Restrict data input in Excel

We all enter bad data into Excel from time to time. Maybe you’re rushing, or someone distracts you, or you’ve just been doing it too long without a break. And when you open a document up to colleagues to help maintain, your data is only as good as their level of training and attention to…


Change the default width of your Excel cells

If you’re always expanding the width of your cells in Excel, perhaps the default width isn’t working for you. Here’s a quick fix that works in Excel 2007 and Excel 2010. On the Home tab, click the Format button in the Cells section and then select Default Width: Now enter a number that represents the…


Restrict style changes in Word

If you want to limit the use of styles and themes in a Word document that you and your teammates are collaborating on, there’s a tucked away feature that does just that – and it works in both Word 2007 and Word 2010. First, click the tiny launcher button below the Change Styles button on…


Set your own default reminder alert time in Outlook

If you’re like me, you like to be prepared for your meetings. This can mean extra time for reviewing documents, brainstorming ideas, and printing handouts – not to mention travel time. If you’re frequently late or unprepared for your appointments, simply change the default reminder. Go into File, Options, Calendar and select the amount of…

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Get the new Outlook Hotmail Connector

If you use the Outlook Hotmail Connector, you may have already been prompted to update to the new version: This version 14.2 update corrects a number of sync issues, improves performance, and turns off the junk mail filter in Outlook in favor or Hotmail’s own filtering system. If you’ve made entries in Outlook email filters…


Customize the Word grammar checker to match your style

Tired of the Microsoft Word grammar checker underlining mistakes that are actual part of your personal writing style or company style guide? Try tweaking the settings to reduce the green squiggles that indicate a grammar error. In Word 2010, go to File, Options, Proofing and click the Settings button next to Writing Style: In Word…

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Formula Watch: Create custom placeholders with REPT

When filling in empty cells with placeholders or inserting leader characters between columns, try the REPT function. You simply specify a character or string and the number of times you want it to repeat (up to certain limits for Excel, well into the thousands of characters). For instance, if you’re entering data in the millions…


Combat procrastination with Office

I like to log tasks and track my activities in Office apps, whether it’s building a schedule in Excel, converting emails into tasks and reminders in Outlook, or even jotting notes in OneNote. This helps my productivity in a few ways – it helps me break down larger tasks into smaller ones and keeps me…


Spell out page numbers in Word

If the default page numbering in Word doesn’t give you what you want, you can further customize it using Field Codes. A great example is spelling out the numbers. It’s a quick and easy change to make, if you know where to go. First, turn on page numbering by going to the Insert tab and…


Ribbon Hero 2 makes learning about Office features even more fun

You might remember how Ribbon Hero, introduced last year, made learning about Office features as you work seamless and enjoyable. But it wasn’t really a game, even though it did track your score and progress. Now Ribbon Hero 2 is here, and it really is more of a game – but one that teaches you…

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