Microsoft Office

- Tech and Technology
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office - Tips and Tricks - Keyword Shortcuts
Microsoft Office - Advanced Tips and Tricks
Microsoft Office Toolbars
Avoid ordering off the menu, if possible. use Microsoft Office Toolbars
Toolbars in software applications give you point and click access to the most common functions in a particular program. Without Microsoft Office toolbar buttons, you’d still be able to get the job done through menus, but you’d end up doing a lot more work than you needed to.
Microsoft Office Toolbars Rule! - The Toolbars in Microsoft Office applications save time, mouse clicks and keystrokes. Yet, I’m always shocked how many small business PC users are missing out on this huge productivity booster.

In fact, not using Microsoft Office Toolbars can be a major barrier standing in your way of using Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel more productively. Most of what you’re about to learn also applies to other Microsoft Office applications, including Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Publisher. -

Pull-Down Menus: More Time Consuming
Menus include virtually every available command, but you are probably visiting menus a lot more than you need to. For most of us, the great majority of what’s needed is in the Standard and the Formatting Toolbars. Table 3-4 lists popular toolbar buttons. - You’ll notice a few repeats in Table 3-4, such as Format Painter and Undo/Redo. Again, one of the big benefits of using multiple applications in Microsoft Office is the idea of learn once, apply many places. As you’re gaining proficiency in one application, you’re already learning small pieces of all the other Microsoft Office programs and toolbars. -
ScreenTips: What Does That Microsoft Office Toolbar Button Do Again?
Microsoft helps you to easily and quickly recall the function of each Toolbar button with something called ScreenTips. To use the ScreenTip for a particular Toolbar button, simply move your mouse pointer on top of the Toolbar button and leave it hovering there without clicking the mouse button. -

Toolbar buttons save you lots of time in Microsoft Office -

Word - -

Excel -

Borders -

Columns -

Format Painter -

Increase/Decrease Indent -

Insert Table -

Numbering/Bullets -

Show/Hide -

Style -

Undo/Redo -

Zoom -

AutoSum -

Chart Wizard -

Drawing -

Fill Color -

Format Painter -

Merge and Center -

Paste Function -

Spelling -

Sort Ascending/Descending -

Undo/Redo - -

Common buttons on the Standard and Formatting Toolbars in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. - Within a moment, a little yellow box pops up to give you a very concise explanation of the Toolbar button’s functionality. For example, if I hover on top of the little yellow file folder button on the Standard toolbar in Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel, a ScreenTip called Open pops up to remind me that this button is used to open a file. -
Customizing your Microsoft Office Toolbars
If there are a few missing wish list buttons that still have you trekking to the pull-down menus, you easily can customize Toolbars in Microsoft Office applications without any programming or even anything remotely technical. Just make a note of the menu command you want on your Toolbar. -

Next, go to the Tools menu, Customize command, click on the Commands tab, and find the desired command and icon. Then, drag and drop the command icon up to the appropriate Toolbar with your mouse and release. Voila! If you want to save great amounts of time and make your employees more productive, invest a few minutes and place your most commonly used Microsoft Office commands on various Toolbars.

Microsoft Office Toolbars Action Items -

  • Are your employees trained on what the Standard and Formatting Toolbar buttons do in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel?
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  • Are your employees aware that ScreenTips can help them quickly recall the function of a Toolbar button?
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  • Are there any tasks in Microsoft Office applications that your employees do several times a day, which could be streamlined through the use of Toolbar buttons?
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  • Do you know of any commands in Microsoft Office applications that your employees wish there was a Toolbar button for? If so, have you tried to simply customize the Toolbar by dragging and dropping the menu command onto an available Toolbar slot?
  • Learn how to recover a lost MS Office toolbar.
    MS Office Toolbar Dependence Syndrome
    Once a new Microsoft Office user gets comfortable with Toolbar buttons, the user is likely to virtually abandon use of more complex menu commands. So, panic can rapidly set in a when one of the Toolbars vanishes without a trace. This is one of the most common tech support and training requests I see with Microsoft Office users. -
    Easily Remedied with a Few Minutes of Training
    Include some simple training in your employee computer orientation to show how to get back a Toolbar that may have wandered off the screen. You control which Toolbars are displayed through the View menu, Toolbars command. By default, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel display the Standard and Formatting Toolbars. You can turn the display of various Toolbars on and off by toggling displayed checkmarks (Figure 3-3). -

    Lost MS Office Toolbars Action Items -

  • Do your employees use any Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel Toolbars, beyond the default Standard and Formatting Toolbars?
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  • Do you know how to enable and disable the display of various Microsoft Office toolbars?
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  • Are your employees trained on how to recover a lost toolbar in Microsoft Office?
  • Microsoft Word Templates
    Build a Microsoft Word templates library to slash your offset printing bills.
    Are you still paying outside companies to print small quantities of envelopes, letterhead, memo pads, vacation request forms, employment applications, employee annual evaluations and potentially dozens of other office forms and stationery? -
    Eliminating Some Outside Printing Costs with Microsoft Word Templates

    Although some unusual circumstances still may justify these old-fashioned practices, most small businesses can save a bundle by setting up various templates in Microsoft Word to eliminate some of your outside printing costs.

    Four-Step Plan of Attack with Microsoft Word Templates

    1) Get your company’s logo digitized in a format that can be inserted readily into Microsoft Word documents and templates. If it’s not already in an accessible electronic format such as .TIF or .BMP, get your logo scanned in and touched up for clarity. -

    2) Pull out your offset printing bills for the past year or so and see where you’re spending the most. This will help you prioritize your cost-saving potential. Then determine whether some of these outside printing jobs could be handled internally if your company, for example, purchased a special grade of paper for your laser printer or invested in a high-speed color laser printer. As a fellow small business owner, I know I’m constantly evaluating these cost-saving possibilities. -

    3) Assemble a team of Microsoft Word savvy staff members to begin drafting some templates. For the sake of consistency and branding, your staff should agree on a common set of formatting styles (fonts, sizes and so forth). If your documents look bland, vaguely resembling as much flair and pizzazz as something coming off an electric typewriter, get familiar with some of the included Microsoft Word templates and styles. Using these pre-fabricated design elements is not difficult, but is often the key difference between an amateurish and professional document appearance. -

    4) Don’t format text by hand in Microsoft Word. Templates always include a set of preformatted styles, which you can easily modify or add to. As seen in Figure 3-4, you can find the Style drop-down list on the left side of the Formatting toolbar. Be sure to use styles in your Microsoft Word documents to ease your initial formatting and document maintenance. - Professionally designed styles give your documents a sense of flair and consistency, while easing maintenance burdens. -

    Keeping Employees on the Same Page with Microsoft Word Templates
    To ensure consistency within your company, place newly customized and created Microsoft Word templates (.dot files) in a folder on your file server that all employees have access to. - Then, under the Tools menu, Options command, File Locations tab, select Workgroup Templates. Then Modify and select the shared template folder location (Figure 3-5). -
  • Tip:
    To maintain greater centralized control, you may want to give read-write permissions to these files only to designated managers. Everyone else could get read-only permissions. -
  • By pointing all employees’ Microsoft Word configurations to the same Workgroup Templates folder on your server, you can ensure that everyone has the same version of Microsoft Word templates available when choosing the File, New command.

    Microsoft Word Templates Action Items -

  • Do you currently have a clean version of your company logo in a digital format, ready for printing, such as .tif, .bmp or .eps (Encapsulated PostScript)?
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  • What kinds of printing jobs are typically sent to your local offset printing company?
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  • Have you ever considered whether any printing jobs could be run internally if, for example, you purchased a certain paper grade for your high-speed laser printer, or invested in a high-speed color laser printer?
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  • Which of your employees are most highly-skilled on Microsoft Word and in the best position to recommend and design a set of companywide document templates?
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  • Are there certain employees that you'd want to be the authorized maintainers of templates, while all others are merely users and locked out from modifying templates?
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  • Do you have any existing Microsoft Word templates that are being used in different places in your company?
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  • Are employees aware of how to use Microsoft Word templates and accompanying formatting styles to give documents a professional, consistent appearance?
  • - Do you have a centralized folder on your file server where you can access, store and manage the company library of Microsoft Word templates?
    File Naming Conventions
    Appoint one person in charge of server folder structure and file-naming conventions.
    Implementing a local area network (LAN) is one of the easiest ways to scale up from personal productivity to workgroup or companywide productivity. - However, once employees begin sharing file folders on a centralized file server, chaos can follow rapidly . -
    Avoid Productivity-Sapping Chaos with Well-Planned File Naming Conventions

    If you’re looking for an analogy in the offline world, consider what would happen if you bought a new lateral file cabinet and told everyone they could put whatever they wanted in it, without any underlying structure (no drawer labels, no hanging folders, no nothing). -

    Four Steps to Organizational Success with File Naming Conventions
    As a result, it’s very important to appoint an owner of each shared-file folder. This person gets four key responsibilities. -

    1) Design and maintain an orderly set of folders and subfolders -

    2) Monitor storage space use (checking the MBs and GBs) -

    3) Purge and archive obsolete folders and files -

    4) Set up and enforce file-naming conventions everyone can follow easily - This job is usually a good fit for a department manager, supervisor or team leader. The folder captain doesn’t necessarily need to be that computer-literate, but does need to be very well-organized and detail-oriented. - Many small businesses assume that the internal guru or computer consultant can handle these tasks. However, by the time storage space is running low or folders have become an out-of-control mess, it’s usually an unwelcome emergency task that easily can be avoided by taking the above proactive steps.


    File Naming Conventions Action Items -

  • How organized, or disorganized, are your file server's shared folders containing Microsoft Office data files?
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  • Is there anyone who's currently in charge of monitoring and enforcing orderly use of shared server folders and naming conventions?
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  • If you don't currently have anyone accountable for maintaining a well organized set of server folders and naming conventions, do you have some employees or managers who would be good candidates for folder owner or captain?
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  • Who monitors how much storage space is remaining on the server and who is using and possibly abusing various storage space resources? Do you use any third-party utility programs to automate these tasks?
  • - Who is responsible for archiving and purging obsolete folders and files?
    Computer Virus Protection
    Treat all unexpected Microsoft Office files e-mailed to you as virus suspects (i.e computer virus protection 101).
    Microsoft Office viruses, mainly those that attack Microsoft Outlook (and to a lesser extent Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel) are prolifically prevalent and destructive. - Worse yet, a virus will strike when you least expect it to. - So you need some basic computer virus protection techniques. - -
    Innocent until proven guilty? (when it comes to computer virus protection)
    This is not a good approach to dealing with Microsoft Office documents that appear in your e-mail Inbox. -

    Instead, unless you specifically know that the file is coming, you should handle every unsolicited Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel file you receive in your e-mail Inbox as suspicious, even if the file comes from someone you know.

    Computer viruses can be very expensive to clean up once they’ve infiltrated your company. We’ll look at antivirus software and best practices in more detail in Chapter 8. - But for now you should at least know that any Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel file that’s e-mailed to you that you weren’t expecting, no matter who it’s from (even from a boss, spouse or computer consultant), should be looked at with a strong degree of virus containment skepticism. -
    Third-Party Assistance with Computer Virus Protection
    In addition to keeping your third-party antivirus software up to date daily or weekly, Microsoft provides many Microsoft Office-specific security patches that, among other things, help to protect you from viruses. -
    Microsoft Assistance with Computer Virus Protection
    The Microsoft Office Product Updates Web page offers an easy way to keep up with the latest Microsoft Office patches, enhancements and service releases.

    Computer Virus Protection Action Items -

  • Are your employees trained on how to deal with unsolicited Microsoft Office file attachments that land in their e-mail Inboxes?
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  • Do you use the Microsoft Office Product Updates page to keep your Microsoft Office installations up to date with the latest patches, enhancements and service releases?
  • - Does every desktop PC, notebook and server in your office have regularly updated third-party antivirus software installed and properly configured?
    Repair Access Databases
    Get familiar with the built-in maintenance and repair tool for Microsoft Access.
    Mention the buzzwords, “relational database,” and many small business managers’ eyes glaze over at the prospect of maintaining and repairing their Microsoft Access database. Don’t let the thought of these tasks intimidate you. Maintaining and repairing a Microsoft Access database isn’t much more difficult than those things you already know about other Microsoft Office applications. -
    Crucial Backups vs. Having to Repair Access Databases
    Before I introduce you to this key utility that can prevent an emergency technical support or computer consultant call, you need to do a nightly verified and regularly tested backup of any Microsoft Access databases at your company. If you have a very low tolerance for data loss, you even may want to back up more than once a day. - In Part III, we’ll look at all kinds of data protection measures you can take to prevent expensive, devastating database corruption. But, for the time being, backing up a Microsoft Access database regularly should be a top priority. -
    Maintenance 101: Compacting and Repairing a Microsoft Access Database
    Relational databases run best when all the tables are indexed properly, the way you can look up information in a book quickly by referring to a properly designed index in the back. - Microsoft Access does a decent job of keeping these indexes up to date on its own. This alone is a huge improvement over previous generations of relational database programs. However, as various items in a database (tables, queries, reports, forms, fields and records) are added and removed, space builds up between data that makes using the database less efficient. - This dilemma is very similar in concept to the way a hard drive becomes fragmented. To eliminate disk fragmentation, you’d run a defragmentation utility. In Microsoft Access, the process is called compacting. -
  • Note:
    Before running this utility program on a Microsoft Access database, make sure all users are out of the database, and that you have a current verified and tested backup copy. -
  • To run the Compact and Repair operation on a Microsoft Access 2000 database, go to the Tools menu, choose the Database Utilities command, followed by the Compact and Repair Database command on the submenu (Figure 3-9). In most cases, Microsoft Access takes care of the rest, without complications. The Compact and Repair Database command in Microsoft Access can be used to optimize and repair a database. -
  • Tip:
    If you want to see what kind of impact compacting has on the size of your Microsoft Access database, open Windows Explorer and look at the size of the .mdb file before and after you run the utility program.
  • If your Microsoft Access database application is split between two .mdb files, where one contains the data tables and the other contains the front-end, you’ll need to run the Compact and Repair process on each .mdb file separately.


    Repair Access Databases Action Items -

  • Do you use Microsoft Access databases?
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  • Do you perform a verified, nightly backup of your Microsoft Access databases? How often do you test restoring the database to make sure your backup system is really working as expected?
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  • Would it be devastating to lose up to one full day of work in a Microsoft Access database? If so, would you consider running a verified backup of the Microsoft Access database more than once daily?
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  • Do you know how to compact your Microsoft Access databases to make them run more efficiently?
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  • Do you know how to repair a corrupted Microsoft Access database?
  • - Are any of your Microsoft Access databases split up between a front-end and back-end .mdb file?
    Outlook PST : Next >>
    Outlook PST Repairs
    Learn to use two simple maintenance and repair tools for Microsoft Outlook.
    Just as with Microsoft Access databases, Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders (.pst files) can become bloated and inefficient, as well as corrupted or damaged. -
    Crucial Microsoft Outlook .pst File Backups
    As with Microsoft Access, be sure your Personal Folders File is backed up and verified every night. Again, if you have a very low tolerance for data loss, consider backing up more often than once a day. -
    The “Corporate or Workgroup” version of Microsoft Outlook has a very straightforward utility for compacting your Personal Folders File (.pst). And, just as when you compacted Microsoft Access .mdb files, you can get an idea of the impact of this operation by inspecting the .pst file size, both before and after compacting. Once again, you can find file size information through Windows Explorer. -
  • Tip:
    To learn whether you’re running the “Corporate or Workgroup” version of Microsoft Outlook 2000, go to the Help menu and choose the About command. -
  • Compacting a Microsoft Outlook .pst Personal Folders File
    To compact your Personal Folders File, first exit out of Microsoft Outlook. Then, from your Start menu, go to Settings, and then Control Panel. - Within the Control Panel, open the Mail applet. Then, select the Personal Folders entry and click the Properties button, as you’ll see in Figure 3-10. Finally, in the Properties dialog box, click the Compact Now button. Microsoft Outlook will take over from there. Do not interrupt this operation while the file is being compacted. Although a Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders File (.pst) can become bloated, the Compact Now button allows you to remedy this problem easily. - While you’re in this dialog box, for future reference record the file name and path of the Personal Folders File in Table 3-5. -
    Microsoft Outlook .pst File Maintenance Planner

    Inbox Repair Tool -

    (Scanpst.exe) -

    Personal Folders -

    (*.pst) -

    Location on
    My Computer
    (drive letter:
    \folder\filename) -


    To run the Inbox Repair Tool, you’ll need to know the file path location of both the Inbox Repair Tool and the Personal Folders File. Use Table 3-5 to record these file path locations. - When compacting is complete, click OK and then another OK to close the Mail applet. Then close the Control Panel. -
    Inbox Repair Tool for Microsoft Outlook .pst Files
    Sometimes, instead of just compacting for the sake of proactive maintenance, you may get an error message that prevents you from opening your Personal Folders when you launch Microsoft Outlook. If you’ve already tried obvious troubleshooting steps (rebooting your PC and making sure you’re logged on properly), try the Inbox Repair Tool. - Because the Inbox Repair Tool utility program and Personal Folders File often end up in various locations on different PCs, the first step is to find the Inbox Repair Tool. So let’s first open Windows Explorer, also known as Exploring Windows or Windows NT Explorer. - Right click on My Computer and choose the Search or Find File command. To find the Inbox Repair Tool, we’ll search for the file named scanpst.exe, as you’ll see in Figure 3-11. Then record the folder path of scanpst.exe in Table 3-5 earlier in this section. The full path and file name of your Personal Folders File (.pst) already was recorded in Table 3-5 when you compacted the Personal Folders File earlier in this section. - Before you can run the Inbox Repair Tool for Microsoft Outlook, first determine where its scanpst.exe file is on your hard drive. - To launch the Inbox Repair Tool, double click on the scanpst.exe file that you found a few moments ago. Then, as you see in Figure 3-12, click the Browse button to select the location of your Personal Folders File (.pst) we identified earlier. - Before you can click Start, first enter the name and path of the Personal Folders File you want to scan. - Next, click the Start button and allow the Inbox Repair Tool to do its magic. Take great pains to make sure this process doesn’t get interrupted midstream, as this may result in severe data corruption. After the Inbox Repair Tool scans through your Personal Folders File (eight steps), you’ll get a progress report (Figure 3-13) and an opportunity to back up your Personal Folders File before proceeding. - When you’re ready to continue, click the Repair button to complete the process. Once finished, you will be asked to click OK to acknowledge that the repair process is complete. - Before the Inbox Repair Tool goes into Repair mode, you’ll get a brief summary of results and the opportunity to view Details of findings.

    Microsoft Outlook PST Repairs Action Items - How often does your company backup users' Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders files (.pst files)?

  • Do you know if you're running the "Corporate or Workgroup" or "Internet Mail Only" version of Microsoft Outlook?
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  • Do you know where your company's Personal Folders Files are stored?
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  • How often do users compact their Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders Files (.pst) to keep Microsoft Outlook functioning at peak performance?
  • - Do you know how to use the Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe) to repair a damaged Microsoft Outlook .pst Personal Folders File? -
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