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Effectively use the Quick Access Toolbar

​The Quick Access toolbar is a powerful feature in the MS Office applicaitons. Excel, Word and PowerPoint have this feature. While this might look like Microsoft has included this feature to pacify those who were used to the older toolbar Graphic User Interface (GUI) and who are now facing a new GUI in the form of the Ribbon (Fluent - as called by MS) interface, it is actually a boon to those who might want to use a couple of commands again and again very frequently during a session in the respective application. And the added advantage here is that it is customizable - you can include any command there and use it conveniently.

Apart from the standard commands made available directly, there is also a provision for adding any command when the user clicks the "More commands" option. You can also include an icon here that represents a macro you have built and have stored it in a seperate file (which usually lies hidden from the user).

There is also the provision for placing this Quick Access toolbar at the bottom of the Ribbon interface for those who are finding it difficult to leave behind the traditional way of working in these applications.

A couple of commands that might be of great use to place in the Quick Access toolbar (apart from Save, Undo and Redo) are:

Print Preview - while this is still accessible from the file menu (office button in 2007), an immediate preview of the Word document to see how it will print is a great time saver.

Email - You can attache the current document/workbook/presentation immediately to a mail (make sure to save it first to give it an appropriate name (failing which you file will contain wierd names like Document1.docx or Book1.xlsx or presentation1.pptx). It is also essential that you have a mailing application profile (Outlook) active under your login name in the system you are currently working. It is another great time saver.

Set aside your Calculator - or donate - Use Excel

Calculators are one of the most primitive forms of computers. Most of them (except some scientific types) help you do very basic calculation and displaying the data or results (and now-a-days the mathematical operators) but only one at a time always.

Excel is the most advanced technology when it comes to number crunching and calculation. And the best thing is you get to see all your data and the results all in one place. But it is a pity that those who have access to Excel in their computers that are sitting right on their tables (and laps and palms) still tend use the primitive calculator. This happens most of time due to ignorance of the capability of Excel and the ease with which Excel can be used.

Enter the data in cells and selec the respective cells. That is all you need to do in Excel to see the results. The status bar at the bottom displays various results - Sum (sigma X), Count (Count for number of selected cells and Numerical count for number of cell that contain numerals (sigma n)), Average (Sigma X/Sigma n), Maximum (the largest number in the selection) and Minimum (the smallest number in the selection). And all this at a time. (The difference between the maximum and the minimum is called the Range).

When you want to make a change in the data and see the effect of it, you do it much easily in Excel. Just change the data in the cell or cells and the respective result also changes. And you want to revert, do a Ctrl + Z. And you want to retain the change - Ctrl + Y.

When you want to display the result in cells, you go a step further to enter the formula or use a Keyboard Shortcut or a mouse click (two in the case of the sigma).

So much luxury Excel offers and it is the user who has to exploit its power to save effort and time.

All the best!

The Sticky Format Painter!

This is something very familiar to all users of MS Office applications - Word, Excel and PowerPoint. We apply various formats to a selection in a file (Font, size, colour, bold, italics, underline, Style, alignment, various number formats and so on). Then, if one wants to apply a similar format to another selection, we make use of the "Format Painter" (the Paintbrush icon) feature. We select the originally formatted part, click on the Format Painter feature and then paint this format on the new selection (word, heading or paragraph in Word or cells in Excel). Immediately, the new selection assumes the desired format.

Here is something that is not very familiar to a majority of the users! If we want to apply the formatting to more than one place, then, should we repeat the same routine mentioned earlier again and again? No. We can do this with just a small trick. Instead of clicking the "Format Painter" once, double click on the paintbrush icon. then, you can apply this formatting any number of times to different places in the file. After we are done with this formatting, we need to press the Esc key to relieve the mouse pointer of the stickiness of the paintbrush icon. Certainly a Sticky feature indeed!

MailTips in Outlook 2010 - Pay attention to these!

People send embarrassing e-mails (or worse) to the wrong recipients. MailTips is designed to make sure your communications are right the first time and to avoid such embarrassing mistakes. Exchange 2010 with Outlook 2010 contain these very helpful tips

Out-of-office auto replies

If you know that the person you are about to send an e-mail to is out of the office, you probably won't send the e-mail to begin with. This will save you and the recipient both time and mailbox space.

Large Recipient List

When sending an e-mail to a large number of recipients, such as a distribution list, a MailTip will warn you of the amount of users you are about to send the e-mail to. This will probably make you think twice before sending an e-mail to 300 people asking if they know how to get to the closest GAP store!

BCC reply-to-all protection

MailTips will warn you when you are about to reply-to-all on a message that was BCCed to you. This can often prevent some rather embarrassing situations. After all, BCCed recipients are normally meant to stay invisible to the rest of the recipients. 

External recipients

It basically warns you if any of the recipients you are sending to are external or not.

Full mailbox

This MailTip lets you know whether the recipient's mailbox has enough capacity to receive your message. 

Oversized messages

A warning will be displayed if the message you are composing exceeds size limits set by your Administrator. 

Restricted recipient

MailTips will tell you straight away if you don't have permission to send to a particular mailbox or distribution list. 

Invalid recipient 

This MailTip informs you whether the mailbox to which you are about to send an e-mail still exists. In Exchange 2007 and earlier, if you send an e-mail to someone whose mailbox has been disabled or deleted, you'd get a non-delivery report. This MailTip helps prevent that, for example it is particularly useful when trying to send an e-mail to someone who left the company.
These mail tips are available to users even when they are using the OWA.

Calling Names in Excel!

Have you ever had to interpret someone else’s worksheet? Or have you ever had to use a worksheet that you constructed months or perhaps years ago, and then been completely unable to figure out what you had in mind when you constructed it? You probably have and, if so, you know what a headache it can be.

The principal difficulty with many otherwise useful worksheets is that their authors don’t document them. Consider this worksheet formula:  

It could take a couple of minutes to figure out what that formula is up to, even if you know the worksheet’s basic purpose. However, it would take you only a few seconds if the author had used this formula instead:  
=IF(AND(YearToDateSales<30000,Tenure<5),Units*Price*LowCommission, Units*Price*HighCommission)

It’s not too difficult to infer what this formula says:  
If this person’s sales during this year are less than $30,000, and this person was hired fewer than five years ago, return the sales amount times the lower commission; other- wise, return the sales amount times the higher commission.

To help make your work self-documenting, in many instances, you should give names to Excel worksheet cells, ranges, and constants. You can then use those names in your formulas and functions so that you can see it’s multiplying sales dollars by a commission, not simply one relatively anonymous cell by another.

Assigning Names 

To name a  cell   or  range , begin by selecting it on the worksheet. Click the Ribbon’s Formulas tab and click the Define Name drop-down in the Defined Names group. Choose Define Name in the drop-down list and type the name you want to use in the Name box. You can also specify the name’s scope as sheet-level or book-level. If you’re using a version of Excel that precedes Excel 2007, choose Insert, Name, Define, and type the name you want to use in the Names in Workbook edit   box; then click OK.  
Or use this quicker method: After you have selected the cell or range, click in the Name box (immediately above the column header for column A and left of the drop-down arrow), type the name, and press Enter.

To name a  constant   such as  LowCommission , click the Define Name dropdown (or choose Insert, Name, Define), and type the name of the constant in the Names in Workbook edit box. Then, in the Refers To edit box, type the value that you want to assign to the constant and click OK. (You can’t use the Name box to define a constant directly.)

A side benefit of using names instead of cell or range addresses is that you can paste names into formulas as you are creating them. After you have started typing a formula, click the Ribbon’s Formulas tab and select the Use in Formula drop-down from the Defined Names group. Then click the name you want in the drop-down list. (In earlier versions, you can choose Insert, Name, Paste and select the name you want to use from the Paste Name list box.) This approach saves you keystrokes and helps prevent misspellings. Also, you don’t have to recall existing names: They’re right there in the list box.   

When you choose a name for a range or a constant, consider using both uppercase and lowercase letters: for example,  TotalLiabilities . Mixing uppercase and lowercase makes the name easier to read. (Compare to  totalliabilities.) You should probably avoid using all uppercase letters. Excel’s worksheet function names (for example,  SUM   and  AVERAGE ) use all uppercase letters, and you don’t want to define a name that could be confused with a function.

Blank spaces and certain special characters, such as the percent symbol, aren’t allowed in names. Some people like to use an underscore in place of a space, preferring Total_Liabilities   over  TotalLiabilities.

- From the library of Wow! eBook

Convert a Word List to a Table

Have you come across a situation where you had a list typed in a page in Word and wished that it could be neatly tucked inside a table? You don't have to redo this in a table again. You can convert this list to a table in just two clicks. Here is how...

Select the list and click the "Insert" tab. Click the Table tab. There is an option - "Convert text to table". You need to tell Word the number of Columns you need for the table and immediately, the whole text selection will be converted to a table with the specified number of Columns. You also can make use of the additional options in the dialogue box to help do this conversion powerfully just like the Text to column feature in Excel.

Thereafter, you can use the Table Design and Layout contextual tabs to format and modify the table.

This gives the list a professional format with the data arranged in a predictable location for easier presentation and reading.

Why Does Not My Macro Run?

Microsoft is paranoid about the security threats that Office files face because of the malign coding or programmes that might get attached to these files. That is the reason why, all files created in MS office - Word, Excel or PowerPoint being dominant - are provided an extra layer of protection.

If there is a macro (automatic VB coding for non-developers) embedded in the file, then, the macro will run immediately after it is created but if you want the macro to run in the subsequent sessions after it was created, then, it has to be saved in a different file format than the default file format. It has to be Saved As a macro enabled file (note the m in the file extensions docm, xlsm and pptm).

If you have a macro that is common for two or more files (or for the application itself), then, you can create this macro in the "Personal macro workbook" in Excel or use the option to save and make it available in All documents in Word and All presentations in PowerPoint. Thereafter, you can run this macro in any file saved in the default file format.

Note: If you are creating a file template with a macro, then, you have to save it as a macro enabled template file which is available as one other option when you choose Save as.

Remove Redundant Data In One Or More Columns

​All of us have faced a situation where there were multiple identical entries in a column of a worksheet and we wanted to hold only one of them in the table's column.

There is an easy way to do this in Excel 2010.

Format the range of cells that you are dealing with as a table. (The range might contain more than one column of information). (You can also do this without formatting the range as a table). Then, when inside the table, click on the Table Tools Design tab and click "Remove duplicates". Check the column from the list provided which contains duplicates. (If you want to check for duplicate entries with respect to two or more columns - i.e., check for duplicates in the first AND the second AND so on at a time - then check the relevant column names). Click OK.

Now we will see Excel displaying how many duplicated rows were removed.

If you are not happy, there is always the Ctrl+Z to undo the duplicate removal.

Email Attachments At One Click

​Are you working on a file that has to go as an attachment to an email? You can do this in just one click from any Office 2007 or 2010 application - Word, Excel or PowerPoint.

Look at the Quick Access toolbar at the top of the application window. You can customize this toolbar to show various commands or features that you frequently use which require three of four clicks one after the other to accomplish a task. One such feature is E-mail. Check the box against E-mail and this will become one of the Quick Access commands on the toolbar.

The next time you want to send a file you are currently working, as an attachment, just click this E-mail icon on the Quick Access toolbar. Bingo! A new mail window opens and your file becomes an attachment to the mail.

No need for clicking on the Attachments option in the new mail window

No need to search for the folder in which the file is located

No need to search for the file in the folder

Make sure to save the file with an appropriate name before you click on the E-mail icon - your file can also become an attachment with wierd names like Document1.Docx or Book1.xlsx or Presentation1.pptx.

This is a real timesaver for a lot of users.

Note: You must have an Outlook email profile available in the login that you are working for this to happen.

Tips for the Techies using Win8

What's running?

If you launch a Metro app, play with it for a while, then press the Windows key you'll switch back to the Start screen. Your app will remain running, but as there's no taskbar then you might be wondering how you'd ever find that out. 
You could just press Alt+Tab, which shows you what's running just as it always have.  
Holding down the Windows key and pressing Tab displays a pane on the left-hand side of the screen with your running apps. (To see this with the mouse, move your cursor to the top left corner of the screen, wait until the thumbnail of one app appears, then drag down. And of course you can always press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to see all your running apps in the Task Manager, if you don't mind (or actually need) the extra technical detail. 

 Task Manager win8.jpg

Run as Administrator

Some programs need you to run them with Administrator rights before they'll work properly. The old context menu isn't available for a pinned Start screen app, but right-click one, and if it's appropriate for this app then you'll see a Run As Administrator option.
Administrative tools
Experienced Windows users who spend much of their time in one advanced applet or another are often a little annoyed to see their favourite tools buried by Windows 8. Microsoft have paid at least some attention, though, and there is a way to bring some of them back. 
Open the Metro Settings panel (press Win+I), click the Settings link, change "Show administrative tools" to Yes and click back on an empty part of the Start screen. And it's as simple as that. Scroll to the right and you'll find a host of new tiles for various key applets - Performance Monitor, Event Viewer, Task Scheduler, Resource Monitor and more - ready to be accessed at a click.
 Administrative tools win8.jpg
Install anything
Most mobile platforms recommend you only install apps from approved sources to protect your security, and Windows 8 is the same: it'll only allow you to install trusted (that is, digitally signed) apps from the Windows store.
If this proves a problem, though, and you're willing to take the security risk (because this isn't something to try unless you're entirely sure it's safe), then the system can be configured to run trusted apps from any source. Launch GPEdit.msc, browse to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > App Package Deployment, double-click "Allow all trusted apps to install" and select Enabled > OK.
Uninstall easily
The latest Windows 8 apps are better than those in the Developer Preview, but they're still a fairly random selection and you're sure to find some that you'll rarely, if ever use.  In this case right-clicking one of their Start screen tiles will display a few relevant options. 
If this is one of the larger tiles, for instance, choosing "Small" will cut it down to half the size, freeing up some valuable Start screen real estate. 
If you just want to dismiss the app for now, select "Unpin from Start". The tile will disappear, but if you change your mind then you can always add it again later. (Search for the app, right-click it, select Pin to Start. Or, if you're sure you'll never want to use an app again, choose Uninstall to remove it entirely.
 Uninstall app win8.jpg
Launch programs fast
If you're a fan of keyboard shortcuts and don't like the idea of scrolling through Metro tiles to find the program you need, don't worry, Windows 8 still supports a useful old shortcut. This is perfect if, say, you're looking to be able to shut down your PC with a click.
Launch the desktop app, right-click an empty part of the desktop and click New > Shortcut. 
Browse to the application you'd like to launch here. Of for the sake of this example, enter
shutdown.exe -s -t 00 to shut down your PC, or shutdown.exe -h -t 00 to hibernate it, and click Next. Type a shortcut name - Hibernate, say - and click Finish.
Right-click the shortcut, select Pin to Start and it should appear on the far right of the Metro screen - just drag the tile wherever you like.
VHD - enhanced
Windows 7 added support for creating and attaching virtual hard drives in Microsoft's VHD format. Now Windows 8 extends this with the new VHDX format, which improves performance, extends the maximum file size from 2 to 16TB, and makes the format "more resilient to power failure events" (so they shouldn't get corrupted as easily). Launch the Computer Management Control Panel applet, choose Disk Management, and click Actions > Create VHD to give the format a try.
Virtual Machines
Install Windows 8 and you also get Microsoft's Hyper-V, allowing you to create and run virtual machines (as long as you're not running in a virtual machine already). Launch OptionalFeatures.exe, check Hyper-V and click OK to enable the feature. Then switch back to Metro, scroll to the right, find and click on the Hyper-V Manager tile to begin exploring its capabilities.
Scheduled Maintenance
Windows 8 Consumer Preview will now run common maintenance tasks - software updates, security scanning, system diagnostics and more at a scheduled convenient time, which is good.
Unfortunately it doesn't actually ask you what time is convenient, instead just setting it to 3am and allowing the system to wake your computer (if hardware and circumstances permit) to do its work. This isn't so good. To change this, launch Control Panel, click System and Security > Action Centre > Maintenance. You can now click "Start maintenance" to launch any outstanding tasks right now, while selecting "Change maintenance settings" enables you to choose a more convenient time, and optionally disable the feature's ability to wake up your computer if that's not required.
Advanced menu options
If you need to run the command prompt as an Administrator then your instant reaction will probably be to reach for the Start menu. Before becoming annoyed a microsecond later when you remember it's no longer there.  
It's good to see that Microsoft have provided a simple alternative, then - just click the File menu in Explorer and click Open command prompt > Open command prompt as administrator.And while you're there, make note of the other advanced new options also on that menu: you can open a new window in a new process, open Explorer, and even delete your Recent Places and Address Bar histories with a click.
 Advanced Menu options win8.jpg
Show all folders
The default Windows 8 Explorer view doesn't show all the usual drives and folders - Control Panel, Recycle Bin and so on - in the left-hand navigation pane. It certainly keeps the display simple, and if you want to see all your drives then you can just click Computer, but if you prefer to see everything up-front then it only takes a moment. Click View > Options, check "Show all folders" and click OK.
Mount ISO files in Windows 8
Need to take a closer look at an ISO file? Right-click it in Explorer, click Mount and you can view it as a virtual drive, launch the files it contains, or add more if you like.
Restart Explorer
If Explorer locks up for some reason, then regaining control is now very easy. No need to close the process any more: simply press Ctrl+Alt+Esc, select Explorer in the list, click Restart and Windows 8 will handle the rest.
VirtualBox error
The safest way to sample Windows 8 CP is to install it on a VirtualBox virtual machine. It's fairly easy to set up, there's no need to worry about partitioning or other issues, and if it doesn't work for whatever reason (which is possible, it's a beta after all) then you'll have lost nothing but a little time. 
After completing your installation, though, you might find your virtual Windows 8 complaining that "Your PC needs to be repaired". But despite telling you to "Press Enter to try again", or "Press F8 for alternate boot options", neither option works. 
Fortunately there's an easy answer. Close the Windows 8 window, select your virtual machine in VirtualBox, click Settings > System > Processor and check the "Enable PAE/NX" box. Click OK, restart your virtual machine and this time it should launch properly.
Metro apps won't launch
You click a Metro app, and nothing else happens? Display issues are often the cause. In particular, Metro apps don't currently support screen resolutions lower than 1024x768 (or 1366 x 768 when snapping), so increase your resolution if possible (launch the desktop, right-click, select Screen Resolution).
Or if that's no help, try updating your video drivers.
Performance problems
If your Windows 8 system seems sluggish, the revamped task manager may be able to offer some clues. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to take a look.
The simplified Processes tab then reveals what's currently using your CPU time, RAM, hard drive and network bandwidth. (The more in-depth data available in previous Task Manager versions is now accessible via the Details tab.)
The Performance tab gives you a graphical view of resource use over the last few seconds, while the App History dialog looks back over days or more to reveal which app is the most resource-hungry.
And is your boot time slow? Click the new Startup tab to see programs your system is launched when Windows boots. The "Startup impact" now shows how much of an effect each of these has on your boot time; if you spot high impact programs you're sure you don't need, then right-clicking them and selecting "Disable" will ensure they're not loaded next time.
 Powerful though all this is, if you can think of a reason to use the old Task Manager then it's still accessible. Hold down the Windows key, press R, type TaskMGR and press Enter to launch it. (Typing TM will launch the new version.)
 Performance problems Task manager win8.jpg
Device Manager Events
If you've a driver or hardware-related problem with Windows 8, launch Device Manager, browse to the relevant device, right-click it, select Properties and click the new Events tab. If Windows has installed drivers, related services or carried out other important actions on this device then you'll now see them here, very useful when troubleshooting.
Recovery options
Windows 8 Consumer Preview has performed well for us, but if you find it won't boot at some point then you now have to press Shift+F8 during the launch process to access its recovery tools. Access the Troubleshoot menu, then Advanced Options and you'll be able to try the Automatic Repair tool, which may fix your problems. No luck? The same menu enables you to use the last System Restore point, tweak key Windows Startup settings, even open a command prompt if you'd like to troubleshoot your system manually. 
If that all seems like too much hassle then the Troubleshoot menu's option to "Refresh your PC" may be preferable, as it essentially reinstalls Windows 8 but keeps your files, and will fix many issues.But if it doesn't then there's always the more drastic "Reset your PC" option, which removes all your files and installs a fresh new copy of Windows 8.You don't have to access these features from the boot menu, of course. If Windows 8 starts but seems very unstable, then open the new Recovery applet in Control Panel for easy access to the Refresh, Reset and other disaster recovery features.
Advanced options Recovery win8.jpg