Blog

Archive for MS Office Tips and Tricks

4 Ways to Control Outgoing Email in Outlook

Outlook doesn’t have to control when your messages go out. Take charge and send emails when you want.
Out of the box, Outlook sends emails immediately, which probably isn’t a great idea for most of us. There are many reasons not to send email immediately, but here are a few:

  • Allowing an email to sit for a few hours, or even a few minutes, gives you a chance to review the content with (sort of) fresh eyes. You’ll catch errors you didn’t catch before.
  • Some conversations go back and forth too quickly, so you might respond before you have all the information or ask questions that the next message answers. Slow down and avoid playing email tag.
  • It’s easy to fire off an angry response in the middle of a heated discussion. Give yourself some time to cool off. Most likely, you won’t send an angry message at all.

That last one has saved me more than once—I have a hot temper (but I’d like that to remain a secret). I’ve never had a knee-jerk reaction serve me well. Never.

If you’d like to take control and decide when messages go out, you can. In this article, I’ll show you how to manually send messages or schedule messages to delay the sending.

I’m using Outlook 2016 (desktop) on a Windows 10 64-bit system. Most of these tips will work in earlier versions, but the route to the options might be significantly different. There’s no demonstration file for these techniques, and they don’t apply to 365 Mail.

1: Disable the default

As I mentioned, Outlook sends email immediately. The easiest way to determine when email goes out is to send it yourself, but you must disable this feature first:

  1. Click the File tab, choose Options, and then choose Advanced in the left pane. In the Send And Receive section, click Send/Receive or press Ctrl+Alt+S.
  2. In the resulting dialog, uncheck the three options under Setting for Group “All Accounts” (Figure A). You could also select individual groups, if they exist.
  3. Click Close and the click OK.

Outlook won’t automatically send email once you uncheck these options.

The options might need a bit of explanation. The first and third options allow you to customize your send tasks a bit.If you want to continue to use F9 to send messages, don’t uncheck the first option. Uncheck the third option if you do not want to send messages when exiting Outlook. Definitely uncheck the second option to disable automated send tasks—that’s what you’re trying to do!

By default, Outlook includes all accounts in the All Accounts group; you won’t see individual accounts listed. So, it’s an all-or-nothing option as is. If you want to remove accounts from the group, click the Edit button. Doing so allows you to leave the automated default setting in tact for only those accounts that remain in the group. Any account you remove will need your manual attention. Then you can create new groups and change those options as needed—or not.

You might notice that you still receive mail. For better or worse, you might not be able to control your server. Most likely, nothing is wrong. If you can’t control where your email sits until you download it, you might have to live with this inconsistency.

With this feature disabled, use the options in the Send & Receive group on the Send/Receive tab to control when messages go out. If you want a bit of control, check out the dropdown options for the Send/Receive Groups. Using these options, you can send mail for one account or all accounts.

2: Delay all outgoing mail

Outlook routes outgoing messages through the Outbox. Once there, by default, it immediately sends the message. Disabling the automated send feature might be too much control; after all, you must remember to send the mail. Whether you’re forgetful or interrupted by meetings, phone calls, and so on, this option might not work best for you.

If you don’t want to disable the automated send feature but you’d like a little bit of a delay, you can set a rule on outgoing messages in the Outbox. While messages are waiting in the Outbox, you can edit or even delete them. To set up a rule that delays all outgoing mail, follow these steps:

  1. Click the File tab and double-click Manage Rules & Alerts. Or choose Manage Rules & Alerts from the rules dropdown in the Move group on the Home tab (in Mail).
  2. In the resulting dialog, click New Rule.
  3. In the Start From A Blank Rule section, select Apply Rule On Messages I Send (Figure B) and click Next.
  4. In the following wizard pane, don’t check any options; the lower pane will display Apply This Rule After I Send The Message. Click OK without changing anything. When Outlook asks you to confirm that the rule will be applied to every message, click Yes.
  5. In the next pane, check the Defer Delivery By A Number Of Minutes option.
  6. In the lower pane, click the Number Of Minutes link, enter the number of minutes (Figure C), and click OK. The link will now display the number of minutes you entered. Click Next.
  7. At this point, you can check exceptions, or not. For instance, you might want to bypass the delay if you’ve marked a message as Important. For this example, don’t check any exceptions. Click Next without changing anything.
  8. In the final window, give the rule a name, such as 10-minute delay. If necessary, check the Turn On This Rule option. You can also select Create This Rule On All Accounts, if that’s your intention. Click Finish and then click OK when you’re ready to create the rule.

Launch the Rules wizard.


Enter the number of minutes you want to delay each message.

If you edit a message while it’s in the Outbox, Outlook doesn’t reset the timer. It’s possible that you might decide to rescind the delay, and fortunately, Outlook has an option to do so:

  1. Open the delayed message (you’ll find it in the Outbox).
  2. Click the Options tab.
  3. Click the Delay Delivery option.
  4. In the resulting dialog, uncheck the Do Not Deliver Before option (Figure D).
  5. Click OK.

You can change your mind and send a delayed message at any time.

It’s counterproductive to disable the automated send feature (#1) and set a delay rule. Outlook ignores scheduled delays if you’ve disabled the automated send feature.

3: Delay a single message

If disabling the automated feature or delaying all messages is overkill, you can always delay individual messages, as needed. Fortunately, the process if easy and flexible. To delay an individual message, do the following:

  1. Click the Options tab in the new message window.
  2. In the More Options group, click Delay Delivery.
  3. In the Delivery Options section, set the date and time Outlook should send the message. The default settings (shown earlier in Figure D) are for 5:00pm on the current day, and I don’t know of anyway to change this default setting.

If you decide to send the message before the scheduled time, simply uncheck the Do Not Deliver Before option.

4: Send after connecting

If you leave messages in the Inbox when you exit Outbox, Outlook can send them when you next launch, if you like:

  1. Click the File tab, choose Options, and click Advanced.
  2. In the Send And Receive section, check the Send Immediately When Connected option (Figure E).
  3. Click OK.
Send when launching Outlook.

This option isn’t a catch-all for forgotten messages. If you’ve disabled the automated send feature, it won’t work even if you select it. If the scheduled time for a delayed message hasn’t arrived, this option won’t send that message. This option doesn’t add much to the mix.

Additional insight

You can do everything right and not get the desired results; your expectations probably don’t fall in line with Outlook’s reality. If you disable Outlook’s ability to send messages waiting in the Outbox, you may or may not receive a prompt to remind you when you exit. It depends on cache settings and even an add-in can usurp this option. In addition, Outlook doesn’t send messages when closed, regardless of what you might have scheduled. Anything sitting in your Outbox when you exit will still be there the next time you launch Outlook. If a scheduled send time has lapsed, Outlook will attempt to send the messages upon launching. Don’t schedule send tasks if you’ve disabled the automated send feature; these two features don’t work together.

If you schedule messages and you’re sure that the automated feature is enabled, but Outlook never sends the scheduled messages, talk with your administrator. If you don’t have one, it’s possible that an add-in is interfering. Disable all add-ins and see if the scheduling feature starts working for you. If it does, enable the add-ins one at a time until you find the culprit.

Harkins, Susan. “Four ways to control outgoing email in Outlook” TechRepublic, MS Office, January 28, 2018

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

Leave a Comment (0) →

Hidden Gems in Windows 10

There are a few items sprinkled throughout the OS that tend to not get the headlines or perform any functions that are earth shattering but they deliver capabilities that can be very useful to many Windows 10 users.

I have seven items that I want to share with you today. Now, it is likely you know about some of these if you have been using Windows 10 for some time now but I am also sure that there is at least one of these you have never heard about.

So, in the spirit of discovery let’s take a look at these hidden gems in Windows 10.

 

If you are not a fan of the Start Menu with all the Live Tiles spread across your screen there is a way to return to Start Menu that is similar to the one we had in Windows 7.

First step is to open the Start Menu and right click on each Live Tile and select Unpin from Start – repeat this for each individual Live Tile.

Note: Unfortunately, there is no options for removing an entire group of Live Tiles at once, so the individual removal is necessary.

Once they are all removed exit the Start Menu and head into Windows Settings > Personalization > Start and make sure Show app list in Start menu is toggled on.

Now when you open the Start Menu you will see the minimal view just like the image above.

Bonus Tip: If you go back to Windows Settings > Personalization > Start and click on the Choose which folders appear on Start you can place shortcuts on the left side of your fresh Windows 7 style Start Menu to quickly access system and user folders such as Documents, Music, Videos, and Pictures. In addition, there is a shortcut for File Explorer.

Calculator Modes

Many users do not realize the capabilities that are built into the default calculator app in Windows 10 as it does much more than just addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

There are three main modes in Calculator:

  • Standard (Default mode)
  • Scientific
  • Programmer

Then there are the 13 converter modes:

  • Currency
  • Volume
  • Length
  • Weight and Mass
  • Temperature
  • Energy
  • Area
  • Speed
  • Time
  • Power
  • Data
  • Pressure
  • Angle

There is also a Date Calculation mode so you can quickly count the number of days between two dates on the calendar.

Quick Assist

Many of you, just like myself, provide tech support to many family and friends. In previous versions of Windows you had to use Remote Assistance to connect to distant devices and at time that could be challenging for some users however, the new Quick Assist app in Windows 10 makes this connecting process very simple.

You begin as shown above with just two choices once the app is open – get assistance or give assistance.

When you select Get Assistance you are asked for enter a code to facilitate the remote connection and that code comes from the person who selects Give Assistance.

Just pass the above code to the individual waiting for assistance within the 10 minutes shown and the connection between the two devices will be made.

Once that is done the user receiving assistance grants permission for the person giving assistance to access their device remotely and you are on your way to helping sort out issues with the remote system.

Windows 10 Tips App

The Tips app in Windows 10 is updated after each feature update is released so the latest information is reflected for users who want to learn more about Windows 10.

It is broken down into two main sections. One is the Recommended tips as shown above and then there is the Collections.

Each are laid out by categories to group things together in logical lists of tips and assistance. The tips are provided in text and video formats to accommodate the different learning methods that individuals use.

Virtual Agent

This app brings a little Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to Windows 10 assistance and uses natural language searches to retrieve help articles from the Microsoft support website and other documentation repositories at Microsoft.

You just type what you are looking for and the assistant will give a response along with links to further steps and directions.  If the assistant does not understand a question just rephrase it. Even one word inquiries will work with the Virtual Agent.

Snipping Tool

This is one of my favorite tools in Windows 10 because it allows me to capture elements of the screen using four different snip modes:

  • Freeform
  • Rectangular
  • Window
  • Full Screen

You can set a delay up to 5 seconds, which allows you to capture an item that shows up after your initial click on the screen. This is handy for snipping images of sub-menus that do not remain on the screen for very long.

Once you have grabbed a snip from your screen, there are also tools built in that allow you to ink on the image to highlight a certain item or area of the capture.

The resulting snip can then be pasted into other apps or you can save the image for later use.

In fact, all of the images in this article were captured using the Snipping Tool.

Hay, Richard. “Hidden Gems in Windows 10” Windows Secrets, Best Utilities, March 13, 2018

Posted in: MS Office Tips and Tricks

Leave a Comment (0) →

How to Set Tags, Flags, and Reminders in Microsoft Outlook

How often do you receive an email in your Outlook inbox only to decide that you’ll deal with it another time? And how often do you forget to return to that email?

Yep, that’s not unusual. Many of us get so much email that we often leave our inboxes filled to the brim with messages that go unattended and unanswered. There must be a way to categorize and flag certain emails so they remain on your radar. And there is, if you’re using Outlook.

Microsoft’s desktop email program offers different ways to handle an email that you don’t want to face right away but still need to keep alive. You can tag a message with a name and color category so you can easily spot it and know how to respond to it. You can flag a follow-up to an email to nudge you to look at it on a specific day. And you can set a reminder on a message so you’re alerted about it at a specific date and time.  The goal of these actions is to highlight important emails in some way so your attention is drawn or redrawn to them. Let’s check out how to set tags, flags, and reminders on your important Outlook emails.

I’m working with Outlook 2016 as part of my Office 365 subscription, but the steps are the same or similar in the prior couple of iterations of Outlook. To start, open Outlook, stay in your inbox, and right-click on a message that you’ve already read but have yet to answer or organize. Here’s one thing you can do right off the bat. From the popup menu, click on the command to Mark as Unread. This action highlights your email in bold and shows you that there’s now another unread message in your inbox.

Another option is to place emails into color categories, a visual clue that tells you that you still need to deal with these messages. You can use color categories to highlight and organize related messages. And you can use each color category for different types of emails and create your own categories if color names don’t do the trick. Right-click on a different email and hover your mouse over Categorize. Click on a specific color category, such as Blue. The first time you use that category, you’re asked if you want to rename it. Let’s leave the name as is for now. Click No. Notice that your email now has a blue header at the top telling you it’s in the Blue category.

Select a few more messages and assign them to the same color category. Alternatively, you can select a message and click on the Categorize icon on the Home Ribbon to assign a category. Select a couple more messages and assign them to a different color category. Select a couple more and assign them to a third color category. You can select multiple messages and assign them all to the same category in one shot. Now click on the View tab to switch to the View Ribbon. By default, your messages are likely sorted by date. Change the view to categories by clicking on the Categories icon on the Ribbon, and your messages are now organized by category. Change the view back to date.

You can also search for a specific category. Click in the Search field and then click on the Categorize icon on the Search Ribbon. Select the category that you wish to search. Only messages in that category appear in the search results. Click the X in the Search field to remove the search.

To remove a message from a category, right-click on the message, move to the Categorize command, and select Clear All Categories. Next, you can rename your categories or create new ones if you want more descriptive names than just colors. Click on the Categorize icon on the Home Ribbon and select All Categories. At the Color Categories window, click on the New button. Type a name for the new category and assign a color. Click OK. To rename an existing category, select the category and click on the Rename button. Type the new name directly in the field of the existing name and press Enter on your keyboard. To remove an existing category, select it and click on the Delete button. Here’s one more trick before we leave this window. You can assign a keyboard shortcut to an existing category. Doing so lets you select a message and press the keyboard shortcut to put it in that category. Select an existing category, click on the dropdown menu for Shortcut Key, and select a shortcut. Click OK to close the Color Categories window.

Check your existing messages for a category that you renamed and notice that they display the new name. Select a message that you want to assign to a category for which you created a shortcut key. Press the keyboard shortcut and notice that the message takes on that category.

You can also draw your attention to certain emails by setting them with a follow-up flag and adding them to your Outlook To-Do list. Right-click on a message and hover over the Follow Up command. At the flyout menu, you can select a specific day or week, such as today, tomorrow, this week, or next week.

Select Today. A flag appears in the message as a visual clue that you need to attend to this message. Hover over or click on the To-Do List icon at the bottom of the left pane. Any messages you flagged this way appear in your To-Do list.

If you accomplish the To-Do item by responding to or dealing with the message, click on the Flag icon. A checkmark indicates that the item has been marked as complete. Okay, that’s fine, but what if you need a reminder to alert you to respond to a message? Right-click on a different message and move to the Follow-Up command. This time, select Custom. At the Custom window, select the way you want to flag the message or just leave the option set to Follow up. Select the Start date and the Due date. Then check the option for Reminder. Select a specific time for the reminder. By default, the Windows reminder sound will play when the reminder is due, but you can change that to a different sound. Click on the sound icon and browse to and select the sound you wish to hear. Click OK to close the Custom window. The item is added to your Outlook To-Do list but also carries with it a reminder.

When the due date and time arrive, a visual and audible reminder goes off, alerting you that it’s now time for you to pay attention to this message.

Whitney, Lance. “How to Set Tags, Flags, and Reminders on Your Microsoft Outlook Emails,” Windows Secrets, Best Practices, Office Productivity, January 9, 2018

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

Leave a Comment (0) →

10 Forgotton (but still useful) Tips For MS Word

Plenty of Microsoft Word commands have gathered a bit of dust over the years, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t useful for those who remember them. Here are 10 tricks you may find handy.

Perhaps no enterprise productivity tool is used more often in today’s office setting than Microsoft Word. It is the familiar workhorse that creates our emails, reports, proposals, and just about every other document important to the daily operation of business. Yet despite that popularity and familiarity, many quirks and tricks in Word go neglected and unused—tricks that could save us time and frustration if we could just remember them.

In an effort to remedy that situation, here are 10 useful Microsoft Word tips that many of us have forgotten about but shouldn’t have. These tips apply to any version beyond Word 2007 and in some cases even earlier versions than that.

1: Start typing anywhere

This is a simple tip I often forget myself. In the default Print Layout display mode, you can just double-click anywhere on a page and start typing. It doesn’t matter if the page is blank, Word will fill in the space above your cursor with blank paragraphs automatically. You don’t have to start at the top of the page and manually fill it in with blank lines.

2: Auto generate filler text

Even though it might not be the best tool for the job, many people use Word to create layouts in columns and around images, like in a newspaper. In some cases, planning a layout will require the use of filler nonsense text to help gauge page breaks, image placement, and so on.

You can generate filler text written in Latin by using a special command. Type this text into the document body:

=lorem(p,l)

Replace the “p” with the number of paragraphs you want and replace the “l” with the number lines you want. The command will fill in the Latin text for you automatically.

3: Replace special characters

As a former editor, I can attest to the usefulness of this next tip. You can use the search and replace function in Word to locate and replace special and nonprinting characters. This comes in handy when you want to replace double paragraph marks between paragraphs with single marks, for example, as shown in Figure A.


In the Find What field, I entered the code for double paragraph marks (^p^p). In the Replace With field, I specified a single paragraph mark (^p). You can use this technique to replace things like tabs, line breaks, and page breaks as well.

4: Replace styles and formatting

Similar to the previous tip, you can also use the Word search and replace features on styles and other formatting. For example, you might replace the boring normal text used for every mention of your new product in a press release with bold formatting.

To reach these extra parameters, click the More >> button in the Replace dialog box to access expanded options (Figure B). Then click on the Format button and set the format or style to what you desire.

5: Generate quick calculations

This tip may have limited uses, but it can still be useful in a pinch. You can use Word’s Calculate command to solve algebraic equations you have typed as text. The Calculate command is an obscure listing found deep in the All Commands tree. Navigate to File | Options | Quick Access Toolbar | All Commands and add the Calculate command to your Quick Access Toolbar. You can then use it to solve a highlighted equation. For example, if you type

=2+2

the calculated answer will appear in the lower left-hand corner of the Word document where the number of words normally appears.

6: Auto update date and time

In business, you often have to create a dated document, such as a monthly invoice, on a recurring schedule. You can save yourself some time by adding a date function that automatically updates the date each time you create a new invoice.

Place the cursor where you want the date to appear and then navigate to the Insert | Date & Time item on the Ribbon. You’ll have your choice of formats—just be sure to check the Update Automaticallybutton before you click OK.

7: Reveal paragraph styles

The underlying style of each paragraph or section of a document can sometimes be vital information. This is particularly true when a document is going to be run through a specific publication process.

Using an obscure setting found in the Word options menu, you can show the style of each paragraph in the left margin (Figure C). First, change to Draft Mode. Then navigate to File | Options | Advanced and scroll down to the Display section, where you will see this entry: Style Area Pane Width In Draft And Outline Modes. Change the number in that box to .5 inches and click OK. You should now see a pane that displays style information for your document.

 

8:Remove all manual formatting

It happens to everyone who uses Word on a regular basis—sometimes you screw up the formatting to a point where you just want to start over. There is a button on the Home tab of the Ribbon that many people don’t realize is there. It is the Clear All Formatting button and it can be a real time saver.

Highlight the text you want to clear and click that button (which looks like the letter A with an eraser over top of it). All manual formatting will be removed and the text will revert to the underlying style. Then you can start over.

9: Spike it

Just about everyone is familiar with the usefulness of the Copy and Paste keyboard shortcuts—but there is an often overlooked feature called Spike that may be even more powerful. With Spike you can move several bits of text, images, and tables from one document to a different part of the current document or to another document all at the same time.

First, highlight an area you want to cut. (Note: Spike will cut, not copy.) Next, press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + F3. That places the text onto a special clipboard. You can keep adding to that clipboard using Spike without each new cut replacing the old one. Once you have everything you need, open a new document (or click somewhere in the same document, if you prefer) and press Ctrl + Shift +F3. Everything you cut will be placed at the new spot and the Spike clipboard will be cleared.

10: View side-by-side documents

On occasion you may want to view documents side by side. Word makes it easy with a feature found on the View tab of the Ribbon.

Open the documents in question and navigate to the View tab, where you will see the View Side By Side button. Clicking it will split the display in half, so you can see both documents at the same time. Clicking the Synchronous Scrolling button on the View tab will make comparison even easier.

Kaelin, Mark. “10 forgotton (but still useful) tips for Microsoft Office,” TechRepublic, Software, June 2016

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

Leave a Comment (0) →

Windows 10 Tip: Five ways to personalize notifications on your PC

Did you know you can easily personalize what notifications you get on your Windows 10 PC and how they show up, so you can focus on the ones most important to you?

To get started, head to Settings > System > Notifications & actions‌.

First, send notifications, reminders and alarms directly to the action center by right-clicking action center in your taskbar, then selecting Turn on quiet hours.

Stop notifications from showing during a presentation by turning on Hide notifications when I’m duplicating my screen. Or, keep them from showing on your lock screen when you’re not logged in by turning off Show notifications on the lock screen.

If you’re tired of seeing notifications from a particular app, turn them off next to the app under Get notifications from these senders – or, click on the app for more options.

You also always have the option to stop getting notifications on your PC by turning off Get notifications from apps and other senders.

Pidgeon, Elana. “Windows 10 Tip: Five ways to personalize notifications on your PC” Windows Blogs August 2017

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

Leave a Comment (0) →

Microsoft Excel: Why your spreadsheet is so slow

How to deal with “Out of Memory,” “Not Enough System Resources,” and more.

When your Microsoft Excel spreadsheet slows to a crawl, you can’t help but notice. It may take longer to open and save your files, longer for Excel to calculate your formulas, and longer for the screen to refresh after entering data, or sorting and formatting the cells.  System memory is the other issue that relates to Excel’s slowness.

Slow spreadsheets take longer to manage and, as always, time is money. We’ll show you how to tackle this problem.

When Excel spreadsheets get too big

Excel is capable of creating a very big spreadsheet, but the bigger it gets, the more memory is needed to keep it open on your PC.

In the current version of Excel, each spreadsheet has 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns (A1 through XFD1048576). Each cell can hold a maximum of 32,767 characters. I would not advise pushing these limits.

The number of records (rows), fields (columns), and formulas can slow down performance considerably. Every time you add new records, then press the Enter key—or use features such as Sort, Format cells, or Insert/Delete Columns or Rows—Excel recalculates all those formulas. This can cause a lag time of several seconds or more between each process. Using a lot of graphical elements can also hinder performance.

One solution, and one that I highly recommend, is to keep your spreadsheets small and tight, with fewer fields and, if necessary, fewer records. You can accomplish this by creating multiple spreadsheets in a single workbook, with links or three-dimensional formulas. You could also create Relational Database spreadsheets that connect your tables with unique, key fields.

Turn on Manual Calculation and use F9

Another solution is to turn off the Automatic Workbook Calculation option, instead using the Function key F9. When Manual Calculation is selected in the Calculation Options, Excel withholds calculating your formulas until you press F9.

1. Select File > Options > Formulas.

2. In the first section: Calculation Options under Workbook Calculation, click the Manual button.

3. Check the Recalculate Workbook Before Saving box if you want to ensure that the spreadsheet calculation is always current. Or uncheck this box if you plan to calculate the spreadsheet manually using the F9 key before exiting.

4. When finished, click OK.

Excel memory limits

Users constantly ask me: Why does my spreadsheet say “Excel cannot complete this task with available resources. Choose less data or close other applications?” Similar errors include “Not enough System Resources to Display Completely,” or “There isn’t enough memory to complete this action. Try using less data or closing other applications,” or just “Out of Memory.”

Although memory does not affect Excel’s calculation or manipulation speed, the size of your database (number of columns and rows used) is affected by the amount of available RAM in your system. Remember, just because your computer has 8GB of RAM, that doesn’t mean you have that much available to work with.

Excel has its own memory manager and memory limits. The 32-bit version has a limit of 2GB of virtual memory, while the 64-bit version offers up to 8TB of virtual memory. Contrary to some rumors, those numbers include the software itself, plus any add-in programs you have installed.

And that’s just in Excel. Other demands on your system’s memory include the OS, all the other applications that are currently open on your computer, plus a dozen other hidden processes such as DLLs, drivers, and a long list of .exe (executables) that are running in resident memory and/or in the background. Graphics, charts, formulas, and features such as the spell checker, sorting, and printing also consume memory.

For the many users still working with the 32-bit version of Excel, if your spreadsheets are less than 2GB and you’re still receiving memory error messages, try closing all other programs that are running (including the Internet and your email program) to gain additional working memory.

When it’s time to move from 32-bit to 64-bit Excel

If the performance and memory tips above both fail to increase your system’s performance or reduce the number of memory errors, then maybe it’s time to switch to the 64-bit version of Excel. This version does not limit your file sizes, but instead enforces limits only by available memory and system resources. This means if your system has 8GB of memory, Excel can access all of that minus whatever the system uses.

If you’re considering a change from Excel 32-bit to Excel 64-bit, here’s what to keep in mind:

1. Check out the Large Address Aware update. Microsoft rolled out this patch in June 2016, for 2013 and 2016 Excel versions. This update alters the 2GB limit on address space to 4GB when installed for the 32-bit version of Excel in the 64-bit version of Windows. For 32-bit Excel running in 32-bit Windows, the 2GB address space limit is increased to 3GB.

2. Other files are affected when you install this update: For example, for 32-bit Excel with 32-bit Windows, you must make a change in your boot file. Be sure to read Microsoft’s documentation on the Large Address Aware update before you install anything or make any changes.

3. 64-bit Office only works with 64-bit Windows. You cannot run the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Office on the same computer. If you attempt this, Microsoft displays an error message.

4. If you want to upgrade from your 32-bit version to the 64-bit version, you must uninstall and then re-install Office. The reverse is also true.

32-bit vs. 64-bit Excel: Features you’ll lose

Despite the performance beneifts of 64-bit Office, Microsoft actually recommends the 32-bit version of Office for most users, because of its greater compatibility with other applications (particularly third-party add-ins). Also, some of Office’s application features are not supported in the 64-bit OS, such as:

1. The legacy versions of Equation Editor and Equation Builder are not supported

2. The Word Add-in libraries are also not supported (many dozens available online for free or for a minimal cost).

3. Some ActiveX controls and some VBA codes are not compatible.

4. Some database files in Microsoft Access have source code issues.

5. Outlook MAPI applications must be recreated, and

6. The Graphics Device Interface (GDI) rendering may have performance issues due to incompatibilities between the 32-bit and 64-bit devices.

Sartain.JD. “Microsoft Excel: Why your spreadsheet is so slow” PCWorld September 2017

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

Leave a Comment (0) →

Try These Top Add-Ins for Microsoft Word

You can beef up Microsoft Word with the right add-ins.

Microsoft Word packs a lot of features and functionality into one single application. But there’s always room for more. Perhaps you wish Word included a built-in dictation feature that converted your speech into text. Or maybe you’d like a Word feature that reads your documents aloud to you. Or perhaps you’d like a built-in translator that can translate your text from one language to another. Well, Word may not include these items, but you can tap into them by installing an add-in. Add-ins provide greater functionality and flexibility to an Office application so you can do so much more with the program.

You’ll find an array of Word add-ins through Microsoft’s online Office Store, but I’m going to highlight what I think are some of the top and most interesting add-ins to give you a head start. We’ll look at Dictate, an add-in that lets you dictate your documents directly into Word; TextAloud, an add-in that reads your text aloud to you; Read My Document; another add-in that reads your text to you; Translator, an add-in that can translate text in your document between different languages; Collins Dictionary; an add-in that offers a dictionary, a thesaurus, and a translator with audio pronunciation; and Wikipedia, an add-in that lets you access the online encyclopedia site without leaving Word.

Dictate

Windows 10, 8.1, and 7 already come with built-in speech recognition and dictation. But now there’s a new kid on the block. A Microsoft Garage project, Dictate is a free add-in designed for Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Tapping into the technology behind Cortana, Dictate uses speech recognition to convert your words into text. After installing this add-in, launch Word and you’ll see a new menu called Dictation. Click on that menu to display the Dictation toolbar.

Click on the Start button in the Dictate toolbar and begin speaking. As you dictate, you can see the text as interpreted by the Dictate add-in appear in the Response field next to the Start button. You can speak punctuation marks and other non-alphanumeric items, such as periods, commas, and quotes. You can say “new line” or “new paragraph” to move to a new line or paragraph.

The add-in supports 29 spoken languages and can handle real-time translation to 30 languages, so you can speak your text in one language and have it converted into the text of a different language. So, how did Dictate fare? Not as well I had hoped, at least initially. In my testing, Dictation got a fair number of words wrong and was no more accurate than Windows own Speech Recognition feature (which you can access from Control Panel). But the more I used Dictate, the more its accuracy improved. So, if you’re willing to put some time into training it, Dictate is definitely worth trying.

TextAloud

Here’s an add-in I’ve used for years to help me proofread and edit my documents. TextAloud reads your text aloud to you, so you can listen for any mistakes and hear how your documents sound. After you install TextAloud, open Word and click on the new TextAloud menu. From the TextAloud toolbar, you can opt to hear your entire document, the part starting from the cursor, or only selected text. You can pause, stop, and resume the speaking of your document. You can also alter the speed at which the voice speaks.

TextAloud isn’t free. The software by itself costs $29.95. If you want more natural sounding voices, you can add two AT&T Natural Voices for an additional $25. But if you need a reliable tool to help you listen to and verbally proofread your documents, TextAloud is worth the price.

Read My Document

Want a no-frills but free add-in that can read your documents to you? Read My Document fills that bill. Add Read My Document to Word. You have to trust the add-in and follow a few more steps. You then control it from the right pane and can access it by clicking on the Insert menu and selecting My Apps from the Add-ins button. Select the text you wish to hear or select the entire document and then click on the Read selected text button. You can pause or play the reading. The voice used by Read My Documents doesn’t quite have the smoothness of the AT&T Natural Voices but it’s not bad. It has a certain accent to it that makes it pleasing to the ear. You can’t switch voices or control the speech as you can with TextAloud. But for a free program, Read My Document is quite effective.

Translator

Using the power behind Microsoft’s own Translator app, the free Translator add-in can translate text in a document into a different language. After adding Translator, you’re prompted to open Word and trust the program. You can then access it by clicking on the Insert menu and selecting My Apps from the Add-ins button. The program pops up in the right pane. Choose the source and target languages. Select text in your document or select the entire document, and Translator displays the translation in the right pane. You can change the target language, and the displayed text automatically switches to your new language. Translator is a cool and convenient tool if you need to translate text on the fly.

Collins Dictionary

This helpful and free add-in provides a dictionary, thesaurus, and translator in one package, and can even pronounce words for you. Add Collins Dictionary from its page at the Office Store and then open it in Word. After you trust it, the add-in appears in the right pane. Select a word in your document, and the dictionary serves up a definition. In some cases, you can click on a speaker icon to hear the word spoken aloud.

Click on the link for the Thesaurus, and Collins offers synonyms for the word you selected. Then click on the Translator link, select a source language, and Collins translates the text into your chosen language, courtesy of Microsoft Translator.

Wikipedia

Yes, you can always access Wikipedia directly from the Web. But this free add-in provides access to the online encyclopedia within Word. After you add Wikipedia, the usual right pane pops up. Writing about a specific topic, and want to learn more about it? Just type a word or phrase in the search field and click on the search icon, or just select text in your document. The program displays the Wikipedia entry about your subject. Scroll down the pane and you’ll find more information and a link to expand the article to get even more details. Clicking on a link within the article brings you to a new article corresponding to the link, and all within the same pane. If you use Wikipedia as a source of information, you’ll find this a helpful and handy add-in.

 

Whitney, Lance. “Try these Top Add-in’s for Microsoft Word,” Windows Secrets July 2017

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

Leave a Comment (0) →

6 Features to Make you More Productive in Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office is a software which is running on almost every computer.  It is a valuable tool that is used by many on a daily basis. You need it whether you are a professional, a retiree or a student.

When Microsoft releases new versions of Office, it always comes with new and improved features.  So, if you want to take full advantage of this tool it is important that you stay up-to-date and familiarize yourself with its many new features.

Here’s a list of some good tools that I think you will find very useful.

1. The Smart Lookup Feature:

This is a feature which makes it easier to find facts through search engines.  This feature is available in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. This will launch a pane, which is powered by Bing, Microsoft’s search engine. Articles, definitions, images etc. will appear in the pane.

  1. Select the portion of text you want to look up.
  2. Right Click, Select “Smart Lookup” or go to Review > Smart Lookup  for Office 2016
  3. Right Click , select “Search with Bingfor Office 2013

2. Helping you with Recent Documents:

  • Click File > Open > Recent Documents

This feature is turned on by default, but you can turn it off, turn it back on, or adjust the number of files that it displays. So, if you want to change the number of files that appear in the list of recently used files:

Directions for Word 2016

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click Options.
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. Under Display, in the Show this number of Recent Documents list, click the number of files that you want to display.

Directions for Word 2013

  1. Click File > Options > Advanced
  2. Make changes desired under “Display
  3. Click okay

3. The ‘Tell Me’ Feature: (in Office 2016)

You’ll notice a text box on the ribbon in Office 2016 that says ‘Tell me what you want to do.’ This is a text field where you can enter words and phrases about what you want to do next and quickly get to features you want to use or actions you want to perform. You can also use Tell Me to find help about what you’re looking for, or to use Smart Lookup to research or define the term you entered.

4. Using Date Fields:

Microsoft Office offers the feature of adding the latest date and time to the document. When you use the document on any other date, then you can put the current time and date on it. It only takes seconds. It is possible that you may forget to update the date and time, so Word offers a feature which helps in updating it automatically.

  1. Click in the document where you want to insert the date.
  2. Click Insert > Date and Time.
  3. Choose the correct format.
  4. Check the box: Update Automatically (optional).
  5. Click OK.

 

5.  Creating Graphs from Tables is as Easy as 123:

If the document that you are writing has a lot tables in it and you need to create graphs, the new Word feature has made it easier to convert the tables into graphs.

  1. Select the table to be converted.
  2. Click on Insert > Chart
  3. Select the chart type and click OK

6. Translation Options:

You can translate the document into different languages by using the translate feature.  You can translate just a word or as many sentences as needed.

  1. Right Click > Translate
  2. Select the Language of choice in the Research window
  3. Click Insert and the text you selected will be translated.

These are just a few of the many features offered in Microsoft Office.  I hope they are helpful!

Manzoor, Adnan. ” 7 Things You Should Know About Microsoft Office to Make Work Easier” Lifehack June 2017

Posted in: MS Office Tips and Tricks

Leave a Comment (0) →

Do you Know These Double-click Tricks in Excel?

Do you know these Double-click Tricks in Excel?

Most of us think of mastering formulas, learning macros and being super good with charts when we think of being productive with spreadsheets. But often learning simple stuff like keyboard shortcuts, using mouse and working with menus and ribbons can be a huge productivity booster for us.

Double Click on the Office Button / Logo to Close Excel

 

 

This is simple. Displays “do you want to save…” dialog if the workbook is not saved.

Adjust column widths by selecting multiple columns and double clicking on the separators

 

 

 

 

This is my favorite. You can use the same trick to adjust row heights too.

Double-click in the corner, just above scroll-bar to include a split

 

 

 

 

It is surprising that very few people know about split and freeze panes feature in excel. I have often seen colleagues struggling to freeze top row of a large workbook or include a split so that they can see 2 different things at a time.

You can also create a vertical split by clicking on the little bar shape next to horizontal scroll-bar near bottom right corner of the excel window.

(If you are wondering where the split would be created, it will be created at selected cell’s row (or column))

Double click on ribbon menu names to collapse ribbon to get more space

 

 

 

 

In MS Office 2007 you can double click on the ribbon menus to collapse the ribbon to one line. In Excel 2003, when you double click on the empty space in the toolbar area, it opens up the “customize” window (same as Menu > tools > customize)

Auto-fill a series of cells with data or formulas by just double clicking

 

 

 

 

I have saved countless minutes ever since I learned this little trick. Lets say you have a table where in one column you have some data and in the next you have written a formula in the first row. Now how would you copy the formula and paste it in all cells in that column?

Copy the formula (ctrl+c), select all cells, paste the formula.

Well, no more. Just select the formula in first cell, double click in the bottom right corner and see the magic.

The trick works for formulas, auto-fills (of numbers, dates, what not) as long as the adjacent column has data.

Jump to last row / column in table with double-click

 

 

 

 

Just select any cell in the table and double click on the cell-border in the direction you want to go. See the screencast.

Lock a particular feature and reuse them with double-click

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can lock any repeatable feature (like format painter, drawing connectors, shapes etc.) by just double clicking on the icon (in Excel 2007 this works for format painter, but for drawing shapes you need to right click and select lock drawing mode). This can save you a ton of time when you need to repeat same action several times.

Chandoo. “Do you know Double-click Tricks in Excel?” Excel Howtos, Learn Excel June 2009

Posted in: MS Office Tips and Tricks

Leave a Comment (0) →

4 Ways to Lock Your Windows 10 PC

Many of us are responsible for not only our own data, but the data of our clients as well.  Whether  or not you are subject to compliance regulations such as those in the medical or financial services industry, it is vital that we take seriously the security of the data that is entrusted to us.

Most importantly, you should never leave your PC unattended. But if you have to leave your Windows 10 PC alone for a period of time and don’t want to shut it down, we have a few alternatives for you.

Give these tips a try!

  1. Windows-L

Hit the Windows key and the L key on your keyboard. Keyboard shortcut for the lock!

  1. Ctrl-Alt-Del

Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete. On the menu that pops up, click Lock. Easy as 1,2,3 –  done!

  1. Start button

Tap or click the Start button in the bottom-left corner. Click your user icon and then select Lock.

 

  1. Auto lock via screen saver

You can set your PC to lock automatically when the screen saver pops up. Go to Control Panel > Appearance & Personalization > Change screen saver and then check the box for On resume, display logon screen. You can also set a time for how long your PC should wait before starting the screen saver. Now, when you exit out of the screensaver, you’ll need to enter your system password to get back in.

 

With Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft moved this screen saver setting from the Control Panel to Settings. You can find it by going to Settings > Personalization > Lock screen > Screen saver settings.

 

Posted in: MS Office Tips and Tricks, Security

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 3 123