Jun 3

I’ve been using Microsoft Word for close on 20 years and still technical things crop up either I didn’t know about, or haven’t had to know about. I recently received a Word document to work on in which a significant number of words at the end of lines were hyphenated. Nothing strange about that, except that, when the cursor was advanced over the hyphenated word, it completely jumped over the hyphen to the next character as if the hyphen wasn’t actually present in the document.

I did a bit of searching and discovered that automatic hyphenation had been turned on in that document. In Word 2007 and later, you can check the status of hyphenation in your current document and turn off automatic hyphenation by going to Page Layout, clicking Hyphenation and selecting None.

Word hyphenation

In Word versions earlier than 2007 go to Tools, Language, Hyphenation and uncheck Automatically hyphenate document.

So you’ve never noticed automatic hyphenation? Well, that may be because it’s turned off in all your documents. So this doesn’t apply to me? It might. if someone sends you a document in which automatic hyphenation has been used, it will be turned on for that document in your system, i.e. the hyphenation setting travels with the document. So a hyphenated document will open on your system. But it’s easily turned off as I’ve described.


Apr 1

I’ve looked at tracked changes and comments in LibreOffice Writer and MS Word before but thought it might be worth another closer look now with the release of LibreOffice 4.4. As I’ve said before, tracking changes and inserting comments are important features of MS Word for authors and editors in the publishing field and any progress towards a more seamless exchange of changes and comments between MS Word and LibreOffice Writer (shortened to LO Writer from here onwards) may help to encourage use of open source rather than commercial software in that particular field.

If you just want a summary of what I’ve found, just jump down to the Conclusions and read on there, otherwise if you’re interested in the details of exchanging comments and changes between Word and LO Writer please read on.

As an editor, I usually receive files from authors and publishers in Word doc format and have to return them in the same format after editing. So I’m going to start with a simple doc format file created in MS Word 2007 with changes tracked and comments added, I’ll open that in LO Writer 4.4 and make some more comments and changes there, then save the file in doc format and open that in MS Word again to see the final state. Obviously, my eventual intention is to be able to receive documents from authors, edit them in LO Writer and return the file in Word doc format. I’ve managed to make some progress with changes and comments in a very simple file which I’ll go through here. However, I’ve no doubt that files with other complex formatting will show some incompatibilities. I’m only looking at tracked changes and comments in this post.

For compatibility of changes and comments between the two programs, the first thing that has to be considered is the labelling of comments and changes as they pass between the programs. In MS Word, this means setting the user name (or author name) and user initials. In Word 2007, this is done by clicking the Office button at the top left of the screen and choosing the Word Options button at the bottom of the menu that opens. Under Popular you can enter your User name and Initials.

User name and initials in MS Word

If you’ve used tracked changes and comments in MS Word, you’ll know that, when changes are visible, if you hover your mouse over changes or comments, information bubbles will appear explaining when the change was made and starting with the user name or author name you’ve chosen. Comments will be labelled with the initials you’ve chosen followed by a number in ascending order through the document. The simple example below shows the Reviewing Pane on the left with ‘User name’ for the user name and INITS for the initials. The first comment is labelled INITS1.

Reviewing pane in Word

So now here’s a Word document with change tracking turned on and showing Markup. This time I’ve used T&L for the initials. As you can see, to the original document I’ve added a sentence, deleted a sentence, inserted bold and italic in places and added three comments labelled T&L1, T&L2 and T&L3.

Lorem ipsum with changes added in MS Word

After much trial and error with user names in Word and LO Writer, what I’ve found is that, to achieve compatibility of labelling when adding comments and tracked changes in both Word and LO Writer 4.4, you must have the same user name/initials in Word and again the exact same Company/last name in LO Writer. The problem seems to start in LO Writer which won’t use the Word initials field for labelling comments inserted in Word but uses the Word user name field instead. But when you add new comments in LO Writer, it will label them using information in the last name field in LO Writer. Interestingly, when you save your work as a doc file in LO Writer and reopen the file back in Word, the original Word comments reappear labelled from the Word initials field but new comments added in LO Writer have all labelling dropped and are just numbered consecutively.

So to avoid these labelling problems, open LO Writer and add your Company name and last name by clicking Tools>Options>User Data. Company name in LO Writer appears to be the equivalent of User name in Word while last name in LO Writer appears to be the equivalent of initials in Word. As I’ve said, to maintain compatibility between the programs, these should be the same as entered in Word.

User name and initials in LO Writer

Now we can open the Word doc file in LO Writer, turn on tracked change and add more changes and comments. The old and new comments are all added with the correct label T&L but aren’t numbered.

Lorem ipsum with changes added in MS Word and LibreOffice

All the old and new comments are highlighted correctly in the text as shaded boxes. They weren’t last time I tried this with the older version of LO Writer. All additional comments and changes made in LO Writer occur in the same colour as the older Word changes as they are done by the same user.

So far so good, but after adding the new changes and comments in LO Writer, we now have to save the file in doc format then reopen it in MS Word to see how the original changes and the new changes made in LO Writer are displayed.

Lorem ipsum with changes added in MS Word and LibreOffice and viewed again in Word

Everything looks file. The old and new comments have been integrated into one consecutive list labelled T&L1 to T&L5, and all tracked changes have been made by the same user.

Of course, you may not want to pass files from Word to LO Writer and back to Word, but instead just create the file in LO Writer and save it as a doc file so that someone else can open it in Word. After much trial and error with Company name/first name/last name/initials in LO Writer, I was unable to produce labelled comments when the doc file was opened in Word. The comments just appeared numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. That’s disappointing. I hope someone can sort this out in LibreOffice in a future release for the sake of seamless transfer of doc files to MS Word.

Conclusion

If you want to ensure compatibility of tracked changes and comments when moving documents between MS Word and LO Writer 4.4, you must have the same label in all four of these fields: User name in Word, initials in Word, Company in LO Writer, last name in LO Writer.

I’ve also found that that this only works for the older doc format. Try using the newer docx format and compatibility breaks down – new comments added in LO Writer are not labelled when viewed back in MS Word, they just have consecutive numbering and aren’t integrated with the older comments as happens when using doc format. A good reason to stick with the older doc format, something which publishers seem quite happy to do when you look through author guidelines for manuscript submission.

I also couldn’t produce labelled comments in MS Word when a doc file created in LO Writer and with comments added in Writer was later opened in Word. That’s disappointing and I hope it can be fixed in LibreOffice.

But all in all, quite encouraging. If developers working on LibreOffice could fix the user name/initials/company/last name labelling issue of changes and comments so there was no need to use my workaround, then that would be one more reason to drop MS Word in favour of LO Writer.

I have recently discovered that an overseas author client of mine does in fact use LibreOffice Writer, then saves his file in Word doc format for me to edit. As we exchanged files for revision, it was only the comment labelling that gave away the fact he wasn’t using MS Word! In fact he’d been using LibreOffice to prepare doc format manuscripts for some time and I hadn’t noticed! That’s very encouraging and hopefully we’re not far away from a viable open source solution for authors and publishers.

So if you’re still using an old version of MS Word and don’t want to upgrade to the latest version, if you can’t afford to upgrade or if you’re using a pirated copy of MS Word, have a look at LibreOffice. It may just be an adequate replacement for MS Word for the things that you do.

Do you use LibreOffice and exchange documents with someone using MS Word or vice versa? What’s your experiences?


Apr 25

Are you fed up forking out for a commercial OS, OS updates, and office software? Well, in this series of posts, I’m considering whether I can move away from Windows 7 in the future. So far, things look promising, especially with the explosion of the Android platform and with viable Linux desktop options. As I’ve discussed before,  one thing holding me back is that I need to be able to edit MS Word documents for clients – you may be in the same boat. In an earlier part in this series, I looked at open source software OpenOffice and LibreOffice from one aspect –  editing documents with tracked changes. I ran a test on these two packages to see whether I could:

  1. Open a MS Word doc file with tracked changes in the file and with tracked changes turned on
  2. Edit it adding further tracked changes and comments in OpenOffice or LibreOffice
  3. Save it in MS Word doc format
  4. Open it in MS Word to see if all the tracked changes and comments had been preserved through the process.

In that first test, OpenOffice was just slightly better as LibreOffice introduced some minor formatting errors, but both did a pretty good job.

So what about other free options online for editing MS Word documents? Well as you may know, there have been some developments from Google Drive recently with add-ons to allow, among other things, tracked changes in Google Docs.  Microsoft have also renamed its Microsoft Web Apps to Office Online so I wanted to check that out as well. As I go, I’ll try and walk you through using Google Drive and Office Online. I hadn’t used either before so if you have some comments or tips or if you feel I missed something important, please drop a comment at the bottom and I’ll update the post.  On the other hand, if you want to skip the detail, you’ll find a short summary of my results at the bottom of the post. For fairness, I’ll be using the same starting Word doc file that I used to evaluate tracked changes in OpenOffice and LibreOffice.

Google Drive

If you don’t mind relying even more heavily on Google and allowing them access to more of your data, then this may be an option for editing Word doc files with tracked changes. Obviously, you’ll need a (free) Google account to access Google Drive. Once you upload a MS Word doc file from your PC to Google Drive you can view it, but to open/edit it, you must open it with Google Docs. Right click on the MS Word doc file you want to open and chose open with Google Docs.

Google Drive1

Now, if you want to track changes made to the Google Docs file, you first have to install the Track Changes Add-on. Navigate to Add-ons and select Get add-ons. Then look for the Track Changes add-on and install it.

Google Drive2

 

The first thing I noticed was that some tracked changes that I had already made previously in MS Word didn’t come across into the Google Doc file. For example, deleted and inserted text were not highlighted as tracked changes as they were in LibreOffice and OpenOffice. Comments made in Word did come across but the commenter name was shown as ‘null’ and the comment insertion point was missing. Again, LibreOffice and OpenOffice did this perfectly, so that’s not a good start.

I then made the same tracked changes in the Google Doc file as I had made in the LibreOffice and OpenOffice files. On the Track Changes menu, I had to click Highlight my new changes before I started. When I deleted words in the Google Docs file they only showed in the separate track changes window not in the main document. However, tracked insertions did show up with a purple background in the main editing window. I later discovered that I could actually see the revision history including the comments made in Google docs and all tracked insertions and deletions. You get there by clicking File, See revision history.

Google Drive3

Another minor failing for me was that tracked changes were labelled with my Google username. No chance of selecting another user or commenter name as you can in MS Word, OpenOffice and LibreOffice, so this may be a disadvantage for a freelance worker who may want to use a trading or business name for comments and changes.

I also discovered I should have renamed the file before I started because all changes were automatically added to the original Google Docs file, not what I’m used to in MS Word. I then downloaded the file to my PC. To do this go to File, Download as, Microsoft Word (.docx).

When I opened the file in MS Word and showed Markup, this is what I saw:

Google Drive4

The original tracked changes in Word had disappeared in the journey to Google Docs and back, and the tracked text deleted and comment added in Google Docs had also disappeared. All I had was the tracked inserted text shown with the purple background and the original comments in Word but now with the commenter name replaced by ‘null’. So, all in all, a much poorer result than with OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

Office Online

Office Online is free to use at the moment. The only proviso is that you must have a (free) Microsoft OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) online account as you have to access and edit your MS Word doc files from there. So I uploaded my original Word file with some tracked changes already made in Word, and tracked changes were turned on. Then, click on the file and it opens in the Word Online viewer. Now, to edit the file, click on Edit Document, Edit in Word Online

Word Online1

I found that the tracked inserted and deleted text in the original file were not highlighted in Word Online, and comment insertion points were not highlighted, although this time Word Online had got the commenter name right from the original file. Track Changes was still marked as ON at the bottom of the editing window. I didn’t see any way to turn tracked changes off and on from within Word Online.

There is a review section on the menu, but this only allows Comments to be inserted. So I made my standard editing changes as before. The username for comments was Guest. That could probably be changed if I knew how. Again, as I found with Google Docs, all the changes had already been made to the original file, but the original file was saved in the version history. That’s something I’ll have to get used to. Save the file with a new name before you start editing it online. So I downloaded the edited file from Word Online and found that all the changes made in Word Online had been tracked even though I couldn’t see the tracked changes when editing online!

Word-Word Online-Word

So, apart from the Guest username in the comments, all the tracked changes made in the original Word file and then in the Word Online editing had been faithfully carried back through to the file when reopened in MS Word on my PC.

Summary

I’ve looked at two free online alternatives for editing MS Word documents with tracked changes – Google Drive and Word Online. Perhaps not surprisingly, Google Drive didn’t perform as well as Word Online in my test. I found that, with Word Online, I could open a simple Word doc file with tracked changes and with tracked changes turned on, edit it in Word Online, and download it to my PC and still see all the tracked changes from the original Word file and from the editing in Word Online. The only downsides were that I couldn’t see how to set the username in Word Online, there seemed to be no option to turn tracked changes on or off in Word Online, and I couldn’t view the tracked changes in Word Online (but they were there!).

But for me, from every free option I’ve looked at so far, I’d put Word Online slightly behind OpenOffice from the point of view of editing a MS Word document with tracked changes. I have no doubt that a more complex Word file would have caused some formatting problems but it looks like free alternatives, online and offline, may be able to give MS Word a good run for its money for many of us who perhaps don’t need tracked changes. Have a look at Office Online and see what you think.

Next time in this series, I’ll have a look at editing MS Word documents (for free) on an Android tablet or smartphone and see how that compares to my frontrunners so far.


Jan 9

Unless you have Adobe Acrobat you can’t really edit PDFs. Yes, you can open, modify and export PDFs in newer versions of Word, Open Office and LibreOffice for example, but special fonts, complex vector graphics and longer documents may cause problems. However, if you only want to show changes to be made to the PDF and then pass the modified file on to, for example, a typesetter, then this can quite easily be done in the free Adobe Reader.

Some of you may be pretty familiar with annotating PFDs using Adobe Reader and wondering why I’m posting this. Well, as a proofreader, I’ve come across situations recently where authors have been unaware how to annotate their changes on a PDF. Some have ended up converting the PDF to MS Word doc format and making tracked changes there instead of just annotating the PDFs in Adobe Reader.

Here’s how to annotate your PDFs with Adobe Reader:

Adobe Reader Annotation

 

Open your PDF in Adobe Reader and click the Comment button at the top right corner of the screen. Alternatively, you can click View > Comment > Annotations. Hover over each icon in the Annotations pane to see what each tool will do. Then simply add a Sticky Note in the margin, or highlight text with your cursor and select the tool for example to Add Note to Replace Text. Each comment will be added to the Comment List below the Drawing Markup tools. You can also quickly navigate through all your annotations by clicking on items in the Comments List. Finally, when you’ve completed your annotations, save the PFD with a new name.

If you’re sharing PDFs with others who may be using different PDF viewers, I’ve found that the Sticky Note annotation tool is compatible across a range of PDF viewers. Any sticky note/note created in one reader can be dragged, minimised, viewed on mouse-over or edited in a variety of other viewers. If you don’t fancy Adobe Reader because it’s slow, blotted and is known to suffer from malware vulnerabilities, then PDF-XChange Viewer is another nice free alternative I blogged about some time ago.


Aug 21

In this series of posts, I’m discussing whether I can move completely from Windows to Linux. In the last post in the series, I discussed why I’m sticking with Windows 7 for the moment rather than moving to Windows 8. It’s time now to look at some open source word processors and whether they can take the place of MS Word if I move completely to Linux. I’m sure many Linux users would say this is no problem but unfortunately it’s just not as simple as that for many of us.

I’m a freelance editor and spend a lot of time correcting the language of research papers for authors and publishers. The plain fact is that Microsoft Word has been around for a very long time (1983 to be precise) and is the established word processor. Kids, including my own, learn MS Office at school and go on to use it in business, academia and at home.  Although Google Drive is becoming more popular with some authors and publishers,  MS Word is the well entrenched standard in the publishing industry. Most publishers insist that documents are submitted in Word doc format (many publishers still can’t/won’t handle docx format). We have a situation now where authors worldwide have to fork out for a commercial product, or pirate it, because it’s the publishing standard. Many of these authors just can’t afford MS Office with its costly upgrades. And because they have to stick with MS Word and need a platform to use it, that makes it more difficult for them to move to a Linux OS. Or does it? There are several options to work with Word documents in Linux. The first would be to use open source, free software such as OpenOffice Writer or LibreOffice Writer to write or edit the article then save the file in Word doc format to send the document off to the publishers. But there may well be compatibility issues in the process. The second option would be to run MS Word in Wine on the Linux OS. I’ll look at OpenOffice and LibreOffice in this post and at Wine in a later post.

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Jun 19

I don’t know their proper title. I’ve always called them software updaters. You know, software you download which scans the programs on your PC, lists those with newer versions and offers to update them. I’m going to have a look at several of these here to see which are the most useful.  But what is most useful? Well, first, they should update as many programs as possible. Second, they shouldn’t report that installed programs are up to date when they aren’t and equally they shouldn’t offer to downgrade your already up-to-date programs or install beta updates if you don’t want those.

If you follow tech blogs you’ll probably know there are quite a few free software updaters out there. I’ll have a look at five of them. I didn’t consider Ninite Updater as it’s a paid app. I hadn’t run any updater for a few weeks so I decided to try all five at the same time to compare what they found to upgrade. I won’t consider software upgrades to beta versions.

FileHippo Update Checker

software updaters1

This is probably the first updater I tried years ago. I’ve always found it accurate at reading the correct version of software on my PC. Perhaps its one failing is that it doesn’t offer to update a wide range of my installed software, just the essentials if you like.

Quick scan time: Yes

List of up-to-date software installed: No

Updates found: 14

All My Apps

software updaters2

In the older version of All My Apps, you used to be able to ignore certain updates but not on the latest version. This program will load at startup but you can stop this by unchecking the box in the Settings menu. On the plus side, All My Apps will offer to update several runtimes such as Adobe AIR,  .NET and Silverlight. It also provides a list of up-to-date software on you PC.

Quick scan time: Yes

List of up-to-date software installed: Yes, 39

Updates found: 28

Secunia PSI

software updaters3

Secunia have always played on the fact that out-of-date software may be insecure and needs to be patched but this argument applies to all software and all software updaters. The downside of updating software is that unfortunately you may lose some functionality you liked in an older version. The initial scan for out-of-date software took 15 minutes which is way too long. After that, I found it would automatically start downloading updates ready for you to click to install. Seemed to be no option to stop this. I also didn’t like the fact that it wasn’t clear which version numbers it was offering to update from/to.

Quick scan time: No

List of up-to-date software installed: Yes, 148

Updates found: 11

Soft-2-Base

software updaters4

A slightly confusing interface. You have to select just Installed to be updated to show just software updates. Also includes a section Installed more recent where it believes your installed software is more recent than what it has to offer. It may be misreading version numbers here.

Quick scan time: Yes

List of up-to-date software installed: Yes, 7

Updates found: 14

OUTDATEfighter

software updaters5

The nicest interface of the five updaters tested. Clearly shows the version updating from/to and when the update was added to their database. I like this as you can ignore any very recent additions in case they have as yet undiscovered bugs. Let someone else find those before you update your software. You can also chose to ignore updates of particular apps if you like.

Quick scan time: Yes

List of up-to-date software installed: No

Updates found: 24

Of the five updaters tested, I liked OUTDATEfighter and All My Apps. They gave me the biggest list of software updates, but OUTDATEfighter didn’t list up-to-date software. I’ll be keeping both on my PC as each offered about 7 updates which the other didn’t, so between them they should cover most of my essential software updates.

As always, if you do decide to use these free updaters, be careful not to install unwanted tool bars and search bars during installation, and of course when updating software, read each screen carefully again watching for unnecessary tool bars and trial software.


May 8

Your collaborating or editing a Word document and you come across missing spaces with everything crammed together. No spaces after commas, no space after colons, no spaces inserted on either side of parentheses or brackets. Well, there’s a quick way to go through your document quickly inserting the missing spaces.

Let’s have a look at inserting spaces after commas where these are missing. The others follow a similar pattern. Open your document and fire up Search and Replace in Word (Ctrl-H), turn on Wildcards, and in the search box type (,)([! ])

Insert spaces in Word

Notice there’s a space after the exclamation mark. Briefly you are telling Word to search for a comma followed by anything EXCEPT a space (represented by the exclamation mark followed by a space in brackets). In the replace box, type \1 \2 (with a space between the \1 and \2).  This is instructing Word to take the first set of search parameters between the first parentheses in the search box (now represented by \1), then insert a space, then follow that by what is in the second set of search data between the second set of parentheses (now represented by \2). This will now insert spaces after the comma where there wasn’t one.

You can take this further with the following in the search box:

(:)([! ]) search for a colon without a space after it

([)])([! ]) search for a closing parenthesis without a space after it

([! ])([(]) search for an opening parenthesis without a space before it

The replace box remains the same.

One other thing. Turn off tracked changes if they are turned on before you try this. It doesn’t work with tracked changes on.

I hope that helps you to quickly add spaces where they are needed in your Word documents. Interested in taking this further? Here’s a useful webpage I found with tips on Find and Replace using Wildcards.


Mar 19

There are some great free PC utilities for finding files based on their filename, for example Everything, but very often we want to find specific words or phrases within files and emails across our desktops and laptops. You know the situation – I remember writing or reading something on my PC some months ago, it was about xx but where’s that file or email? I’ve had a look at 6 free applications for searching the content of files and emails on your hard drive. For each utility, I tried a series of test search terms of fairly unique words and phrases so as not to get an overwhelming set of search results. For example, I noticed that the word GooredFix occurs in one of my malware troubleshooting tutorial pdfs in my document archive. It’s not a utility I’ve found commonly mentioned in malware scanning so this may be the only occurrence on my PC. Similarly, I chose a couple of people’s names as phrases in my searching. Again I chose names where I wouldn’t get a lot of hits.

Some of these utilities create an index of your files to give quicker search results, others don’t and therefore take much longer to scan through your files for matches. I’ll mention which utilities index your files. Here’s what I found for each search utility in no particular order.

Copernic Desktop Search

Copernic

I’ve had Copernic Desktop Search on my PC I guess for about 8 or 9 years now. Earlier versions used to be pretty good but I’ve not been happy with search results from later versions for a long time. As a result I rarely use it now. In fact this was one reason for doing this post – to check the latest version of Copernic and compare it with other free search utilities. So I downloaded the latest version (3.7.0, Build 8) and installed it. Copernic builds an index of your files when your PC is idle so I left it to completely update the index before running my searches.

Results were still very disappointing. Copernic failed to find any of my search terms in my files. In emails, it found just some but definitely not all the email messages containing my search terms.

Google Desktop

Google discontinued development of their desktop search utility Google Desktop in September 2011 because of the shift to cloud-based computing. It’s still available though – I found a copy on cnet download. It creates an index and seems to do that really quickly. I didn’t have to wait long after installation before it was giving me great results. It found all my search terms virtually instantaneously although it didn’t search my emails in my desktop email client Thunderbird – I’ve read it doesn’t search Thunderbird after version 3. I couldn’t get it to search my Gmail emails either despite setting email indexing in the preferences.

DocFetcher

This is an open source search utility and should work on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. It installed without problems but I couldn’t get it to create an index. I tried twice but both times, it hung during the indexing process. If you can’t create an index you can’t perform a search so that was that for DocFetcher on a Windows PC which is a pity.

Agent Ransack

Doesn’t create an index. It correctly found the files containing my search terms but took 20 minutes to search completely through my 65GB of documents each time I ran a new search. I couldn’t set it to search my Thunderbird emails.

UltraFileSearch

UltraFileSearch

Doesn’t create an index. Slightly quicker than Agent Ransack because you can filter the files searched. For example, you can have it ignore hidden files and image files in the search. It took 5 minutes to search all of my documents and correctly found the files with my search terms. I couldn’t set it to search my Thunderbird emails.

MariusSoft File Searcher

Doesn’t create an index. It correctly found the files with my search terms but took 20 minutes to search completely through my 65GB of documents each time I ran a new search. I couldn’t set it to search my Thunderbird emails.

Searching Thunderbird emails

Of the above utilities, only Copernic Desktop Search would search my emails in Thunderbird but it failed to identify all the emails containing my search terms so I had to find another solution. Fortunately I already had MailStore Home installed for backing up my desktop emails and this free utility will also search emails. It will also search email attachment contents if you tell it which attachment types (e.g. doc, pdf extensions) should be included in the index.

So unfortunately, I couldn’t find one good solution to search the contents of all my files and emails on my PC. New versions of Copernic Desktop Search just fail to deliver now and utilities that don’t create a search index are just too slow. At the moment, Google Desktop is best for searching the contents of desktop files, Gmail for searching your Gmail and MailStore Home is a great free solution for searching (and backing up) your desktop emails.

What do you use for searching the contents of files on your desktop? Do you ever need this or do you just back up everything important to say Evernote and search within that? Have you had a different (better or worse) experience with these utilities? Do you use a different one altogether? Let me know in the comments.


Dec 19

Word icons

I came across this problem when opening a Word file recently. Someone had sent me a Word document to edit so as usual I moved it to a folder on my PC and double-clicked to open it in Word 2010. The file opened okay but I noticed that, strangely, the file was called Document1 at the top of the ribbon – not the name of the file I had received. Okay, so I decided to save the file with a different name. I clicked Save As but Word offered to save it in Libraries>Documents, not where I had originally opened the file.

So I knew there was a problem, probably with the file name. I use xplorer2 as my file manager and when I looked at the file extension, it was in fact .dot not .doc or .docx. So this was a Word Template file. Sure enough, when you look at the file icon closely as shown above, there is a slight difference between dot and doc icons.

So if you are having a problem with a Word document opening as Document1, it’s probably a Word Template file so just save it as a doc or docx file in your work directory.


Dec 13

Working more productively means you can finish work faster get on to something else or have some leisure time. I’ve collected 10 Word tips and tricks I’ve found really useful to help you save time. You’ll probably know some of these but hopefully there are one or two you don’t. I’ve written about some before so for those I’ll give a brief explanation and then link to the original post.

Quickly changing the case of a word, phrase or sentence

If you didn’t know about the Shift-F3 combination in Word, memorise it now – it’ll save you a lot of time in the future. With your cursor on a word, hold the Shift key, then press F3 repeatedly to cycle through all caps, initial capital and all lower case. Or highlight a phrase, sentence or paragraph then use this key combination to quickly change the case.

Return to where you left off yesterday

When you reopen a Word document, for example, the next day, Word remembers where you left off in the document, assuming you didn’t return to the beginning before closing. Pressing Shift-F5 will magically return you to where you were working.

Quickly navigate round your document using the Browse Object button

Look towards the bottom right corner of the document window. Have you used these browsing buttons? With these, you can browse up and down through your document by comment, section, heading level, graphic or table. A great timesaver.

Word Tips1

Access frequently used commands from the Quick Access bar

This is another great time saver. Think of the commands you use all the time and add them to the Quick Access bar. On mine, I have Undo, Redo, Advanced Find, Borders and Shading (tables), Select Row (tables), Delete Row (tables), Insert symbol, Insert comment, Show All Comments, Track Changes, and Apply Styles. Here’s my earlier post about using the Quick Access bar. I’ve also recently learned you can right click many commands on the ribbon and add them to the Quick Access bar.

Word Quick Access Toolbar1
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