Bristle Software Microsoft Office Tips

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Table of Contents:

  1. Office Tips
    1. What's This? Help
    2. Office Shortcut Keys
    3. See Also
  2. Word Tips
    1. Show window contents while dragging
    2. Show full file path
    3. Find Next
    4. Show Styles
    5. Insert line break
    6. Insert page break
    7. Compare Versions
    8. Table of Contents
      1. Creating a Table of Contents
      2. Table of Contents Hyperlinks
      3. Table of Contents Full Row Hyperlinks
      4. Updating a Table of Contents
      5. Automatically Updating a Table of Contents
    9. Rectangular Cut/Paste
    10. Multiple Views of the Same File
    11. Word Shortcut Keys
  3. Excel Tips
    1. Insert line break
    2. Freeze Panes
    3. Select Multiple Regions
    4. Absolute Cell Reference
    5. Excel Shortcut Keys
    6. View Multiple Worksheets
    7. Insert Special Character
    8. See Also

Details of Tips:

  1. Office Tips

    1. What's This? Help

      Last Updated: 4/1/2000
      Applies to: Word 97+, Excel 97+, PowerPoint 97+

      Want to find out what a menu item, toolbar button, or other user interface feature is for?

      Use What's This? help.  Hit Shift-F1, click on the toolbar button with a picture of an arrow pointer and a question mark, or use the Help | What's This? menu.  Any of these 3 actions changes the mouse pointer to an arrow with a question mark.  Then navigate to the menu, toolbar button, or other UI feature you are interested in, and click it.  A popup box explains the purpose of that feature.

      --Fred

    2. Office Shortcut Keys

      Original Version: 4/1/2000
      Last Updated: 11/16/2007
      Applies to: Word 97+, Excel 97+, PowerPoint 97+, FrontPage 98+

      Here is a list of some of the more useful shortcut keys in various Microsoft Office applications.  For a list of keys that work across all Windows applications, including Office apps, see: Windows Shortcut Keys.

      Key Function
      Shift-F4 Find Next
      F6 Move to next pane of the current window.
      Ctrl-F6 Move to next window listed in the Window menu.
      Ctrl-Shift-F6 Move to previous window listed in the Window menu.
      Ctrl-B/I/U Bold/Italics/Underline
      Ctrl-Shift-F, Up/Down Change font
      Ctrl-Shift-P, Up/Down Change font size
      Ctrl-Z/Y Undo/Redo
      Shift-Enter Insert a line break
      Ctrl-Enter Insert a page break
      Ctrl-Wheel Zoom in/out

      Obviously, this list is far from complete.  Please feel free to mail me your favorite shortcuts.  I'll add to this list as time permits.

      --Fred

    3. See Also

      Last Updated: 11/20/2007

      The following are good sources of info about MS Office products:

      1. http://msofficetips.stluka.com
        Tom Stluka's Office Tips

      --Fred

  2. Word Tips

    1. Show window contents while dragging

      Last Updated: 3/12/2000
      Applies to: Word 97

      By default, when you drag the scrollbar in Word, the contents of the window do not change until you release the mouse button.  However, you can change this, so that the text is scrolled as you drag.  The option is not available through any of the menus as far as I know, but you can set the following value in the Windows registry:

      	REGEDIT4
      
      	[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Word\Options]
      	"LiveScrolling"="1"

      --Fred

    2. Show full file path

      Last Updated: 3/12/2000
      Applies to: Word 97

      Ever find yourself in Word wondering the exact location of the file you are editing?

      I often have multiple similar copies of a file, with the same simple filename, but stored in different directories (the release 1, 2, and 3 versions of the file, for example).  Before I make changes, I want to be sure I have the right version. 

      The simplest way I've found to have Word always show the full path of the file being edited is to enable the Web toolbar, via the View | Toolbars | Web menu.

      --Fred

    3. Find Next

      Last Updated: 4/11/2000
      Applies to: Word 6, Word 97

      Tired of having to leave the Find dialog box open in Word to continue searching? 

      In Word and many other Office applications (Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) use Shift-F4 to repeat the previous search. 

      If you overshoot, hitting Shift-F4 too often and going past the match you were looking for, hit Shift-F5 to return to the previous match.  This is not really a search command -- Shift-F5 actually cycles you through the last several locations you've hit in the file.

      You can also click on the blue double down- and up-arrows in the scrollbar to search forwards and backwards.

      Finally, best of all, in Word (but not other Microsoft Office applications), you can use Ctrl-PgDn and Ctrl-PgUp to search

      --Fred

    4. Show Styles

      Last Updated: 3/12/2000
      Applies to: Word 6, Word 97

      Want a way to see all of the styles of all of the paragraphs in Word at the same time, rather than having to scroll through the text watching for the contents of the dropdown Style list to change?

      Use the View | Normal menu.  Then use the Tools | Options menu to get to the View tab of the Options dialog box.  Then change the value of Style area width from 0 to 1.  This causes Word to use a one-inch wide area on the left side of the window to show the style of each paragraph.

      This can be very enlightening if you were wondering why different paragraphs looks and acted differently, and didn't realize they were using different styles. 

      --Fred

    5. Insert line break

      Last Updated: 3/12/2000
      Applies to: Word 6, Word 97

      Want to insert a line break without starting a new paragraph or list item?

      Hit Shift-Enter, instead of Enter.  This inserts a line break without starting a new element.  It is very useful for creating the appearance of multiple paragraphs within a single bullet or list item.

      This same technique applies in lots of WYSISYG environments, including Word, Lotus Notes, PowerPoint, FrontPage, etc.

      --Fred

    6. Insert page break

      Last Updated: 3/12/2000
      Applies to: Word 6, Word 97

      Want to insert a page break, forcing a skip to a new page when the document is printed?

      Hit Ctrl-Enter.

      This same technique applies in lots of WYSISYG environments, including Word, PowerPoint, etc.

      --Fred

    7. Compare Versions

      Last Updated: 3/14/2000
      Applies to: Word 2, Word 6, Word 97

      Tired of re-reading each new version of a document, start to finish, looking for changes since the last time you reviewed it?

      Use the Compare Versions feature of Word to compare the current version with the previous version you reviewed.  This inserts change bars in the margins, underlines new text, and optionally shows the old text with a strikeout font.   Then you can step through the document automatically skipping to each change and accepting it or rejecting it.

      To save the reviewers of your document from having to keep a previously reviewed copy of your document, you can also use the Track Changes While Editing feature.  This inserts the same markup into the document as you make the changes.  

      You'll find all of these features in the Tools | Track Changes menu of Word 97, and in a similar menu (I forget exactly where) in Word 6.

      Note:  The Compare Documents feature works best if you don't already have any changes marked in either the old or new document.

      Thanks to Larry Teti for showing me this feature in 1994.

      --Fred

    8. Table of Contents

      1. Creating a Table of Contents

        Last Updated: 1/28/2006
        Applies to: Word 2000+

        In Word 2000, there are multiple ways to create a Table of Contents:

        1. Insert | Index and Tables... | Table of Contents

          Using this approach, you generate a Table of Contents where each entry is a hyperlink to the document page referred to by the entry.  You also get to specify lots of details, like:
          1. How many header levels to include in the TOC.
          2. Whether to show page numbers, and how to align them
          3. Styles to use
          4. etc.
        2. Insert | Field... | All Categories | TOC

          This approach offers fewer options and generates the page number of each entry (but not the entire entry) as a hyperlink to the document page.

        In Word 2003, there are also multiple ways:

        1. Insert | Reference | Index and Tables... | Table of Contents

          Using this approach, you generate a Table of Contents where each entry is a hyperlink to the document page referred to by the entry.  You also get to specify lots of details, like:
          1. How many header levels to include in the TOC.
          2. Whether to show page numbers, and how to align them
          3. Styles to use
          4. etc.
        2. Insert | Field... | All Categories | TOC | Table of Contents...

          This takes you to exactly the same "Index and Tables" dialog box as the previous technique.

        Thanks to Ken Smith for contributing to this tip!

        --Fred

      2. Table of Contents Hyperlinks

        Original Version:  3/14/2000
        Last Updated: 1/28/2006
        Applies to: Word 97+

        Want an easy way to navigate to a page of a document from the Table of Contents?

        Click on the page number.  The page numbers themselves in the Table of Contents act as hyperlinks.  Notice the "finger" cursor when you hover over them?  Click on the page number to go to that page.  In Word 2000 and later, you can make the entire entry a hyperlink.  See: Table of Contents Full Row Hyperlinks.

        To return to the Table of Contents, hit Alt-Left Arrow.  This is actually the shortcut key for the Back button on the Web Toolbar of Word, but it works even when the Web Toolbar is not shown. 

        Thanks to Steve Lafredo for reminding me of Alt-Left Arrow!

        --Fred

      3. Table of Contents Full Row Hyperlinks

        Last Updated: 1/28/2006
        Applies to: Word 2000+

        Have a document with a Table of Contents where only the page numbers are hyperlinks?  Want to make the entire entries into hyperlinks instead?

        In Word 2000, I don't know of a way to do it, other than to delete the Table of Contents and re-create it as described in: Creating a Table of Contents

        In Word 2003, you can do: 

        Right Click anywhere in the TOC | Edit Field | All Categories | TOC | Table of Contents button | Use hyperlinks instead of page numbers

        Thanks to Ken Smith for this tip!

        --Fred

      4. Updating a Table of Contents

        Original Version: 2/12/2006
        Last Updated: 1/5/2007
        Applies to: Word 97+

        OK, so now you have a Table of Contents.  Next, you edit the document to add or delete text, and all the page numbers become wrong.  Or you add or delete a section.  How to update the Table of Contents?  

        I've never seen it in the menu anywhere, except the right click menu, but what you want is Update Field, or more easily F9.  Word has lots of field types and you can have fields scattered all throughout your document, so instead of clicking each one and hitting F9, I usually do:

        Ctrl-A to select the entire document, including the TOC and all fields
        F9 to update the TOC and all fields

        For more info, see:  Woody's Office Watch article

        --Fred

      5. Automatically Updating a Table of Contents

        Last Updated: 2/20/2006
        Applies to: Word 97+

        Tired of having to hit Ctrl-A and F9 to update the Table of Contents?  Tired of printing before noticing that the Table of Contents is out of date?  To be reminded before printing, use:

        Tools | Options... | Print | Printing options | Update fields

        Pros:

        • It's a global option that applies to all documents.  Set it once and forget about, until the next time you install Word.
        • Doesn't require macros, so readers of your document are not warned about the risk of viruses each time they open your document.

        Cons:

        • It prompts each time you print, even when no changes, if there is a Table of Contents.
        • The Cancel button cancels the update to the Table of Contents, but the document still prints.
        • It prompts at each print, not at each save.  You can still easily save a document with an out of date Table of Contents, which other people can view or print. 
        • The setting belongs to your Word installation, not to the document, so if anyone else prints it, they are not reminded.

        Anyone know a better way?

        Thanks to John Steadman for this tip!  It's definitely an improvement over no reminder.

        --Fred

    9. Rectangular Cut/Paste

      Last Updated: 3/15/2000
      Applies to: Word 97

      To select a rectangular block of text in Word, hold down the Alt key while dragging the mouse. 

      Such a selection may include, for example, the middles of 5 consecutive lines of text, but not the text at the beginning or end of each line.  When you cut such a selection (via the regular Cut menu or keys), the selected text is removed, and the text from the end of each line slides to the left, closing the gap.  When you later paste such a selection (via the regular Paste menu or keys), the text is inserted at the current location, which may be in the middle of another block of text.  If so, the portions of the 5 lines to the right of the current location slide to the right to make room for the inserted text.

      --Fred

    10. Multiple Views of the Same File

      Last Updated: 3/17/2000
      Applies to: Word 97, Word 2000

      You probably know that you can use the "splitter bar" to create 2 panes in the same window in Word.  Use the Window | Split menu, or drag the tiny button just above the top arrow of the scroll bar.   This is a convenient way to see 2 different parts of the same file at one time.   You'll see this same feature in lots of Microsoft environments (Word, Excel, VB, VC++, VID, VJ++, but not FrontPage or PowerPoint).

      It is also a convenient way to see 2 different views (page layout, outline, normal, etc.) of the same document.  Each pane can show a different view, so you can edit one view and watch the effect of changes in the other view.

      But what if you want to see more than 2 parts of the same file?  Or more than 2 views of the file?  Or if you want the 2 views to be in different windows, not panes of the same window?

      Use the Window | New Window menu to create as many windows into the same file as you like.  Each window can show a different part of the file, or a different view of the file, but the windows are synchronized, so that changes made to one are immediately shown in the others.  This feature exists in Word, Excel, and VC++, but not VB, VID, VJ++, or FrontPage. 

      Interestingly, it does exist in PowerPoint, which doesn't offer a splitter bar, so this is a way to see 2 different views (normal and outline for example) of the same PowerPoint presentation.  It also exists in MMC (used to house SQL7 Enterprise Manager, IIS, MTS, and other MMC plugins).

      --Fred

    11. Word Shortcut Keys

      Last Updated: 10/24/2004
      Applies to: Word 97+

      Here is a list of some of the more useful shortcut keys in Word.  For a list of keys that apply to multiple Office applications, including Word, see: Office Shortcut Keys.

      Key Function
      Ctrl-PgDn / Shift-F4 Find Next Forward
      Ctrl-PgUp Find Next Backward
         
      F4 Repeat previous edit at current cursor location
         
      Shift-F1 "What's This" help.  Can then click on text to see details of its formatting, click on a toolbar button to see what it does, etc.
      Shift-F3 Cycle Case (Upper, Lower, Mixed)
      Shift-F5 Cycle through 5 previous edit locations in this file, from this or previous edit sessions.  This is a convenient way to ask "Where was I?" when you re-open a document the next day to resume editing. It shows you the 5 last places where you made changes to the document.
         
      Ctrl-Z Undo most recent annoying "autoformat" action (actually, undo anything, but this is one very useful Word-specific aspect of the key)
         
      Ctrl-Alt-1 Apply Header 1 style to paragraph
      Ctrl-Alt-2 Apply Header 2 style to paragraph
      Ctrl-Alt-3 Apply Header 3 style to paragraph
      Alt-Shift-Left Convert paragraph from Header n style to Header n+1
      Alt-Shift-Right Convert paragraph from Header n-1 style to Header n
         
      Ctrl-Shift-N Apply Normal style to paragraph
      Ctrl-Shift-C Copy style info
      Ctrl-Shift-V Paste style info
         
      Shift-Enter Line break
      Ctrl-Enter Page break
      Ctrl-Shift-Enter Column break
      Ctrl-Shift-Space Non-breaking space
      Ctrl-Shift-Hyphen Non-breaking hyphen
         
      Alt-Shift-Up Move table row up
      Alt-Shift-Down Move table row down
      Ctrl-Tab Insert Tab in a table cell
         
      Ctrl-Alt-C Copyright symbol
      Ctrl-Alt-R Registered trademark symbol
      Ctrl-Alt-T Trademark symbol
         
      Ctrl-Shift-8 Toggle visibility of non-printing chars (paragraph marks, etc.)
      Alt-F9 Toggle visibility of field codes (bookmarks, etc.)
         
      Ctrl-L Left Justify
      Ctrl-R Right Justify
      Ctrl-E Center
      Ctrl-J Justify (right and left both)
      Ctrl-M/Ctrl-Shift-M Indent/Undent
      Ctrl-T/Ctrl-Shift-T Hanging Indent/Undent
         
      Ctrl-Alt-P Page Layout view
      Ctrl-Alt-N Normal view
      Ctrl-Alt-O Outline view
         
      Ctrl-A, F9 Update Table of Contents (actually all fields)
      Ctrl-Shift-F9 Unlink all fields
         
      Ctrl-[ Decrease font size
      Ctrl-] Increase font size
         
      Ctrl-Wheel Zoom in/out

      This list is far from complete.  Please feel free to mail me your favorite shortcuts.  I'll add to this list as time permits.  Contributors so far include:
                  Stephen Lafredo
                  Ricky Pifer
                  Tom Stluka

      For a better explanation of many of these keys, see:  http://www.mvps.org/word/FAQs/General/Shortcuts.htm.

      For a more complete list (including lots that I won't bother to list here because they are too rarely needed) see the Word on-line help:  Help | Index | Keys | Shortcut Keys    or Microsoft Knowledgebase article Q157935.

      To find out what key, if any, is mapped to a specific function, use the Word menu:   Tools | Customize... and then click the Keyboard... button at the bottom of the dialog box.  This pops up another dialog box in which you can select a function, see what key(s) are assigned to it, and add your own key assignments.  This is also the easiest way to see what function, if any, is mapped to a specific key.

      To produce a a Word document containing a table of all Word commands and the keys assigned to them, use the Word menu:   Tools | Macro | Macros... and then type ListCommands in the Macro name box, and click Run.

      To print a list of your current key assignments at a printer, use the above technique and then print the document, or use the Word menu:  File | Print... and then select Key assignments from the Print what dropdown list.

      --Fred

  3. Excel Tips

    1. Insert line break

      Last Updated: 3/12/2000
      Applies to: Excel 97

      Want to insert a line break in the text in a cell of an Excel spreadsheet?

      Hitting Enter doesn't work.  It moves you down one cell.   Hitting Shift-Enter (as you might do in Word, PowerPoint, Lotus Notes, FrontPage, etc.) doesn't work either.  It moves you up one cell.  To insert a line break in Excel, hit Alt-Enter.

      --Fred

    2. Freeze Panes

      Last Updated: 4/1/2000
      Applies to: Excel 97

      Want to keep those leftmost or topmost cells in view as you scroll to the right or bottom of your Excel spreadsheet? 

      Use the Freeze Panes command available through the Window menu.   It marks the cells to the left and top of the current cell as "frozen".   Scrolling right leaves the leftmost frozen cells on the screen.  Scrolling down leaves the topmost frozen cells on the screen. 

      Very useful if you put row and column headers in those cells.

      --Fred

    3. Select Multiple Regions

      Last Updated: 4/1/2000
      Applies to: Excel 97

      You can select multiple discontinuous blocks of cells by holding down Ctrl as you select with the mouse.

      Thanks to Tom Stluka for this tip!

      --Fred

    4. Absolute Cell Reference

      Last Updated: 3/22/2002
      Applies to: Excel 97+

      It is usually very convenient that Excel treats cell references as relative, not absolute.  That is, when you refer to cell B3 from a formula in cell C5, it assumes that what you mean is the cell one column left and two rows up, relative to the cell where the formula resides.  This means that when you insert additional rows and columns, things usually continue to work as you want. 

      However, you sometimes want to refer to an absolute cell position.  You said B3 because you really meant B3, regardless of what new rows and columns are inserted into the spreadsheet.  You can get Excel to treat a cell reference as absolute, not relative, by adding dollar signs, as in:

              $B$3

      You can also make the column or row absolute, while leaving the row or column relative, as:

              $B3
              B$3

      Finally, you can cycle through all of these modes by selecting the cell reference and hitting F4.

      Thanks to David Brophy, Tom Stluka, and James Higgins for contributing to this tip!

      --Fred

    5. Excel Shortcut Keys

      Last Updated: 9/9/2008
      Applies to: Excel 97+

      Here is a list of some of the more useful shortcut keys in Excel.  For a list of keys that apply to multiple Office applications, including Excel, see: Office Shortcut Keys.

      Key Function
      Shift-F5 Find (same as Ctrl-F)
      Shift-F4 Find Next
      Ctrl-Y or
      F4
      Find Next, unless you have just undone something with Ctrl-Z, in which case it is redo.
      Shift while clicking Find Next in Find dialog box Find Next Backward (any way to do this without the mouse?)
      Ctrl-Arrow / End,Arrow Move in the specified direction, stopping at the first and last cell of each continuous block of non-blank cells
      Enter / Shift-Enter Move down/up within the selected block of cells, wrapping to the next/previous column when you hit the bottom/top.
      Tab / Shift-Tab Move right/left within the selected block of cells, wrapping to the next/previous row when you hit the rightmost/leftmost.
      Ctrl-Home Move to top left non-frozen cell
      End, Left/Right Move to leftmost/rightmost cell of row
      End, Up/Down Move to top/bottom cell of column
      Alt-Enter Insert a line break in the current cell
      Ctrl-` Toggle showing all formulas.   (Ctrl-Backtick, not Ctrl-Apostrophe)
      F2 Move keyboard focus into cell to edit it, without deleting all of the text there -- same as double-click on the cell.
      Ctrl-PgUp/PgDn Move between pages of a workbook.
      Ctrl-Tab /  Ctrl-Shift-Tab Move between workbooks of an Excel session.
      Ctrl-Shift-Down/Right Select entire column/row
      F4 Cycle selected cell reference through various absolute and relative modes.
      Ctrl-* Select all cells in a continuous block of cells.
      Ctrl-Plus Insert empty cell, row, or column.
      Ctrl-Minus Delete selected cells (not just their contents).
      F11 Chart selected cells
      Alt-PageDn Move one page to the right
      Alt-PageUp Move one page to the left
      Ctrl-Backspace Scroll to see the active cell
      Ctrl-Space Select entire column
      Shift-Space Select entire row
      Alt-Equals Sum the selected values
      Ctrl-; Enter the current date
      Ctrl-: Enter the current time 
      Shift-F3 Insert a function call (shows dropdown of functions)
      Ctrl-A When cursor is after a function name, show the Function Arguments dialog box.
      Ctrl-Shift-A When cursor is after a function name, insert argument names and parentheses.
      Ctrl-5 Strikethrough
      Ctrl-Wheel Zoom in/out

      Obviously, this list is far from complete.  Please feel free to mail me your favorite shortcuts.  I'll add to this list as time permits.  Contributors so far include:
                  Tom Stluka
                  Chris Lada
                  Eric Marshall

      For more keys, see:

          http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/assistance/HP052037811033.aspx

      --Fred

    6. View Multiple Worksheets

      Last Updated: 12/14/2003
      Applies to: Excel 97+

      How to see multiple Excel worksheets from the same workbook side by side?

      Excel puts them on different tabs of the same window, so you can only see one at a time.  A typical example of a limiting "modal" interface.  And there is no splitter bar, so you can't get 2 views into the same window.

      Excel also prevents you from opening the same file in two different Excel sessions, and putting the Excel sessions side by side in different desktop windows.  If you try from Windows Explorer, you get switched to the existing Excel session.  If you try from the command line, with or without the START command, you get the error message:

      "The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process."

      You can't even copy the file to another folder and open the 2nd copy.  You get the error message:

      "A document with the name 'whatever.xls' is already open.  You cannot open two documents with the same name, even if the documents are in different folders.  To open the second document, either close the document that's currently open, or rename one of the documents."

      However, this error message gives a clue to one simple workaround.  If you give the copy of the file a different name, you can open it. Unfortunately, you now have two different copies, so you have to remember to view both but make all edits to one copy.

      My brother Tom sent me a better solution.  From the Window menu, choose New Window.  Then you get 2 windows in the same MDI window, and you can drag them around or use Window | Arrange to put them side by side.

      Amazing how different Excel is from Word, eh?  Anyone know where the two products came from?  I doubt Microsoft wrote both of them.  In fact, they may not have written either.  Over the years, they've acquired, not written, many of their successful products.

      --Fred

    7. Insert Special Character

      Last Updated: 9/5/2004
      Applies to: Excel 97+

      How to insert a special character into an Excel spreadsheet?  

      Unlike Word and PowerPoint, Excel 97 and Excel 2000 have no menu:

          Insert | Symbol...

      This menu was added in Excel 2002 (Office XP), but with older versions of Excel, you can use the Character Map utility available from the Start Menu at:

          Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Character Map

      Select the character that you want, Click on Copy and then go to the cell in the Excel spreadsheet and Paste.

      If you want to show more complex mathematical notation, you can use the Equation Editor to embed an MS Equation object in a spreadsheet, but the object floats on top of the spreadsheet, not inside any particular cell.

      Thanks to Tom Stluka for this tip!

      --Fred

    8. See Also

      Last Updated: 9/5/2004
      Applies to:  Excel 1.0+

      The following are good sources of info about Excel:

      1. http://j-walk.com/ss/
        John Walkenbach's Spreadsheet Page
        History of all the Excel versions, plus tips, FAQs, links, etc.
       

      --Fred

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