Wednesday, October 30, 2002


Bagging the (Drawing) Canvas

I know the Drawing Canvas was touted as one of the great new features in Word 2002, allowing us to create drawings or diagrams as objects and move them around at will in our documents. That's the cool part. The not-so-cool part is that most of the time I find the box clunky and unnecessary. It just gets in my way. (After all, you can create your image anywhere in the document and then select all the pieces and choose Draw > Group to collect the disparate parts anyway; then cut and paste the object where you want it.) There's a simple way to get rid of the canvas, if you feel so moved: In Word, choose Tools > Options; then click the General tab. Uncheck the bottom option, Automatically create drawing canvas when inserting AutoShapes and click OK. Now when you draw, it will be just you and the selected drawing tool, all alone on that clean, blank page. Nice. :) k

Saturday, October 26, 2002


Butterfly Marketing

I just thought this story, "MSN Ads Anger NYC," was funny. Hey, guys, what's a few hundred logos in a huge place like NYC? Ah well, I guess you can't underestimate the effects of these things. What's the saying? "If a butterfly flaps its wings in NY, there's a tidal wave in Taiwan." Or something like that. Have a good weekend! :) k

Friday, October 25, 2002


Creative Webbing

I love using Word to do simple newsletters. I created a simple template that I use for each issue (and the distribution list is saved right in the document header--way cool!). I then email the list and also save it as HTML and make it available on the web. The whole thing, from inspiration to distribution, takes me less than two hours to produce. Gotta love it!

As great as Word is for creating quick documents that port easily from email to print to web, however, it lacks one thing as a web page generator: The ability to add HTML. I wanted a simple way to add META tags so search engines might be a little more likely to pick up my stories. This morning I found a few extra minutes to try something out, and this worked great. Using Word and FrontPage together, I added the META tags while I was live, online. Here's how it's done:

If you want to see whether your changes stuck, press F5 to refresh the page and then choose View > Source to view the HTML in Notepad. Scroll through the code to find your entries. Convinced? Cool, isn't it? Best of both web worlds, fast, simple, and smart. Good way to start the weekend! Happy Friday, everyone! :) k

Tuesday, October 22, 2002


A Little Aha

I had an idea that saving the doc as HTML and then sending it might help the format issue, so I went back to try it out. What I found instead was that the graphic appeared on top of the tagline because in the printed document I had set Text Wrapping to Behind Text so that I could nestle the tagline up into the white space in the company logo. That's fine for the printed doc, because Word doesn't reconfigure things before printing. But when it prepares the doc for emailing, the image and text got moved around a bit; hence, the overlap.

To find out how the text is set to wrap around graphics in your Word documents, click the graphic and choose the Text Wrapping tool in the Picture toolbar. (If the Picture toolbar doesn't appear automatically when you click the graphic, open the View menu, choose Toolbars, and click Picture.) When you select the Text Wrapping tool, you'll be able to see which text wrap option is selected; to keep things in place, I selected Tight. Things send OK now. One more mystery solved. It's going to be a good day. Cya :) k


Emailing with Word

Over the weekend I was finishing up a proposal for a client that needed to be sent snail mail as well as email. I prepared the document in Word (thinking print) and emailed a copy to myself to check the format. I'm glad I did a test run first because the format of the email came through all funky. They bullets in the doc (I'd used the auto bullets) had too much space between them; other line spaces disappeared entirely, and the header graphic sat right on top of the tagline, which is straight colored text. It would be nice to have a cool formatted document show up in the recipient's Inbox looking as great as it would look coming off their printer, but that wasn't the reality I was dealing with.

My fix was to make a copy of the doc and adjust the formats for the email that had to go right away (which involved sending about six rounds of test messages to myself); then print and mail the original fine-looking version. To preserve the formats and get the copies to all the team members for review (and filing), I simply sent the Word doc as an attachment.

Oh, for that beautiful future day when we can truly do it once and send it perfectly in many different mediums... :) k

Thursday, October 17, 2002


For Your Eyes Only

Have you ever used the hide-a-slide feature in PowerPoint? This is a great feature that enables you to prepare for any eventuality. Suppose that Mindy in marketing is always shooting down your sales campaign ideas. For every good idea you present, she has three reasons why (1) it won't work; (2) she's already tried it; or (3) it'll never fly. As you're preparing your next presentation, think through Mindy's objections and create a couple of slides to address the "but's" Mindy is sure to bring up. If she questions your numbers on audience age, you can whip out the slide showing the chart of your customers grouped by age. If she says that the sales staff in the east coast region will never get on board with your idea, you can pop up the Excel spreadsheet showing the sales reps and how much they sold to that particular demographic.

Of course, you don't want to make all the positive, supportive souls sit through your defense if Mindy doesn't speak up. So you can hide the optional slides and display them only if needed. Create the slide as usual, and then, to hide it, display the presentation in Slide Sorter view and click the slide you want to hide. Then click the Hide Slide button in the Slide Sorter toolbar. A small box with a line through it appears around the slide number, indicating that it is now hidden.

When you're up in front giving your presentation and Mindy speaks up, go to the slide just before the hidden slide and press H. There it is in all its glory: your backup evidence. You can continue on with the presentation by pressing N or clicking the mouse button as usual.

Who knows? Maybe Mindy will be so impressed with your technical prowess that she'll quit dogging you in public. Or, at least, she'll think about emailing her comments to you after-the-fact. And you know, that's why they invented the Delete key. :) k

Tuesday, October 15, 2002


Revisionist Theory

I have used revision marks since way back in the stone age of Word for Windows. As long as it's been around, I've been using it. So why was I surprised yesterday when I'd accepted all changes and then tried to redisplay the Original view of the document? Duh. It's all gone, Kathy.

Tracking changes (choose Tools > Track Changes, or press Ctrll+Shift+E) is absolutely great when you need to keep a record of what's changed as you work. You can use the Display for Review list (in the far left side of the Reviewing toolbar) to choose the version of the document you're seeing on the screen. You can use Final Showing Markup as you work, to see how the document is shaping up and still keep an eye on your changes. If you want to see what the document looked like when you first got it, you can choose Original view. If you want to see how it will look when all the changes are added in, choose Final.

So, in a rush to finish a chapter, I clicked Accept All Changes in the Document (a tool in the Reviewing toolbar). Word did it's thing and incorporated all the edits into one nice, clean document. Ahhh. "Oops," I thought. "I should check the format of that listing before I send this in," and I tried to select Original view, just for a quick look. Unh-uh. No go. The past is gone, and Final is all there is.

The moral? Make a backup copy of your document just before you accept all changes, just in case you get a bit nostalgic for some of your original work. :) k

Friday, October 11, 2002


Office XP with Legs

Well, I'm daydreaming this morning. (I never take Fridays too seriously.) Have you heard about the new Tablet PCs? The big introduction, from several different manufacturers, is supposed to be coming in early November. Now that I have a check from my insurance company to replace my drowned computer, I'm shopping. A new tablet PC would allow me to leave my current clunky laptop at home (which runs out of juice about halfway through football practice anyway) and look like a less-nerdy mom on the sidelines. (Believe me, I am the *only* mom in the bleachers with a laptop on her knees!).

I could dock it in my home office and hook it up to a keyboard and mouse for more "normal" operation. And there's a special pack for us Office XP users that offers extra pen-based features. If you've used the handwriting and speech recognition features in Office XP at all (I like them but they aren't really viable input tools for me yet...too slow and cumbersome), the Tablet PC may appeal to you. I dunno. I'm interested, and watching the horizon. To find out more about Tablet PCs, check out this site:

And, because it's Friday, and because I'm a typical proud mama, here's a picture of the handsome fellow I'm cheering for at those evening practices (even with my nose in my laptop). Have a great weekend, everyone. Big football weekend for me! Go Green! Woo hoo! :) k

Thursday, October 10, 2002


The Case of the Disappearing Slides

I was publishing course materials for a local college...everything was coming together very nicely. I was using Word to do the layout of the Student and Faculty Guides and it looked pretty great, if I do say so myself. :) The Faculty Guide used a two-column format to give the instructors narrative on the left and slides from the accompanying PowerPoint presentation on the right. Pretty slick.

So I was heading into the home-stretch, running spell check, checking headers and footers, page numbers, that sort of thing. Finally, with that happy-completion feeling, I printed the document. Cover page, great. Copyright info, fine. Table of contents, looking good. But then...Lesson slides. Lesson 2, no slides. Just an error in the graphic boxes where the slides should have been. What happened?

I had placed the slides by going into PowerPoint, copying a slide (click the slide you want in Slide Sorter view and press Ctrl+C), and pasting it in place in column 2 of the Word document. That worked fine while I was displaying the document on the screen, but when I went to print, Word couldn't find what it needed to print for the inserted graphic.

The fix? Paste Special. When you're pasting PowerPoint slides into Word, open the Edit menu and choose Paste Special, select Microsoft PowerPoint Slide Object; then click OK. Word pastes the slide at the cursor position and you can click and resize the slide as needed to fit your space (hold Shift while you drag to keep the size ratio of the slide as you resize it). Simple, isn't it? And of course now you have the added benefit of having an embeddedslide in the document, so if you ever need to make a change to the slide, you can simply double-click it to edit it in PowerPoint.

It was a pain to go back through the entire Faculty Guide and replace all the existing slides with the Paste Special versions of the same slides, but hey, you can never get enough higher ed, you know? Cya :) k

Tuesday, October 08, 2002


A Quickie about Word Web Links

Sometimes I learn things the hard figuring my way out of a mess once I've made it. :) This morning I updated part of my web site that offers a library of past newsletters called Openings (essays on faith). Because my wonderful work computer drowned week before last, I had to use a different computer to do the update. I had created the page in Word, using the Save As Web Page feature (love it!) and pressed Ctrl+K to make the link. You probably know the drill.
Well, I made the changes and uploaded the site and although the new page looked great and the home page seemed to be fine, the links to all the other issues (which had been linked on my drowned computer) were dead. *Arg.* Knowing that the pages were on my FTP server, I deciphered their server addresses (just insert %20 for each space in the name), and repaired the links and resaved the Word document, again, as a web page.Took me about an hour to reverse the Duh.

The moral? When you create web pages in Word, consider creating links that actually point to the eventual destination on your server, as opposed to linking to files on a computer that may die one day without your permission. Or, of course, you could use FrontPage to do all the link checking and publishing for you... Cya :) k


Gotta Get This Enews

Man, I just received my first issue of the Microsoft Office enewsletter. I get lots of newsletters, so I expected to see your typical, three-articles-a-few-tips-and-lots-o-ads approach. Not so! This thing is literally packed with information, how-to articles, updates, downloads, and more (plus, my PowerPoint article is in there too). If you haven't signed up yet, go to the Microsoft Office site, scroll to the way-far bottom of the page (I don't know why they put the link way down there), and click the Free newsletter link. I know I sound like a good corporate citizen (I'm not, though--I'm a freelance writer on my own and loving it!), but I'm all for promoting what's good. And this newsletter is good. C4yourself. :) k

Thursday, October 03, 2002



Well, apparently I'm a pretty shady character and Outlook thinks I send myself either junk or adult content mail (not so!), because when I email something to myself (which I do periodically when I find research tidbits on the web), the junk mail/adult content filters send my own mail right to the Deleted Items folder! I didn't realize it until today when I watched a message I sent myself appear--and then disappear--from my Inbox. Apparently I inadvertently added myself to the junk mail list. (It's embarrassingly easy to right-click the wrong message and choose Add to Junk Senders without noticing what I'm doing--especially if I haven't had my second cup of coffee...)

So my advice is two-fold: If you are using the Junk Mail or Adult Content filters in Outlook, be sure to look through your Senders lists periodically to make sure that you haven't accidentally added people you really don't want to delete. To check the list, follow these steps:

It takes only a couple of minutes and can save you some real embarrassment. Now, hopefully, I'll be able to get that email I sent to myself. I've been wondering what I've been up to lately. Cya! :) k

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