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By Lisa Griffin, Mar 28 2019 02:44PM

Do you recognise any of the culprits in this line up?

If you use Microsoft Excel, Word, Outlook or PowerPoint (in fact any of the Microsoft products), then you actually have buttons like this appearing on your screen every day. Most people I teach acknowledge that they see them but confess to ignoring them - in fact they say they are annoying. Their perception has completely changed when they leave my course at the end of the day!

Others admit to being cautious about trying the different options out because they don't know what they mean - you can experiment with each option until you achieve the desired result. The button will only disappear once you start doing something else.

Let me give you some examples:....

So, in Excel, do you ever feel like you're constantly re-doing borders after autofilling formulas? Below you can see how the double border from the first cell has been copied down when I copied the formula.

To quickly remove the borders, click the tag that appears at the bottom of the range and choose Fill Without Formatting. This way you have chosen to copy the formula down but not the formats.

When you insert columns/rows use the "Paint brush" tag to determine whether your newly inserted item adopts the look of one of it's neighbours or no look at all.

Pasting cut/copied data is easy thanks to the (Ctrl) tag that offers a number of options (in Excel I often choose Keep Source Column Widths). The options offered will vary depending on the product you are using and the item you are cutting/copying).

The next time you select some data in Excel take a minute to explore the Quick Analysis Button that always appears in the bottom right-hand corner of your selected range.

You may discover a fast new way to insert totals, charts or learn about some other tools available in Excel.

When working with numbered lists, use the "lightning" button when it appears to the left to control how your numbering appears.

Have you ever noticed your font size in a PowerPoint slide shrinking as you type lots of text in a placeholder? Use the tag that appears to the left to explore alternatives.

As you can see, these option buttons can be extremely useful and save lots of time. So, the next time you see one, expecially if something's just happened that you're not happy with, click the tag and explore the options available. You'll wish you had never ignored them!

By Lisa Griffin, Jan 15 2015 12:26PM

Keyboard shortcut sheet for Word
Keyboard shortcut sheet for Word

Not everyone loves using keyboard shortucts but they can undoubtedly help you work faster and reduce the repetitive movement from mouse back to keyboard and vice versa.

This sheet of commonly used shortcuts is a well-received handout on the Word courses I run; and from my own experience, you will soon discover your favourites and only need to use them a couple of times to remember them!

By Lisa Griffin, Jun 18 2014 04:24PM

Last week I was training a lady who wanted to know where the freeze panes command lives in Excel 2010 - she knew how to do it in 2003! Well, go to the VIEW TAB and it's there, slightly improved in that there are now built-in options for freezing the top row or left column. To do both at the same time you would need to click under the row/s you want to freeze AND to the right of the columns you want to freeze and then choose the FREEZE PANES command. A great tool for working with big worksheets!

By Lisa Griffin, Jun 18 2014 02:59PM

At the start of every training session, I ask delegates if they have added commonly used buttons to their Quick Access Toolbar and the majority of them say "No". It can save lots of time and reduces the frustration some people experience when navigating the ribbon and tabs.

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