Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Making Documents Fit

category : office XP and office 2003 : Word

It's not unusual for me to be working with multiple documents open at once. I need this document to check those numbers; I need to see how we edited this version so I can use consistent language in that report; etc. Although Word lets you arrange the screen so that you can see two documents open at the same time (choose Window > Arrange All), Word divides the window horizontally, with one document on the top and the other on the bottom. That just goes nowhere with me. I can't see enough of the text to really do anything with it (unless of course I reduce the size to 50% and then what good is that?). So my tradition is to manually resize the windows and position them side-by-side in the work area. That enables me to easily scan back and forth, left to right (the way we read) rather than moving top to bottom.

The only problem with this is that the text is wider than the window, meaning I have to scroll the document back and forth to get a good read. To solve this, I tell Word to reflow the text to fit the size of the document window, whatever size it may be. This saves me lots of trouble and frustration and lets me fly through eyeball comparing documents. (There is of course a document comparison feature in Word 2003, but that's a subject for another post.) To have Word reflow the text of your document so it fits within the resized window, choose Tools > Options and in the bottom of the View tab, in the Outline and Normal Options section, click Wrap to Window and click OK.

Simple, elegant, and fast. Just the way I like it. :)

Friday, July 09, 2004


Recurring Tasks

category : office XP and office 2003 : Outlook

I am still enamored with using Tasks to streamline and organize my work load. I am trying to be more intentional about the freelance articles I write—-but doing so means writing up descriptions of the various ideas I have and doing the research I need to find the right publisher for them. It's a lot of information gathering.

To help me track and organize my ideas, I created something I call the Writing Palette—it’s a Word document that is a collection of ideas I just jot down as they occur to me. Then I go through the Palette and match the ideas up with publishers, write the query letters, and send them off. But getting the ideas out there requires vigilance on my part—-the kind of follow-through that sometimes falls through the cracks when I’m working toward a deadline on a book project.

So to help me stay up on this process, I created a recurring task to remind me to update (or at least review) my Writing Palette. I clicked Tasks in the Outlook window and then chose New and created a new task as usual. Then I clicked the Recurrence button in the center of the task window and chose what I wanted for the Task Recurrence: Daily, Every Weekday, No End Date. I entered the day I wanted the recurrence to start and clicked OK. Now every day a task is added, automatically reminding me to review and update the Writing Palette. A simple and effective example of person-PC partnership. :)

Thursday, July 08, 2004


Animating PowerPoint Objects

category : office XP and office 2003 : PowerPoint

Jineshwar wrote this morning and asked a question I thought might be good to post here: "Is it possible in PowerPoint (Office XP 2000) to animate a row or a word in a row in the body of the slide?"

Yes, in both PowerPoint XP and 2003, you can animate a row on your PowerPoint slide. Select the item you want to animate (this could be a text box, like a title or bullet list, a photo, graphic, chart, etc.—if you want only a specific row that is part of a larger text object, cut and paste it into its own text box). Then choose View > Task Pane to display the task pane on the right side of the work area. Click the down-arrow in the title bar of the task pane and choose Custom Animation. Then, with the item you want to animate selected, click Add Effect. A submenu appears giving your four options: Entrance, Emphasis, Exit, and Motion Paths. These options enable you to choose the type of movement—when and how—you want the item animated. Experiment with it—it’s fun!

You can animate a single word in the same way, by making it its own text object (use the Text Box tool in the Drawing toolbar to do this) and then assigning the animation effect you want. (There’s also a simple way to animate a word in Microsoft Word that I really like…just highlight the word, choose Format > Font and click the Text Effects tab; then choose the animation you want and click OK. Pretty cool for simple things.)

I love PowerPoint. :)

Have a good day!

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