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Real-time Collaborative Editing in Word, Excel and PowerPoint

Go Paperless! IT Training can help!

 

This is part of a series of articles that will appear over the next few months as part of the Go Paperless initiative at Indiana University.

When multiple individuals provide their separate contributions to a single document, this is termed as collaborative editing. Having the ability to allow more than one person to update the same document is often as essential as it is advantageous. Until recently, collaborative editing of Word, Excel or PowerPoint files had a major restriction in that only one person could work on a single file at a time; otherwise, it was necessary to keep multiple versions of the file and reconcile them all into a single file. This restriction can be a bottleneck since only one person may edit the file at a time, additional effort is needed for version control and coordination between contributors, and reconciling between multiple files requires additional effort and increases the risk for missed updates.

Collaborative editing technology, however, has matured significantly over the past few years through the use of cloud storage services. By leveraging cloud technologies, collaborators now have access to a number of tools that help streamline collaborative editing. Of specific interest to Office users, synchronous or real-time collaborative editing is now possible, which allows several people to work on a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file at the same time. Let’s take a brief look at this real-time collaborative editing provided by Google and Microsoft. Before we start, please note that Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage services are not supported by IU and are not suitable for storing or sharing institutional data. However, this information may be of use for personal projects.

Read the rest of “Real-time Collaborative Editing in Word, Excel and PowerPoint” »

Creating a PDF Form in Adobe Acrobat

Go Paperless! IT Training can help!

This is part of a series of articles that will appear over the next few months as part of the Go Paperless initiative at Indiana University.

Does your department make use of forms that people need to fill out and return to you?  If so, one way to reduce the amount of paper used by printing out all those forms is to create a PDF form in Adobe Acrobat.  Not only does it help reduce the amount of paper your office uses, but there are also other benefits to making use of PDF Forms.  In this article, I’ll show you how to create a simple PDF form using Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat XI.

Read the rest of “Creating a PDF Form in Adobe Acrobat” »

Word’s Paste Options

In a recent IT Training workshop that I was teaching, a participant ask me what each of the options in the Paste button on the ribbon in Word meant. I knew the ones that I used, but didn’t know the others. So, I promised to research and get back with the information.

Here it is:

paste

The paste button has an upper part and a lower part. Clicking on the upper part of the button does a simple past from the clipboard to wherever your cursor is in the document. Read the rest of “Word’s Paste Options” »

The End of an Era

It is a sad month for Microsoft Office users. Click here to find out why.

Modifying the “AutoCorrect” in Word

Word’s autocorrect feature attempts to make our lives easier by viewing the words that we type and deciding whether we did it correctly based on dictionaries and styles programmed into it.

For example, Word will automatically capitalize the first letter of a sentence and the days of the week.

If a common word is incorrectly typed into Word, it will be corrected automatically, i.e. if I type begni, Word will change it to “begin” as soon as I hit a trigger (space bar, period, comma, etc.)

However, if it is not a common word, but Word “thinks” that it has been typed incorrectly, a red squiggly line will appear instead, i.e.  Currency: british ponud sterling.

Read the rest of “Modifying the “AutoCorrect” in Word” »

Word: Removing unneeded line break after a table

Found a really great tip the other day over at Penn State. Unfortunately the page is now giving me a 404 error, so I’m reproducing the tip here.

Have you ever added a table to a the end of Word document and ended with an extra page that you couldn’t get rid of? The problem is that when you add a table at the end of a Word document, Word automatically adds paragraph mark after a table.

Most of time this paragraph doesn’t cause a problem, but sometimes there isn’t room for the paragraph at the end of the document and you end up with an extra blank page.

To get rid of the extra page:

  1. Open the document.
  2. If necessary, go to the Home tab on the ribbon.
  3. Turn on the formatting codes by clicking the Show/Hide Button. See Figure 1.

    Image showing the location of the Show/Hide button on the Home tab of Word.

    Figure 1

  4. Find and select the extra paragraph mark.
  5. To open the Font properties dialog box, click the dialog box launcher. See Figure 2.

    image showing location of the font dialog box launcher

    Figure 2

  6. In the Effect section of the Font dialog box, select the Hidden checkbox. See Figure 3.

    Image showing the Fonts dialog box with the Effects Hidden option location highlighted

    Figure 3

  7. Click OK to accept the changes.When you look at the page, it appears the extra space is still there.
  8. Turn off the formatting codes by clicking the Show/Hide button again.

You now should see the document without the extra page.

Multilanguage spelling checks can bee done

Image of the Language group in the ribbon of Microsoft Word.As a sometime language teacher, the ability to spell and grammar check my work in Microsoft Word is critical. But if you’re unlucky enough to be typing in the non-default language on your computer, particularly when the tool to automatically detect language is (a) turned off or (b) just not getting it, such as when you are writing a paper in one language but citing a work in another, you may end up fighting constant multi-colored squiggles, or Word’s usually “helpful” auto-correct features. This can significantly slow you down as you constantly fight with the program.

The key, then, is knowing how to help Word figure out which spell check dictionary it should be using at any given point in your text. Thankfully, it’s not terribly hard. Read the rest of “Multilanguage spelling checks can bee done” »

Lines in Word

Ever try to type a line horizontally across a page? If you go too far, it wraps to the next line. If you don’t go far enough, it doesn’t look correct with the text on the page. Word can create lines that will fit perfectly from margin to margin. If you decide to change the margins, the line updates automatically. And the line moves with your text!

For a variety of line styles, try these options:

  1. Type three or more hyphens.
  2. Try typing three or more underscores (_).
  3. Another options is three equal signs (=).
  4. How about three asterisks (*)?
  5. Now try three number signs (#).
  6. Hmmm, I wonder what three tildas would do.
This is a fun feature. You can try other options on the keyboard to see what you get.
Also, if you are trying to get rid of the line:
  1. If you are trying right after you have put it in, simply do an undo (Control + z).
  2. If the document has been saved or the line just will not delete, put you cursor in the text above the line, go to the Home tab, to the Paragraph group, to the borders button and choose No Border.

Modifying the “AutoCorrect” in Word

Word’s autocorrect feature attempts to make our lives easier by viewing the words that we type and deciding whether we did it correctly based on dictionaries and styles programmed into it.

For example, Word will automatically capitalize the first letter of a sentence and the days of the week.

If a common word is incorrectly typed into Word, it will be corrected automatically, i.e. if I type begni, Word will change it to “begin” as soon as I hit a trigger (space bar, period, comma, etc.)

However, if it is not a common word, but Word “thinks” that it has been typed incorrectly as it is not in its dictionary, a red squiggly line will appear instead, i.e.  Currency: british ponud sterling

There are times when we do not Word making these corrections. These behaviors are sometimes modifiable but we can always disable them.

Let’s see how this works. I mistype a word:  “infromal.” Word will change this to the correct form, i.e. informal. Whenever Word makes a change, you will find that rolling your cursor over the changed word will reveal a blue box under the first couple of letters. Pulling your cursor down over the box will reveal a lightning bolt and clicking on the black arrow will reveal more options in a fly-out menu.

 

This menu will always show the same options in the same order. Those options are to CHANGE BACK, STOP, and CONTROL the auto feature applied here.

CHANGE BACK: Word will undo the correction and you are ready to move on.

STOP: Choosing the second option would tell Word will not make this correction again. This affects the current document and all future documents in your copy of Word.

From this point, if you want the word to be corrected, you will need to recognize it and do it manually.

CONTROL AUTOCORRECT OPTIONS: This option takes you into the inside options of Word where you will find a plethora of options that can modify and stop Word from doing helpful and annoying things.

This modal menu has five tabs:

AUTOCORRECT: Displays options like “Capitalize first letter of table cells”. Deselecting the check mark in front of this option will stop Word from capitalizing the first letter of a table cell and so on. The bottom of this tab is similar to “find and replace”. If there is a word that you always mistype, you can enter the manner that you mistype this word in the Replace field. Then enter the correct version of the word, phrase or sentence into the With field.

AUTOFORMAT: Contains interesting options for things like changing straight quotes to smart “quotes” and making ordinal numbers superscript. 1st

AUTOFORMAT AS YOU TYPE: Will correct these same options if you type them incorrectly.

MATH AUTOCORRECT: Supplies math symbols with an assigned keyboard definition.

ACTIONS: Provides additional actions through the right-click option.

Taking advantage of these options will give you power to get the results that you want.

 

Can’t Uninstall Office 2013

IT Training will be teaching Microsoft Office 2013 workshops this fall, and we are anxious to begin telling the IU community about the new features that are available in this version of the popular suite. If you are planning on taking some of our free workshops or webinars, you might want to download and install the software from IUware. Remember, Indiana University faculty, staff, and students may download most of the software available from IUware for free.

If you decide to download and install Office 2013, I would encourage you to download the 32-bit package, even if you are planning on running it on a 64-bit system. Earlier in the summer I installed the 64-bit suite on a laptop running Windows 7, and I was very unhappy with the results. Every time I tried to use Outlook, Word, or PowerPoint, the application would freeze and/or crash. After discussing this issue with the Support team here at IU, and reading multiple forums and Microsoft Help articles, I uninstalled the 64-bit version and installed the 32-bit version instead. After that, I didn’t have any problems.

I have left out an important part of the story. When I first tried to uninstall Office 2013, I was unable to do so. While in the Control Panel, I selected Microsoft Office 2013, clicked on the Uninstall link at the top of the window, and waited. Nothing happened. I tried again. Nothing happened. I probably even tried a third and fourth time before I realized that this was simply not going to work.

After a little digging, I found the solution on this Microsoft Support page:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2739501. I downloaded the Fix it tool that they provided, and then I was able to uninstall Office 2013 from the Control Panel just as I normally would.

Hopefully this article will save you some time if you decide that you want to uninstall the package.

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