Reveal codes in Word like Wordperfect

If there’s one thing people miss when they switch from Wordperfect to Microsoft Word, it’s the old Reveal Codes function. This lets you view and fine tune document formatting and fix weirdness. Word has a similar function that nobody talks about. Here’s how to enable the closest thing to reveal codes in Word.

This trick works in recent versions of Word newer than Word 2007. So it’s been around a little while.

Read more

Make a Word hyperlink UNC path

I had an issue in a document with a hyperlink to an existing file. The file existed on a network drive, so the link worked fine… until someone with different drive mappings than me had to look at the document. Then the link didn’t resolve and the person got an error message. A confusing error message. It turns out it’s tricky to make a Word hyperlink UNC path.

Fixing it wasn’t as easy as it should have been. Read more

How to use Excel VLOOKUP

How to use Excel VLOOKUP

VLOOKUP is a very useful tool in Excel but can be difficult to get right. Here’s how to use Excel VLOOKUP, including an example and what to do when it doesn’t work right.

VLOOKUP is a useful tool for data analysis in Excel, especially merging data from multiple sources. It’s a frequent question in job interviews for business analysts and other jobs that handle data.

Read more

Combining cells in Excel

Combining cells in Excel

Combining cells in Excel is something we frequently need to do. And there are multiple ways to do it, depending on what exactly you need to do. One is easier to remember than the others, but let’s step through them.

I find the easiest-to-remember way to combine cells is to use the & operator with the cells you want to combine, along with any additional text. For example, the formula =A1&” “&B1 will combine the cells A1 and B1 with a space in between them.

Read more

How to sort by color in Excel

How to sort by color in Excel

When doing data analysis, frequently you’ll use conditional formatting to highlight certain cells. But then you’ll probably find you still need to group those similar cells afterward. That’s where sorting by color comes in. Here’s how to sort by color in Excel.

You can sort by color in Excel using either the filtering function, or the Sort button on the Data tab of the ribbon. Sorting with the filtering function is faster and easier, but using the sort button lets you set up complex criteria, including multiple levels. This is useful if you want to sort on both cell color and font color.

Read more

Excel row height must be between 0 and 5.68″

Excel row height must be between 0 and 5.68″

Last Monday, Excel greeted me with a new error message on my work machine, which happens to be a Mac. When I imported a CSV file and tried to change the row height to the default 16 points, I got the message that Excel row height must be between 0 and 5.68″.

I’ve been changing the default row height back to 16 for decades so I don’t know why Microsoft changed it. But they didn’t ask me. Complaining about it doesn’t help either. So I set out to find a workaround. While I observed this on Excel for a Mac, I would expect some versions of Excel for Windows will behave the same way as well. My copy of Excel 2013 on my Windows box hasn’t changed, but that’s the most recent version I have.

Read more