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Microsoft’s commitment to Office beyond Windows

There has been plenty of unquestioning press reports from the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2014. Statistics and commitments are quoted without much consideration for their worth.

The good news is another commitment to Microsoft Office ‘cross platform’ meaning, for the moment, not just Windows and Macintosh. Here’s one slide from the keynote address:

We’ve already seen Office for iPad. That’s a success from Microsoft’s POV because it’s encouraged more people to switch to their annual payment model for Office software. That’s what makes Office for Android such a likely release.

Vision of Universal Apps

We also heard about the Microsoft vision for ‘universal’ apps. That means programs that work across the complete range of Windows devices, smartphones, tablets, laptops, PC’s even Xbox and gigantic Perceptive Pixel displays.

It’s a nice ‘vision’ which we’ve heard in similar refrain for a long, long time. It almost never happens in the real world because the platforms and hardware are so different. The software we are eventually asked to buy inevitably isn’t as compatible or consistent as Microsoft’s visions promised.

... click here to read more at ...

Which character code is that?

Last week we talked about the Unicode v7.0 symbols and how to use symbols in Word.

With over 100,000 characters in the Unicode specification, it’s important to know the character code number for the symbol you want.

That raises the question, how can you find out the Unicode character code for a symbol already in a Word document. You might open a Word document and want to use that symbol elsewhere.

Of course, you can copy the symbol and paste into another document, but it’s sometimes handy to know the code number itself. Happily there’s a simple, but not obvious, way to do it.

In an Office document, select the symbol you’re interested in then choose Insert | Symbol | More Symbols. Yes, it’s called Insert Symbol but the dialog box will open to the pre-selected symbol and show you the character code.

This trick is useful not just for getting the character code. You can also use this method to find similar characters to the one selected.

... click here to read more at ...

How Word’s grammar check can let you down

We laughed at this sign, seen in a Tesco’s supermarket in the UK.

Thanks to @sparkigol for the image

Now, we don’t know that Microsoft Word was used to make this sign, but it’s a good bet. So we wondered how anyone could print out those sentences without noticing the red or blue squiggly lines?

Guess what – according to Word 2013 that entire document has no grammar mistakes at all! Even ‘incontinence’ doesn’t get a contextual spelling query. It’s the same in the US, UK and Aussie variants of the installed English proofing tools.

That’s surprising but a warning to all of us ...

Do NOT trust Word’s spelling and grammar checking too much.

It's surprising that the first sentence doesn't trigger something in Word's grammar check.  Surely 'and is removed' would be flagged?  We tried changing the capitals from 'Chillers Break' thinking that might be fooling the software a little - but no.

... click here to read more at ...

One Terabyte of OneDrive is here

As we mentioned last month, Microsoft decided to greatly increase the OneDrive storage available for Office 365 subscribers. The base storage for paid customers is now 1 Terabyte.

That change has now been implemented. If you’re an Office 365 subscriber, go to OneDrive in your browser and look in the bottom left corner.

Or in Windows 8.1 go to Change PC Settings | OneDrive | File Storage to see the online storage available.

OneDrive users with free account should now see 15GB of total space available.


>... click here to read more at ...

What is Microsoft Delve?

At the recent Microsoft conference there was mention of Microsoft Delve. But what the ?^%$ is ‘Delve’?

It’s an enhanced search tool for your documents and online info. Not just standard Office documents but also videos, audio, links to web sites etc that are posted on SharePoint. It tracks your online actions and then tries to display content based on those actions.

Delve will be available to some Office 365 customers (presumably those on business plans) by the end of 2014.

Delve can be setup with links to the various places your data is stored, on the current computer, network shares and online storage.

The default display shows you ‘the most interesting, most useful and most relevant information from across all of Office 365’ using machine learning and artificial intelligence. Microsoft puts it:

“Delve highlights key information of interest to you, based on what you are working on and the actions of people in your network.”

... click here to read more at ...

Use the latest Unicode symbols in Office

There’s plenty of new symbols included in the Unicode 7.0 standard, here’s how to get them into your Office documents.

Most fonts do NOT have all the Unicode characters, after all, there are over 133,000 of them. There are far too many characters so most fonts only have a select ranges of fonts.

Some Microsoft supplied fonts have a lot of the Unicode symbols. If you’re looking for something unusual then check out:

which have more complete character sets than other Microsoft supplied fonts. None of Microsoft’s main Unicode compatible fonts have the new Unicode 7.0 characters available and some may never appear.


Enter ‘SymbolA’ a font available from courtesy of George Douros.

This TrueType font that has many of the Unicode symbols including the new characters from Unicode 7.0. On the web page there’s a PDF download which displays all the symbols available with the Unicode 7.0 additions marked in blue.

... click here to read more at ...

More characters for Unicode

Unicode has added another 2,834 new characters in the Unicode 7.0 specification, mostly support for 23 new scripts. That takes the total to a whopping 113,021 characters!

But we’ll have to wait for these new characters to appear automatically in Office, Windows and mobile devices.

The release of Unicode 7.0 meant the press gave a lot of coverage to the new ‘Emoji’ characters adopted into the Unicode standard, but there’s a lot more than smiley faces in the new release.

Currency Symbols

Added to the official Unicode set are currency symbols for the Nordic Mark, Azerbaijani manta and Russian ruble. Here’s all three, in order, with their character codes (in Hex):


Most of the media coverage is about ‘Emoji’ characters which we used to call Wingdings or Symbols. Some of the new characters are:

But there are other ‘hand’ symbols added:

Live Long and Prosper

As life-long Trekkies, we have to love the Vulcan greeting symbol (bottom right). It’s officially called ‘1F596 Raised Hand with part between middle and ring fingers’.

... click here to read more at ...

Get a wireless second screen

Miracast is a clever trick that lets you wirelessly connect some Windows 8.1 portable computers, Android and other devices to any HDMI capable monitor or TV screen. All you need is a Miracast dongle available online for around US$20 or perhaps a Miracast ready TV.

This feature is mostly sold as suitable for PowerPoint presenters but Miracast can be used by anyone to mirror, extend or replace the main monitor. That’s the same as a second, cabled, monitor.

We’ve seen Miracast used to display a laptop screen on a large lounge room or hotel room TV without a cable running across the floor.

Miracast is available to send from other devices. Android 4.2 and later will Miracast as long as the device hardware supports it. Windows Phone 8.1 and BlackBerry 10.2.1 are also Miracast capable, but check the hardware specs as well.

A portable computer has to be created with Miracast in-built, most likely as Intel’s WiDi feature (WiDi 3.5 and above support Miracast). Alas, you can’t add Miracast to an existing computer.

... click here to read more at ...

Office update status page

Figuring out what are the latest updates for Microsoft Office isn’t easy which is why we’re delighted to see Update center for Office, Office servers, and related products from Microsoft.

It’s been a long time coming but as Sam Seaborn once said “ Let's forget about the fact that you're comin' a little late to the party and embrace the idea you showed up at all.

That page lists the updates available for:

There’s links to the most recent:

... click here to read more at ...

Mending an Inkjet printer

The Guardian has a nice little guide to maintaining an inkjet printer and saving money.

We’ve never had good experiences with recycled ink or toner cartridges and have always found their quality to be poor. But others swear by recycled/refilled cartridges so if you find a reliable supplier, stick with them.

If you do buy original manufacturer cartridges, shop around for a good price. Most office supply stores charge near retail while online suppliers or Ebay (reputable merchants only) can ship to you the same thing for much less.

Whether you use original or recycled cartridges, ignore the ‘low’ indicators since they are often rigged to trigger prematurely and increase sales. We use the ‘low’ indicator as a reminder to order a replacement online but don’t replace until the pages noticeably deteriorate.

An air duster is a great addition to any computer users toolkit. Either a small manual blower or better, a can of compressed air. A high pressure can of plain air can blow away all manner of stuff from the innards of printers and the undersides of keys.

... click here to read more at ...

Free Office ebooks from Microsoft

Plenty of free ebooks about Office 2013, Office 2010, Office 365 and more. click here for more ...
Surface mini is dead but Office for Android nears birth

A smaller Surface machine isn’t coming soon but Office for Android surely is. click here for more ...
More Microsoft encryption promises

Do the latest Microsoft data encryption promises mean much? click here for more ...
How to bypass the ‘Right to Forget’

Finding web pages some people don’t want you to see. click here for more ...
Clearer table formatting than Microsoft auto-format

Some great tips on table formatting. click here for more ...
Office 365 outages – the incomplete post-mortem

Microsoft doesn’t see the main problem as they apologizes & explain the Lync and Exchange outages. click here for more ...
Office Mix updates

Updates to Office Mix – a new way to make PowerPoint interactive. click here for more ...
Google supports Office documents properly

QuickOffice is no more but Google improves MS Office document support click here for more ...
Touch features in Office 2013

Office 2013 has some clever tricks when you touch the screen. click here for more ...
Office for Mac 2011 update

Another update to Office 2011 for Mac, mostly Outlook 2011. click here for more ...
Office 365 outage mystery

Email services for Office 365 and Exchange Online should now be resumed but Microsoft handled it really badly. click here for more ...
Making Concatenated Strings from Linked Tables and Multi-valued Fields

Access Archon Column #230 – Making Concatenated Strings from Linked Tables and Multi-valued Fields click here for more ...
Office 365 gets 1 terabyte of storage

Microsoft raises the bar for cloud storage quantity but not quality. click here for more ...
Fixing Normalization Errors in Access

Access Archon Column #229 – Fixing Normalization Errors click here for more ...
Homeless Fonts

An interesting font idea from Spain - handwriting of homeless people turned into fonts. click here for more ...
Office 2013: what type of install?

How can you tell which type of Office 2013 installation you have? click here for more ...
Amazon Fire Phone and Microsoft Office

What does the new Amazon phone have for Office users? click here for more ...
World Cup scores in Outlook

You can get match results automatically in Outlook click here for more ...
Office 2013 Install bug

There’s the fix (we hope) for the latest Office 2013 install bug. click here for more ...
Get the World Cup into Outlook

How to get the World Cup schedule into Outlook automatically. click here for more ...
Office 2001 for Mac - May 2014 update

What’s in the latest Office 2011 for Max update? click here for more ...
Find and Replace links in Word documents

How to quickly change web links in Office documents. click here for more ...
Better email encryption for Outlook

Gpg4Win is one way to improve and expand Outlook’s poor encryption support. click here for more ...
Google’s secure email system coming soon

Google’s End-to-End secure email tool is a great idea – will it force Microsoft to improve Outlook? click here for more ...
Printer Prints what its supposed to

A funny item in Britain’s Viz magazine. click here for more ...
Pasting images into Office: size concerns

Does pasting an image into Office take up more space than inserting it? click here for more ...
Microsoft Word vs. Spelling Bee champions 2014

Microsoft Word does badly against the National Spelling Bee joint champions. click here for more ...
A faster way to copy pictures into Office documents

Another easy way to get images into Word and other Office documents. click here for more ...
Uninstall problems with Office 2013 or Office 365

A simple solution to uninstall problems with Office 2013/Office 365. click here for more ...
Box app for Android has better Office document support

The competition among cloud storage providers continues with Box improving their Android app. click here for more ...

Office News Wire

Free Office extra for the blind and visually impaired

Screen reader software now available for Office 2010 and Office 2013 users. click here for more ...
Paste in Microsoft Word

Demystifying the many paste options in Word. click here for more ...
Office 15 starts external testing

The Office 15 Technical Preview has begun. click here for more ...
Online Cloud-Based File Repair Service for Corrupted Microsoft Office Files

Innovative Online Data Recovery Technology Allows Users to Repair Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access Files from Web Browsers Faster Than Ever click here for more ...
SSD's - some tips

If you want to take the plunge to Solid State Drives, here are some comments from our experience. click here for more ...
Low use of Bitlocker

Why the low use of Bitlocker when it can secure your private documents and emails? click here for more ...
Office 2010: the real startup guide

Things you should know that Microsoft won’t tell you: saving money, installing, configuring and using Office 2010. click here for more ...
Office 2010 licence terms

A full copy of the licence terms (aka MSLT formerly EULA) for Office 2010. click here for more ...
Microsoft Office 2010 Retail Pricing Comparison Chart

This is a direct copy of the Office 2010 pricing as presented by Microsoft with all the footnotes described as a 'more detailed guide'. click here for more ...
Microsoft Office 2010 Reaches Beta, Bringing Productivity Gains to the PC, Phone and Browser

Q&A: Kurt DelBene, senior vice president of the Office Business Productivity Group at Microsoft, discusses what is new in the public beta and what developers can expect from the upcoming release of Office 2010 and related products. click here for more ...

New & Popular
» Microsoft’s commitment to Office beyond Windows
» Which character code is that?
» How Word’s grammar check can let you down
» One Terabyte of OneDrive is here
» What is Microsoft Delve?
» Use the latest Unicode symbols in Office

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Office Watch is definitely not affiliated with Microsoft - and that's just one reason why we are so useful to Microsoft Office users around the world J (Erko).