Category Archives: Office

Anything related to Microsoft Office

Find words in all caps in Word

Sometimes it’s helpful to be able to find words in all caps in Word. Microsoft Word, that is. This helps you find all the acronyms so you can make sure you spelled them out or explained them properly.

Double-checking acronyms is especially important when writing government proposals, which require you to spell out acronyms on first usage. If you’ve never written a proposal, be glad, smile, and nod. Many acronyms make good index material, so this trick helps when you’re writing an index. Also, acronyms are frequently jargon, so making sure you explain them adequately is just part of good writing. Or, if you’re a fan of high quality typography, you might want to find them all so you can set them in small caps for improved aesthetics and readability.

Here’s how you do it.

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Spot phishing e-mails with Outlook 2010

I got e-mail the other day from Turbotax saying someone had filed my taxes for me. Obviously a cause for concern, right? Here’s how I determined the message was fake in about three minutes.

Some people will tell you not to even open a message like this, but if you’re a computer professional, at some point someone is going to want you to prove the message was fake. I think this is something every e-mail administrator, desktop support professional, security professional, and frankly, every helpdesk professional ought to be able to do.

So here’s how you can get the proof. And generally speaking, Outlook 2010’s default configuration is paranoid enough that this procedure will be safe to do. If you want an extra layer of protection, make sure you have EMET installed and protecting Outlook.

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How to justify text in Publisher 2013

I couldn’t figure out how to justify text in Publisher 2013, but I finally found the way. Here’s how.

I did some layout in Publisher 2013 after having not done page layout in a decade or more, and Publisher 2013’s interface confused me a bit. I finally found two ways to justify text.

The fast, easy way: Highlight the paragraph you want and press CTRL-J. Done. I love keyboard shortcuts. Justify starts with “j,” so that makes the keyboard shortcut pretty easy to remember.

The harder, slower way: In the paragraph tab, click the down arrow in the lower right corner. In the “Indents and Spacing” tab, there’s a dropdown box called “Alignment.” Select “Justified,” then click “OK.” Scout’s honor, I looked past that option at least 17 times.

Oddly enough, once I used full justification, then I got a little icon in the paragraph section of the ribbon for that, but I’m 100% certain that option wasn’t there before.

Pro tip: If you’re going to justify text, make sure you enable hyphenation. Click inside the text box, then click “Format” under “Text Box Tools” under the ribbon. Justified text looks much better when hyphenation is on. Hyphens reduce the number of spaces the computer has to insert. Fewer spaces mean fewer “rivers” in the text, and that makes for a better-looking page. Here’s more on hyphenation if you’re curious.

Taming Office 2013’s appearance

A couple of months ago I upgraded to Office 2013 at work. I liked it, but around the same time, my eyes started burning. I never made the connection, but then last week, when a coworker upgraded, he mentioned his eyes were burning, and he made the connection.

He found this guide for toning down Office. We both recommend the dark gray scheme, which is much easier on the eyes than the default harsh white scheme.

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How to keep Excel from dropping zeroes after the decimal point

At work part of my job is reporting security metrics along with my colleague, and sometimes we report things like the number of machines running a specific operating system. The problem we run into is that when it comes to operating system versions, OS X versions 10.1 and 10.10 are really not the same. We run into similar issues with versioning for other operating systems too, such as AIX.

To keep Excel from dropping those significant zeroes on your charts, highlight the column containing your version data and switch it from a numeric format to text format. Then switch to the tab that contains your chart, refresh the data, and your charts will show the zeroes properly.

Merge CSV files from a command prompt

I had a bunch of CSV files I needed to merge. I don’t spend half an hour loading all of them into Excel and doing a bunch of copying and pasting. Here’s how I merge CSV files from a command prompt.

copy /b file1.csv+file2.csv+file3.csv master.csv

That’s all there is to it. Load the resulting file into Excel, remove the duplicate header rows, and I have one big, master CSV file to work with in a matter of seconds. You can concatenate as few or as many files as you want this way. I happened to have 20, so this bit of command line trickery probably really did save me half an hour.

Fixing Excel when it stops scrolling

Sometimes I track system health for huge networks with huge Excel spreadsheets. And every once in a while, I run into problems with the Excel spreadsheet not scrolling. I move the cursor, and the cursor moves, but the sheet doesn’t, so I can’t see.
The problem is freeze panes. I always have the top row frozen, since I’m typically trying to track 14 or 15 things and the rows tend to blend together if I don’t freeze my header row. But sometimes Excel gets confused and freezes more than I initially told it to freeze–like, an entire screen’s worth of data. The solution is to unfreeze everything, then freeze the top row again. Then Excel behaves again.

What to do when your Excel worksheet won’t scroll

I have a monster Excel spreadsheet with tens of thousands of rows, correlated. Its gigabytes of data taught me a lot. Including things it wasn’t supposed to, like what to do when Excel won’t scroll.

This thing is pretty fragile. Among other things, the largest of the sheets will stop scrolling. The scrollbar on the right scrolls, but the display doesn’t move. I can’t scroll down, I can’t scroll right, or do anything useful with the data.

But I stumbled on a quick solution.

Excel won't scroll
When Excel won’t scroll, the solution is hiding under this button on the ribbon.

For some reason, Excel randomly freezes the panes on these worksheets from time to time. So, when I click on a tab and the screen won’t scroll, the solution is to click on View, select Freeze Panes, and select Unfreeze Panes. Now you’ll be able to scroll in Excel again, like magic.

Then, since I want the top row frozen, I scroll to the top, click on the top row, click Freeze Panes again, and select Freeze Top Row.

For the record, I don’t think avoiding use of freeze panes really prevents this problem. It’s a useful feature; it’s just that sometimes it gets enabled with goofy settings that cause a problem. Once you know the workaround, it’s still annoying but not a terribly big deal.

If you have the same problem, hopefully this solves it for you.

If this tip helped you, I have a collection of a few dozen more Office tips and fixes I’ve collected over the years here.