4 min read

Everyday MS Office Tips

Everyday MS Office Tips

Here's a collection of my "hey that's neat!" ways that I use the MS Office suite.   You may know many of these, but I hope that you find new ones that are useful!

General Tips 👍

  • Open another instance of an application, say Excel, super easy.   With the application already open with a button on your Task Bar, hold the shift key down and then left-click the Excel button that's in the Task Bar.    This will give you another window and another Excel button on your taskbar.   If you have two or more monitors you then can drag the window across to your other screen so you have spreadsheets on both monitors.   No more fishing for the spreadsheet in the View menu under Switch Windows.   This works with any application by the way.  
  • Single-click on a word to put the cursor at that spot.  Double-click in a word selects the whole word.  Triple-click selects the whole paragraph.    
  • Snap your windows to sections on the screen.   Just drag the title bar of a window to a certain spot on the edge of your screen and then the window will only take up half or quarter of the screen.  Examples:  You want MS Outlook to be on the right side of the screen only.   Drag the title bar to the 3 pm position.  You'll see an outline appear when Windows recognizes this.  Let go of the mouse button and the window will resize.     If you'd like the window to be in a quadrant, then drag the title bar to a corner, watch for the rectangle outline to appear, then let go.   For whole screen, drag to the 12 o'clock position.       I'm a mac user too, so I use an app called Magnet to do the same thing.  It's nice that this is included in Windows.
  • Did you know you can paste previously copied/cut items from the clipboard?    Hit the windows key on your keyboard and V at the same time.  (instead of ctrl+V this is windows+V).   You will see the Clipboard window with all your prior copy/cut items.   Scroll down to the text you'd like to paste and choose it.  Simple as that.  No more using a separate list in Word or Notepad for this.

One Note 📓

  • The Insert menu has a nice screen clipping feature.  This will put your screen clipping wherever your cursor is in One Note.  So place the cursor first, then just click the Screen Clipping button and drag the mouse to make a rectangle around the content you want to copy.  
  • Also on the Insert Menu, there is a button for Date & Time.   This gives you quick date and time stamp in your notes.   I like to use this one at the top of notes for a meeting.
  • Even better:  Put these items on the title bar of your One Note window for easy access.  To do this, right-click on the ribbon (with all the buttons under the pull-down menus), choose 'Customize the Ribbon...' .   Then choose 'Quick Access Toolbar' on the left panel.    Pick your favorite items like the 2 above and add them to the box on the right.  
  • Calculator.  anywhere in your notes, type in a math equation. 2+2= then hit spacebar or Enter and the answer will appear.
  • Customize the tags.   The tags are a big part of my daily life.  I use them to label notes as to-do, in progress, important, etc.   Right-click on the tags box and choose Customize.   Then make these tags work for you.  Put your favorites at the top and  add appropriate labels.   Memorize the shortcut keys so you can add them to notes using your keyboard.
  • Find tags.   A wonderful feature of OneNote.  Click this button and get a list of tags that you can pop into its on page for follow-up.    Choose whatever tags you want and whether you want to collect them from the section, the notebook, etc.  Perfect to collect to-do items, especially if you have many of them throughout a notebook.

Excel 📊

  • Freeze the top row - most of the time there are column headers on the first row of data.   Please freeze that row so your colleagues don't have to.   So when you scroll, the top row with the column headings stays put.   View menu, then Freeze Panes, Freeze Top Row
  • Put your most-used features on the title bar of Excel.  This saves steps by having them right there to choose.    This is same concept described above in the One Note section....it's the Quick Access Toolbar.  My bar has these functions:   open, save, save as, undo, redo, sort ascending, sort descending, email, new file.

Word ✏️

  • My quick access toolbar here includes the Insert Comment button.   So much easier to click on the button here than finding the Review menu and then the New Comment button.    

Outlook  📨

  • Oh joy...I have 25 emails with the same conversation thread.   You can open them one at a time or a better way:  use Clean Up.    Choose the most recent email in the thread, then at the top of the screen hit the Clean Up button.   Then choose Clean Up Conversation.    This will move the prior emails to the delete folder, leaving you with the one you chose.  It has the whole conversation so there's no need to open each mail individually.  Note that if Outlook is not sure if it should remove an email it will leave it there.
  • Hit the Insights button.   This is a neat feature that does several things.  Some examples:  It will help you follow-up on emails where you awaited a reply.   It shows you emails where someone expected action from you.  It also tells you of upcoming meetings and shows attachments for your review.  

That's it for now.  Hope you learned several cool things here.   Let me know if you have others that make your days a little easier.

This Week's Quote

There are 10 types of people in the world.    Those who understand the binary system and those who don’t.

For your ears

Go Sixers!   Game 7 vs the Hawks is Sunday night.  I've been watching every nail-biting minute.