Archive for MS Office

Microsoft Office Tips, Tricks, Shortcuts

When I teach courses for using Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher, I always provide my students with a handy sheet of tips, tricks, and keyboard shortcuts.

This handout, which I am providing here as a downloadable PDF is particularly popular in my Microsoft Word classes.  Since Word is naturally a keyboard intensive program, people enjoy knowing that many of the tasks they often perform with a mouse can also be performed with the keyboard.  Such shortcuts include boldface, italics, copy and paste, printing, and doublespacing of paragraphs.

Some useful tricks include creating a double underline, copyright symbols, and arrows, along with the Word calculator for performing calculations.

The tips will work with most versions of Microsoft Office up to and including Office 2007.

If you know of any other shortcuts or tricks, feel free to post them here as a comment. Want to know if there’s a shortcut for performing a particular task? Just post your question as a comment as well.  I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Right click and “Save As” to download or click to open: Microsoft Office Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts (PDF)

Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with my email form. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.


Microsoft Updates (Aug. 12, 2008)

Windows Update Logo

Windows Update Logo

Microsoft issued its largest batch of updates in 18 months. I thought the Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista SP1 update packs were big, but yesterday Microsoft released at least 14 updates for various Windows and Microsoft Office products. Included among the fixes were the Word 2002 “zero-day” bug I reported on July 11, 2008, and the Microsoft Access Snapshot Viewer flaw that I reported on July 8, 2008.

The patches released included:

  • Microsoft Access Snapshot Viewer vulnerability (Important for business and professional users)
  • Microsoft Office Word 2002 vulnerability
  • 2 x Windows Vista security patch
  • Microsoft Office Excel 2007 security patch
  • Daylight Savings Time revisions for Windows Vista
  • Malicious Software Removal tool (A monthly fix from Microsoft)
  • Microsoft Office 2007 security patch
  • Internet Explorer 7 security patch
  • Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 security patch
  • Windows Mail Junk E-mail (Spam) filter update
  • 2 x Windows Vista updates
  • Windows Vista ActiveX security update
  • Windows Mail security update for Vista
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 security update

Most of these patches affect business users, as most home users with a computer over a year old don’t have Windows Vista or Microsoft Office 2007. Also, if the programs mentioned aren’t familiar to you, then they most likely aren’t a risk.

If you aren’t up to date on your Windows Updates you can always go to http://update.microsoft.com for the lastest fixes from Microsoft.  They are made available for free download and installation every Tuesday evening.

Check out Skylark NetWorks weekly Apple versus Microsoft Weekly Vulnerability Index compiled from the SANS Institute for past patches.

If anyone has a question, please email them to me using the Contact link, or, if it relates to today’s message, please use the Comment and Question link below. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.


Correcting a misspelled name in Word

Michael from Purchase, NY asks the following question by email this weekend:

I recently wrote a long letter to my lawyer recounting a car accident I was in. Afterwards I had saw I had misspelled the person’s name who hit me. I was very annoyed because I had used the name a lot and it took a long time to correct them all. Is there a fast way to correct mistakes like this?

The feature you’re looking for is called “Find and Replace”. In Microsoft Word 2007 you will find “Replace” on the “Home” tab. In older versions of Microsoft Word (Word 2003, Word 2002 (XP), Word 2000, etc.) , you will find “Replace” on the “Edit” menu.  Either way, you can use the keyboard combination of “CTRL” + “H”.

CTRL + H

  1. Highlight the misspelled word or name.
  2. Hold the “CTRL” key with one hand, and while holding it, tap the “H” key with your other hand. The “Find and Replace” dialog box will appear. The highlighted word or name will appear in the “Find” box.
  3. In the “Replace with” box, type the correct spelling of the word or name.
  4. Then click “Replace all”.

If you prefer to use the “Edit” menu, at step 2 click “Edit”  then “Replace”; or in Microsoft Word 2007, click “Replace” on the “Home” tab.

If for some reason you don’t want to change all the instanaces of the misspelled word, at step 4 you can use the “Find Next” and “Replace” buttons. For example, two people with a similar sounding name, but with different spellings.


Setting Up Envelopes with Word 2007

Gary from Bayshore, Long Island writes in:

I upgraded to Microsoft Word 2007 last month, and the new design has confused me. All the menus have changed, and now I can’t find page setup to create an envelope. Help! Are you familiar with Word 2007?

Word 2007 icon
Word 2007 icon

Thanks for writing, Gary. I’ve had Word 2007 since March 2007, just three months after its retail release in January 2007, and I know what you mean about the “new look”. I was confused, too, and I actually hated it for a couple of months, but I eventually caught on.

The new design of the Office 2007 products (Word, Excel, Access, Publisher, Outlook, etc.) was intended to reveal useful features that were “buried” in previous versions. The toolbars are replaced with “the ribbon”. The “menus” are replaced by “tabs”.  As you click the labeled tabs, the ribbon buttons change. So a task that may have required 4 or 5 clicks to get to, can now be accessed in 1 or 2 clicks.

As for your question on setting up envelopes. Just as before there are two ways to setup an envelope. You can use either the “Envelopes tool” which is useful for printing a single envelope. Or you can use “Page Setup” which is useful for printing more than one envelope. I’m with you, Gary, I prefer using Page Setup, too, even though it can be a bit more complicated, but once you know how to do it, it’s easy enough.

The page setup routine of prior versions has changed in Word 2007, but it’s so much easier once you figure it out.  Here’s what to do:

  1. Start Word 2007 (of course).
  2. Click the “Page Layout” tab. On the ribbon:
    1. Click “Size” and “Envelope 10” (or another size if needed)
    2. Click “Orientation”, then “Landscape”
    3. Click “Margins”, then “Narrow”
  3. Click the “View” tab. On the ribbon click “Print Layout” and “One Page”.
Click to enlarge
Word 2007 & envelope

And that’s it!  You should be able to type up your envelope from there in the usual way.

Once you setup your envelope, you can save it for later use, and you can quickly print it out by using the combination CTRL + P on your keyboard.

Thanks again for your question, Gary.

If anyone has a question, please email them to me using the Contact link, or, if it relates to today’s question, please use the Comment and Question link below. I’m looking forward to answering your questions.


Why are blank pages printing with Word?

Babs, a guest reader from Long Island, NY emailed me yesterday morning:

Robert:

A former student of yours in NYC told me to contact you. Sometimes when I print a one page letter on Word I get a blank second page too. Can you help?

Babs

After writing to Babs, I learned that she was an experienced typist who had spent as much time on typewriters as she had on word processors like Word.

In my teaching experience, I have seen many people who are accustomed to using typewriters —however long ago that may have been— have a habit of hitting the “Enter” key several times when they finish typing a letter. Typewriter users would often do this to eject the paper sheet from the typewriter.

Word Status BarOn a word processor this often results in the cursor going onto a second page. A glance at the status bar in the lower left hand corner of the monitor will show the ‘typing cursor location’ and ‘page count’ (shown in picture at right). The message “Page 2 of 2” means that the cursor is on the second page of a two page document. Even though there is nothing typed on the second page the printer will load and eject a second blank page.

Okay, but how do I fix this?

You just need to move your typing cursor to the end of the document and tap the ‘Delete’ key several times until the cursor appears at the end of the last word in your document.

A quick way to get to the end of a document is to use CTRL + End. (Hold the ‘CTRL’ key with one hand, and tap the ‘End’ key with your other hand). The cursor will move to the end of the document.


Microsoft Word 2002 Flaw Under Investigation

Tuesday, July 8, 2008, Redmond, WA — Microsoft released a Security Advisory regarding a “possible vulnerability” in Microsoft Word 2002 SP3 (also known as Word XP, but do not confuse it with Windows XP).

What’s Known About This Attack?
Symantec (Norton) and Microsoft are working together on this one.  Symantec is developing an update to detect the document, and Microsoft is working to fix the flawed programming in Word 2002 SP3. Small numbers of people have been tricked into accessing this document delivered by email or by luring them to a hacked web site.

But Aren’t You Curious …
… to know if you have the affected version of Microsoft Word 2002 SP3? By “affected” I mean: If you were to receive and open one of these documents, would you have to worry? Here’s how to find out. (Don’t worry, knowing you have Word 2002 SP3 doesn’t do any harm).

To check if you have Word 2002 SP3, do the following:

  1. Start “Microsoft Word”.
  2. Click “Help” (top right), then “About Microsoft Word” (bottom of menu). A dialog box will appear.
    • Near the top: If it reads “Word 2002” and further along it says “SP3”, then your version of Word is affected. You must see both phrases; if you see 1 out of 2, don’t worry, you’re not a candidate.

What Happens As A Result Of This Flaw?
If, and only if, you have Word 2002 SP3, and if you receive and open one of these mysterious Word 2002 documents from an unknown source … Microsoft Word exits.  Strange, you might say to yourself. And then you reopen the document, and life goes on.

I was unable to find any further information from Symantec or Microsoft on what happens next.

Some reports I found on other web sites say that at the time that Word exits a Trojan (remember the Trojan horse?) program has been activated that records keystrokes. Presumably watching out for passwords, and sending them to the hacker’s remote location.

Another report claims the hackers are able to control your PC remotely. They can search and open files, erase files, and even shut down the computer, but neither Microsoft or Symantec confirm either this or the former scenario. (I suspect many blog reporters found an old report regarding a similar attack that occured back in 2006. At that time, hackers gained remote control over PCs using a similar attack form.)

What To Do?
Microsoft recommends that you “do not open or save Microsoft (Word documents) that you receive from untrusted or unexpected sources.”

Let Me Assure You
Receiving a document by email will not affect you. Opening an email with the document attached will not affect you. Opening your own files will not affect you. Saving your work or working with Word will not affect you.

And, please, if you get an email warning you of “this virus,” please don’t forward the message.

Finally
I suspect that Norton, McAfee and the other anti-virus manufacturers will have found a way to detect and block this before Saturday morning (July 12).

Microsoft will, I suspect, issue a patch within the next 5 to 12 days, to be issued and installed automatically via the Microsoft Update and Office Update web sites, but like I said, I think the antivirus folks will find a way first. (While I write this, BitDefender antivirus has reported they have an update to detect and block it.)

Keep Informed
I’ll also keep you up-to-date on this matter on these pages. Email me at news @ skylarknetworks.com if you have questions or concerns. If you include your phone number and best times to call, I will call you directly. You can also subscribe to Skylarking by once daily email to receive a copy in your Inbox. Or join the Skylark NetWorks Newsletter mailing list and specify interest in “Microsoft Office” products.

Most important: Don’t Panic.  Stay tuned.

Update: No new news on this item as of Monday, July 14.

Update: Patched on August 12, 2008

Microsoft Access Warning

July 7, 2008, Redmond, WA — Microsoft issued a Security Advisory regarding targeted attacks against users of its Access 2000, Access 2002, and Access 2003 database software.

Access is not commonly found on home computers.  It is more common on business and office computers, and is part of the expensive “Microsoft Office Professional” software suite, which should not be confused with “Windows XP Professional”.

Do I Have Access 2000, 2002, or 2003?
Most home computers do not have Microsoft Access installed on them.  If you are unsure, or if you want to check, do the following:

  1. Click “Start”
  2. Click “Programs” or “All Programs”
  3. Click “Microsoft Office”
    1. If you don’t see Microsoft Office, then you don’t have to go any further; you’re safe.
    2. If you see and click Microsoft Office, but you don’t see Access 2000, 2002, or 2003, then you’re safe, too.

So if you can’t find Microsoft Office and Microsoft Access then you’re safe.  You are also safe if you have Access 95, 97, 98, and 2007. Those versions are unaffected.

What Attack?
The attack affects a flaw in the ActiveX control for the “Snapshot Viewer” for Microsoft Access. An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by constructing a specially crafted Web page. When a user views the Web page, the vulnerability could allow remote code execution. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the logged-on user.

How To Avoid It?
Computer users who have one of the affected versions of Access should perform the following actions:

  1. Start Internet Explorer, then click Internet Options on the Tools menu.
  2. Click the Security tab.
  3. Click Internet, and then click Custom Level.
  4. Under Settings, in the Scripting section, under Active Scripting, click Prompt or Disable, and then click OK.
  5. Click Local intranet, and then click Custom Level.
  6. Under Settings, in the Scripting section, under Active Scripting, click Prompt or Disable, and then click OK.
  7. Click OK two times to return to Internet Explorer.

Updates?
Every Tuesday evening Microsoft issues Windows Updates and Microsoft Updates to patch flawed software. No patch has been released for the Access problem at this time, and the procedure above is only offered as a workaround until the underlying problem can be solved.

Update: Patched on August 12, 2008

Need more information?

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