26 July 2009

Frustration Busters!

It is sometimes hard to determine what needs to be taught or shared because what I might take for granted as basic, others may not know. We as assistants probably know a little bit of this and a little bit of that because we work with so many programs and in some programs we know a whole lot because we use it regularly, such as Word and Outlook.

Recently I was working with someone on an Excel document. They sent an e-mail wondering if any of the assistants could help them export a document from Excel to Word. Sometimes I find a simple procedure can be made more complicated than it really is so responded that a cut and paste from Excel to Word should do the trick. It worked and through explaining the process to her I added a column at the end of the table in Word by tabbing over, which automatically creates a new row. She was amazed. All this time she had been right clicking and choosing Insert row each time she needed another row. She did not know how simple it could be by just tabbing. She wanted me to show her other tips and thought I really should do a lunch and learn on these shortcuts. But how do you know what you don't know? What is simple to me, may not be to others, so I decided a blog article on things I have picked up in the various programs may be helpful to somebody out there and it was worth sharing. With new technology I think we are all overwhelmed at times as to how to make certain things work and it can be frustrating.

These instructions are for Word 2007, but lower versions of Word are usually comparable or easily figured out from these instructions.


To make a return within the cell without going to the next row. Press Alt Enter to go to the next line within the row.

To make changes in a cell. I had a lawyer ask me this one once so I know some people don't know how this is done. Double click on the cell and you will then be able to make any changes to the content.

To do a word wrap in a cell. Click on the cell, On the Home Tab choose Format (on the far right), arrow down and click on the tab Alignment. Click on Word Wrap and then press OK.

If your cell height is too short and you can't see all the words. Click on Format, Row height and a dialoge box will open. Put in a higher number and press OK.

To repeat a header row on each page. On the Page Layout Tab click on arrow to open at bottom right. Choose the Sheet tab. On Rows to Repeat choose the line and row that you want to repeat i.e. A1:J3 (or highlight row you want repeated). Unlike Word you will only see the header repeated when you do a print preview or print the document.


To open a new task and include an e-mail in the comments section. Simply drag and drop your e-mail on Tasks and a new task will open with the e-mail message in the body (if the e-mail has attachments these will not be in the body). If you want to attach the e-mail with attachments, in your Task, click on the Insert Tab, choose Attach Item and you will then be able to choose the e-mail you want attached and the whole e-mail with attachments will appear as an icon in the body of the Task. On the right, make sure Attachments is clicked. Or if you want to attach a file, choose Attach File. I always set reminders on my tasks.


Tab within a table cell without going to the next cell. If you press Ctrl. tab you will tab within the cell, if you click tab, you will go to the next cell.

To create a section break. If you want to start a new section, go to the Page Setup section and choose Page Layout, arrow down on Breaks choose the appropriate section break (Next Page is a good choice). If things are still continuing from previous section i.e. watermarks or page numbers, look in the Header and Footer and if it says Same as Previous toggle Link to Previous.

What to do if you remove your borders on a table and then can't see your gridlines on the screen. Click Design tab and choose the little icon for borders (this is also usually on the Home tab for convenience). Arrow down and at the bottom there is View Gridlines, click on that and it will change the default to View Gridlines in your document.

To automatically insert a new row at the end of a table. As I mentioned above, just tab over and a new row will be created.

Here is a link to a previous article that might be helpful with more tips.

Once I know how to do something, I write it down. It has saved me a lot of frustration on the job.


Jennifer said...

On the Excel tips - for adjusting the height of the row so that it shows everything in it, you should just be able to put your cursor at the top edge of the row (so it gets that double arrow if you want to drag it), then double click and it will adjust the height automatically!

Anonymous said...

If you want to insert a fraction in Microsoft Word without going to Insert/Symbol, keep your Alt key depressed whilst keying in the following numbers on your number pad. Alt0188 will give you the quarter symbol etc.

0188 = ¼
0189 = ½
0190 = ¾

I learned this trick some time ago but I do not think it is widely known.

Patricia Robb said...

Hi Jennifer. That's what I thought for Excel as well, but couldn't get it to work so I gave instructions for the long way to do it. I know it works in a Word table as you mentioned so you think Excel would be the same. Thanks for the tip, I will try it again.

And to Anonymous. That is also a good tip.

Collectively, we know so much. Thanks for sharing.

I have a whole list of Alt key shortcuts that I will post at another time. I love shortcuts!

I also use Ctrl key shortcuts and have posted on that at http://secretaryhelpline.blogspot.com/2007/09/quick-tips-using-control-keys.html

If you search my blog with the word shortcut, you will find other articles on different shortcuts.

Thanks for commenting. I always like to hear from other assistants.