Tuesday, November 19, 2002


The Case of the Missing Outlook Column

This morning I sat down as usual and started to answer email. I switched back and forth between a couple of programs, looking something up, and then I clicked back to Outlook and sorted my mail by From (you know how to do that, right? Just click in the From column heading to arrange the messages alphabetically by sender). When I went to click the Received column heading (to put the messages back in order by date), the column was gone! No kidding. Gone. At first I thought some weird power surge has expanded the Size column--suddenly it was 72 characters wide. But no, there was no Received column to be found. That meant I had no way of getting to the messages I'd received today except by paging through my Inbox, looking for unopened messages.

[Note: This makes a good argument for keeping your Inbox cleaned out. If you file or delete everything you read, you won't have 200 messages sitting in your Inbox taking up space like I do.]

I still don't know why the column disappeared, but I figured out how to fix it. Right-click in the column heading row (I clicked to the right of the Subject heading) and choose Field Chooser from the context menu. When the Field Chooser palette appears, drag the missing field (in my case, Received) from the Chooser list to Outlook's column heading area. The column is back, safe and sound, and you can arrange your messages in whatever way pleases you most. If you need to rearrange the columns, you can simply drag the column heading wherever you want it on the line. And to resize that inflated Size column, simply drag the column divider in the heading bar inward to condense the space.

Hey, I don't mind a little mystery, as long as I can find my way around it. :) k

Friday, November 15, 2002


A Friday Smile

I received a message from my friend and former coworker Alice a few minutes ago sharing new Japanese Haiku poetry error messages that (so the myth goes) have been used to replace the impersonal and unfriendly error messages we're used to. As you may know, Haiku poetry follows a specific pattern. Each poem has a total of 17 syllables, with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third. Here are some kinder, gentler error messages, just to end your week with a smile:
Enjoy the quiet time! Have a good weekend, everyone! :) k

Wednesday, November 13, 2002


The Book Is Here!

I just received the first copy of my latest book, Faster, Smarter Office XP, and I'm excited! I think the design is great and the pages are literally packed with helpful info (my editor Kristen and I needed a shoehorn to make all this text fit between the covers!) As a new release, it's on Amazon.com for 30 percent off right now. Such a deal. If you get a copy, write to me and tell me what you think! And if there's anything missing in there you'd like to see in the next version, send it in and I'll be sure to cover it. Cheers! :) k

Tuesday, November 12, 2002


Keyed Up in Word

Did you know you can create and assign your own shortcut keys in Word? This is different from creating a macro, which records a series of steps and then plays them back when you press the assigned key combination. You can actually customize your keyboard shortcuts and remove ones you don't like and add ones you do. This comes in handy when you want to assign a feature you use a lot (such as Web Page Preview) to an easy-to-reach key combination.

To assign your own custom shortcut key, choose Tools > Customize and click the Keyboard button at the bottom of the Options tab. In the Categories area, click the name of the menu containing the command you'd like to shortcut (for me, that's File); or, scroll through the list and click All Commands to display all the commands in the list. Next, scroll in the Commands list to find the command you want to assign to the shortcut combination (in my case, that's WebPagePreview). If shortcut keys are already assigned to that command, they will appear in the Current Keys window. Click in the Press New Shortcut Key field and press the keys you want to assign to the command. (I used Alt+Ctrl+I because I found that FilePrintPreview had two shortcut keys, so I appropriated the second one for Web Preview.) Click the Save Changes In down-arrow and tell Word whether you want to save this change int he current document or the default template; then click Assign once and Close twice to return to your document. Your new shortcut will be fully functional from here on out.

Later, if you want to remove the shortcut key, display the Customize Keyboard dialog box again (Tools > Customize > Options > Keyboard); then scroll to the command you want to change and click the shortcut in the Current Keys window. The Remove button in the bottom of the dialog box becomes available; you can click it to nix your shortcut. And of course, if you go hog wild and really goof up all your shortcuts, you can erase them and go back to your default settings by clicking Reset All. Might as well have a little fun first. (Just don't tell your boss next April Fool's Day that this is where you learned how to reset all his shortcut keys.) :) k

Thursday, November 07, 2002


PivotTable Perspective

Hey, I'm sending this post remotely from the microsoft site, where my new article Tips for Working with PivotTable Technology is up this morning. If you've ever flirted with the idea of creating a PivotTable or PivotChart but didn't want to take the time to master the learning curve, this how-to is for you. :) Also, the Office newsletter will be coming soon, so if you haven't signed up yet, click the Free Newsletter link at the bottom of the article to get on the roll. Happy Thursday! We've over the hump and on the downhill side to the weekend... :) k

Wednesday, November 06, 2002



When you're looking for the answer to a quirky question on one of your Office aps, where do you go? I typically search online and go the Microsoft's Knowledgebase, which has helped me in the past. I also do lots of trial and error on my own. Yesterday I was trying to answer a couple of reader questions and I happened across the Microsoft Newsgroups, and wow!. I found lots of helpful information there. The group are moderated by MVPs (not sure what that stands for but I think it means they are "highly technically skilled") and real people working with these programs for a living (like us) write in with volumes of questions. If you haven't yet tried finding an answer in one of the newsgroups, check them out. You might be surprised by how specifically your needs are met. :) Here's the link: Community Newsgroups :) k

Friday, November 01, 2002


Here You Go, Dad

My dad is a talented RPG programmer who designed and supported complicated database systems for U.S. courts, but he seems baffled by the mysterious email receipts he receives in response to every email he sends. (I must admit that for a while I, too, wondered why he wanted confirmation that I was reading his emails!) As I was setting up my new laptop, however, I discovered that my own email was set up by default to ask for receipts. Here's how to turn that feature off if you don't want the rest of the world to think you're being pushy: In Outlook, open the Tools menu and choose Options. In the Preferences tab, click the E-mail Options button; then click the Tracking Options button. In the middle of the Tracking Options dialog box, clear the Read receipt and/or Delivery receipt checkboxes; then click OK three times to back out of the open dialog boxes. Now your emails should be delivered without all the fanfare. Nice and quiet. :) Have a good weekend, everyone! :) k

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