Archive for MS Office Tips and Tricks

7 Steps to Prolong Battery Life in Windows 10

by Jonathan Heitz

There are many reasons why you may need to preserve your laptop’s battery.  Perhaps you will be on a trip where you will lack access to power; maybe you are going to a conference where you need to use your laptop for an extended time or, maybe your laptop’s battery drains faster than you would like. Whatever the case may be, taking advantage of these tips will significantly increase your laptop’s battery life if you are running Windows 10.

1. Take advantage of “Battery Saver”

Windows 10 includes a feature called “Battery Saver”, which adjusts various system settings and background tasks to greatly improve battery life until the next charge. To access this feature, click the battery icon as circled in the graphic below.

2. Adjust wireless communication settings.

Having things like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled, when you don’t need to, takes an unnecessary toll on your battery. You can disable them from the taskbar as shown below.

3. Disable background processes.

Background processes can also have a large influence on battery life. Applications like instant messaging programs, antivirus, and cloud storage software typically run in the background. It is ideal to not have too many of these applications installed on your computer in order to maintain optimal performance and battery life. Windows Update is another battery-hungry process. You can adjust your preferred update window in settings as shown below.

4.     Disconnect any unneeded peripherals

USB devices like keyboards, mice, and flash drives
require power. With no other place to draw power from, these devices will drain
your battery when plugged in, even if not in use. USB is not the only culprit,
however. Using any port on your laptop will drain battery, although other ports
might not drain it as much as USB.

5.     Lower speaker volume

Speakers also take a toll on your battery. Keeping
them at a low volume, or off, will drastically improve your battery life.

6.     Minimize multitasking

While it may be convenient to keep things like
your email or music open while you’re working on something else, it is also a
huge waste of battery. Windowed applications use more battery than background
applications, especially if you have your email sending/receiving every minute,
or your music player streaming music. Any application which you do not need to
be running at a given time should not be running while trying to maximize
battery life.

7.     Lower your brightness

As you may have heard more than anything else in this list, lowering your brightness is key to preserving battery life. Your laptop’s display draws a lot of power, and keeping it at full brightness will not help.

The number of these tips you decide to utilize is up to you. The more you take advantage of, the more battery you’ll save.

We’d love to hear from you. So, let us know by leaving a comment below if you find these helpful!

Posted in: MS Office Tips and Tricks, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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Windows Logo Keyboard Shortcuts: The Complete List

The Windows logo key, which is common on most keyboards these days, can be a powerful tool if you know the right shortcuts.

One of the more powerful, and probably least used, set of keyboard shortcuts involves the Windows logo key, which is common on most keyboards packaged with a Windows-based personal computer these days. Table A offers a rundown of these productivity-boosting shortcuts.

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10 Tips That Can Make Anyone A Microsoft Word Expert

Microsoft Office is one of the most popular office suites out there. It’s used by businesses both large and small. There are versions for college students and for home use. It’s available for both PC and Mac and word around the internet grapevine is that it’ll eventually be made available for some distributions of Linux. Even though most people use it, most people do not use it to its full potential. Here are 11 awesome tips to make you better at Microsoft Word.


When you type spaces and hit the enter button, you don’t see all that much but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything there. There are actually symbols and characters all over your Microsoft Word document and you may not even know it. If you want to see all of them, Go to File, then Options, then Display, and select to Always Show These Formatting Marks on the Screen. You can also activate Draft Mode to see what the first doesn’t by going to the View menu and setting it to Draft View.


You would be surprised just how many ways you can format a paragraph. You can indent the first sentence or you can indent every other line except the first line. What’s more, the paragraph mark (shown above) is actually fairly powerful. It contains information on how each paragraph is formatted which can make them pretty powerful. If you copy a whole paragraph with the paragraph mark, you end up copying the formatting too. If you don’t copy the mark with the paragraph, the paragraph will paste without formatting.


By using the various breaks in Microsoft Word, you can better organize your documents. The best way to do this is through the use of sections. You can access the breaks menu on the Page Layout menu. Microsoft Office doesn’t see pages as you and I see them. They see sections. If you set your document up in sections, you can format each section independently and give yourself far more control than you normally would if everything were in one section!


Styles are amazingly powerful. If you create a style template, you can use it over and over again for any document. If you write a lot of memos, you can create a memo style. You can repeat the process for virtually any document type. To see existing styles, to to the Home tab in Word. You can click on the down arrow to create your own. If you write a lot in a similar style, it’s definitely worth turning it into a style so you don’t have to format so much and save yourself some time.


It’s always a good idea to get an idea of your formatting before you actually start filling in the blanks. That way you can format your headers, paragraphs, styles, etc all before you put your document together. Doing so can allow you to alter your document before you make it to make sure that everything fits appropriately. There’s nothing more frustrating than copying and pasting some information and having the formatting be all wrong.


Believe it or not, you can actually control how Microsoft Office deals with pasting words. This can be attained by clicking on the Office button (the logo at the top left), navigating to Word Options, and then to Advanced. From there you should be able to see a Cut, Copy, and Paste option that will let you configure your options. This can allow you to do things like disable hyperlinking when pasting and other formatting options to make life easier.


An often unknown option in Word is the ability to use justification formatting. You can see an example of this above. Essentially, it just means that the left and right margins are perfectly aligned. Word is able to do this by altering the spacing of words in each line so that they line up. This gives documents a professional and formal look. To use this, click the Office logo, then Word Options, and then Advanced. Expand the Layout Options and you can set it there.


For those who may not know, the ribbon interface is the toolbar that runs along the top of Microsoft Word. Some people enjoy it and others find it distracting and too busy. Thankfully, there is an easy way to get rid of the ribbon. With Word open, click CTRL+F1. The ribbon will disappear. Repeat the process to make it reappear.


Sometimes you need to blow up the formatting and start over. Formatting can get disorganized and your document can end up looking bad. When this happens it’s probably best to start over from the beginning. To do this, select any bit of text you want to remove the formatting from and click the button as shown in the screenshot above. The formatting will be removed and you will be left with just text.


Spike pasting is actually a lot of fun. Here’s the premise. You cut various words from a document and then you can paste them all together. There isn’t really a specific use-case for this tool but you’ll know when you need it. To use it, use CTRL+F3 to copy. You can do this as many times as you like. When you paste as usual, it’ll paste everything that you copied using the CTRL+F3 command. This can be useful for collecting snippets of a document and putting them together.

With these tricks and a little practice, you’ll be able to create amazing documents that’ll look professional and clean. In a word place where just knowing how to use Word isn’t enough anymore, these tips can give you a slight edge that’ll make you stand out!

Hindy, Joseph. “10 Tips That Can Make Anyone a Microsoft Word Expert” Lifehack March 2019

Posted in: MS Office Tips and Tricks, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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10+ Do’s and Don’ts for Using Office Templates

If your attempts to use Office templates usually leave you feeling stumped and frustrated, read these expert tips to gain a better grasp on how to use them.

Templates are one of Office‘s least used and most misused features. Office templates aren’t particularly intuitive, and misunderstandings regarding their proper use hinder users. On the other hand, once users finally get it right and experience an increase in productivity, they’re hooked. These tips will help you generate and apply templates correctly.

This article focuses on user templates. If you’re developing, distributing, and administering templates for a large organization, you probably won’t learn anything new. However, you can share these tips with the users you support and perhaps thwart a few troubleshooting headaches down the road.

1: Do understand the concept

The term template is very old and originally referred to a pattern or model used to reproduce trade pieces. Within the context of business software, a template is a shell document — it’s a starting point for new documents. Some templates contain basic formatting, while others offer customized tools and content that help users work more productively. Templates get you started and sometimes even help you perform routine tasks.

2: Don’t customize the default template, at least not much

When you open a new document, you’re using the software’s default template; many users customize this template to meet their needs. You can change simple formats (see #3) at this level without issue. On the other hand, when your needs are more complex, you should create a custom template and apply it as needed.

Keep changes to the software’s default template to a minimum. When you upgrade, you might lose all customizations you made to the default template.

3: Do watch for interface shortcuts

If you change the same format or property for all (or most) new documents, watch for interface options that make the change to the default template. For instance, if you don’t like Word’s new line spacing default of 1.15 (instead of 1), you can change Word’s built-in Normal style for the current document. When you do, you can also make the change for all new documents by checking the New Documents Based On This Document option shown in Figure A.

Figure A

note: Some properties have interface options that update the default template

I’m not contradicting #2; I want you to take advantage of the interface default options, but complex changes should go into a custom template.

4: Do use built-in shortcuts for opening and saving templates

Most Office applications offer a shortcut for accessing and saving templates. For example, in Word 2010, you can access your templates as follows:

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Choose Open.
  3. Click Trusted Templates in the left pane shown in Figure B.
Figure B

note: Interface access makes working with templates easy.

5: Don’t base new templates on blank documents — or do

If you’re using Office 2010 or earlier, you might open a new document as you normally would, make changes, and then save it as a template in the Save As dialog. This isn’t the preferred method; however, many users do this without issue. Office 2013 users will find this route is now the preferred method, so your route depends on your version.

6: Don’t base new templates on existing documents

If you have a formatted document that meets all of your custom needs, you might be tempted to remove the content and save the underlying styles and other tweaks as a template file. In fact, you’ll find the instructions online, even at Everything that’s in that document will be in your template and, consequently, all the documents based on the template. You’re probably thinking that’s what you meant; unfortunately, it can be the route to heartbreak. The source of problems and conflicts will be difficult to troubleshoot later.

Users often choose this route and never encounter problems. I think it’s a crapshoot, but I won’t argue with success. Just the same, I don’t recommend it.

7: Do use the software’s preferred method for creating a template

Your software works best when you use the tools as intended. For example, the correct way to create a template in Word 2010 and earlier follows:

  1. Click the File menu (or Office button). Choose New in the left pane. In Word 2003, choose New from the File menu.
  2. Word 2007 and 2010 users should click My Templates in the Available Templates section. In Word 2003, click On My Computer in the New Document task pane.
  3. In the resulting dialog, click Blank Document.
  4. Click Template in the Create New section (don’t skip this step).
  5. Click OK.

Other routes seem simpler. Often, those results are problematic, and those templates can be difficult to troubleshoot and fix. (I hope reading that a few times doesn’t desensitize you.) If you’re using Office 2013, see #5.

8: Don’t save a template as a working file

Don’t open a template file, add your content, and then use the software’s Save As to change the file’s format. Instead, apply a template when you create a new document. For example, the preferred method for applying a Word template follows:

  1. Click the File menu (or Office button). Choose New in the left pane. In Word 2003, choose New from the File menu.
  2. Word 2013 displays built-in templates; searching online is easy at this point. Click Personal to choose from templates you’ve created and saved. Or, click one of the many templates already listed for quick download and click Create. Skip to step 5. Earlier versions will offer many template folders. Open a folder and select a template.
  3. Click Document in the Create New section.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Give your new document a name and start adding content. All of the customizations you added to your template will be available to your new document file.

9: Do apply a template before you add content

It’s tempting to create a document and format it later rather than as you go. Many of us work that way, and there’s nothing wrong with it. However, you might assume that applying a template after-the-fact should be just as easy. It might be, and it might not. The best approach is to apply a template to the new blank document before you start adding content.

The issue in this case is Word’s dependency on built-in styles. If the template you apply later doesn’t use Word’s built-in Normal hierarchy, you might have difficulty applying the template’s custom styles. It’s not a deal-breaker — it’s just something most users don’t fully understand; they end up frustrated when a template doesn’t apply the styles they wanted in the way they expected.

10: Do save time with generic templates

Users don’t have to create their own templates; there are hundreds of reliable and free templates available via a quick download. If you have a generic need, such as a resume, mortgage calculator, business card, and so on, search online. I recommend that you start your search at Office 2013 has built-in online template access.

11: Do use existing templates when you upgrade

When you upgrade to Office 2013, you can use templates you created in Office 2007 and 2010. You’ll want to move them to the Custom Office Templates. Fortunately, there’s a tool for that.

A case for template correctness

Working with templates requires planning and a little specialized knowledge, but it isn’t difficult. You create the templates that contain the custom formats and tools you use most often. When you need those formats and tools, you apply the template before you add content, when possible. You’ll find this route efficient and less problematic than any other method you’re currently using. It isn’t the only way, but it’s the best way.

I can trace many “I hate this #$*(@ software! Why won’t it work the way it’s supposed to?” complaints to bad templates. You might ignore these tips and never see a problem. Unfortunately, if you run into a template issue, you might not know what’s wrong and blaming the squirrelly software won’t help. If you support users, training them to generate and apply their own templates correctly will help them work more efficiently and that will help you as well.

Harkins, Susan. “10+ dos and don’ts for using Office templates” and Office January 2014

Posted in: MS Office Tips and Tricks, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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How to Easily Clean up Your Mailbox in Outlook

Outlook’s integrated Clean Up tool removes messages from your email folders that you no longer need.

Remove redundant messages from your Inbox (or any other email folder), select Home>Clean Up

1. On the Home tab, in the Delete group, click Clean Up.
2. Click one of the following:

• Clean Up Conversation – The current Conversation is reviewed, and redundant messages are deleted.
• Clean Up Folder – All Conversations in the selected folder are reviewed, and redundant messages are deleted.
• Clean Up Folder & Subfolders – All Conversations in the selected folder and any folder that it contains are reviewed, and redundant messages are deleted.

Change Conversation Clean Up Options:
1. Click the File tab.
2. Click Options.
3. Click Mail.
4. Under Conversation Clean Up do any of the following:

• You can change the folder where items are moved, for Cleaned-up items will go to this folder, click Browse, and then select an Outlook folder. By default, messages are moved to the Deleted Items folder. If you have multiple email accounts in your Outlook profile, each account has its own Deleted Items folder. Messages are moved to the Deleted Items folder that corresponds to the email account.

• Note: This option is not available if the destination is Deleted Items folder: To replicate the folder structure of items Clean Up deletes (when you use the Clean Up Folders & Subfolders command), select When cleaning sub-folders, recreate the folder hierarchy in the destination folder.

Posted in: E-mail, MS Office Tips and Tricks

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Turn That Outlook Email Into a PDF

I think it’s fair to say that most of us like to organize our documents so that they are easy to retrieve when needed.  Well, did you know that you can save your email as a PDF using Windows 10 built-in PDF printer?

Saving an email as a PDF is a great way to create a clean copy of a mail message, or a receipt so that you can save it with all the proper formatting, file it as a document and easily retrieve it when you need it.  It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Check out this quick & easy Outlook tip!

1. In Outlook click File or use CTRL+P

2. Next select Print.

3.  From the printer options choose Microsoft Print to PDF or a PDF printer that you use such as Adobe, Foxit, etc. and select Print.

4. Choose a folder and Save.


You must admit, that was too easy!  Go ahead and give it a try and let us know if you find this helpful.


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How to Protect Your Microsoft Word Documents

You can protect your Word documents from prying eyes and itchy fingers.

You’ve created a critical Word document, one that you wish to keep private or that you want to share with only certain people. But perhaps you don’t want others to be able to edit the document, and you certainly don’t want it to fall into the wrong hands. How can you protect your document?

Word offers a few options:

  • You can finalize the document to alert people not to edit it.
  • You can encrypt the document with a password so only people who know the password can access it.
  • You can restrict the type of editing others can perform on the document.
  • You can add a digital signature to the document to ensure that no one can tamper with it.
  • And you can employ more than one of these tactics to truly secure your document.

Let’s look at the many ways you can protect your Word documents.

As always, I’m using Word 2016 here, but the options for protecting a document are the same for the prior couple of versions of Word.

Start by opening an existing Word document that you want to protect. Click on the File menu and then click on the button to Protect Document. From the Protect Document menu, select the first option to Mark as Final.

A message tells you: “This document will be marked as final and then saved.” Click OK.

Another message pops up saying:

“This document has been marked as final to indicate that editing is complete and that this is the final version of the document. When a document is marked as final, the status property is set to ‘Final’ and typing, editing commands, and proofing marks are turned off. You can recognize that a document is marked as final when the Mark as Final icon displays in the status bar.”

The goal of this action is to dissuade anyone from modifying the document by telling readers that it’s completed, and no more editing changes should be made.

When someone opens the document, a message appears at the top: “MARKED AS FINAL.  An author has marked this document as final to discourage editing.” An “Edit Anyway” button also appears. If someone clicks on that button, that person can still edit and re-save the document. That person could then also mark the document as final if he or she chooses. But then the document would show you as the author and that person as the one who last modified it. (You can see the author and other information on a document by clicking on the File menu.)

So the purpose is not to prevent someone from editing the document but to alert readers that it’s in its final version and that you should appear as the author and the person who last modified it.

Alternately, try this:

  • click on the File menu and click Protect Document.
  • Select the second option to Encrypt Document.
  • At the Encrypt document window, type a password and click OK.
  • At the Confirm Password window, retype the password and click OK.
  • Save and close the document.
  • Try to reopen it.
  • This time, you’re prompted to enter the password. If you don’t type the correct one or you click Cancel, the document won’t open.

So this is a secure option to ensure that only people who know the password can even view your document. Just be sure not to forget the password yourself as there is no way to recover it or unlock the document without it, at least not within Word or Windows.

To remove the password, click on the File menu, click on Protect Document, and again select Encrypt Document. Delete the dots that hide your password and click OK. Your password is deleted. Resave the document before you close it.

Here’s another trick.

  • Click on the File menu and click Protect Document.
  • Select the third option to Restrict Editing. Your document reappears, this time with a pane on the right for setting formatting and editing restrictions. This is the option to choose if you want people to be able to open your document but limit or restrict the changes they can make. This option also password-protects your file so only those who know the password can modify the document.
  • Check the box to Limit formatting to a selection of styles if you want to prevent people from changing the formatting of your document through styles.
  • Click on the link for Settings underneath.
  • In the Formatting Restrictions window, all styles are allowed by default. You can keep that setting, change it to the Recommended Minimum, or change it to None.
  • If you’re not sure, choose the option for Recommended Minimum. You can also check any of the three options under Formatting to allow the first one or block the other two.
  • Click OK to close the window.

  • Check the box to Allow only this type of editing in the document.
  • Click on the dropdown menu underneath. You can now choose from among four options. Tracked changes turns on Track Changes for any reader of your document and restricts any other type of editing. Comments allows readers to insert comments in your document but make no other changes. Filling in forms lets readers fill in forms that you’ve created but not change those forms. And No changes puts your document in read-only mode so no changes can be made.
  • Select the appropriate option.

If you check the fourth option for No changes, you can create exceptions for certain user accounts to edit your document.

  • In the Exceptions section, check the box for Everyone and select any parts of the document that you want anyone to be able to edit.
  • Click on the option for Yes, Start Enforcing Protection.
  • You’re prompted to create a password. Type and then retype the password and click OK.
  • Save, close, and then reopen the document. You’ll see now that the editing controls on the Ribbon are grayed out.
  • Click in any section of the document that you allowed for editing, and the controls are now available.

To turn off the protection, click on the Stop Protection button at the bottom of the right pane. Type the password and click OK. You can now edit the document and permanently turn off the editing restrictions if you wish.

Finally, you can add an invisible digital signature to your document. Such a signature tells readers of your document that you and no one else signed its contents, assuring people that you were the last person to revise your document. Your document becomes read-only after the digital signature is implemented. To create a digital signature, you need a signing certificate to your identity.

  • Click on the File menu and click Protect Document. Select the fourth option to Add a Digital Signature.
  • The first time you do this in Windows, Word tells you: “To sign a Microsoft Office document you need a digital signature, would you like to get one from a Microsoft partner now?” Click Yes.
  • You’re taken to a Microsoft support page to help you find a digital ID. Try the links for the different providers to get a digital ID.
  • Then click on the link at the webpage to Add or remove a digital signature in Office files.
  • Scroll down the page to learn how to add a digital signature and how it secures a document or other file.
  • After you’ve obtained the digital ID, return to the Protect Document button and again click on the option to Add a Digital Signature.
  • At the Sign window, fill out the necessary fields and click the Sign button.
  • You may be asked to confirm the digital signature. Click OK.

Your document is now digital signed and made read-only. Anyone who opens the document will receive notice of your digital signature.

Whitney,Lance. 2018, February, 8. “How to Protect Your Microsoft Word Documents” Windows Secrets, Office

Posted in: MS Office Tips and Tricks

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Use Eyedropper Tool to Match Colors in PowerPoint

With the eyedropper tool in PowerPoint you can match the color from a shape or picture to another element of your presentation for a more cohesive look.

Select and apply a color with the eyedropper tool

Double-click the shape or other thing you want to match colors for. (To select multiples, press Ctrl and then click the shapes.) Then click any of the color options, such as Shape Fill in the Shapes Style group, found on the Format tab under Drawing Tools.

Shape Fill dropdown menu showing the Eyedropper

Using the eyedropper, click the color you want to match and apply to the selected shape or object.

Eyedropper cursor and matched color

As you move your pointer around the different colors, a live preview of the color appears. Hover or pause on a color to see its RGB (Red Green Blue) color coordinates. Click on the color you want. For a more accurate way of getting the exact color you want when many colors are clustered together, select the color by pressing Enter or spacebar instead.

Numbers for RGB colors selected using the Eyedropper

To cancel the Eyedropper without picking a color, press Esc.

Tip:   You can also match colors from elsewhere on your screen. After clicking Eyedropper, click and hold the mouse button as you drag your mouse to the color you want to match. The eyedropper tool disappears when you move outside the PowerPoint window, but the color will still preview and be matched.

Posted in: Mac OS, MS Office Tips and Tricks

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Getting the most from OneNote, Part I: A hidden Office gem

The more information you put into OneNote the more useful it is. You can tag, flag, recognize, record and search just about anything.

Microsoft’s cross-platform notebook tool OneNote has long been a hidden gem in Office. In the last few years its success in the education market has prompted Microsoft to invest more in the application. As well as adding specific Learning Tools. Microsoft is bringing the Mac and web versions closer to parity with the desktop Windows version of OneNote, improving the iOS and Android mobile applications and building a brand-new Windows Store OneNote app that will soon replace OneNote 2016. It’s also making OneNote notebooks part of every SharePoint team site and Teams team. But what can you actually do with OneNote and how do you make it useful?

OneNote is ideal for storing unstructured information — not just the notes you take in lectures or meetings, or digital versions of Post It notes, but also photos, videos, receipts, emails (and attachments), web pages, PDFs, presentations, your optical prescription in case you break your glasses, the frequency for your favorite radio stations in cities to which you travel. In short, anything you can print, write down or photograph and might need to refer to one day.

Individual notes live in the sections of a notebook; you can have multiple sections in multiple notebooks that you keep private or share with colleagues and sync across devices. You can open a notebook that someone else has shared with you and have it fully synced on your own device, making it easy to collaborate. As you can rename and move all of these, you don’t need to get the perfect structure straight away. Instead, the first step of making OneNote useful is to put as much information that you might need later as possible in there, so that you can search for it.

Send everything to OneNote

You can type, handwrite, record audio and video, and paste in text, images, video and other content in OneNote. You can even do simple math in OneNote; just type in the equation, followed by ‘=’ and OneNote will work it out for you. You can also share and print from other applications straight into OneNote, but the different tools give you slightly different results.

OneNote 2016 has a snipping tool (trigger it from the toolbar, the Windows system tray or make a keyboard shortcut for it) that lets you drag to select an area and choose the notebook section or even individual page where you want to save an image of what you snip. You can find the section or page by searching for the title, so you don’t have to scroll through long lists of sections and pages.

In the Windows 10 OneNote app, you can use the Windows snipping tool, then either find the note you want and paste in by hand or open the Screen Sketch tool then use the Share charm (which can only target the current page or notebook section).

You can print from any application using the OneNote printer drivers. The OneNote 2016 printer driver is automatically installed and can print into any page or notebook section, which you choose in the same snipping dialog. The OneNote Store printer driver you have to install yourself from the Store, and can only print a new page into notebook sections, which you have to painstakingly navigate to rather than being able to search for. Both drivers save images of the individual pages you print. You can also import files into the current page in OneNote 2016 as printouts or attachments. Outlook on Windows (and Mac for Office 365 users) has a Send to OneNote button that copies email text and attachments, or the details of meeting attendees, into OneNote. You can also grab the details of an Outlook meeting that you want to take notes on from inside OneNote 2016 and OneNote 10, to get the list of everyone who’s there quickly.

If you use the OneNote Web Clipper extensions for Edge, Chrome and Firefox, you get the editable text and images (you can choose whether to clip the whole page or just the main content); you can clip into any notebook section that’s stored in OneDrive or OneDrive for Business (even ones that are shared with you) if you don’t have the notebook open on your device, but again not into existing pages. If you have a lot of notebooks and sections, having to scroll through the alphabetical list is much slower than the OneNote 2016 word wheel search. You can’t clip PDFs, so if you’re viewing them in a web browser, print them to OneNote instead.

OneNote is also a share target in the iOS and Android browsers, although that saves a printout rather than the editable text of the web page.

Microsoft’s Office Lens app on iOS and Android (and Windows Phone) can save images directly into OneNote sections, which is a good way of capturing whiteboards, presentations, business cards and documents. (The Office Lens feature is also built into OneNote on iOS and Android, so you can snap photos on your phone and have them show up in the right place in a note you’re editing on your Mac or PC).

OneNote is also an  “If This Then That” target  (IFTTT) so, you can do things like archiving tweets, RSS feeds, Reddit posts, DropBox files, starred Gmail messages or articles from Pocket, Feedly or Instapaper into OneNote. This isn’t always reliable and high-volume archiving will quickly hit the size limit of OneNote sections, but it’s very convenient when it does work.

If you record audio or video into OneNote (on Windows or Mac), any notes you take while recording or playing back the recording are time synced, so you can easily jump to the most important section of a meeting or lecture. (OneNote can also record unlimited audio on iOS, but you can’t take notes at the same time.) The audio is also searchable in OneNote 2016, but as it’s just matching the sounds of words it’s not very accurate.

Searching in OneNote

OneNote 2016 has one search box and two keyboard shortcuts for searching: Ctrl-E searches across all your notes (or a subset that you choose), while Ctrl-F searches within the current note. OneNote for Windows 10 has the same keyboard shortcuts, although they select from a unified search dropdown. Either way, that makes it easy to find the right note and then the right sentence. Both versions of OneNote use the same Ctrl-M shortcut to open a new window, so you have multiple notes open at once.

You can also see a list of recently edited notes, as a way of getting back to what you were working on recently. In OneNote 2016 you can pick multi-time periods (from ‘today’ to the last six months or even a chronological view of all notes in the section) or search for changes by specific people.

If you have a digital pen, or a touchscreen PC or iPad, you can draw and handwrite notes, and OneNote uses handwriting recognition to make them searchable even if you don’t convert them to text. If you want to draw with your finger, turn that on in the Draw toolbar — and then turn it off again when you want to go back to using your finger for scrolling. If you want more space for drawing, both OneNote 2016 and OneNote 10 have a full-screen mode that hides all the toolbars and other controls.

Images in OneNote are automatically OCR’d, so you can search for text shown in an image or a printout. You can also right-click on them to copy the recognized text to use elsewhere, making this a quick way of scanning paper documents.

Image OCR and handwriting recognition work locally in OneNote 2016, which also gives you the widest choice of where to store notebooks — in OneDrive, on your local PC or on a network file share. Notebooks stored in OneDrive can sync automatically to your other devices and you can share them with colleagues for live co-editing. Content syncs right into the page, marked by the initials of the person adding it. Notebooks stored on a network file share can sync onto other PCs that have access to the network, including over a VPN, but you can’t open them on other devices.

Branscomb, Mary. “Getting the most from OneNote, Part I: A hidden Office Gem” TechRepublic July 30, 2018

Posted in: Mobile Computing, MS Office Tips and Tricks, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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10 Microsoft Word Tips to Save Your Job

When executives at any company are considering which employees to cut and which to keep, they want to hold onto the most helpful, knowledgeable people. So, if you’re the only person on your team who knows how to format the company reports properly or you’re the one that your boss counts on to help with document formatting, you have a leg up on your coworkers. Master the Microsoft Word tips below and make yourself indispensable.

Your boss calls in a panic, because he was working on an important document and his computer crashed before he had a chance to save it. Be a hero by heading over to the File menu on his computer, clicking the Manage Document button and selecting Recover Unsaved Documents. You should then see a list of all the available unsaved files. The latest one should be his lost Word document.

You send a critical document to a business partner or client and they send you back a revised version, without enabling the track changes feature. Whether it’s a joint press release, a legal contract or just an important memo, you need to see exactly what changes they made to your work.

To compare two documents in Word 2016, navigate to the Review tab, click on the Compare button and select Compare from the drop down menu which appears. Then select the two files you want to look at and hit Ok. You’ll see a version of the document with all the changes highlighted.

Word makes it easy to draw on top of your document with your finger, a pen or even your mouse. You can draw lines on top of your text, scribble a shape and have the program automatically convert it into a resizable vector graphic or even draw an equation and insert it into your document as ASCII text. Unfortunately, most people do not have the Draw tab enabled by default so they can’t use any of these features.

To enable the Draw tab, right click on the navigation bar at the top of the Word window and select Customize the Ribbon. In the dialog box that appears, check the box next to Draw under Main Tabs.

When you’re writing a long report or white paper that you plan to distribute, a tablet of contents makes your document much easier to read. Fortunately, Word makes it easy to generate a TOC, without manually entering all the sections and page numbers yourself.

While you’re editing your document, use headings and subheadings for the different sections you want to appear in your TOC. When it’s time to generate the TOC itself, click Table of Contents under the References Tab and choose the style you like best. Word will then add the TOC to your document and you can edit its content as wish. You can also click the Update table button to regenerate the TOC, based on any changes you’ve made to the document.

While Word’s collaboration features are not nearly as good as those on Google docs, the software provides a way for you, your boss and your coworkers to edit the same document at the same time. There’s just one caveat: you all have to have accounts in the same Office 365 organization so forget about co-editing in real-time with people at other companies or freelancers.

First save your document to your company’s OneDrive account. Then click the Share button in the upper right corner of the Word window and enter the names of the people you want to share it with. Click the Share button and you’ll all be good to go. You will see each other’s changes in real-time with a different text color for each person (and their name next to it).

Your boss gets a document with a lot of images in and then needs to post those images to a web page, re-use them in another document or send them in an email. You can right click each image, select copy and then paste it into an image editor and save it, but that’s a time consuming process when you have several pictures to deal with.

To export all the images in a Word doc, make a copy of the document file and rename it with the file extension .zip instead of .docx (ex: myreport.docx becomes Open the zip file and navigate to word\media directory. There you’ll find a complete set of files you can copy to your hard drive and email to the boss.

It’s 2017 and yet there are still some people who can’t break the annoying habit of putting two spaces are a period. Back in the typewriter-era, it made sense to have a larger space after a period, because all letters were about the name size and it was more difficult to identify the end of a sentence. However, in the age of computers and the Internet, this is an extremely outdated practice.

If a business partner (or your boss) sends a document with two spaces after a period, you can get rid of them in a couple of clicks. Hit CTRL + H to bring up the Find and Replace dialog box. Enter a period with two spaces into the “Find what” box and a period with only one space into the “Replace with” box. Click Replace All and you’re good to go.

You use a lot of company and product names in your documents, but Word flags them as spelling errors. Ugh! You can add all these words to the custom dictionary so Word never hits them with a red underline again.

Navigate to the File menu and then click Options. Select Proofing from the left-hand menu and click the Custom Dictionaries list. Select CUSTOM.DIC from the menu and click the Edit Word List button. You’ll then see a dialog box which allows you to enter new words one at a time. When you’re done, you may want to copy the CUSTOM.DIC file on your computer and share it with your coworkers.

Your company has a form letter that you need to send out in a regular basis, but whenever you print it, you want it to have the current date on top. Sure, you could go in and edit the dateline manually, but it’s easy to forget to do it or make a mistake.

Insert a dateline that always shows the current month, day and year (or even the time) by navigating to the Insert tab and clicking the Date and Time icon, which looks like a calendar with a clock on top of it. Then select the date format you want and make sure the Update automatically box is checked.

Sometimes you paste something from an external source (like a web page) or you edit something in Word and end up with formatting you don’t like or want. Your boss may send you a document with all kinds of unruly fonts, bold face and awkward bulleted lists and ask you to “fix it.”

To remove the formatting on any portion of your document, start by selecting the text you wish to clean or select the entire document by hitting CTRL + A. Then navigate to the Home tab and hit the Clear All Formatting icon, which looks like an eraser on top of the letter A.

Posted in: MS Office Tips and Tricks

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