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Add a default signature to your emails (Outlook 2003)

  • Whenever you can save time with a repetitive task, it's good to take advantage of it, such as adding an automatic signature to your emails. In your signature, you can have your name, company name, phone number, address, Web site address, company slogan, or any other information you'd like to share with your email recipients. That way, when you email someone and write, "Call me with any questions," the recipient has the contact information he needs to reply.
  • To add an automatic signature in Outlook, choose Tools | Options from the main menu, and then click on the Mail Format tab. Click the Signatures button in the Signature(s) section, and then click the New button in the Create Signature dialog box. Enter a descriptive name for your signature--this is especially important if you have multiple signatures. Then, select the Start With A Blank Signature option button and click Next. In the Signature Text text box, enter the information that you'd like to appear in your signature; you can enter up to six separate lines. Click Finish, and then click OK twice to close the open dialog boxes. Now when you compose a new message, your signature automatically appears at the end of the message. If you'd like to include a signature on replies and forwarded messages as well, select the signature from the Signature For Replies And Forwards dropdown list in the Signature section on the Mail Format tab.

Force your slides to fit your numbering scheme (PowerPoint)

  • When you're responsible for just a portion of a group presentation, you may not want your first slide to be Slide 1. For example, if the first presenter has a 10-slide presentation and you're the second presenter, you can start your slide show with slide 11.
  • To change your slide numbering so it starts with another number, choose File | Page Setup from the menu bar. Then, in the resulting Page Setup dialog box, adjust the value in the Number Slides From spin box to the number you want your first slide to be and click OK.
  • You can see your changes by looking at the slide numbers in the Slide, Normal, or Slide Sorter views.

Promote or demote headings with a simple shortcut key (Word)

  • When you want to test out the look of a larger or smaller heading, don’t bother reaching for the Formatting toolbar’s Style dropdown list. Instead, use our handy shortcut key combinations to increase or decrease your heading in a flash.
  • To promote a heading, for example, to change your Heading 3 paragraph to Heading 2, place the insertion point in your heading and press [Alt][Shift][Left Arrow] ([control][shift][left arrow] in Word 2004).
  • To demote a heading, for example, to change your Heading 1 paragraph to Heading 2, place the insertion point in your heading and press [Alt][Shift][Right Arrow] ([control][shift][right arrow] in 2004).

Change the username displayed in comments (Word)

  • Word marks your username on all of your comments. These identifiers make it easy for other people to ask you questions about changes you’ve made to a document. The only problem is, sometimes your computer’s username is inaccurate. There’s no point in making a comment if people don’t know who to respond to.
  • Here’s how to change the username so it appears correctly:
    • Select Tools | Options from the menu bar (Word | Preferences in Word 2004).
    • Select the User Information tab, and change the Name and Initials settings as desired (change First, Last, and Initials in 2004). Click OK.

3 techniques you absolutely must know to become a Word styles expert

  • You may know the basics behind Word's styles, but you probably aren't taking full advantage of all they can do for you when it comes to efficiently creating professional documents. We have three innovative ways to work with styles that will set you head and shoulders above the rest of your Word-using coworkers.
  • To enhance your style use in Word, we'll:
    • Easily keep track of your styles by displaying all paragraph style names as you work.
    • Base a new style on a style you already have, rather than starting from scratch unnecessarily.
    • Reveal whether your text is using styles or manual formatting so you can achieve just the look you want.
    • Read More About This Tip Click Here: Office XP Tips

Quickly print related items from different folders all at once

  • If you need to print several different types of items that reside in different Outlook folders, you may find it daunting to locate each item and print it separately. You can avoid this scenario by easily locating the items using a simple technique we'll show you and then printing them all at once.
  • To quickly print related Outlook items, we'll:
    • Locate all items in a specific category using the Advanced Find dialog box.
    • Locate all related items even when a category hasn't been specified for the items.
    • Print each item, regardless of what type of Outlook item it is, with one Print command.
    • Read More About This Tip Click Here: Office XP Tips

Create a distribution list directly from the Address Book (Outlook)

  • You can easily create a new distribution list straight from the Address Book dialog box. To do so, choose Tools | Address Book from the Outlook menu bar. Next, select the location from which you want to select names. Choose File | New Entry from the Address Book’s menu bar. At this point, click on New Distribution List in the Select The Entry Type list box in the New Entry dialog box. Then, make your selection from the In The dropdown list in the Put This Entry section. Click OK to close the New Entry dialog box and save the distribution list.

Tip: Save time by suppressing the Word 2000 start up splash screen

  • There's nothing more frustrating than wasting time. When you're ready and raring to go (as you probably are every day at work) sitting through Word's opening splash screen isn't the best use of your time. After all, it's pretty likely you remember what word-processing application you're using - you don't need to be reminded. Fortunately, if you're using Word 2000 and you've installed the Microsoft Office 2000 SR-1/SR-1a update, you can speed up things by creating a new Word shortcut and then disabling the splash screen.
  • To begin, right-click on your desktop and then choose New | Shortcut from the resulting shortcut menu. In the Create Shortcut dialog box, click the Browse button and locate and select Word's program file, Winword.exe, and then click OK. Windows adds the pathname to the Command Line text box in the Create Shortcut dialog box. Next, add a space, followed by the /q switch at the end of the pathname. This switch disables Word's splash screen when Word is launched via the new shortcut. For example, the contents of our Command Line text box look like this:
    • "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Winword.exe" /q
  • Click Next to continue. Specify a name for the shortcut, and then click Finish. To launch Word without displaying its splash screen, double-click on your new shortcut. If you wish, you can move or copy the shortcut to a more convenient location.
  • Note: For more information about the Microsoft Office 2000 SR-1/SR-1a update, visit the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article "How to Obtain and Install the Microsoft Office 2000 SR-1/SR-1a Update" at http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q245/0/25.ASP

Tip: Remove a document from Word's Recent Files list

  • If you share a computer with other users, you may find the Recent Files list, located at the bottom of Word's File menu, to be a frequent betrayer of privacy. This list itemizes the four most recently opened documents; and, if you click on an item in the list, Word opens it for you. If you've recently worked on a private document that you don't want others who use your computer to know about, you can remove it from the Recent Files list. To do so, first press [Ctrl][Alt][-]. When you do, the pointer changes to a minus sign. Select File from the menu bar, then click on the item in the Recent Files list that you want to remove. This action removes the item from the list, reducing it to three items; however, the next time you open a new file, it will be added to the list so that the list will again contain four items.

Tip: Spell check all sheets in a workbook at once (Excel 2003)

  • If a workbook contains several sheets, you probably spell check each sheet individually. However, you don't have to. If you'd like to spell check an entire workbook, first right-click on any sheet tab, and then choose Select All Sheets from the resulting shortcut menu. To spell check specific sheets, hold down the [Ctrl] key and click on the appropriate sheet tabs, or hold down the [Shift] key to select a block of adjacent worksheets. After you've made your selection, simply press [F7] to launch the spell checker.

Tip: Displaying text vertically in a cell (Excel 2003)

  • You may come across some worksheet layouts that would benefit from having text displayed vertically instead of horizontally. For example, say you have created a complex reference table and one row label caption could apply to many adjacent rows. You can save space and make the table easier to read by merging the label cells into one narrow, tall cell and then displaying the caption text vertically. To display such text, select the appropriate cell and choose Format | Cells from the menu bar. Then, switch to the Alignment tab. Finally, click on the preview text box on the left side of the Orientation panel and click OK.

Tip: Creating a more versatile PivotTable with the List feature (Excel 2003)

  • Excel 2003's List feature, which allows you to segregate, manipulate, and quickly analyze your data, also helps you create a more efficient PivotTable. In previous versions of Excel, if you create a Pivot Table from a range of data, and later expand the range to include more rows, you also needed to re-create the PivotTable based on the new data range. However, if you make a range of data into a list before you create its PivotTable, the PivotTable refreshes to include new rows that you add to the list. To do so, select the data you wish to include in the list and press [Ctrl]L. Then, click OK in the Create List dialog box. Now, to create a PivotTable that can expand as your list expands, select the list and choose Data | PivotTable And PivotChart Report from the menu bar. Click Finish in the PivotTable And PivotChart Wizard to accept Excel's default options. Now, if you add data to the list's insert row (the row with an asterisk), the list expands to include the new data. And, if you click the Refresh Data button on the PivotTable toolbar, the new row of data is integrated into the PivotTable.

Tip: Add a default signature to your emails (Outlook 2000)

  • Whenever you can save time with a repetitive task, it's good to take advantage of it, such as adding an automatic signature to your emails. In your signature, you can have your name, company name, phone number, address, website address, company slogan, or any other information you'd like to share with your email recipients. That way, when you email someone and write, "Call me with any questions," the recipient has the contact information he needs to reply.
  • To add an automatic signature in Outlook, choose Tools | Options from the main menu, and then click on the Mail Format tab. Click the Signature Picker button in the Signature(s) section, and then click the New button in the Signature Picker dialog box. Enter a descriptive name for your signature--this is especially important if you have multiple signatures. Then, select the Start With A Blank Signature option button and click Next. In the Signature Text text box, enter the information that you'd like to appear in your signature; you can enter up to six separate lines. Click Finish, and then click OK twice to close the open dialog boxes. Now when you compose a new message, your signature automatically appears at the end of the message. If you'd like to include a signature for replies and forwarded messages as well, select the signature from the Signature For Replies And Forwards dropdown list in the Signature section on the Mail Format tab.

Tip: Navigating to database objects with hyperlinks (Access 2000)

  • You'll often want to provide users with a way to launch database objects from a form. For example, you might include a switchboard form that allows them to open different entry forms. Or, you might want to let users display a small report or query datasheet as a reference while they enter data on a main form. You probably use VBA code and command buttons to accomplish such goals, but you can often achieve the same results with no coding at all. Instead, you can use hyperlinks to open Database objects.
  • To set up object hyperlinks, choose Insert | Hyperlink while working in a form's Design view. Then, click the Object In This Database button. Expand the appropriate object node in the Select An Object In This Database tree, select the object to which you want to link, and click OK.

Tip: Use Outlook as your window to the web (Outlook 2000)

  • For many of us, Outlook is our desktop home base. We keep our workload straight with Tasks, store our phone numbers in Contacts, schedule and keep appointments in Calendar, and keep the lines of communication open through our Inbox. But, did you know you can also browse the web from the comfort of Outlook?
  • To view a web page, first display the Web toolbar by choosing View | Toolbars | Web. Then, in the toolbar's text box, enter a URL and press [Enter]. The web page is displayed within the Outlook window -- close the Folder List for more room to display the web page. You can easily add the displayed web page to your list of Favorites by choosing Favorites | Add To Favorites. Make sure the Save In location is the Favorites folder and click Add. When you've finished surfing the web, open your Inbox or other folder by clicking on its shortcut in the Outlook Bar or by choosing View | Go To and selecting the folder.

Tip: Spell check all sheets in a workbook at once (Excel 2000)

  • If a workbook contains several sheets, you probably spell check each sheet individually. However, you don't have to. If you'd like to spell check an entire workbook, first right-click on any sheet tab, and then choose Select All Sheets from the resulting shortcut menu. To spell check specific sheets, hold down the [Ctrl] key and click on the appropriate sheet tabs, or hold down the [Shift] key to select a block of adjacent worksheets. After you've made your selection, simply press [F7] to launch the spell checker.

Tip: Quickly repeat your last action in PowerPoint 2000

  • When you execute an action, you can repeat it by clicking the Repeat action button (if you've added it to a toolbar) or choosing Edit | Repeat (name of action). However, there’s a quicker way to repeat your last action and it only involves pressing a function key. For example, let’s say you apply Bold formatting to some text and you want to repeat that action. Select the text you want to make bold and press [F4]. It's a quick way to repeat an action without leaving the keyboard to do so!

Tip: Write an Outlook message now and send it later (Outlook 2000)

  • Savvy communicators know that timing is everything. Sometimes you want to write a message now while the information is fresh in your mind, but send it later for greatest impact. For example, say it's Friday afternoon and you just signed a contract with a client that will double your revenue. You want to share the news with your direct reports, but not now because half the team has already gone home. You want to make sure everyone finds out at the same time: first thing Monday morning. Outlook makes it easy for you to control when the message will be sent.
  • First, address and compose the message, then click the Options button on the Standard toolbar. In the Message Options dialog box, select the Do Not Deliver Before check box, then select a date and time from the dropdown box next to the check box. Then, click Close and send the message. The message is placed in the Outbox until it's time to send it. Note that the message will be sent at the chosen time, even if you aren't running Outlook at that time.

Tip: Splitting existing Access databases (Access 2000)

  • When creating multi-user applications that will run across a network, you can drastically increase performance by storing data in a separate MDB file from the other objects, like forms and reports. In this scenario, known as a split database, the data is stored in a shared folder on a file server while each user has a copy of the file containing the other database objects on their local hard drives. If you're converting an existing database to a split database you can use the Database Splitter to simplify the task of separating database objects and linking tables.
  • To split a database, choose Tools | Database Utilities | Database Splitter from the menu bar. Then, click the Split Database button. You can then specify the name of the back-end database, the file that will contain your data. By default, Access appends "_be" to the end of the existing database name. To avoid relinking tables later, you may also want to select the final destination folder that the back-end database will reside in. Once you've assigned a name, click Split. It may take some time, but Access will notify you when the job is complete.

Tip: Enter the same value in several cells at once (Excel 2000)

  • When you need to fill multiple cells with the same entry you may simply copy and paste the value or use Excel's Fill Handle to do the job. However, there's another technique that can at times be more efficient. Simply select all of the cells that you want to fill. Then, type the entry in the active cell and press [Ctrl][Enter]. Excel plugs the entry into all of the cells that were highlighted. Note that you can also use this technique to fill non-contiguous cells -- simply hold down the [Ctrl] key as you select each cell. Also, you can use the technique to enter a formula in multiple cells at once. If your formula contains relative cell references, Excel adjusts each formula to point to the appropriate relative ranges.

Tip: Easily draw multiple perfect squares on a slide (PowerPoint 2000)

  • You may think that it's difficult to draw a geometrically perfect square using the Rectangle tool on the Drawing toolbar--after all, it isn't called the Square tool. However, with a simple adjustment, you can draw multiple squares with ease. Just click the Rectangle button to activate the drawing tool and hold down the [Shift] key while you draw on your slide. To draw multiple squares without having to click the Rectangle button after you draw each one, double-click on the Rectangle button and draw one square. Then, position your insertion point at the place on your slide where you wish to add another square and click the left mouse button. You can continue to add additional squares by clicking your mouse. To stop adding squares to the slide, press [Esc].

Tip: Quickly add space between characters in Word (2000)

  • If you want to add space between the characters in a word for effect, you could use the space bar or the [Tab] key. However, these aren't the most efficient methods, since they're cumbersome and they make precision difficult to achieve and maintain. And what if you want to reduce the amount of space between characters? Neither the [spacebar] nor the [Tab] key will be of much help in that capacity. Whether you're looking to expand or condense the space between characters, you'll find it much simpler and much more effective to use Word's character spacing features.
  • To expand or condense the space between characters, select the characters you'd like to modify, and then choose Format | Font from the menu bar. In the Font dialog box, click on the Character Spacing tab. Choose Expanded or Condensed from the Spacing dropdown list, and then specify a point size in the corresponding By text box. Word displays a preview of the effect you've applied in the Preview pane. You can fine-tune other types of character spacing elements in the Character Spacing property sheet, too, such as the font scale, vertical character positioning, and font kerning, which modifies only the spacing between particular pairs of characters. When you're satisfied with the results, click OK.

Tip: Email your Word documents on the fly (Word 2002)

  • Many of us share documents with others by sending them as email attachments.  Instead of going through the trouble of opening your email program, creating a new message, and attaching the document yourself, why not let Word do it for you?  Open the document you'd like to send, and then choose File | Send To | Mail Recipient (As Attachment) from the menu bar.  Word launches your default email client, creates a new message, and attaches a copy of the current Word document to the new message.  All you need to do is specify the message's recipients, add any applicable message text if desired, and sent the message on its merry way.  Note that this technique works only with MAPI and VIM compatible email clients, such as Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes.

Tip: Control whether you presentation ends with a black slide (PowerPoint 2002)

  • Unless you make changes to your preferences, PowerPoint appends a black slide to the end of every slide show you create by default.  This can be useful for many people, since the black slide serves as a simple way to ease out of a presentation without an otherwise jarring transition to a view of your desktop.  However, if the "End Of Slide Show, Click To Exit" message that also appears at the top of this black slide distracts you, or if you have another ending in mind for the majority of the presentations you'll be creating with PowerPoint, you won't want this slide appearing by default.
  • Fortunately, this behavior's easy to change.  Simply choose Tools | Options form the PowerPoint menu bar, and click on the View tab in the resulting Options dialog box.  Next, deselect the End With Black Slide option in the Slide Show panel and click OK.  Now you can end all your future presentations however you wish (i.e. add your own black slide without any unnecessary text or create a slide with a list of scrolling credits acknowledging your coworkers).

Tip: Easily apply previously created validation rules to new cells (Excel 2002)

  • If you've set up data validation rules in Excel, you may find that you want to apply the same validation criteria to another range, or even another workbook.  Fortunately, this is very easy to do with out recreating all the rules.  First, select a range containing the cells that already have the validation rules you want applied.  Press [Ctrl]C to copy the range.  Then, right-click on the first cell in the range where you want to apply the rules.  From the shortcut menu, select Paste Special.  When the Paste Special dialog box appears, select the Validation option and then click OK.

Tip: Navigate easily between columns in database tables and queries (Access 2002)

  • When you're working with a table or a query that has many fields in Datasheet view, navigating between columns can be awkward.  Fortunately, there's an easy way to move to a particular column.  Simply choose the name of the field you want to move to from the GO To Field dropdown list on the Formatting (Datasheet) toolbar.  First, display the toolbar by choosing View | Toolbars | Formatting (Datasheet).  Then click on the arrow to the right of the Go To Field dropdown list box and select a field name.  the focus moves to the appropriate field within the current record.

Tip: Two easy ways to convert existing text into a table (Word 2002)

  • If you have existing text in a Word document that you think would be better suited for a table, you don't have to cut and paste it into the table cells.  Word can convert it for you.  To do this, select the text and then choose Table | Convert | Text To Table from the menu bar.  When you issue this command, Word displays the Convert Text To Table dialog box, where you specify the table's column and row delimiters, and even apply an AutoFormat.  Select the settings for your text and click OK.
  • If you need to convert text to a table and don't need to implement any special settings or an AutoFormat, there's an even easier method.  Just select the text you'd like to convert to a table then click the Insert table button on the Standard toolbar.  Word instantly converts the selected text to a table, using any paragraph marks, tab characters, commas, or semicolons as column and row delimiters.  If you use this shortcut method and don't like the results, just click the Undo button.

Tip: Create a rule from an existing message in Outlook (2002)

  • Rules can be time-consuming to create, so use this shortcut to save precious time. Create a rule from an existing message by either right-clicking on the message in the message list and choosing Create Rule or by opening the message and choosing Actions | Create Rule from the Message form's menu bar.

Tip: Change Outlook's default view when it launches (2002)

  • By default, when Outlook opens you immediately see the Inbox.  However, you may prefer Outlook to open the Calendar instead.  Fortunately, you can easily change which Outlook folder opens when you launch Outlook.  To do so, choose Tools | Options from the menu bar.  Click on the Other tab and click the Advanced Options button in the General panel.  Now, select Calendar (or one of the other Outlook folders) from the Startup In This Folder dropdown list in the resulting Advanced Options dialog box.  Finally, click OK twice to return to Outlook.  Close Outlook and then restart it.  Your new folder now displays and it's selected in the Folder List.

Tip: Reclaim taskbar space by easily returning to SDI view (Office XP)

  • Beginning with the release of Microsoft Office 2000, applications in the Office suite began using a multiple document interface (MDI) in place of the single document interface (SDI) used in earlier versions.  For example, in Word's SDI, your open Word documents are represented by a single button in the Windows taskbar; to switch between open documents, you need to use Word's Window menu.  In Word's MDI, each of your open Word documents is represented by an individual taskbar button, enabling you to switch between open documents using the Windows taskbar.  If you're working with several documents, spreadsheets, or presentations, an application's MDI can quickly cause your taskbar to become overcrowded with buttons.
  • Fortunately, the main applications (with the exception of Outlook) in the Office 2002 suite provide a way to disable the MDI and return to SDI on an application by application basis.  For example, to enable the SDI in Word (which will then cause Word to use just a single taskbar button, regardless of the number of documents you have open), choose Tools | Options from the menu bar to open the Options dialog box.  Next, click on the View tab clear the Windows in Taskbar check box, and then click OK.  Now, you'll see just a single taskbar button used to represent Word.  To switch to another open Word document, just use Word's Window menu.  You can follow the same procedure in Access, Excel, and PowerPoint to help free up some space on your taskbar.

Tip: Reduce delay time for launching hyperlinked files during a presentation (PowerPoint 2002)

  • When you click on a hyperlink during a presentation, sometimes you feel like the file's host program takes forever to launch.  You should prepare for this wait and have material to stall with so there's no awkward silence.  But there's also another remedy to the situation.  Prior to the start of the slide show, open the host application of the file that you have hyperlinked on one of your slides, such as Quick Time.  Then, when it's time to launch the file or move, the lag time is greatly reduced and your presentation appears more seamless.

Tip: Clear your document of distractions and only check spelling and grammar when you're ready (Word 2002)

  • By default, Word's automatic spelling and grammar checkers check text as you type, indicating questionable text onscreen in an effort to help you write more effectively.  The automatic spelling checker flags unrecognized words by applying a wavy red underline; the automatic grammar checker flags questionable sentence construction by applying a wavy green underline.  While some people consider this feature to be a timesaver, others consider it to be an outright distraction.  Fortunately, there are two methods you can use to suppress the automatic spelling and grammar checker's onscreen indicators without affecting the checkers' behavior:
    • 1.  Disable Word's automatic spelling and grammar checkers and run them manually instead.  To do so, choose Tools | Options from the menu bar, and then click on the Spelling & Grammar tab.  Clear the Check Spelling As You Type check box in the Spelling area and the Check Grammar As You Type check box in the Grammar area, and then click OK.  Word disables the automatic spelling and grammar checkers and, with them, the wavy red and green underlines.  When you're ready to check your document's spelling and grammar, you can run the spelling and grammar checkers manually by choosing Tools | Spelling And Grammar from the menu bar or by clicking the Spelling And Grammar button on the Standard toolbar to access the Spelling And Grammar dialog box.
    • 2.  Hide onscreen error indicators temporarily without disabling the automatic spelling and grammar checkers.  To do so, choose Tools | Options from the menu bar and then click on the Spelling & Grammar tab.  First, select both the Check Spelling  As You Type and Hide Spelling Errors In This Document check boxes in the Spelling area.  Next, select both the Check Grammar As You Type and Hide Grammatical Errors In This Document check boxes in the Grammar area.  When you've finished, click OK.  Word hides the spelling and grammar checkers' onscreen indicators but continues to check spelling and grammar in the background.  To quickly display the onscreen error indicators, double-click on the Spelling And Grammar Status icon in the status bar.  (The status bar is located at the bottom of the application window.)  Word applies the familiar red and green wavy underlines to indicate any errors it encountered while you were working.  In addition, Word selects the error nearest the insertion point and displays a shortcut menu containing correction options.  To address the error on the spot, choose a suggested correction or an ignore option from the shortcut menu.  To launch the Spelling And Grammar dialog box, choose Spelling.  Or, navigate to the next flagged error by double-clicking on the Spelling And Grammar Status icon again.  To quickly hide the onscreen error indicators again, right-click on the icon and choose Hide Spelling Errors or Hide Grammatical Errors, as desired.

Tip: Quickly check your worksheet's set print area (Excel 202)

  • Excel's Print Area feature makes it easy to print just a section of a larger worksheet.  All you do is select the ranges you want to print and choose File | Print Area | Set Print Area from the menu bar.  If you frequently use this feature, there have surely been times when you've forgotten to change the print area, resulting in incorrect printouts.  Fortunately, there are easy ways to tell what ranges are set to print.  One way is to select View | Page Break Preview.  However, if you'd rather not change views, there's a way to tell from Excel's normal viewing mode.  When you set a print area, Excel creates a named range.  You can see what ranges will print by selecting Print_Area from the Name Box on the Formula bar.

Tip: Color-coding worksheet tabs (Excel 2002)

  • One of the questions we get asked the most is "How can I change the color of my worksheet tabs?" Up until this point, the answer has been, "You can't." However, Excel 2002 finally lets you apply color to worksheet tabs to better categorize and manage your data. To format the tab for the active sheet, choose Format | Sheet | Tab Color from the menu bar, or right-click on the tab and choose Tab Color from the shortcut menu. Then, simply choose the color you want to use from the Tab Color palette (or select No Color to clear any formatting) and click OK.

Tip: De-emphasize newly added programs in your Start menu (Win XP)

  • One addition to Windows XP that you can probably live without is the highlighting of newly added programs in your extended Start menu. When new software is added to your PC, the new program appears in a different color on the All Programs list, immediately drawing your attention to it whenever you access the All Programs list.
  • To remove the menu highlighting, right-click on the Start button and choose Properties. On the Start Menu property sheet, click the Customize button, and then select the Advanced tab. Deselect the Highlight Newly Installed Programs check box, and then click OK.

Tip: Save and print your database relationships (Access 2002)

  • When you're documenting your database applications, you may want to include a visual diagram of your table relationships.  To preview these relationships, open your database in Access and choose Tools | Relationships from the menu bar.  Then, simply choose File | Print Relationships from the menu bar to display a report preview which you can print, save, or export.

Tip: Count words with the Word Count toolbar (Word 2002)

  • In Word 2002, if you need check the number of words you have in a document, you can open the Word Count dialog box by choosing Tools | Word Count. But if you find yourself checking the count frequently, this method might be aggravating. A better way might be to display the Word Count toolbar. To display the toolbar, choose View | Toolbars | Word Count or right-click on an existing toolbar and choose Word Count from the shortcut menu. Now, to check the number of words in your document, all you need to do is click the Recount button on the toolbar. You can leave the toolbar as a floating toolbar, or you can dock it.

Tip: Easily change the format of individual email messages (Outlook 2002)

  • If you want to change the format of your current email message from its default format to plain or rich text or HTML, you can easily do so on an individual basis rather than resetting your defaults.  First, launch a new message in Outlook as you normally would.  Then, if you have Word set as your email editor, simply select a new format from the Format dropdown list.  If you don't use Word as your email editor, choose Format | Plain Text or Format | HTML from the message's menu bar (the Rich Text option isn't available if you don't use Word as your email editor).  If you want to make word your email editor, close out of your message and choose Tools | Options from the Outlook menu bar.  Then, click on the Mail Format tab in the Options property sheet, select Use Microsoft Word To Edit E-Mail Messages in the Message Format panel, and click OK.  Be aware that if you have graphics in your email or as part of your signature or stationery, you can't use the Plain Text format.

Tip: How to remove the underline from a text hyperlink (PowerPoint 2002)

  • By default, when you assign a hyperlink to existing text on slide, the text appears during your presentation with the underline format. This is often a good way to differentiate it from normal text, but sometimes the slide's design or the manner in which you wish to give the presentation benefits from a concealed hyperlink. And if you've ever tried to highlight the text on the slide and then reformat it, you know that this method won't get rid of the underline.
  • But there's a way to rid your hyperlinked text of the underline format. First, remove the existing hyperlink by simply selecting the text on the slide, right-clicking on it, and choosing Hyperlink | Remove Hyperlink from the shortcut menu. Since there's no longer a hyperlink assigned to the text, the underline format disappears. Next, select the text box (rather than the text within the text box), press [Ctrl]K or right-click on it, and choose Hyperlink from the shortcut menu to display the Insert Hyperlink dialog box. Then, simply add the desired hyperlink as you normally would and click OK. Now, when you view your slide show, your text won't be underlined, yet when you click anywhere in the text box, you'll be brought to the destination you assigned to the text box in the Insert Hyperlink dialog box.

Tip: Display the week numbers in the Date Navigator (Outlook 2002)

  • Do you need to see the week number in your calendar? If so, turn on the week numbers in the Date Navigator. To do so, choose Tools | Options. On the Preferences property sheet, click the Calendar Options button. In the Calendar Options panel, select the Show Week Numbers In The Date Navigator check box, and then click OK twice. Now the Date Navigator shows the week numbers to the left of the first day in the week.

Tip: Selecting hard-to-reach objects on your slides (PowerPoint 2002)

  • It isn't always easy to select an item on your slide simply by clicking on it.  Sometimes multiple small objects are located in almost the same location on your slide, and since a mouse is hardly a precision instrument, all too often the object you end up selecting isn't the item you were after.  While increasing the zoom magnification  can help in many instances, if the object you want to select is located completely underneath another object on your slide, then it doesn't matter you much you zoom; you still won't be able to click on it.  Fortunately, you can cycle through all the objects on your slide simply by repeatedly pressing the [Tab] key.  Each time you press [Tab], a new item is selected and outlined with the editing handles.  And, if you cycle past the item you want to select, don't worry; you don't need to go through the cycle all over again.  To reverse the direction, hold down [Shift] as your press [Tab] and the previously selected item will once again be selected.

Tip: Keep an eye on formula changes with the Watch Window (Excel 2002)

  • Keeping track of how the values in a cell or range of cells change as you work with a spreadsheet can often involve scrolling back and forth to watch the values update. Now, in Excel 2002, you can save yourself a lot of scrolling by opening the Watch Window to help you keep an eye on your formulas. To open a Watch Window, first select the cell(s) you want to watch. Then, choose Tools | Formula Auditing | Show Watch Window. Click the Add Watch button. The address of the selected cell(s) appears in the Add Watch dialog box. Click Add to see the contents of the cell(s) in the Watch Window. Now, you can work and scroll through the workbook with the Watch Window open. You can move and resize this window as needed. To remove a range listed in the window, select the range in the Watch Window and click the Delete Watch button. To close the Watch Window, click the Close button in the upper-right corner. To temporarily hide the Watch Window, choose Tools | Formula Auditing | Hide Watch Window.

Tip: Create a custom format (Access 2002)

  • You may be familiar with built-in AutoFormats through the form and report creation wizards. AutoFormats are saved collections of attribute settings for such elements as fonts, colors and object borders, and picture property settings. If you find yourself repetitively making the same formatting changes to form and report controls, you can save time by saving your formatting preferences as a custom AutoFormat.
  • To create your AutoFormat, open a form that uses your desired default attributes in Design view. Then, select Format | AutoFormat from the menu bar. When the AutoFormat dialog box appears, click the Customize button. The subsequently displayed Customize AutoFormat dialog box is where you manage your system's AutoFormats. You can create a new format, incorporate the changes you've made into whatever AutoFormat was selected in the AutoFormat dialog box when you clicked the Customize button, or delete the selected AutoFormat.  

Tip: Enter the same data into multiple cells simultaneously (Excel 2002)

  • If you need to enter the same data into more than one cell on your spreadsheet, you don't have to enter it one cell at a time.
  • Instead of retyping the data countless times or copying and pasting it, you can simply enter it once and have all the cell you want populated with the data.  To do so, first select the cells in which you'd like the data to appear.  To select adjacent cells, just click and drag until you've selected the cells you want.  To select nonadjacent cells, press and hold the [Ctrl] key and then click on each cell you'd like to select.  After you've selected the appropriate cells, enter the data that you want them to hold.  When you've finished, press [Ctrl][Enter]--the data appears in all selected cells.

Tip: Format a whole word without selecting it (Word 2002)

  • If you have the When Selecting Automatically Select Entire Word option turned on, you can save yourself a lot of time formatting words. Instead of selecting the whole word and then applying formatting, just place the insertion point anywhere in the word and click the appropriate formatting button. The whole word is formatted even though it isn't selected. Even if you don't usually have this option activated, you might consider turning it on temporarily if you have a lot of formatting to do. To turn on this feature, choose Tools | Options. Click on the Edit tab. Select the When Selecting, Automatically Select Entire Word check box and click OK. To turn off this feature, just reverse these steps.

Tip: Cycle through an application's task panes without using the menu bar (Office XP)

  • Microsoft Office XP's task bars are supposed to make accessing an application's tools and features quicker and easier.  Many users, however, still use the options accessible through the menu bar along the top of an application to launch the appropriate task bar--only then do they locate the tool or feature they're after in the corresponding task pane.  (We understand, old habits are hard to break.)  But once you become familiar with an application's task panes, you don't need to use the menu bar to open the task panes.  Instead, you can easily switch to a new task pane by clicking on the arrow to the right of the active task pane's name in the task pane's title bar.  Then, simply select the new task bar that you want to display from the resulting menu.  As you become accustomed to looking for features on task panes, you'll find that you'll be returning to cascading menus in the menu bar less and less frequently.

Tip: Use the Slide pane in Normal view (PowerPoint 2002)

  • Normal view in PowerPoint 2002 now contains a pane with two tabs. The Slides tab shows a thumbnail of the slides and the Outline tab displays the text on the slides. These panes can be used to do many things. To reorder the slides on either tab, just drag the slide within the tab. To view a slide in the slide pane, in either tab, just click on it. Right-click on the thumbnail or icon of a slide to open a shortcut menu that enables you to perform actions such as hiding the slide or changing its layout. To see the outline of the presentation text, click on the Outline tab. You can change the order of bullet items by dragging in the Outline pane.
  • If you'd rather not use these tabs, you can close the pane by clicking on its Close button. To display the pane again, choose View | Normal (Restore Panes) or click the Normal View button in the bottom-left corner of the window. Another way to display the pane is to drag the splitter bar on the left side of the slide window to the right. The splitter bar also can be used to narrow or widen the size of the pane when displayed.

Tip: See who's in your distribution list before sending a message (Outlook 2002)

  • When you use distribution lists, you can quickly address email messages to several people by typing the name of the list. But once you entered the list name in the To field of the message, you might want to check who's included in that list. A quick way to see what names are in a particular distribution list is to right-click on the distribution list name in the To field and choose Properties from the shortcut menu. The Distribution List window opens, listing all the members of that list. You can make changes to the list if you need to. When you're finished, just click the Save And Close button to close the window and save any changes.  

Tip: A straightforward way to center data on a printed page (Excel 2002)

  • When you print a worksheet, you may feel that the printout would look better if the data were centered on the page. If so, you don't have to insert a lot of extra rows and columns or change the individual page margins to get the data to print where you want it. Instead, choose File | Page Setup from the menu bar. Then, click on the Margins tab. You can now use the check boxes in the Center On Page section to control how the data is presented. Note that the centering options apply to the space defined by the Top, Bottom, Left, and Right margins, not the physical dimensions of the page.  

Tip: Clean up the system tray (Win XP)

  • Is the Windows XP system tray too cluttered for your taste? If so, you can get rid of unnecessary icons with just a few clicks of the mouse.
  • First, right-click on an empty area of the system tray and choose Properties from the shortcut menu. In the Taskbar And Start Menu Properties dialog box, on the Taskbar property sheet, verify that the Hide Inactive Icons check box is selected, and then click the customize button. In the Customize Notifications dialog box, you can choose one of three ways to display each of the components in your system tray by selecting each component and then choosing either Hide When Inactive, Always Hide, or Always Show from each component's dropdown list. Once you've made your selections, click OK to close the Customize Notifications dialog box, and then click Apply and OK. A small arrow will now appear in the system tray, allowing you to show or hide these components.

Tip: Apply pictures to excel chart data points

  • One way to spruce up dull charts is to replace the typical solid-colored data points with a picture.  There are several ways to accomplish this, and we'll look at one of the easiest techniques to use when working with bar or column charts.  First, on the chart select the data series you want to format by clicking on it.  Then, choose Insert | Picture | From File from the menu bar.  Locate and select the picture you want to use--Excel can work with most graphic file formats.  Finally, click Insert and Excel applies the picture to each data point, resizing the image as needed.  The method we used is easy, but other chart types require different approaches.

Tip: Load a specific form when a database opens (Access 2002)

  • When you finish creating an application, chances are that a particular form will receive the majority of the attention from users. If so, you can set up Access to automatically launch the form when the database is opened. To do so, choose Tools | Startup from the menu bar while the database is open. Then, choose the form from the Display Form/Page dropdown list. Finally, click OK. This technique can also be used to launch a form that acts as a splash screen or to open a switchboard form that acts as a user interface to your database objects.  

Tip: Keep selected database objects invisible to your users in Access (2002)

  • Although you may typically want to let users access any object in a database, there may be certain times when you'd prefer that users are unable to see certain tables, queries, or other objects.  If so, you can flag an object as being hidden.  By default, such objects are invisible.  To flag an object, right-click on it in the Database window and choose Properties from the shortcut menu.  When the Properties dialog box appears, select the Hidden check box and click OK.  Note that users can still get to the object if they really want to--and you can temporarily redisplay the object if you later want to clear the Hidden property setting.  To display objects that are normally hidden, choose Tools | Options from the menu bar.  Then, click on the View tab, select the Hidden Objects check box in the Show panel, and click OK.

Tip: Looping sound clips in PowerPoint (2002)

  • To edit the properties of a sound object so that the sound loops repeatedly, first right-click on the speaker icon. (When you link or embed an audio clip to a presentation, a speaker icon appears on your slide.) Next, select Edit Sound Object from the resulting shortcut menu. This opens the Sound Options dialog box. At the bottom of the dialog box, you'll notice that the total playing time of the sound file is listed. If you'd like to loop the sound continuously until you advance to the next slide, select the Loop Until Stopped check box in the Play Options panel. 

Tip: Printing safe attachments with email messages in Outlook (2002)

  • In these days of email viruses, you can't be too careful about attachments.  However, if you do have an Outlook message with a safe attachment enclosed, you can easily print both the message and the attachment all at the same time.  To do this, either select the message in your Inbox or open the message.  Then, choose File | Print Options panel, select the Print Attached Files check box.  Now, click OK. The message will print with the attachment icon followed by the attached document.

Tip: Restoring Excel 2002's task pane at startup

  • By default, Excel 2002 displays the New Workbook task pane when you launch it. This task pane lets you quickly access recently opened files or create a new workbook file. However, you may find that the task pane mysteriously stops appearing when you launch Excel--particularly if you followed our recent tip regarding Excel's Personal Macro Workbook.
  • The first thing to check if Excel's startup task pane doesn't appear is that it's actually configured to show when you launch Excel. To do so, select Tools | Options from the menu bar and click on the View tab. Ensure that the Startup Task Pane check box is selected and click OK.
  • If the Startup Task Pane check box is already selected, it probably means that the Personal Macro Workbook is preventing the task pane from being displayed. By design, Excel hides the task pane if a workbook is opened at the same time that Excel is launched. For example, if you double-click on a workbook file icon, Excel assumes you already have what you need to start working and doesn't bother to display the New Workbook task pane. When you set up a Personal Macro Workbook, Excel launches a file named PERSONAL.XLS, even though the file is hidden from view.
  • Most likely, you don't want Excel to treat the workbook that stores your macros the same as a typical workbook--and losing the easy access to the New Workbook task pane effectively eliminates the productivity benefit that this highly touted feature is meant to supply. You can re-display the task pane by choosing View | Task Pane from the menu bar, but a more efficient solution is to add a simple VBA procedure to your PERSONAL.XLS file that ensures the task pane is displayed.
  • To add the code, choose Tools | Macro | Visual Basic Editor from the menu bar. In the Project Explorer, expand the PERSONAL.XLS node and double-click on the ThisWorkbook icon. Then, select Workbook from the Object dropdown list. By default, a skeleton procedure for the workbook's Open event should be created. At the insertion point, add the following statements:
    • On Error Resume Next Application.CommandBars("Task Pane").Visible = True
  • Then, close the VBE. When you exit Excel, be sure to click Yes when prompted to save changes to your Personal Macro Workbook file. From now on, the task pane will be displayed when you launch Excel (although it will still be hidden if you launch Excel by double-clicking on an existing workbook icon).

Tip: Editing WordArt picture fills in PowerPoint 2002

  • You may not have realized, but you can edit your WordArt picture fills as you would any other inserted image using the tools on the Picture toolbar.  to fill your WordArt text with an image, click the Format WordArt button on the WordArt toolbar to launch the Format WordArt dialog box.  Next, click on the Colors And Lines tab and choose Fill Effects from the Color dropdown list in the Fill panel to launch the Fill Effects dialog box.  Then, click on the Picture tab, click the Select Picture button, navigate to and select your image file in the Select Picture dialog box, and click the Insert button.  When you return to the Fill Effects dialog box, click OK, and then click OK again in the Format WordArt dialog box.  Now that your WordArt text is filled with an image, you can use the Color, More Contrast, Less Contrast, More Brightness, and Less Brightness buttons on the Picture toolbar to fine-tune the look of your picture fill.

Tip: Format your cell borders with new ease in Excel 2002

  • Cell borders do a lot to improve a worksheet's readability, but prior to Excel 2002 they were often a pain to set up and maintain.  Although the Borders palette supplies you with several predefined border formats, customizing a border in Excel 2000 and earlier often requires a trip to the cumbersome Borders sheet found in the Format Cells dialog box.  Because you frequently need to perform minor fixes to your borders when you move or paste cells, such trips to the Format Cells dialog box aren't uncommon.  Excel 2002 improves upon the process with the addition of Draw Borders feature.  To use this feature, open the Borders palette and click the Draw Borders button.  Doing so displays the Borders toolbar and automatically turns your mouse pointer into a pencil icon.  As the feature's name suggest, you can add borders by simply clicking and drawing along the edges of cells you want enclosed by a border.  The Line Style and Line Color buttons on the Borders toolbar let you quickly set the border's attributes.  If you want to create a grid instead of just a border that surrounds the outside edges of a range, click on the dropdown arrow next to the Draw Border button (which resembles a pencil) and choose Draw Border Grid.  To remove border lines, click the erase Border button and draw over the border edges you want cleared.  When you've finished, simply close the Borders toolbar to restore Excel's usual cell selection mouse pointer.

Tip: Use the keyboard to create a numbered list in PowerPoint 2002

  • It's easy enough to apply the numbering format to a list in PowerPoint by selecting the text in a textbox and then clicking the Numbering button on the formatting toolbar,  However, even this simple step can be bypassed.  the next time you want to create a numbered list in a text box, simply type 1, press [Tab], and then type in the first entry.  To move onto the next entry, press [Enter] and PowerPoint automatically enters a 2 and moves your insertion point to align with the first entry.  you can continue creating the list in this way and PowerPoint will continue to insert consecutive numbers.

Tip: View all Outlook 2002 items related to a contact

  • As you work with a contact, you create many Outlook items related to that person, such as notes messages, tasks, and appointments.  It might be helpful to see a listing of all the items associated with one particular contact.  To do this, first open the contact form.  Then, click on the Activities tab.  By default, Outlook shows you all the items.  You can use the Show dropdown list to display only one category of item such as email, notes, or upcoming tasks and appointments.  You can also quickly sort the items by which folder they're in by clicking on the In Folder heading bar.

Tip: Use excel 2002 charts for what-if analysis

  • Although you likely use charts most often to analyze existing data, you can also use them to project hypothetical results.  Just as changing the source data in a worksheet cell adjusts the graphical representation shown in the chart, manually moving charted data points adjusts the underlying data.  To see this firsthand, enter the headings 2001 and 2002 in cells B1 and C1.  Then, in the range A2:A5, enter the row headings North, South, East, and West.  Finally, enter some random numbers in range B2:C5 to complete the sample data.
  • At this point, select the data range and click the chart Wizard button.  When the Wizard opens, click the Finish button to generate a standard column chart.  Then, click on one of the columns, which will select the entire data series.  Wait a moment, so as not to accidentally double-click, and then click on the column again.  Now only the column you clicked on is selected.  Click and drag the sizing handle found on the column's top edge up or down.  As you do so, a label appears to show the value that the resized column represents.  When you release the mouse button, you'll see that the related value in the worksheet cell has changed accordingly.  Note that although we used a column chart in this example, you can apply this technique to other chart types as well.

Tip: See the detail behind summary values in Access 2002's PivotTable view

  • One of Access 2002's most exciting new features is the PivotTable view.  Similar to crosstab queries, this view lets you look at summaries of information grouped by row and column categories.  If you're unfamiliar with crosstab queries, the results look similar to something you might create in Excel.  For instance, you can show sums of revenue by sales rep (listed as row headings) by month (displayed as column headings).  The cell at the intersection point of a row and column contains a summary value.
  • Unlike crosstab queries (or even Excel's similar PivotTable feature), PivotTable view can also display the detail information behind the summary calculations.  Each row and column heading in the PivotTable includes plus and minus controls that are used to toggle the display of the detail information.  However, you can also drill down to the detail for a particular summary with out displaying a lot of extraneous data.  To do so, simply double-click on the summary cell you're interested in.  The column expands to show the appropriate detail data.  To rehide the data simply double-click on the summary value again.

Tip: Change the orientation of a section in Word 2002

  • Most documents you create are likely to use portrait page orientation.  However, when your document contains an oversized item like a table, chart, or diagram that's wider than your document's portrait-oriented pages, you might want to print that item using landscape orientation instead.  When you're working with drawing objects, you can often solve this problem by rotating the objects 90 degrees.  However, if you're working with text, tables, embedded objects, and other types of graphic objects, rotating isn't always the best option, if it's an option at all.  As an alternative, you can apply landscape orientation to a single item or selection without affecting the portrait orientation used in the rest of your document.  Better yet, you can do it on-the-fly, without using the Break dialog box to manually insert section breaks!  To do so, select the item(s0 that you want to appear on a landscape-oriented page, and then choose File | Page Setup from the menu bar.  Next, in the Page Setup dialog box, if necessary, click on the Margins tab.  Choose the Landscape option in the Orientation panel.  Next, choose Selected Text from the Apply To dropdown list.  Finally, click OK.  Word automatically inserts Next Page section breaks at the beginning and end of your selection and applies landscape orientation to the isolated section.  When you print your document, your selection prints in landscape orientation, while the rest of your document prints in portrait orientation.

Tip: Create your own default presentation in PowerPoint 2002

  • When you launch a blank presentation in PowerPoint, the default settings go into effect.  This means that the first slide of your new presentation will be shown according to how you have the default settings adjusted.  Often a user won't alter these settings even if he continually changes things such as the slide layout or the fill color of AutoShapes to match a commonly used color scheme or to incorporate the company's logo onto every slide.  But if you follow a few quick steps to save a new blank presentation design template, you'll never have to go through the tedious tasks of changing them all at startup time again.
  • The first thing you need to do is launch PowerPoint and change all the settings until you have them the way you want them to remain as your new defaults.  You can choose the default slide layout by choosing Format | Slide Layout and then selecting any format in the Slide Layout task pane and applying it to the slide.  You can also change the initial view (for example, form Slide to Slide Sorter), or change the size of the Outline Window and Slide Window in Slide view.  If you want to change the default fill color for AutoShapes, first place a shape on your slide, and then choose Format | AutoShape to access the Format AutoShape dialog box.  Choose the color you want as your default from the Color dropdown list in the Fill panel, select the Default For new Objects check box and click OK.  These are just a few examples of what settings you can change of your default blank presentation.  For example, you can also insert your company logo onto the slide so that it appears every time you launch a new presentation.
  • Once you have everything adjusted the way you want, simply choose File | Save As, type Blank into the File name text box, and select Design Template (*.pot) from the Save As Type dropdown list.  Next, locate your Office folder and then open your Templates folder if you aren't already directed there in the Save in dropdown list and navigation window.  Finally, click Save and then you're all set.  Now the next time you open a blank presentation your new settings will appear as the defaults.

Tip: Take the guesswork out of sizing controls (Access 2002)

  • You'll find this tip helpful if you've ever had to repeatedly open a form or report in Design view to tweak the size of a control because it wasn't big enough to display all of your data.  When you click on a control's sizing handles in Design view. Access displays the number of characters that the control will display in the program window's status bar.  Access adjusts this number based on the control's font attributes, so it's easy to tell what impact such property changes will have on the amount of data that can be shown in the control.

Tip: Write an Outlook message now and send it later (2002)

  • Savvy communicators know that timing is everything.  Sometimes you want to write a message now while the information is fresh in your mind, but send it later for greatest impact.  For example, say it's Friday afternoon and you just signed a contract with a client that will double your revenue.  You want to share the news with your direct reports, but not just now because half the team has left for the day.  You want to make sure everyone hears this news at the same time, first thing Monday morning.  Outlook makes it easy for you to control when the message will be sent.
  • First, address and compose the message, then click the Options button above the To text box.  In the Message Options dialog box, select the Do Not Deliver Before check box, then select a date and time from the dropdown boxes next to the check box.  then , click Close and send the message.  The message is placed in the Outbox until it's time to send it.  Note that the message will be sent at the chosen time even if you aren't running Outlook at that time.

Tip: Rename fields and items in a PivotTable (Excel 2002)

  • When you create a PivotTable, Excel automatically uses the source data's existing column labels and data items to name the corresponding elements in the PivotTable.  However, you may want to change the names to make your PivotTable more intuitive.  For instance, let's say that you add a field named Employees to the PivotTable's row section.  You may prefer for the field to be named Sales Rep.  If some of the sales reps have extremely long names, you may want to truncate the names--for instance, convert Christine Kalinowski to Chris K.
  • Fortunately, such changes are easy.  To rename a field that's placed in a PivotTable, double-click on the field button.  Then, simply change the Name setting and click OK.  To rename an individual item, simply select the appropriate PivotTable cell and type the desired entry.  Even if the underlying data changes, the PivotTable will maintain the new item names when you refresh the PivotTable.  In addition, any new names you assign are used in the filter dropdown lists associated with the field.

Tip: Hiding duplicates in query results (Access 2002)

  • It's easy to hide duplicate entries when you run a query, even though Access doesn't go out of its way to call attention to this ability.  To do so, set up a query as usual using the design grid.  Then, choose View | Properties from the menu bar to display the Query Properties dialog box.  Change the Unique Values property to Yes.  Access displays unique records based on each field returned by the query.  It's worth mentioning a few points about the recordset that the query returns.  First, the results are automatically sorted based on the order of the fields in the query design grid.  Also, you should be aware that you can't update the recordset.

Tip: Revert Windows back to its former look (Win XP)

  • If you've just upgraded to Window XP, chances are you're a little overwhelmed by the virtually barren desktop, and the streamlined and colorful interface.  As you're getting yourself used to the new operating system, you may begin to long for the comfortable and familiar interface of the "classic" Windows OS, and lucky for you, your security blanket is only a few clicks away.
  • All you need to do to revert Windows XP's interface back to the classic Windows interface is to right-click on the Windows XP desktop and choose Properties from the shortcut menu.  In the Display Properties dialog box, select the Appearance tab, and then from the Windows And buttons dropdown list, select Windows Classic Style.  Next, click Apply, and then click OK.  After a few seconds, the Windows XP interface will look like your old, familiar Windows interface.
  • You can even add some life to the barren Window XP desktop by returning some you your familiar Windows icons to their original location as well.  Simply right-click once again on the desktop to open the Display Properties dialog box, and this time select the Desktop tab.  Then, click the Customize Desktop button, and on the General property sheet, select the check boxes corresponding to the icons you'd like to appear on your Windows XP desktop (these icons are absent by default to give Windows XP its new clutter-free and streamlined look).  Once you've finished making your selection, click Apply and then click OK.  When you return to the Windows XP desktop, you'll now see the shortcuts corresponding to the check boxes you just selected.

Tip: Customize your default AutoShape colors and styles to avoid repetitive formatting (PowerPoint 2002)

  • If you don't often use PowerPoint's default green or blue colors for AutoShape fills, you can change it so that every time you create an AutoShape in the future, it's automatically a different color in the active presentation.  To do this, draw and format an AutoShape--you can change its color, line color, line thickness, and even give it a shadow.  Now, select your newly formatted AutoShape, click the Draw button on the Drawing toolbar, and choose Set AutoShape Defaults.  (In PowerPoint 2001, choose Format AutoShape from the Draw menu, click on the Colors and Lines tab in the resulting Format AutoShape dialog box, select the Default For New Objects check box below the Arrows panel, and then click OK.)  Finally, save your presentation.  Now, every time you work in the saved presentation, the formatting attributes you gave your AutoShape will automatically be applied to each new AutoShape you create.  (Don't worry, these attributes have become the default settings for the active presentation only--not any new presentations you create--and can easily be edited using the drawing tools.)

Tip: Attach a read or delivery receipt to your Outlook 2002 messages

  • Instead of waiting and wondering if a message you sent was delivered or opened, you can attach a delivery and or a read receipt to the message.  Outlook sends you an automated message when your message is delivered to the recipient's inbox and when it is opened.  You can set this option for individual messages or for all messages you send.  Obviously, this feature might not work across the Internet.
  • To set these options for one message, open the message and click the Options button.  In the Voting And Tracking Options panel, select Request A Delivery Receipt For This Message and/or request A Read Receipt For This Message check box.  And then click Close.
  • To set tracking for all messages you send, choose Tools | Options from the menu bar and click the E-mail Options button.  Then, click the Tracking Options button.  In the Options panel, select the Read Receipt and/or Delivery Receipt check boxes.  Then, click OK repeatedly until you return to Outlook.  Now every message you send will have these features attached.

Tip: Sort table data by the word or phrase of your choice (Word 2002)

  • When you have a table of names, it's often wise to store first names in one cell and last names in another.  That way, you can easily sort the table by first name or by last name.  This practice doesn't  just extend to first and last names--whenever you create a table, it's simply good practice to break each unit down into its smallest parts, then store each part in a separate cell. For instance, if you're working with a list of contacts, don't just store first and last names in separate cells.  Split each person's city, state, and ZIP code information into separate cells, too.  Breaking down information like this makes your table more versatile so it can be sorted more easily.
  • But if you find yourself challenged with sorting a list that isn't so efficiently organized, you don't have to rebuild the entire table in order to sort it.  In Word 2002, you can now use the Sort feature's advanced options to sort by a specific word or phrase in each column.  To do so:
    • 1. Place the insertion point anywhere within the table, then choose Table | Sort.
    • 2. Click the Options button.  In the Separate Fields At panel, select the character that separates each word or phrase in your table.  (If a character other than tabs or commas separates each item, choose the Other option button, and then enter the appropriate character in the corresponding text box.)  Click OK to return to the Sort dialog box.
    • 3. In the Sort dialog box, set up your search criteria as usual.  However, choose the appropriate sorting unit (such as Word 2 or Field 2) from the Using dropdown lists.  When you've finished, click OK to perform the sort.
  • Note: Although these advance sorting features are disabled for tables in earlier versions of Word, you can use them to sort text that's delimited by tabs, commas, or other characters.

Tip: Make Excel 2002 formulas more readable with named constants

  • When you create a set of formulas that incorporate a value that doesn't change, you can make your formulas more readable by replacing the value with a named constant.  Just as you can name worksheet ranges, you can assign a name to a specific value.  To name a constant, display the Define Name dialog box by choosing Insert | Name | Define from the menu bar.  After typing a name for the constant, replace the information in the Refers To text box with the constant value and click OK.  you can now substitute the name you used in place of the value as you construct formulas.

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