Crabby Office Lady
If you need to get from point A to point B quickly and someone offered a safe and easy shortcut, would you take it? Of course you would. This week I'm going to show you some tips and shortcuts for Word, Outlook, and Excel; next week I'll add PowerPoint, Publisher, and Visio to the mix.
Crabby Office Lady columns
I love finding ways to get my work done quicker so that I can push myself away from my desk, take a deep stretch, and ponder the many avenues I have taken on my way to Crabbydom.
What about you? What would YOU be doing if you weren't chained to your desk? How about you learn some new tricks first and figure that out later.
Most everyone knows how to get by in Word. But is it enough to simply "get by" in a Word document? You want to soar; you want to finish up that document artfully yet painlessly. Below are three of my favorite ways to accomplish this.
So long, mousie: KeyTips and access keys
Access keys provide a way to quickly use a command by pressing a few keystrokes, no matter where you are in the program. For example, if you press the ALT, no matter where you are in your document, letters called KeyTips pop up over each feature that's available in the current view on the bar. These provide a way to access any command on any part of the Ribbon in just a few keystrokes.
For detailed information on this tip, read Use the keyboard to work with Ribbon programs
I did it my way: Create your own keyboard shortcuts
Note This works with Word and any other Office program that uses keyboard shortcuts (which is, I believe...all of them).
If a command you use frequently doesn't have a built-in keyboard shortcut, you can create one:
- Click the Office button and then click Word Options.
- Click Customize on the left, and then click Customize next to Keyboard Shortcuts.
This opens the Customize Keyboard dialog box, where you can choose the categories and commands you want and assign keyboard shortcuts.
So cute you'll want to dunk it in your coffee: The Mini toolbar
When you're doing a lot of formatting, jumping back and forth between your document and the Font group on the Home tab can be positively exhausting. If you right-click the text that you want to format, the Mini toolbar pops up along with the shortcut menu, allowing you to do a variety of tasks without ever leaving the comfort of your text.
Note If for some reason your Mini toolbar does not appear, it may be turned off. Click the Office button, click Word Options, click Popular, and then clear the Show Mini Toolbar on selection check box.
Love it or hate it, ya gotta have Outlook for mail, for your calendar, for your contacts. The following tips will definitely make you and Outlook feel a little closer.
What? You can't meet at 3 a.m.?: Viewing multiple time zones
When you're working with someone across the world (or even just a couple of states away), setting up meetings when everyone can attend can be a chore. Enter the Time Zone feature in Outlook.
Create a new appointment, click the Time Zone icon on the toolbar and, from the time zone list, choose the other person's time zone. Now you can see both.
When they didn't get it the first time: Resend a message
Did someone lose the message you sent? Did it get directly sent to their junk mail folder and then deleted? Or did that crotchety coworker who has a beef with you insist you never sent it to begin with?
You can resend that very mail it very quickly: Open up the message, click Other Actions, and then click Resend This Message.
My favorite days: View same time period each month
You can set up your calendar so that it shows as many weeks as you want to see in a given time period. For example, you may want this when you're traveling and you just want to be able to see that time period. Or, perhaps you only want to view your non-workdays. And when you go to the next month, it shows the same period.
Select the days (or weeks) you want to show on the navigation pane of the calendar (the one on the left that shows the entire month). If you want to see that time period for the next month, click the arrow next to the month's name on the navigation calendar.
Excel is a very Type A sort of program. It is exacting and precise and rarely makes mistakes. (And if it does, it doesn't admit it — it simply gives you a cryptic error message.) To use Excel well, you must think like Excel, be Excel...
Pick a worksheet, any worksheet: Switching between worksheets
Toggling between multiple worksheets in a notebook you can always use your mouse or even the keyboard shortcuts. (For example, CTRL+PageUp activates the previous sheet in your workbook, while CTRL+PageDown activates the next one.)
But what if you aren't sure of the one you want to look at? What if you want to see a list of all the worksheets in that particular workbook? It's simple: right-click the tab navigation buttons
... and a floating list of all the worksheets in the workbook will appear, as pictured below. Just click the one you want. (This is especially useful when sheet names are long.)
Note Thanks to Jean Philippe Bagel for this great tip.
When ENTER isn't working: Insert a line break within a cell
Note This is a basic tip that many of you already know. However, I still get messages from your feedback asking me how to do this.
In most other Office programs, to move the cursor to the next line, you press the ENTER key. Excel, however, doesn't give a whit about lines or paragraphs (or frankly, how OTHER programs are doing it). If you press ENTER, you end up in the cell below.
Solution: Press ALT + ENTER to start a new line while you're typing or editing data.
Pick me! Pick me!: Quick ways to select rows or columns
Okay, this last one (actually two) is a real keyboard shortcut — maybe one you didn't know:
To select an entire column: Press CTRL +Spacebar. How about rows?: SHIFT +Spacebar.
Well, kids, there you have them — three tips each for three popular Office programs. Of course there hundreds, if not thousands more; these are just some of the ones I personally use the most.
Next week I'll do the same for PowerPoint, Visio, and Publisher, so get your presentations, drawings, and brochures all ready.
"By the time we've made it, we've had it." — Malcolm Forbes
About the author
Annik Stahl, the Crabby Office Lady columnist, takes all of your complaints, compliments, and knee-jerk reactions to heart. Therefore, she graciously asks that you let her know whether this column was useful to you — or not — by entering your feedback using the Did this article help you? feedback tool below. And remember: If you don't vote, you can't complain.
Crabby Office Lady columns