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Microsoft Office Tips

View an alphabetical listing of Office Tech Tips

Templates for Office

Trying to set up records for the coming year? Microsoft offers free templates for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other Office programs, which can help you organize your business and your home.

Click to download templates


Using the Windows SkyDrive in Office 2010

An amazing tool in Office 2010 is the SkyDrive. With the SkyDrive you can store documents in a central location and access them from wherever you are. To use the SkyDrive with Office 2010 you need a Windows Live ID.

To Save a Document to the SkyDrive in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint:

bullet Open the file you want to save
bullet Click the File tab on the Ribbon
bullet Click Save & Send in the left pane
bullet Click Save to Web
bullet Click Sign In, enter your Windows Live ID and password
bullet Click OK

Your document is now saved to the SkyDrive and you can view and edit it from wherever you are or give others permission to view or edit it. This article from Microsoft Using Office Web Apps in SkyDrive can help you get started!

Previous versions of Office require you to download an Add-in before you can use the SkyDrive feature.

Free Microsoft Office Tutorials

The Goodwill Community Foundation, a program of Goodwill Industries of Eastern NC, Inc.®,  has made available “online learning opportunities to anyone who wants to improve the technology, literacy and math skills needed to be successful in both work and life.”  Their tutorials include:

Their free courses include interactive lessons and videos and are an excellent way to learn Microsoft Office as well as some other important topics such as Mobile Apps and Google Docs. Check it out:  www.gcflearnfree.org/office

Using the Clipboard Pane in Office 2007/2010

Although this feature has been around for many years, most people still copy/paste one item at a time.  Using the Clipboard pane you can copy multiple items and paste the one you need. Or even paste them all. Here’s how:

bullet Click the Home tab of the Ribbon
bullet In the Clipboard group, click the arrow button on the bottom right to open the Clipboard pane
bullet Select where you want to paste an item and click it in the Clipboard pane

This tip works in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You can paste items between worksheets, workbooks, pages, documents, slides, or even between different programs.  (To view the Clipboard pane in earlier versions, click the Edit pull-down menu and select Office Clipboard.)

Keep a file on the Office 2007/2010 Recent Documents List

An excellent new feature in Office 2007/2010 which works in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access, is the ability to keep or “pin” a file in the Recent Documents list, here’s how:


In 2007 click the Microsoft Office button or in 2010 click the File Tab and then click Recent


Click the pin icon beside the document you want to keep on the list


The pin button changes to a push pin viewed from the top

Calendar Templates for Office

Gearing up for the new year?  Microsoft has a collection of templates for creating calendars using Word, Excel. PowerPoint, Access, and other programs. You can download them for free. Check it out. Click to download free calendar templates


Recolor a Picture or Change the Color or Transparency in Office 2010

In Office 2010 Word, PowerPoint and Excel you can recolor a picture, adjust the color saturation and tone, and more! Here's how:

bullet Select the picture you want to recolor
bullet Click the Picture Tools Format tab on the Ribbon
bullet In the Adjust group, click Color
bullet Select one of the many options, for example:


Help Learning Office 2010

Here are some more resources to help you switch from Office 2003 to the new Office 2010.

How to Find Office 2003 Commands in Office 2010 This is a "how to" article from www.howtogeek.com.  If you scroll to the bottom of this article you will find the following links to free information from Microsoft.

Office 2010 interactive guide

Download Office 2010 reference workbooks

Quick Reference Guides for Microsoft Office 2010

There are a lot of great resources to help you learn Office 2010. Custom Guide Online Learning has created printable 2-page quick reference guides which you can download for free. Give it a try.

Word 2010

Excel 2010

PowerPoint 2010

Using Screenshot in Office 2010

Screenshot -- a new feature in Office 2010 -- allows you to capture images from your screen.


Click the document that you want to add the screenshot to


Click the Insert tab on the Ribbon


In the Illustrations group, click Screenshot


To add the whole window, click the thumbnail in the Available Windows gallery


To add part of the window, click Screen Clipping, and when the pointer becomes a cross, press and hold the left mouse button to select the area of your screen that you want to capture


If you have multiple windows open, click the window you want to clip from before clicking Screen Clipping. When you click Screen Clipping, the program you are working in is minimized and only the window behind it is available for clipping


After adding a screenshot, you can use the tools on the Picture Tools tab to edit and enhance the screenshot

You can use Screenshot in Word 2010, PowerPoint 2010 and Excel 2010.

Customize the Ribbon in Office 2010

Office 2010 allows you to customize the Ribbon in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.  Here's how:


Click the File tab on the Ribbon


Click Options to display the Options dialog box


Click Customize the Ribbon


Select the command you want to add to the Ribbon


Click the tab where you want the command added and click new group -- commands can only be added to custom groups (you can even create a new custom tab if you want to)


Click Add


Click OK when you are finished adding commands to the Ribbon

SmartArt Graphics in Office 2007 

SmartArt is a new feature in Office 2007. It’s easy to use and available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  It can be used to create organization charts and time lines, to show sequential tasks, and much more. These resources can help you get started:

Create a SmartArt graphic “How to” article from Microsoft.com

Demo: Spice up your text with SmartArt graphics Demo with audio from Microsoft.com

Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 introduces SmartArt graphics Online training from Microsoft.com

Exploring Office 2007: Using SmartArt Graphics Article by Helen Bradley from SmallBusinessComputing.com

Cheat Sheets for Office 2007

 An excellent resource for learning Office 2007 is a set of Cheat Sheets published by ComputerWorld.  Whether you’re just making the switch to 2007 or a seasoned user, you’re certain to find many useful tips and tricks.

Word 2007 Cheat Sheet

Excel 2007 Cheat Sheet

PowerPoint 2007 Cheat Sheet

Add Commands to Quick Access Toolbar in Office 2007


Right click on any command


Select Add to the Quick Access Toolbar from the shortcut menu

This trick works in Microsoft 2007 Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access.

Microsoft Office New Year's Templates

Microsoft Office Online offers a number of templates specifically designed for the New Year which can be freely download.  These include greeting cards, postcards, shipping labels, address labels, banners, invitations, menus, labels for CD's, email messages, and even one for New Year's resolutions.  You can find templates for Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, OneNote and Outlook. Click here to check it out!

Minimize the Office 2007 Ribbon

The Office 2007 Ribbon can take up a lot of space on the screen.  But it doesn't have to!

To Minimize the Ribbon
bullet Right click on the Ribbon
bullet Select Minimize the Ribbon



Office 2007 Ribbon Replaces Pull-down Menus and Toolbars

There’s a lot of controversy about whether the new way of doing things in Office 2007 is an improvement or not. But the fact remains. It’s here to stay. The former pull-down menus and toolbars have been replaced by the Ribbon. Apparently there’s no option to revert to the "classic" Office interface. So we're all just going to have to accept it.

If you’re making the transition to Office 2007 check out Getting to know you...again: The Ribbon posted on office.microsoft.com.  This article is rich with links to training guides, videos, and other learning resources.  Or An introduction to the Microsoft Office 2007 ribbon interface posted on techrepublic.com.

Reasons Not to Upgrade to Office 2007

Many people are wondering whether to upgrade to Office 2007.  In an earlier tech tip we shared an article from PC World Microsoft Office 2007: A Worthy Upgrade This redesigned productivity suite is powerful and full featured, once you get used to the changes.  However, there are good reasons NOT to make the switch to the latest version of Microsoft Office. In an article published on www.itwire.com, the author discusses five of the most compelling reasons NOT to switch, at least not yet. Read Five reasons not to upgrade to Office 2007 and decide for yourself.

Share Information Between Office Programs

It's easy to share information between Word, Excel and PowerPoint. For example, if you want to use information from a PowerPoint slide in a Word document, just insert a copy of the entire slide in your Word document.

bullet Open your PowerPoint presentation
bullet Using Slide Sorter view, select the slide you want to copy
bullet Click the Copy button (or press Ctrl + c) to copy the slide to the clipboard
bullet Switch to your Word document
bullet Click where you want the slide to appear
bullet Click the Paste button (or press Ctrl + v) to paste the slide from the clipboard

OR instead of pasting a copy of the slide, after copying the slide to the clipboard:

bullet In Word, choose Edit from the pull-down menu and choose Paste Special
bullet From the Paste Special dialog box select Paste Link and choose As Microsoft PowerPoint Slide Object

Choose Paste Link ONLY if you would like the slide to change in your Word document if you change the slide in your PowerPoint presentation.  If you do NOT, use the first method and just copy the slide into your Word document.

Microsoft Office 2007

Many people are wondering whether to upgrade to the new Microsoft Office 2007.  PC World recently tackled the issue in Microsoft Office 2007: A Worthy Upgrade This redesigned productivity suite is powerful and full featured, once you get used to the changes.

For complete details about Microsoft Office Professional 2007, including: product guide, system requirements, frequently asked questions, and a free download so you can test drive before you buy, go to office.microsoft.com.

Microsoft Knowledge Base

One of my favorite resources is the Microsoft Knowledge Base.  You can search 100’s of thousands of articles by a specific product by clicking Select a Product.  Or do a more advanced keyword search by clicking Advanced Search.  If you’re having a problem that seems unsolvable, give it a try. Go to support.microsoft.com/search/


Showing Full Menus

Introduced in the release of Office 2000 was the annoying delayed menus feature.  When you choose a pull-down menu the program only displays the most recently used commands.  If you wait three seconds or click on the double arrow at the bottom of the list, it will display the rest of the commands available under that menu item.

To turn this feature off:

bullet Choose Tools from the pull-down menus.
bullet Select Customize.
bullet Click the Options tab.
bullet Select the Always show full menus check box.

Note: Changing this setting affects all of your Microsoft Office programs.

Creating Hyperlinks in Office Documents

Office programs allow you to create hyperlinks to external Web sites. Here's a quick way to insert a Web site address:


Select the text you want to link and press CTRL+ K


In the Insert Hyperlink dialog box, make sure the insertion point is in the Address box


Start your browser, and open the Web site you want to link to


Select the Web site address and press Ctrl + C to copy it to the clipboard


Switch back to the Office document. Press Ctrl V to copy the Web site address in the Address box of the Insert Hyperlink dialog box


Click OK

Note: In some browsers the link may appear automatically without the need to copy and paste from the clipboard. This tip works in most Office programs.

AutoShapes: Callouts & Drop Shadows 

Microsoft FrontPage, PowerPoint, Word and Excel provide a variety of drawing tools. Use AutoShapes and Shadow Style to create effects for your Web site, presentation or document. With the auto-shape "Callouts", you can put dialog balloons together with photos to add interest to your pages.

To make a text balloon or "callout" like the one in the picture below, select the Drawing icon from the main toolbar to start a new drawing then:

  1. In Page view, click on AutoShapes, then Callouts and select a choice. 
  2. Place your cursor in the new drawing canvas on your page and click to create your callout shape.
  3. Click on the callout shape to select it, then click the Fill Color (paint bucket) icon in the Drawing Toolbar and select the color you want to fill the shape with. 
  4. Reselect your callout shape, click the Shadow Style icon on the Drawing Toolbar and select a drop shadow choice.
  5. Reselect your callout shape and type or paste text.

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