Tag Archives: MS Office

Outlook – Retrieve Dismissed Reminders

Some days, your biggest enemy is yourself.  Have you ever hit that “Dismiss All” button, or accidentally dismissed a reminder you wanted to keep?

Reminder Dialog box with highlighted Dismiss All button
Oops! I hit the Dismiss All button!

Here’s how to find that reminder, so that you can reset it.

Use the search, but instead of searching by topic, type in modified:<date>

Highlighted Search bar
Use the Search bar in the calendar view
Close up of search entry
Close up of search entry

Use the date when you accidentally dismissed those reminders (causing the modification). Your view will automatically switch into the Search Tools view. If you have multiple calendars you want to search (as I do) make sure the All Calendar Items button is pressed.

Closeup of the Search Tools view
Closeup of the Search Tools view

It will show you all the reminders you’ve modified.

In fact, you don’t need to be too precise about dates. Here’s an example, where only the name of the month was typed in.

Still works!

Search by the month name if you don't know what date.
Search by the month name if you don’t know what date.

You can then reopen the item and reset the reminder.

Tweet Cruncher

I have a Social Media project on the go (waves at https://twitter.com/librarytrustees) that is going to involve tweeting sections of existing documents.

I really hate counting characters. So I decided it was time to make myself a tool for the job.

Original Document and Result after Tweet Cruncher is run on the selected text
Original Document and Result after Tweet Cruncher is run on the selected text

You can see above what I have; the selected area of the original document is highlighted in varying colours, corresponding to the resulting text broken up into tweets. Additionally, I have inserted my chosen hashtag and a count of the sequence of tweets.

Dialog box for Tweet Cruncher
Tweet Cruncher Dialog

The length of the tweets and the Hashtag are entered in a dialog box when the Tweet Cruncher runs. This information is saved with the document, for consistency with subsequent tweets. The Tweets are not exactly the tweet length; I’ve added a bit of code to “round off” each tweet to whole words. The hashtag and sequence count are additional to the length.

And realistically, there will still be editing for content and meaning. Nevertheless, this tool should save me a ton of counting and get the project going faster.

Sub BreakIntoTweets()
Dim IntSelection As Integer
Dim IntPostNumb As Integer
Dim IntPostCount As Integer
Dim IntCharCount As Integer
Dim IntTweetLength As Integer
Dim rngSelectedRange As Word.Range
Dim strPostText As String
Dim intColourPick As Integer
Dim docNewDoc As Word.Document
Dim docWorkingDoc As Word.Document
Dim strPropertyName As String
Dim strHashTag As String
Dim blnWord As Boolean
Dim intActualLength As Integer

Dim arrColourOptions As Variant
arrColourOptions = Array(wdBrightGreen, wdPink, wdTurquoise, wdYellow)
   
Set docWorkingDoc = ActiveDocument
strPropertyName = "HashTag"
strHashTag = frmStartCrunchingTweets.txtHashTag
docWorkingDoc.CustomDocumentProperties(strPropertyName) = strHashTag
IntTweetLength = frmStartCrunchingTweets.txtTweetLength
Set rngSelectedRange = Selection.Range
MsgBox rngSelectedRange.Characters.Count & " characters are selected. Including Paragraph Marks"
IntSelection = rngSelectedRange.Characters.Count
IntPostNumb = IntSelection / IntTweetLength
MsgBox IntPostNumb

rngSelectedRange.Characters(1).Select
IntCharCount = 1
Documents.Add DocumentType:=wdNewBlankDocument
Set docNewDoc = ActiveDocument
docWorkingDoc.Activate
For IntPostCount = 1 To IntPostNumb
    Selection.MoveRight unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=IntTweetLength - 1, Extend:=wdExtend
    If (Right(Selection.Text, 1) <> " ") Then blnWord = True ' extend to word
    If (Right(Selection.Text, 1) <> ".") Then blnWord = True
    If (Right(Selection.Text, 1) <> "?") Then blnWord = True
    If (Right(Selection.Text, 1) <> vbCr) Then blnWord = True
    If (Right(Selection.Text, 1) <> "!") Then blnWord = True
    If blnWord = True Then
        Selection.MoveRight unit:=wdWord, Count:=1, Extend:=wdExtend
        intActualLength = Selection.Characters.Count
    Else
        intActualLength = IntTweetLength
    End If
    blnWord = False
    strPostText = Selection.Text & frmStartCrunchingTweets.txtHashTag & " " & IntPostCount & "/" & IntPostNumb
    'get rid of any hard returns
    strPostText = Replace(strPostText, vbCr, " ")
    docNewDoc.Activate
    Selection.TypeText (strPostText) & vbCr
    docWorkingDoc.Activate
    intColourPick = IntPostCount - (4 * Int(IntPostCount \ 4)) 'note this is why no base 1 option for array here, also \ means different than / (truncation function)
    Selection.Range.HighlightColorIndex = arrColourOptions(intColourPick)
    IntCharCount = IntCharCount + intActualLength
      On Error Resume Next
    rngSelectedRange.Characters(IntCharCount).Select '(errors on final character of selection)
Next IntPostCount

End Sub

PowerPoint: Like toppings on pizza

You may never have looked at Outline View in PowerPoint. But, if you have presentation that has text you should check it out. Working in Outline View is not only the fastest way to build the  outline, it creates a more robust and easily edited presentation as well.

By default, when you add text in Outline view, the text is placed in a text placeholder. Placeholder text is easier to edit than text in text boxes.

Here is a little experiment you can do.

Start by adding some text in Outline view. The default Layout “Title and Content” is used.

Examing the text in Outline View
Looking at a slide in Outline View. The text appears in both the Outline View and the slide.

 

Here is what the slide looks like in Slides View, again the text is the same in the  Slides View panel and in the slide itself.

The Slides View panel
The Slides View panel

Now try changing the layout to one without a content placeholder. The text remains in Outline View and on  the placeholder in the slide.  Then, move the text placeholder around and resize it.

Now, change the layout back to “Title and Content” and you’ll find the placeholder snaps back to its original position and size. If you tried recolouring the text, press the Reset button (just underneath the Layout button) and it too will revert to the default appearance set by the placeholder.

Now, compare this with the behaviour of text in text boxes.

This text is in a text box. Note that it does not appear in Outline view.
This text is in a text box. Note that it does not appear in Outline view.

This text is not connected with the placeholder on the slide. It is “floating” on top of the slide “like toppings on a pizza”  in the poetic words of one of my former coworkers.

This lack of connection can make it harder to manage in the long run.

Text box text in slide with placeholders.
Text box text in slide with placeholders.

Note what happens when I change the layout to  “Title and Content“. The text box is actually floating underneath the placeholder.  What a pain for editing! Resetting the slide has no impact on text in text boxes. Also, you’ll notice that the text is not visible in Outline View, so none of those tools are available for editing either.

Does that mean that I never use text boxes?

Of course not, I use text boxes when I want to create text that will remain independent of the general formatting rules for the presentation. But since consistency in formatting is a sign of a professional presentation, I use text boxes sparingly.

PowerPoint: Make it Fit

I’ve mentioned it before, but PowerPoint can be a handy graphic editing tool. Especially when you want to combine pictures and text. The question is;  how do you get perfectly sized pictures every time?

Most people don’t play with the Page Setup options other than to swap their slides between a 4:3/16:9 ratio. However you can input your own custom dimensions.

Navigate to the Page Setup Dialog box
Make your own Custom Sized PowerPoint Templates

Go to the Design ribbon and open the Page Setup dialog box. The last choice in the Slides sized for drop down is Custom. Once this is selected you can input your own dimensions (within limits). To create the Twitter header photo template, I researched the dimensions of a Twitter header photo (500px by 1500px). Then I used this website to convert the pixel measurement to centimeters. The website also converts to inches, if that is your preferred measurement.

Now I can easily size my photos for Twitter! (Or Facebook, or Pinterest etc.)

 

Home On The Range

Sometimes, when you’re teaching, its’ not about the complexity of the subject. Sometimes its a very simple piece of information that students get the most “mileage” out of.

When I’m teaching students MS Excel, the simplest thing that I teach them about is Named Ranges. Its the  simplest thing to talk about, but the uses for ranges go on and on.

Excel Spreadsheet Example
A plain spreadsheet.

Above you see a standard Excel spreadsheet. Adding a range name or two (or ten) can help make it much easier to work with.

Adding a Range name to the Cell Address box.
Type the range name into the Cell Address box. Press Enter when done.

A range name can refer to a single cell or a group of cells, here I’ve selected the cell containing the total for the six month period (H11).

Click into the Cell address box (circled in red) and type in the desired name. There are some simple rules about naming ranges; the name can’t start with a number, can’t look like a cell reference (imagine how confusing that would be) and can’t use spaces and special characters (notice I’ve used an underscore to separate words). But after that it is up to you, to make your range name meaningful.

Adding a range name to a group of cells
Adding a range name to a group of cells.

If you are going to add a range name to a group of cells, select them and type the name into the cell address box. The most frequent mistake students make at this point, is that they forget to press the Enter key to confirm the range name.

Now, how do you use these range names?

Navigating your spreadsheet using range names.
Navigating your spreadsheet using range names.

First, you can quickly jump to your named ranges by using the drop-down menu. When you click on the drop-down menu in the cell address box, you’ll see a list of all the ranges you’ve added to your spreadsheet. Regardless of what sheet they are on. So you can use this to quickly jump to those cells that you work with again and again.

Range Names can replace cell references in formulas
Range Names can replace cell references in formulas.

Second, you can replace cell references in a formula with range names. Does =SUM(January) seem easier to read and understand than =SUM(B2:B10)? Then a formula that uses range names will make your spreadsheets easier to read.

Third, you can use range names in conjunction with all sorts of other Excel tools. As an example, try using range names with the Data Validation tool.

A Named Range provides the source for this data validation list.
A Named Range provides the source for this data validation list.

In the sample above, a range name provides the source list for a drop-down list.

Data Validation Result
Data Validation Result

Resulting in this drop-down list. The list will update as the list of animals changes on Sheet1.

This is a more elegant solution for using drop-down lists, since it means your source lists can be kept on another sheet, and not clutter up the working area. This is something that is impossible to do, without using a range name.

So faster navigation, easy to read formulas and access to more powerful features in Excel. What’s not to love about range names?