No Longer Spellbound

One last thought about spell checking. I mentioned a few days ago how much I depend on red-squiggle on-the-fly spelling and grammar checking, especially in Word. From time to time, though, I have to admit that I’ve typed a word I thought might be misspelled and then sat, waiting to see if the red squiggle was…

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Click and Type in Word

One of the indispensable but esoteric features of the Word user interface is called “Click and Type.” Click and Type was a feature added to Word 2000 to help make it easier to position text at specific points on the page without needing to hit Enter and Tab a bunch of times to position the…

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The Secret of the Mysterious Buttons

At the bottom of Word’s vertical scroll bar sit three esoteric buttons: one with a picture of two up arrows on it, one with a picture of two down arrows on it, and one in-between them with a picture on it that looks a little like a planet. Mysterious buttons These buttons have existed since…

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Naming Your Outlook Quick Flags

One of the features we built into the Outlook 2003 user interface is called Quick Flags. You can single-click next to any mail item to color it so that you can find it again later. Or, you can right-click to apply one of six colors to help you categorize it further. Either way, all marked…

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The Keyboard At Your Command

We’ve been working a lot lately on improving the Office 12 keyboard model, so my mind is trapped in a keyboard shortcut frame of mind. I don’t have anything to share on this subject yet (we’re still working on the design), and when I do I’ll certainly post here. But thinking about this so much…

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The Second Time Is Always Better

Speaking of options, did you know you can show two time zones at once in the Outlook calendar? This tip works in all versions of Outlook. Go into Tools.Options and click the Calendar Options button and then the Time Zone button. Alternatively, you right-click the time bar on the left side of the calendar and…

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Control Your Text In Word

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about holding down the Alt key while selecting text in Word to draw a box around it. I received a lot of mail thanking me for the tip, which was nice. But three of the mails had something in common—they asked me to pass along to the Word…

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Selecting With the Magic Box

Here’s a handy trick to kick off your weekend. You’ve got a few columns of text in a Word document, separated by tabs.  They’re not in a table. Now, you want to format just one of the columns without impacting the text in any of the other ones.  Think you have to manually select and…

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Know Your ABC’s (Office 12 Coolness, Part 3)

One of the features I always wished Word had was the ability to alphabetize a list of words.  I always copied my words into Excel, fixed them up one per row, sorted them there, and then pasted back into Word.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Word has had this feature since version 2.0!…

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The Best Outlook Feature Ever

Here’s an Outlook party trick suitable for cruise ships, family reunions, and kids birthday parties. Up until now this secret trick has been known only to Outlook insiders–a kind of “secret handshake” passed through the generations of Outlook team members.  Every few years ago someone files a bug on it and it is quickly closed…

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