Top 10 most useful secrets in Office
Here are my top 10 most useful secret ninja moves to increase your productivity and win friends and lovers.
#1: Format painter (Office)
The Format Painter tool replicates the formatting
from one part of a document to another. So instead of manually redoing
all the formatting yourself, you can use the Format Painter. First, select the text whose formatting you want to replicate. Then, click the Format Painter toolbar button. Finally, select the text you want to imbue with the format. For bonus points, you can double-click the Format Painter button to replicate the formatting to multiple areas of the document!
#2: Paragraph in/out/up/down (Office)
You can easily move a paragraph in four directions by pressing
Alt+Shift+[Arrow]. To increase or decrease the indentation level of a
paragraph or bullet point, press Alt+Shift+Right and Alt+Shift+Left
respectively. To move a paragraph up or down, press Alt+Shift+Up or
Alt+Shift+Down. This works especially well in PowerPoint, where it's
common to reorder bullet points or change indentation levels.
#3: Increase or decrease font size (Office)
To quickly increase the font size of selected text, press
Ctrl+Shift+>. To decrease the size, press Ctrl+Shift+<. I find it
easy to remember these keyboard shortcuts because the one with the
greater-than symbol increases the font size while the less-than symbol
#4: Quick Access Toolbar (Office)
Office 2007 has a Quick Access Toolbar that can be customized to
include buttons for your favorite commands. The Quick Access Toolbar is
in the top left corner of many Office applications. You customize it by
clicking on the drop-arrow on its right.
#5: Fill handle (Excel)
Excel can auto-fill cells in eerily smart ways. Instead of manually
typing a sequence in cells, you can simply type the first few values of
the sequence and drag the fill handle to auto-fill the rest of the
cells. The fill handle is the little black square at the lower right
corner of a selected cell's border. Drag it to automatically fill
If you drag the fill handle with only one cell selected, it will
repeat that cell's value into adjacent cells. However, if you drag the
fill handle with multiple cells selected, Excel is smart enough to
figure out the series. For instance, in the following example, Excel
will fill subsequent cells with the increasing series of odd numbers.
This even works for other types of series, like dates and percentages.
#6: Moving and copying cells by dragging selection borders (Excel)
Quite possibly the most useful yet completely undiscoverable feature
in Excel is the ability to move and copy cells by dragging selection
For instance, to move row four between rows one and two, select row
four and drag the selection border while holding down the Shift key in
order to insert it in its new position. If you drag the border without
holding down the Shift key, the selected cells will instead replace the
cells you drop them on. Conversely, if you hold down Ctrl while
dragging a selection border, the selected cells are copied to their new
#7: Status bar statistics (Excel)
The status bar in Excel shows handy statistics when multiple cells
are selected. In Excel 2007, the status bar shows the selected cells'
average, count, and sum. This is an easy way to quickly analyze data
without authoring formulas.
#8: Clear formatting (Word and PowerPoint)
To remove formatting from selected text, press Ctrl+Spacebar.
#9: Advanced field search (Outlook)
In Outlook, you can quickly search through a mail folder by using
the Instant Search box. In addition to searching for keywords, you can
do a fielded search by prefixing your search text with a variety of
For instance, the above example searches for all mail from people
named "jimmy" sent in May with attachments that have "jpg" in the
filename. I most often use this feature for two things: to easily find
email from a specific person, and to find specific attachments.
#10: Presenter view (PowerPoint)
PowerPoint has for many years had a great feature called Presenter
View, which allows you as the presenter to see a different view of the
presentation from your audience. In Presenter View, your monitor shows
not only the slides, but also your notes as well as the current elapsed
time in the presentation. This makes giving a presentation far easier.
To enable Presenter view, go to the Slide Show ribbon and check Use
Presenter View. In that same section, you can also change the monitor
which the presentation is shown on. One note: the Use Presenter View
checkbox can only be checked if you already have a second monitor
connected and enabled.
on Dec 29, 2009 | Business & Productivity Software