And now, Excel 2007 has a few nasty surprises

I ran into something maddening today. I have a large number of self-study questions in plaintext format that I’ve been using to prepare for my upcoming test. To weed out the large number of duplicates, I massaged the file into a tab-separated format so I could load it into Excel and alphabetize it by the question wording. It worked nicely, especially in Excel 2003.

I got a nasty surprise when I loaded the same file on an Excel 2007-equipped machine.
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Fixing my boss’ Outlook

My boss’ PC went wacky on Tuesday afternoon and wouldn’t let him log in, so he had no choice but to shut down the computer. The computer came back up OK, but Outlook didn’t. He got a lot of weird error messages that I didn’t see, and Outlook created a new OST file on his desktop. But Outlook refused to connect to the Exchange server, and his inbox came up empty.

Like a lot of Outlook problems, the solution was the tag-team of Scanpst and Scanost. Fortunately, you don’t have to have admin rights to run them.

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Landscape part of a Word document

I get asked about once a month how to make part of a document landscape in Word, while leaving the rest of the document in portrait. In Microsoft Word, it’s not difficult, but it’s anything but obvious. Here’s how to landscape part of a Word document, whether it’s one page or multiple pages.

This is useful when the document contains an image that’s wider than it is tall, and you need to make it fill the page to make it easier to see.

There are buttons on the ribbon to switch between portrait and landscape. But they switch the whole document, not your selection or the page you’re on. I’m sure you have already tried that. Here’s how to switch it for part of the document.
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Outlook mailbox full but is not? Here’s the fix

So your Outlook mailbox says it’s full, but is not? If you have a problem with phantom e-mail in Outlook, resulting in an Outlook mailbox full even after deleting a pile of messages, you can fix it. I did, and it was chewing up all my Exchange server space. Here’s how I fixed it.

I run Outlook connected to an Exchange server at work, and I’m constantly running out of mailbox space. When I go into Mailbox Cleanup, click View Mailbox size, and click on the Server Data tab, I see lots of space in my outbox–54 megabytes in this case–with no way to clean it out from inside Outlook. Yet when I look in my Outbox, there’s nothing in it. I’ve run Scanpst, which is the usual cure for Outlook maladies, but that didn’t eliminate the invisible messages either.

When the amount of space you can see doesn’t match the amount of space you’re actually using, go into Outlook Web Access and empty it.
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How to remove the comments and tracked changes from a Word 2007 document

Every couple of months or so, we have to collaborate at work on a Microsoft Word document and submit it without all the distracting markup in it. And it always takes four of us half an hour to re-figure out how to remove the comments and tracked changes from a Word 2007 document. (This also applies to newer versions of Word.)

Sometimes I also find the tracked changes and other markup causes weird problems, and the fastest way to make them go away is to get rid of the markup.

So I figured it might help someone. This is something that either takes you 30 seconds or 30 minutes. This is for those of you who can’t do it in less than 30 minutes.
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Stacked bar charts in Excel

My boss’ management is clamoring for metrics. They want to know, at a glance, what we’re doing and how far along we are. Sounds like a job for stacked bar charts in Excel to me.

Figuring out a way to track our progress was fairly easy. Figuring out how to make Excel display that chart in a meaningful fashion… Well, that took about five hours. I’ll try to make it easier for you than it was for me.
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Fixing weird printing problems in MS Word

Some of my coworkers deal with long documents that give our printer fits. “Fits” meaning that 60-page documents take 30-45 minutes to print if they don’t abort in the middle with a printing error.

The documents in question contain a cover sheet, scanned in at high resolution, and usually have some large charts.

I devised a workaround. Read more

Outlook send button is gone? Here’s the fix.

“My Outlook send button is gone,” one of my coworkers told me. Microsoft wasn’t much help. The relevant knowledge base articles said the e-mail account not being configured causes that problem. Except it was. He could receive and read mail just fine, he just couldn’t send anything out.

Ultimately we ended up deleting his mail profile to fix the missing send button. Read more