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Office Watch



Why is Gene Cernan ignored in Word?

The last man to walk on the moon, Captain Eugene Cernan, is a notable omission from the Microsoft Office dictionary.

Last week, we used a list of the men who walked on the moon as the sample list for Sorting in Word, Sort by Hidden Column and How to Hide a Column in Word.

We kept seeing a red squiggly line in the middle of the Word 2013 list …

Why is Cpt. Cernan not included in the dictionary? Does someone at Microsoft hate him?

No … It’s unlikely there’s been any deliberate omission of Cpt. Cernan’s name from the dictionary.

Many of the astronaut first and last names would be in the Word dictionary are in common use while some others like ‘Aldrin’ where probably added after analysis of user documents or a deliberate addition of a notable name.

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

DropBox prices drop but is it enough?

Dropbox has announced price decreases / storage increases to match offerings from Microsoft and Google.

The lowest level of paid Dropbox is ‘Pro’ for $9.99 a month or $99 per year. That did give you 100GB of storage and now you get 1Terabyte (1,000GB).

That sounds impressive until you realize that both Microsoft and Google offer a Terabyte for around the same price with document editing as well.

Microsoft Office 365 Personal costs $70 a year for the Office desktop and mobile applications plus a terabyte of OneDrive storage. Office 365 Home Premium is $99 a year for 5 people to use the Office programs and a terabyte each.

Google Drive is also $9.99 a month (no annual price) and integrates with Google Docs.

Dropbox did have an advantage being untied to a particular operating system (Windows, Android etc.) but that’s being somewhat eroded by the improvements in OneDrive apps.

All three major players are trying to ignore security and privacy issues in the hope that customers won’t notice or forget. Microsoft has been caught reading private emails for its self-interest. Dropbox has a former US National Security Advisor on their board which doesn’t help appearances. All the major players have no choice about supplying information from cloud storage to the US government even if it’s on a server outside the USA.

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

Sort by hidden column in Word

Sometimes you want to sort a list in a way that isn’t apparent to the reader.

To continue our Apollo theme, here’s a list of the twelve men who walked on the moon with the order they stepped onto the surface.

To put that list into the order of stepping on the moon is simple but what if you want to place them in that order but without the ‘Order’ column showing?

The beauty of this method is that you can go back to the table, add or change rows then re-sort the table. Probably a good idea to add an unpublished comment to the document reminding you and others to the presence of the hidden column and the reason for it.

The first step is the hide the column from view, which we’ve covered in a separate article.

Then select the table and choose Table | Layout | Data | Sort. The hidden column still appears in the ‘Sort by’ list, only without the header text, just the Column number. Choose the Column to Sort by and other options as usual. As you can see, the list is now in the arrival order but without that order showing.

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

How to hide a column in Word

Sometimes you want to hide a table column in a Word document but according to Microsoft you can’t do it. Here’s how to do it anyway.

It’s true that there’s no explicit ‘hide column’ option like in Excel but you can fake it in various ways. Here’s the example table we’ll use. We want to have the list in order of stepping on the moon but not display the order column.

You might think that the ‘Hidden’ formatting option (Font | Effects | Hidden) would do the trick but that only works for the contents of table cells, not the cells or column.

But the Hidden attribute gets you part way there. To finish the job, change the cell formatting to remove the vertical column border. Then narrow the columns and you have what looks like a single column table.

To prove we didn’t cheat, here’s the same table showing the column separator (in Word 2013) and the columns in the ruler.

Narrowing the column might require using a small font size.

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

Sorting in Word

Following our look at different alphabetical orders, here’s a look at the sorting options in Word.

You can sort paragraphs, lists and tables in a Word document. Select the list or paragraphs then choose Home | Paragraph | Sort. For tables there’s similar sort options are at Table | Layout | Data | Sort:

The main sort dialog box lets you sort by up to three columns or entries. This is the sort dialog for paragraphs and lists.

For tables there’s the additional ‘Using’ option at each level.

Sort by - choose the paragraph or column. If you’ve chosen ‘Separate Fields at’ (see below) the fields will appear in this list.

Type – either Text, Numbers or Date. Word will guess the correct type from the data but you can override that choice.  Choose 'Numbers' to sort by value and 'Date' to sort in date order (assuming that Word recognizes the values as dates).

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

Alphabetical order in Word

I thought that alphabetical order was, well, alphabetical order. That’s what I was taught at school and apparently I was taught wrong. There are at least three ways, two used by dictionaries, another by Microsoft and that’s for English alone!

Reading Sue Butler’s delightful book 'The Aitch Factor' I found that there's more than one alphabetical order! Naturally, that got me wondering which alphabetical order is used by Microsoft Word and Office when sorting.

Alphabetical orders

Look at these two word lists, both have the same words and both are in alphabetical order.

Source: The Aitch Factor and the Macquarie Dictionary.

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

OneNote for Windows updated

There’s a new version of OneNote for Windows 8 out today with some ‘new’ features that help it catch up ‘real’ OneNote for PC or Mac

At this stage let’s be clear, we’re talking about the OneNote app for Windows 8 in Modern/Metro style that’s been such an underwhelming ‘success’ with customers. The OneNote Windows Store app is possibly the only reason for some people to try the Modern interface.

We like the OneNote app, especially the innovative radial menu that takes a little time but is worth getting used to. But the unquestioning hype about ‘new’ features is hard to stomach.


Yes, the idea of a Microsoft Office program being able to print is considered a big deal. Microsoft should really be apologizing that it’s taken them about two years to add this essential feature.

The Print option is on the right-hand Charms menu under Devices.

Or swipe up from the bottom of the page or right-click on the page and tap ‘Print Page’. The familiar Ctrl + P shortcut also works.

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

Office for iPhone v1.2 secrecy

Quietly, ever so quietly, Microsoft released a new version of Office for iPhone.

Version 1.2 was pushed out on 14 August 2014 to a complete silence from Microsoft. No blog post, no Knowledge Base article … nothing … not a sausage or even a sausage app.

The only thing we know about the update are two words. The only words that the Office Mobile team seems to know:

‘Bug fixes’

There was a time when a Microsoft staffer would be sacked for using the ‘B’ word in public. Now they happily use it and expect customers to be satisfied with that word alone.

This is the second time Office for iPhone has a 'two word' update and Microsoft refused to answer a direct question about "bug fixes and stability improvements" in Office for iPad.

Say what you like about updates to Office for Windows … and we’ve said plenty over 18 years of .. but at least its developers post information about bugs. Sure, they often do it only after the bug has been fixed, but at least there’s some information in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

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

Hanx Writer and Office for iPad

All the talk in iPad land is about Hanx Writer; a typewriter app for Apple iPad. Hanx Writer is a pleasant novelty app. It looks and sounds like a typewriter.

Having spent a lot of time delving into Office for iPad for our popular book, we could not resist a look at this retro newcomer and how it might work with Microsoft’s 21st Century apps.

For those of you are too young or don’t remember, typewriters were devices for imprinting ink on flat sheets of dried wood pulp. In olden days we used typewriters while waiting for word processors to be invented.

Naturally, there’s only one font (this is a typewriter, not an IBM ‘Golf Ball’ Electric typewriter) with sound and animation as you type.

One acknowledgment of modern word-processing is ‘Modern Delete’ which defaults on. With this option OFF, pressing the Delete key will backspace and overtype x just like we did for most of the 20th Century. There’s also ‘Show Cursor’, another option not available on a real typewriter.

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Windows 8.1 update disappoints

Oh dear, for all the hype, rumor and promise of the Windows 8.1 update, it turned out to be a damp squib. The feature additions were not as interesting as Microsoft strategic leaking led us to expect. When the August 2014 updates were finally released, the download had to be withdrawn after a few days because of bugs!

At the time of writing, the August 2014 updates had been suspended from manual downloads, pending investigation of bugs in the patches. However the buggy patches are still being pushed out via Windows Update so customers are still being knowingly given the ‘Blue Screen of Death’ by Microsoft. Not a great showing from Microsoft at all.

When you do get the August 2014 updates and they don’t crash your computer, the ‘new features’ aren’t particularly interesting. Unless you’re Russian, the updates are minor or are additional API’s that require work from hardware and software developers to make them useful for customers.

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

Adding the Ruble to Office

Microsoft adds the Ruble symbol to Windows 8.1 and we show you how to add it to earlier versions of Windows. click here for more ...
Why PivotTables get confused and how to fix them

Why Excel PivotTables get messed up and how to stop it. click here for more ...
PivotTables: selecting and changing data sources

How to add and remove data from a PivotTable. click here for more ...
What has the Smartphone ever done for us?

Forget the Romans … what use is a smartphone? click here for more ...
Where is Microsoft on email encryption?

Microsoft needs to play ‘catch up’ with email encryption. click here for more ...
The Old Alt + X trick

How to quickly insert symbols in Word without taking your fingers off the keyboard. click here for more ...
How to Email direct to cloud storage and services

Some programs let you email documents directly – here’s now. click here for more ...
Free updates now available: Office for iPad and Windows 8.1

Updates now available free for our popular Windows 8.1 and Office for iPad ebooks. click here for more ...
Word – Insert Symbol wish list

The Insert | Symbol feature in Office is overdue for an overhaul. click here for more ...
Office is 25 years old

Microsoft celebrates 25 years of the software suite. click here for more ...
Some Excel worksheets should not be shared

A bad example of Excel and document sharing online. click here for more ...
Caught! how Microsoft tricks you and the media

The latest Office for iPad announcement is misleading and accurate at the same time. click here for more ...
How you can update Office for iPad: The Complete Guide

Only days after the v1.1 app updates, we’ve revised the matching ebook. click here for more ...
Extra goodies in Office for iPad

More good stuff added to Office for iPad click here for more ...
Simple and useful PivotTables

A simple, practical and non-scary example of how Excel PivotTables can work for you. click here for more ...
Microsoft’s commitment to Office beyond Windows

Microsoft confirms Office across devices, including Android. click here for more ...
Which character code is that?

Word: how to find the character code used for a particular letter or symbols. click here for more ...
How Word’s grammar check can let you down

A funny example of how you can't trust the spelling and grammar checks in Word. click here for more ...
One Terabyte of OneDrive is here

Microsoft delivers 1,000GB for Office 365 users. click here for more ...
What is Microsoft Delve?

What is Delve and what does it mean for Microsoft Office? click here for more ...
Use the latest Unicode symbols in Office

How can you get the new Unicode symbols in Office documents? click here for more ...
More characters for Unicode

Unicode adds more characters to an already large list. click here for more ...
Get a wireless second screen

Miracast gives you a wireless external screen for PowerPoint and a lot more. click here for more ...
Office update status page

Microsoft makes a ‘one stop’ page for the latest Office update details. click here for more ...
Mending an Inkjet printer

A guide to getting more life and value from your printer. click here for more ...
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 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
» Why is Gene Cernan ignored in Word?
» DropBox prices drop but is it enough?
» Sort by hidden column in Word
» How to hide a column in Word
» Sorting in Word
» Alphabetical order in Word

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