the SAVE ALL option (normally you just see SAVE and SAVE AS).

WORD 2007/2010 – a little more work (up front). In the newer versions, you have to add the SAVE ALL button to your Quick Access toolbar to be able to use this function. But you only have to do it once then you’ll have access to it forever:

  1. Click the ÿ at the end of the Quick Access toolbar – and choose MORE COMMANDS.
  3. Scroll down to the SAVE ALL function (of course – if you click once in the left-hand panel (to activate it) then press the letter S you’ll get there a lot quicker).
  4. Select SAVE ALL – then click the ADD button between the two panels.
  5. Click OK. Now you have the SAVE ALL button on your Quick Access toolbar. One click and it saves all opened documents (or prompts you – if any of the open documents have not yet been saved).

Tip #18:

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GOOGLE: As if Google wasn't cool ENOUGH!

Here are some things that you may not have known you could do (quickly) using Google:


Type the word WEATHER followed by a space then your postal code – to get your local weather forecast.


Type the airline followed by a space followed by the flight number (e.g. WestJet 2504) – to get departure, arrival and terminal & gate information for a flight.


Type the word MOVIES followed by a space followed by a postal code – to see movies playing in your area. Click on the search title that appears (e.g. “Movies for Orillia, ON L3V 6H3) and you’ll be taken to a page that shows you where the movies are playing.


Type a basic math problem into the Google search bar (e.g. 425*1.13) and press [ENTER]. Voilà (that’s French) – there’s your answer!


If you want only certain file types (e.g. PDF or Word documents) to appear in your Google search results – for example, you’d love a PDF file of Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts - type the search term followed by filetype:pdf (or filetype:doc). That type of document results will appear at the top of your search results.

I think that’s enough excitement for one day, don’t you? I’ll publish more Google tips another time. You need to rest.

Tip #25:

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GOOGLE: As if Google wasn't cool ENOUGH - PART 2

Here are some more things that you may not have known you could do using Google:


Type in a full phone number (including area code) and Google will display the name and address associated (on the web) with that phone number. You might be surprised, if you try your own, how many links come up.


Type the word link: (and the colon) followed by your web address – to see which other web pages are linking to you.


  1. Group your search query to find better results. If you're searching for computer help, you'll find better results if you search for an exact phrase by surrounding it in quotes: "computer help".
  2. If you’re looking for a website that has a search word IN the actual URL (web address), type allinurl: followed by the search word. For example allinurl:training will return websites whose web address actually contains the word training (like ctccomputertraining.com)
  3. To search through a specific website type site: followed by the URL and a space followed by the search word you are looking for. For example: if you want to search the CTC site for the tips you would type site:ctccomputertraining.com tips
  4. Add the word image (and a space) in front of your search to access the Google Image Search. It saves you from having to go to Google and then click the Images link and then do your search. Don’t know what a jicama looks like? Type image jicama to find out.
  5. Looking to buy a product in a specific price range? Type the product and price range as follows: tablet $100…$250 and you will get a bunch of websites offering tablets in that price range.


What time is it in Paris right now? Just type what time is it in Paris to find out. If you just type what time is it but then…you have a clock on your computer – so why would you do THAT?


How many kms in a mile? Type km in mile and you’ll see the answer. Or try tablespoons in cup to see that there are 16 T in a cup. A recipe calls for 200 grams and you’re not sure how much that is? Type ounces in 200 grams and voilà…you’ll see that it equals 7 ounces.

Seriously....does it get ANY more exciting than THIS?

Tip #26:

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Three small – but cool – tips today:


You are entering data in a column and want to be able to choose from a list of items ALREADY in that column….

Just press [ALT] ?

A list of unique entries that already exist in that column will appear.

No – you can’t have it appear in sorted order.


  • Rather than have to insert a blank column to accommodate the data that you want to drag over…
  • Hold down the [SHFT] key and drag column – it will insert itself….wiggling (yes, wiggling) its way in between existing columns. Just make sure you release the MOUSE before you release the [SHFT] key (or your computer will blow up).


  • Use the TAB key to enter the data across the row
  • But when you are finished with that row – press [ENTER]
  • Excel will remember which column you first TABBED from and jump down a row - back at that starting column

Tip #27:

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I know my tips are usually about Microsoft Office – because that’s what I teach. But smartphone and tablet apps are such a big part of some people’s business and personal life that I thought I would share some that rock my world.

In order of my excitement level (yeah, I know, get a life):

1. ZIPLIST (computer/phone/tablet)…if you cook…you’re gonna L-O-V-E this one.

OK - so, it's official...the ziplist apps R-O-C-K-S. Ok - so I go to www.skinnytaste.com (excellent recipe site) and find some fantastic recipes. I choose "SAVE RECIPE"...then choose "ADD TO SHOPPING LIST". It puts every ingredient into a shopping list (to which you can add your own, odd items) - and puts them into the appropriate parts of a grocery store (ie, PRODUCE, MEAT, DAIRY). I just went food shopping and knew (a) exactly what I needed to get so that I was perfectly stocked for my new recipes; and (b) where to get them. AND (I know, you’re thinking “HOW could it possibly get better?”)…if the website where you find a recipe is not partnered with ziplist (like skinnytaste.com is) – you can install the ZipList Recipe Clipper on your link bar. When you’re website is displaying a recipe you want – click the Clipper button and bazinga…you’ve got it in your ziplist. I think I have to go lie down.

2. DROPBOX (computer/phone/tablet)

I definitely have my head in this cloud! Cloud computing is the way to go. I rarely carry a USB stick with me anymore. If there are going to be some files that I need access to as a client’s office – I just copy them into my DropBox folder on my office pc. I can then access them from the DropBox on my iPad while I’m on the train, and then via my laptop when I get to the client. And I can have PUBLIC folders that my clients can access instead of having to email files to them. VERY useful.

3. AROUND ME (phone)

You just drove into a strange town and want to know where the nearest TD bank machine is….or Thai restaurant. Tap the AROUND ME app, tap the little globe at the bottom-left corner and choose CURRENT LOCATION. Then choose what you’re looking for (Banks/ATM, Gas Stations, etc) – and voilà. Tells you the name, address and distance from where you are right now. Choose one and a map appears – you’re the blue ball (which moves along as you move) and the destination is the red ball. Hand-y!

Tip #28:

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OK – so my top 5 turned into my top 6. By the end of the holidays, I’ll probably have a full top 10. Who knows?
Again, in order of my excitement level:

In order of my excitement level (yeah, I know, get a life):

4. KINDLE (phone/tablet)

I no longer buy paper magazines and very few paper books. I download them onto my iPad and so have my entire library at my fingertips wherever I go. There are books I’ve found, on amazon.com, that when I found out weren’t available in digital format – I simply didn’t buy them. I’m spoiled now.

5. FAVORATER(phone)

Use thumbnail (picture) icons to call your favourite contacts with only one touch. Very handy.

6. GOOGLE+ (computer/tablet/phone)

CIRCLES and HANGOUTS are my favourite two features. You know how, in Facebook, you’ve got 100+ friends – including some of your friends’ kids? That might affect some of the things you post. But with Google+ you have circles you post to – so you decide who belongs in which circle(s). People can overlap circles (e.g. some of the people in my PartyFriends circle are also in my Rotary circle (you know who you are! ). HANGOUTS are video conference calls. Get a group together – have a meeting…FACE-TO-digital-FACE! Cool with a capital C. (This one is starting to move up my excitement meter…it may end up right up there with ZipList)….I know…CRAZY talk!

Tip #29:

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Your company's inventory/price list is stored in a worksheet. Accounting (phew) asks you to increase all product prices by 5%.

Normally you would probably put 1.05 (representing the 5% increase beyond the current price) in a cell beside the first price; create a formula to multiple this new cell by the price cell; copy that resulting equation down the rest of the spreadsheet; copy the new prices (which, remember, are really just equations that look like numbers) and do a Paste Special – as Values over top of the old price cells. And then have a nap because you’re so exhausted.

Here's a faster way:

  1. Enter 1.05 into ANY blank cell.
  2. Select this cell.
  3. Press [CTRL] C (the COPY command)
  4. Select the range of values to be changed (ie – the old prices)
    1. In Excel 2003:
      1. Choose EDIT from the menu – then choose PASTE SPECIAL.
      2. When the Paste Special window appears – click the MULTIPY option – then click OK.
    2. In Excel 2007 or 2010:
      1. Click the lower portion of the PASTE button (at the start of the HOME tab).
      2. Choose PASTE SPECIAL (at the very bottom of the list).
      3. When the Paste Special window appears – click the MULTIPY option – then click OK.
There are you new values.

Tip #30:

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The Flesch–Kincaid readability tests are designed to indicate comprehension difficulty when reading a passage of contemporary academic English. (Thank you, Wikipedia). The average person reads at a Grade 9 level. Easy reading range is 6-10.

To tell where you Word document stands, you need to first turn on your “show readability statistics” and run the Spellchecker:

  1. To turn on the Show Readability Statistics feature:
    1. In Word 2003:
      1. On the TOOLS menu - click OPTIONS.
      2. On the SPELLING & GRAMMAR tab - select the CHECK GRAMMAR WITH SPELLING check box.
      4. Click OK.
    2. In Word 2007:
      1. Click the OFFICE button.
      2. Click the WORD OPTIONS button (bottom-right).
      3. Select the PROOFING category (left-hand panel).
      4. Check the SHOW READABILITY STATISTICS option.
      5. Click OK.
    3. In Word 2010:
      1. Click the FILE tab.
      2. Click OPTIONS (left-hand panel).
      3. Select the PROOFING category (left-hand panel).
      4. Check the SHOW READABILITY STATISTICS option.
      5. Click OK.
  2. Now when you run the Spelling and Grammar feature (in Word 2007/2010 it is at the start of the REVIEW tab) – you will see your Flesch–Kincaid readability levels (THIS document’s Flesch–Kincaid readability levels are shown here).
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Tip #31:

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If you have a long spreadsheet to print sometimes it’s nice to make it easier to read (across) by shading every other row.

You can use the FORMAT AS TABLE function to do this quickly – but the function does come with a bunch of other built-in options that you might not appreciate.

To manually (but QUICKLY) apply shading to every other row – use CONDITIONAL FORMATTING with a formula:

  1. Select the range to which you want to apply the alternative shading. In other words, if your spreadsheet spans from A1 to F138 – select A1:F138 (if you want the headings included in the alternative banding scheme) or A2:F138 (if you do not want the headings included).
  2. Open up the CONDITIONAL FORMATTING window:
    1. Excel 2003: from the menu, choose FORMAT then CONDITIONAL FORMATTING;
    2. Excel 2007/2010: on the HOME tab, in the STYLES group - click the CONDITIONAL FORMATTING button and choose NEW RULE.
  3. When the CONDITIONAL FORMATTING window appears:
    1. Excel 2003: from the first drop-down box choose FORMULA IS;
    2. Excel 2007/2010: in the SELECT A RULE TYPE box, click the USE A FORMULA TO DETERMINE WHICH CELLS TO FORMAT option
  4. In the formula box, type: =MOD(ROW(),2)
  5. Click the FORMAT button.
  6. On the PATTERNS tab (Excel 2003) or FILL tab (Excel 2007/2010) - select the desired shading colour.
  7. Click OK - then click OK again.
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Tip #32:

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I’m afraid this tip will only be appreciated by the more advanced Word users. But remember - geeks are people too.

Scenario: You have just printed a lengthy (Word) manual and notice a few typos on two or three of the pages. You fix the typos – but don’t want to have to reprint the entire document.

If you have a (proper) Table of Contents, cover page, etc necessitating that your document is divided into SECTIONS…printing a few individual pages can be challenging. There are physical pages and logical pages – even though the page you want to print says “page 8” at the bottom it might be physically the 12th page in the manual – or the 4th page of the 3rd section…see the problem?

An easy fix:

First of all – make sure the SECTION numbers are displayed on your status bar along the bottom of the screen: if they are not: Word 2003 – choose the TOOLS menu – then OPTIONS. At The OPTIONS windows, click the VIEW tab and, in the SHOW category choose STATUS BAR – then OK. Word 2007/2010 – it’s always visible. Now (in all versions) – right-click a blank portion of the status bar and choose SECTION from the pop-up list. You’ll now be able to see the section number along with the page number.

Press [CTRL] P to open up the PRINT window. In the PRINT WHAT box: type the letter P followed by the page number (as per the status bar) followed immediately by the letter S followed by the section number (as per the status bar).

Something like this: P11S3-P15S3 (to print a span of pages in the same section)

Or: P4S1,P8S2,P12S4 (to print random pages in various sections).

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Tip #33:

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Scenario: You receive a message that you need to act on – but you’re really tied up at the moment. You get a lot of email and you’re afraid of losing this one in the crowd.


  1. Right-click the message that you want to set the reminder for.
  2. Hover over the FOLLOW UP option.
  3. From the list that appears – click ADD REMINDER.
  4. Don’t worry about the START and DUE date drop-downs – unless you really want to.
  5. Make sure the REMINDER option has a ✓ beside it.
  6. Select the DATE and TIME when you want to be reminded.
  7. Click OK.

If you have the REMINDER column in your Inbox – you will see a yellow bell on the email header line. (Not that you’ll really notice it).

At the designated time you will see an Outlook reminder window pop up – with the email subject as the topic of the reminder. DISMISS it if you’ve already dealt with it – or SNOOZE if you’re still not ready to deal with it (in which case you mind want to grab a good book on procrastination).

Tip #34:

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Scenario: You are copying and pasting text here and there – but there are a few (different) items that you would like to re-paste. But [CTRL] V only remembers the last item you copied/cut. You need to paste various items repeatedly – without repeating the select/copy/cut steps.

Solution: Actually, the Clipboard will remember that last 24 (yes, you read it right 2-4) items you have cut/copied. You just need access to them. Note: do this before you need to start multi-pasting.

  1. Make sure you’re on the HOME tab.
  2. The very first section of the ribbon is the CLIPBOARD section.
  3. Click the dialog box launcher (little diagonal arrow) located at the bottom-right corner of the CLIPBOARD section. The CLIPBOARD pane will display down the left-hand side of your window.
  4. Now, every time you cut or copy (text, images, symbols – whatever!) it will appear as an individual entry in the CLIPBOARD pane.
  5. To paste an item from the CLIPBOARD pane to your document – just place the cursor where you want the text/image/item – and click on that item in the CLIPBOARD pane. There it is.

By the way – if you close the CLIPBOARD pane (by clicking the X at the top-right corner of it) – then re-open it…you’re items will still be there.

“Even if I close the document that I was using when I cut/copied the stuff in there in the first place?” Yes – even if.

“Even if I shut down Word? And start it up again?” Yes – even if.

“Even if I shut down my computer and come back the next day?” No – now you’re being silly.

Tip #35:

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Not everyone is a keyboard fanatic, like me. That’s o-k. (Little bit of a condescending tone…sorry). I am interested in what gets the job done fastest and most efficiently. That usually means the keyboard. As long as it is easy to remember (not like the old convoluted “F” keys of days gone by).

To be able to carry out this tip you need to have the “Quickly access this number of recent documents” option turned on:

  1. Click the FILE tab.
  2. Click the RECENT category.
  3. At the very bottom of the recent document list – check the QUICKLY ACCESS THIS NUMBER OF RECENT DOCUMENTS checkbox.
  4. Change the number to whatever number of (recent) documents you want to see at the top of the FILE tab (because that’s where they’ll show up now). BIG AWESOME NOTE: Don’t forget – you can PIN a document (click that little gray pin to the right of the file name so that the pin turns blue) so that it does not disappear from the recent list (even if you don’t open it for a while).
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Ok – now, when you want to access a recently-opened file: [ALT] F (which will display little letters and numbers beside every visible function and file – followed by (which means: not at the same time as the [ALT] F) the number displayed beside the file you want to open.

Tip #36:

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Ok – this is not something that will help you get your work done faster. But you’ll look so cool no one will care. And you’ll look like some sort of magazine graphic guru.

To create the above text effect:

  1. Type the text and apply the size and font that you want.
  2. Apply the SHADOW effect:
    1. Click the ↓ beside the TEXT EFFECTS button (in the FONT section of the HOME tab).
    2. Hover over SHADOW – and select a shadow effect. Personally, I like the first available in the OUTER section.
    3. With the text still selected – just change the TEXT COLOUR to WHITE. Voilà.
    4. If you want the contrast more pronounced (as in my 2nd example):
      1. With the text still selected, once again click the ↓ beside the TEXT EFFECTS button and hover over SHADOW.
      2. But this time - choose SHADOW OPTIONS (bottom of list).
      3. At the FORMAT TEXT EFFECTS window (SHADOW category), set the TRANSPARENCY value to 0 (zero).

Tip #37:

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A Jump List is a list of actions that you can quickly access by right-clicking over a program icon down on your taskbar.

Scenario: You are running a number of programs at the same time. You’re working in a Word (or Excel, etc) document and realize you want to send an email to someone.

Normally that would involve:

  1. Starting up the program (and waiting for the program to start up) if it wasn’t already running; or clicking the Outlook icon down on the taskbar (if the program was running);
  2. Possibly switching to the mail program (if you weren’t in it); and
  3. Clicking the NEW EMAIL button.

You must have your Outlook program on your Quick Launch toolbar (Windows XP) or pinned to your taskbar (Windows 7) – and what sane person wouldn’t?

Using the Jump List concept – you just have to RIGHT-CLICK the Outlook icon…and voilà…a list of quick actions that you can perform right from there.

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Tip #38:

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Have you ever entered a spreadsheet then realized that you should have had the one set of headings go ACROSS the spreadsheet (instead of down) and the other set of headings go DOWN the spreadsheet (instead of across)? Of course you have.

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You can quickly and easily transpose the data:

  1. Select the data (range) that you want to transpose.
  2. Issue the COPY command however you normally (but efficiently!) do it. Perhaps [CTRL] C – or right-click the selected range and choose COPY from the pop-up menu that appears.
  3. Click on a cell that represents the top-left corner of the range where you want the new, transposed range to appear. No – you cannot paste it over-top of the original range.
  4. Do NOT issue the regular Paste command – click the bottom portion of the PASTE button (on the HOME tab in Excel 2010).
  5. Click the TRANSPOSE button – voilà.

Note for Excel 2003 users: In Excel 2003, click the EDIT menu – then PASTE SPECIAL – then check the TRANSPOSE box – then OK. Then go out and buy 2010.

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