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The Annoyance:

The recently opened documents list at the bottom of the File menu provides a quick way to pick up where I left off on a file. But there are five specific documents I need to use quite often-just not frequently enough to keep them on that list.

The Fix:

You've probably already figured out that you can increase the number of recently used items shown at the bottom of the File menu (if not, see the "Lengthen the List" sidebar on the next page).

If you're looking for a better solution, Word has it. You can add a Work menu to your menu bar or a toolbar that stores those five documents you always need. It works a lot like the Favorites menu in Internet Explorer.

I use the Work menu all the time (see Figure 4-1). For example, I have a document where I jot down ideas and notes for columns or books-and it's always available on the Work menu. It's also really handy for keeping shortcuts to online reference documents. And when I have a flurry of projects and one of the documents I'm working on keeps sliding off the File menu, I add it to the Work menu.

Figure 4-1. In addition to shortcuts to documents I use often, I've customized this Work menu by adding a Remove Menu Shortcut command so that it's easy to remove documents from the menu.

Before you set this up, though, a word of caution: don't let anyone borrow this book. It's a killer to remove files from the Work menu. You'll want these instructions close at hand.

  1. To set up a Work menu, select Tools → Customize and click the Commands tab.

  2. In the Categories box, scroll down and select Built-In Menus.

  3. In the Commands box, scroll down and drag Work to your menu bar or a toolbar (see Figure 4-2). Click the Close button.

Figure 4-2. The Work menu in action-and one of the handiest tricks I used to write this book.

Easy so far, right? To add a document name to the Work menu, open the document and choose Work → Add to Work Menu. To open a document in the Work menu, just click Work and select the document from the list.

To remove a document name from the menu (here's where it gets tricky), press Ctrl-Alt-Hyphen (use the hyphen key next to zero at the top of the keyboard, not the minus sign on the numeric keypad), open the Work menu, put the enlarged hyphen on the name of the document you want to remove, and click it (Figure 4-3).


The big hyphen can delete any menu command you click-not just an item on the Work menu. If you press this key combination and change your mind about deleting an item, press Esc.

Figure 4-3. Removing an item from the Work menu uses a heretofore unknown keystroke.

With an extra few minutes work, you can bypass the Ctrl-Alt-Hyphen trick by adding an option for removing documents to the Work menu.

  1. Select Tools → Customize and click the Commands tab.

  2. In the Categories box, scroll down to and select All Commands (see Figure 4-4).

    Figure 4-4. Adding the Remove Menu Shortcut option to the Work menu takes a few minutes, but you'll find it convenient if you use the Work menu fairly often.

  3. In the Commands box, scroll down to Tools → Cust-omize → RemoveMenuShortCut and drag it to your Work menu. Hover for a moment so that the Work menu opens, then drop it in the menu as the second option.

  4. To shorten the command to Remove Menu Shortcut and change its hotkey from T (as in Tools) to R (as in Remove), right-click the new option. In the text box of the Name option, use the mouse to highlight the text between the ampersand (&) and "Remove Menu Shortcut," press Delete and Enter, and click the Customize dialog box's Close button.


To extend the list of your recently opened documents, go to Tools→Options, click the General tab, and bump up the number in the "Recently used file list" spinner; the maximum is nine.


The Annoyance:

One day, out of the clear blue sky, Word's Find started finding incorrect words, like "leave" when I asked for "live," and "tool" for "tell." What's going on?

The Fix:

It sounds like you accidentally activated the "Sounds like (English)" feature, which tells Word to find similar-sounding but differently spelled words. To fix the problem, select Edit → Find or press Ctrl-F to open Find, click the More button, and uncheck the "Sounds like (English)" checkbox (Figure 4-5).

Figure 4-5. Uncheck "Sounds like (English)" (or French if you're in France) to stop Word's Find feature from presenting you with words that sound similar but are spelled differently.


The Annoyance:

I have a handful of words I want to italicize scattered throughout a paragraph. You'd think I could change all the words at once, but I can't figure out how, and I'm going gray changing each individually.

The Fix:

Here's an easy solution: hold down the Ctrl key and highlight individual words, sentences, or even paragraphs. Then change the formatting of the highlighted items to anything your heart desires (see Figure 4-6). (Note that this works only in Word 2002 and 2003.)

Figure 4-6. Hold down the Ctrl key and highlight the words you want to change, and keep holding it until everything you want is highlighted. Then click the Italics button on Word's Formatting toolbar or change the font using the other font controls on the toolbar.

Word's Nifty All-Caps Shortcut

Want to capitalize letters, words, or phrases? Simply select the text and press Shift-F3. Highlight the phrase or sentence and use the shortcut (depending on your version of Word) to toggle through all lowercase, all uppercase, sentence case (the first letter of the first word is capitalized), and title case (the first letter of every word is capitalized).


The Annoyance:

Whenever I type underscores (_) in a Word 2000, 2002, or 2003 document, they're automatically transformed into solid, thick horizontal lines. That's not what I want! Is this a bug?

The Fix:

One man's bug...is Bill G's feature. Basically, you're suffering from Word's overly ambitious AutoFormat feature, which turns certain repeated characters into borders. Every time you type more than three asterisks, hyphens, underscores, or equals signs in a row, Word applies a character or paragraph border style (see Figure 4-7). There's an easy-dare I say, gratifying-fix. In Word 2002/2003, select Tools → AutoCorrect, click the "AutoFormat As You Type" tab, and uncheck the "Border lines" box. (In Word 2000, uncheck the Borders box.) Word will now leave these special characters as is.

Figure 4-7. Word's alleged feature turns a bunch of equals signs into an annoying border. You can turn this behavior off in a jiffy.

Me, I like the way Word turns these characters into borders. But I also occasionally want Word to butt out. The trick: press the magic Undo keyboard shortcut-Ctrl-Z-right after Word creates the border and presto, the border vanishes and turns back into plain characters.


The Annoyance:

Is there a way to slice off a section of whitespace that appears on the left side of a document when I cut and paste an email message?

The Fix:

You bet-just use Word's column select mode. Place the cursor at the top of the paragraph and hold down the Alt key. Drag the mouse down and to the right to adjust the size of the marked-off area (you'll see it as a black box or rectangle), and let go of the mouse button when you've marked off what you don't want. Press the Delete key and say adios to the excess (see Figure 4-8).

Figure 4-8. While holding the Alt key, drag your mouse cursor over the area you want to delete.


The Annoyance:

I'm merrily typing away in Word and notice a spelling error. So I bring my cursor back to the word and press F7 to bring up Word's spelling checker. The typo's identified, I correct it, and-here's where I get grumpy-Word insists on spellchecking the entire document.

The Fix:

Don't bother with Word's spelling and grammar checking feature unless you really want it to check the entire document. A better approach is to right-click over the misspelling (see Figure 4-9). Word will let you check the individual word-and even let you add it to your AutoCorrect dictionary. By the way, hate those squiggly lines? If they bother you, look at the upcoming sidebar "Dump the Red Spelling Squiggles" to see how to turn them off.

Figure 4-9. If you're checking the spelling of just one word, it's easier to access Word's AutoCorrect feature with the right mouse button.

Kill Some Time with Snarg

Looking for something to do besides worrying about underlining in Word? Try the Snarg site (http://snipurl.com/snarg). After the first few images flash on screen, click the tiny pound sign on the right, then click the "squeee" or "framina" link. (To exit either, just close the window.) Hint: move your mouse around and click here and there until patterns emerge, or until your significant other walks in and asks how work is going.


Do you find the red squiggly underlines pointing out your undernourished spelling skills a little distracting? If so, head for Tools→Options, choose the Spelling & Grammar tab, and uncheck the "Check spelling as you type" box.


The Annoyance:

I've accumulated eight years of AutoCorrect entries in Word. How can I save it as a file, both for safekeeping and to transfer to the copy of Word on my notebook?

The Fix:

Microsoft has a way to move the AutoCorrect file to another PC, but it keeps the feature under wraps on its web site.

  • If you use Word 2000, grab a copy of Microsoft's free Word 2000 Supplemental Macros, Macros9.dot, which contains the AutoCorrect backup tool (see Figure 4-10), at http://www.oreilly.com/pcannoyances. Download Macros.exe from the site, double-click it, and follow the prompts. (Macros9.dot should be installed in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Samples or C:\Samples. If not, search for Macros9.dot using Windows Explorer.) To use the Macro, open Word, select File → Open, and change "File of Type" in the pull-down menu at the bottom of the dialog to "Document Templates (*.dot)." Select Macros9.dot and click the Open button. In the Security Warning dialog box, check the "Always trust macros from this source" box, and click to Enable Macros. To run the backup macro, click Sample Macros in the little macros box and select AutoCorrect Utility. Click the Backup button and you're ready to roll (Figure 4-11).

Figure 4-10. To back up your AutoCorrect entries, open support.dot and click the AutoCorrect Backup button at the bottom of the page to bring up the AutoCorrect Utility tool.

Figure 4-11. The AutoCorrect Utility tool lets you easily back up or restore your AutoCorrect entries.

  • If you use Word 2002 or 2003, there's a good chance the file you need is already on your PC. Use Window's Search feature and dig around for support.dot.

    If it's not on your PC, you can install it through the Control Panel's Add/Remove Programs tool ("Add or Remove Programs" in Windows XP):

    1. First, close all your Office applications.

    2. Next, open the Add/Remove Programs control panel, click the Install/Uninstall tab (in Windows 98 or Me) or the "Change or Remove Programs" button at top left (in Windows 2000 or XP), and select the entry for Office XP (or Word).

    3. Now click the Add/Remove (98 and Me) or Change (2000 and XP) button. (This is tedious, I know, but the payoff's great.) Choose "Add or Remove Features" (see Figure 4-12), click the Next button, find and expand the "Microsoft Word for Windows" entry, and then the "Wizards and Templates" entry.

    4. Click the little downward triangle on "More Templates and Macros," choose "Run from My Computer," and click Update (see Figure 4-13).

    5. Now that support.dot is installed, find it, open it, and follow the directions noted earlier.

If you want to go blind reading Microsoft's lengthy explanation of how the AutoCorrect backup tool works, go to http://snipurl.com/autocorrect_howto.

Figure 4-12. Choose "Add or Remove Features" to install more Word templates, including support.dot, the file you'll need to run the AutoCorrect backup utility.

Figure 4-13. Under Wizards and Templates, click the drive icon next to "More Templates and Macros" and select "Run from My Computer."


The Annoyance:

When I create an AutoCorrect entry, such as "del" for "DeltaTree," the full text appears whenever I type "del" at the beginning of any word. How do I stop this?

The Fix:

Put an "x" in front of any abbreviation you create in AutoCorrect to prevent AutoCorrect from expanding real words that it thinks are abbreviations. For instance, "xat" expands to "Altadena", and "xmd" becomes "Maryland", but if you type "MD" or "at", they're ignored. (See Figure 4-14.)


Word's spell check does a good job, but I found something I like much better: Fanix Software's $49.95 As-U-Type. Shelling out money for a feature that's already built into Word-heck, most text-processing products-may sound like lunacy, but As-U-Type's features give me an edge in nearly everything I do on a computer.

As-U-Type's autocorrect feature doesn't care where I am-it instantly fixes the spelling errors I make every place I type words: chat rooms, forms on web pages, Internet forums, accounting apps, and dialog boxes in any program.

Some of As-U-Type's tricks are similar to Word's AutoCorrect features. For instance, when I'm frantically typing a mile a minute, As-U-Type corrects any words that have two initial capital letters instead of just one.

It can transform specific letter sequences into phrases, so when I email my editor, I only have to type the letters "ila" to tell him "I'm late again, but we had a 7.5 earthquake and the driver of an 18-wheeler lost control of his truck, plowed into my office, and ran over my computer!" (By the way, As-U-Type imports Word's existing AutoCorrect list. Details are at http://snipurl.com/asutype_export. If you use Word's AutoCorrect, turn it off when you use As-U-Type, to prevent conflicts.)

As-U-Type is so smart that it can track not only common mistakes-spelling "receive" as "recieve," say-but also misspellings that are beyond belief. An example? Thanks to As-U-Type, you can forget about being embarrassed by typing "imbearissed," "embraissed," "emgarrassek," or any of the other variations As-U-Type corrected for me. (See the figures for a sample of my incredible misspellings.) Try out As-U-Type by downloading it from http://www.oreilly.com/pcannoyances.

Top: As-U-Type corrects errors no matter where you're typing-in chat rooms, dialog boxes, and even Word. It takes a few minutes to correct errors, and from then on As-U-Type automatically corrects the misspelling. Bottom: How many ways can you spell embarrassed? I'm dyslexic, so I think I hold the record.

Figure 4-14. If you add the letter "x" in front of any abbreviation you create, you'll avoid the problem of AutoCorrect expanding real words that look like abbreviations.

Give Word's Dictionary the Boot

One of my favorite utilities is WordWeb, a free thesaurus and dictionary combo that surpasses Word's by a long shot. WordWeb can check a word for antonyms as well as synonyms, and it also lists similar words and checks whether the word can be used as a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb. Grab a copy of the freebie from http://www.oreilly.com/pcannoyances. You can install WordWeb as a standalone tool for when you're, say, writing email, or as a Word toolbar. Head to the WordWeb site at http://snipurl.com/wordweb_word and check the Unsupported Extras section for instructions.


The Annoyance:

Shift-F5 lets me jump to previous spots I've revised in a Word document, but it's an inefficient way to move around in a document over 10 pages long. I tried adding asterisks to the document and jumping to them using Find, but that's not a great workaround.

The Fix:

Use bookmarks.

To add a bookmark anywhere in your document:

  1. Place the cursor where you want the bookmark. (And yes, you can bookmark a single, contiguous selection.)

  2. Select Insert → Bookmark, enter a name for the bookmark, and click the Add button. (You can also press Ctrl-Shift-F5 to enter a new bookmark or jump to an existing one.)

To find a bookmark:

  1. Press F5 to open the Find and Replace dialog box with its Go To tab on top.

  2. If you know the name of the bookmark, just type it in and press Enter, ignoring the default Page selection.


Use Ctrl-Shift-F5 to set a bookmark or go to an existing bookmark.

If you need to pick the name from a list, select Bookmark in the "Go to what" pull-down menu, and in the "Enter bookmark name" pull-down menu, select your bookmark. Click the Go To button or press Enter, and you're immediately transported to your bookmark.


Don't start the name with a number or use a space in the name--Microsoft is adamant about this. But you can use an underscore, as in last_chapter.


The Annoyance:

I know Word has a scazillion keyboard shortcuts, and I can rarely remember them all. Is there a trick to learning them without resorting to-gasp!-writing them on a piece of paper?

The Fix:

If you have trouble remembering what Word's Function keyboard combinations do, the program itself can help. In all versions since Word 2000, just choose Tools → Customize, click the Toolbars tab, check the Function Key Display box, and click Close. Now when you hold the Alt, Shift, or Ctrl keys, individually or in combination, a Function key toolbar on the bottom of the screen changes, listing the functions. Click any item in the toolbar to run it (see Figure 4-15). If the toolbar takes up too much screen real estate, grab the vertical bar at the left end, and flip and drag it elsewhere on the page.

Figure 4-15. If you can't remember Word's scazillion keyboard shortcuts, get yourself a free cheat sheet.


The Annoyance:

I know about changing the five favorites on the left in a File → Open dialog box for most Windows applications. (See the sidebar "End Annoyances with Tweak UI" in Chapter 2.) How about a way to do the same thing in Office's File and Open dialogs?

The Fix:

Starting with Office XP, you could add up to 256 items to the My Places bar-the panel on the left side of the Open and Save As dialog boxes. (And no, I haven't added 256 items to the My Places bar; 13 entries is more than enough. See Figure 4-16.) These items are tremendously handy for navigating to folders you access often; you can also add, remove, and rename items in a flash.

To add an item to the My Places bar:

Figure 4-16. You're missing the boat if you're not using-and customizing-Word's valuable My Places bar.

  1. Select File → Open in any Office program. (Or select File → Save As and follow the steps below.)

  2. In the Open dialog box, select the item-a folder, file, or even a drive that you want to add in the contents pane.

  3. In the "Look in" list, click, say, My Documents.

  4. In the contents pane, click My Received Files.

  5. In the Open dialog box, add it to My Places bar by selecting Tools → Add to "My Places."

The Items You Can't Change

You can't rename or delete Office XP and 2003's default items-History, My Documents, Desktop, Favorites, My Network Places, My Computer, and My Recent Documents-unless you want to go through a convoluted Registry hack. A simpler way? Move 'em out of the way. Just right-click an item and select Move Up or Move Down.


If you want a faster, far easier way to customize the Office Places bar, get the WOPR Places Bar Customizer at http://snipurl.com/placesbar. Granted, it's $15, but navigating to folders is speedy and you can change the item's icon. (See the figure to see how I've set up my Places Bar.) Different versions of WOPR support Office 2000 through 2003.


The Annoyance:

I often have 10 Word documents open, and navigating among them isn't fun. I can use Word's silly Window → Arrange All feature or just head for the Windows menu and pluck the docs from there. But there's gotta be a better solution.

The Fix:

You probably already know about Windows XP's "Group similar taskbar buttons" function. (If not, right-click the Start button, choose Properties, click the Taskbar tab, and check the "Group similar taskbar buttons" box.) Word lacks this logical equivalent feature, but the free DocuBar template can line up all your open documents in one horizontal toolbar, so switching among multiple docs takes a single click. (See Figure 4-17.) With another click, you can tile and un-tile documents. Want to hide DocuBar? Click a button added to Word's toolbar and it's out of sight.

Figure 4-17. DocuBar is a free Word add-in that gives you what Word doesn't-an easy way to work your way through multiple open documents.

Installing DocuBar is pretty straightforward. First, download the .dot file at http://snipurl.com/docubar.

  1. Copy the template to your Word Startup directory.

  2. To find out what Word's Startup directory is, choose Tools → Options (in Word) and select the File Locations tab. Look at the Startup line to see which folder to use. Select the Startup line and click the Modify button if you can't see the entire path. (It's probably C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data \Microsoft\Word\Startup.)

  3. If you don't see DocuBar after launching Word, you may have to copy the .dot file to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Startup.

The next time you open Word, DocuBar will be waiting to serve you.


Woody's Office POWER Pack (WOPR) by Woody Leonhard is a set of essential Word and Office add-ons that have been in my toolbox for nearly a decade. Over the years, I've seen many of WOPR's features end up in Word. For instance, when Microsoft "borrowed" right-click spellchecking, the Document Map, and the Word Count toolbar from earlier versions of WOPR, Woody just added more must-have tools to the next version of WOPR. There are WOPR versions for Office 95 through 2003, and each costs $29.95. Among WOPR's roughly 30 tools is a powerful, customizable tool for printing custom envelopes; QuickMarks, a way to quickly navigate through long documents; and Fix Line Breaks, a utility that removes extra line breaks from imported ASCII Text files. Check out the details at http://snipurl.com/wopr2003.

Figure 4-18. CrossEyes is miraculous at revealing all of Word's idiosyncratic formatting codes. Unlike Word's undernourished Reveal Formatting, CrossEyes pulls back the curtains and shows you every nitty-gritty detail.


The Annoyance:

Word, no matter what the version, embeds unseen fonts, strange commands, and heaven knows what else all over my document. If I cut and paste from one document to another, the pasted text's attributes are often changed. The source is 12-point Times New Roman, but when I copy a section to another file, it's set in 10-point Arial.

The Fix:

I'll bet you're frustrated, especially if you know about WordPerfect's Reveal Codes, the super feature that lets you see every trace of formatting in a document. It's an indispensable tool for finding the bizarre, picayune formatting problems that can turn parts of your document into gibberish. For fun, first try Format → Reveal Formatting, Microsoft's half-baked try at the feature in Word 2002 XP. Disappointing, isn't it?

Take one look at what Levit & Jones' CrossEyes add-on reveals and you'll be blown away. (Check Figure 4-18 for a taste of what CrossEyes does.) The $49.99 program takes you behind the curtain in Word. Click the CrossEyes icon on Word's Toolbar to split the screen horizontally into two windows-the document above, corresponding text and formatting codes below. You see tables, sections, field codes, and all character, paragraph, and style formats. The two windows work in concert: move the cursor in either window, and you go to the corresponding location in the other.

CrossEyes lets you do more than just view the formatting. You can excise misbehaving formats in the code-revealing window, or copy and paste to apply formatting elsewhere in the document. You can even enter and edit text in the code window. CrossEyes is a little pricey, but it's vital for power Word users. It works with Word 97 through Word XP, and with Windows 95 and up. There's a trial version at http://www.oreilly.com/pcannoyances.


The Annoyance:

I often grab text or the URL from a web page and copy it into a Word document. When I paste, I want to get only the text, not all the formatting junk from the web page.

The Fix:

There's not one, not two, but three slick ways to get around what I think is one of Word's biggest annoyances:

  • The least elegant but totally effective method is to insert the text using Edit → Paste Special and click Unformatted Text, as shown in Figure 4-19. You'll paste in text with no formatting at all. This trick is very handy, and without it, writing this book would have been a horror.

  • A slicker approach is to create a Paste Special macro. Mine's assigned to Alt-F1. Check the "Make a Macro in a Minute" sidebar (a little later in this chapter) to create a macro. It'll save you lots of keystrokes.

  • If you're using Word 2002 (a.k.a. Word XP) or later, you're going to love Paste Options. Enable it from Tools → Options: choose the Edit tab and the "Show Paste Options buttons" box. Now whenever you paste-either with Ctrl-V, with the right mouse button, or by dragging and dropping-a little clipboard button will appear. (Careful: if you keep typing, the button vanishes.) Click the button, and you can choose to keep the copied text's original formatting, match the destination formatting, or paste the text only. (See Figure 4-20.) You can even apply a style.

Figure 4-19. Make sure you choose Unformatted Text to strip out the fonts and formatting codes you don't want when you paste web text into a document.

Figure 4-20. Word's Paste Options is a cool tool available only since Word XP. Take advantage of it for quickly converting font-and HTML-ridden data into plain text.


You may be unfamiliar with macros. Want to see a weird photo that shows how a macro works? Sure you do: http://snipurl.com/neat_macro.

Paste Pure Text in a Single Step

Word's Paste Special feature is great, but it's limited to Word. I'm constantly grabbing text from email messages, web sites, and readme.txt files, and then pasting into other applications. No problemo, folks. The Word-like solution is Steve Miller's PureText, which gets rid of the baggage that comes along-formatting junk and HTML coding. After copying to the clipboard, I click the PureText system tray icon and get spiffy, clean text ready to paste. Better yet, configure a hotkey in the program, such as WinKey-V, to convert and paste the text for you. Grab a copy from http://www.oreilly.com/pcannoyances.


Have you ever had to fill a page in Word with dummy text? Probably not, but this is a great Easter egg (a hidden feature) you can use to entertain your friends. The trick works with Word Versions 97 through 2003, but you must check the "Replace text as you type" box in Tools→AutoCorrect (AutoCorrect Options in Word 2002) for this to work.

Spend a few minutes wondering what this means and why you're bothering with it, and then immediately pass this trick along to a friend.

  1. Open a new document and type =rand() on a separate line.

  2. Press Enter and watch the text appear.

  3. Change the lines of text by adding numbers-say, =rand(15,22) or =rand(50,50).


The Annoyance:

I'm using Word's Find function, plowing through a humongous document, trying to see where I've used the word "Windows". But Word's Find dialog box keeps blocking the part of the document I want to see.

The Fix:

That used to happen to me, too, until I found Word's Previous Find and Next Find buttons. Start a search the usual way: open the Find dialog with Edit → Find (or with Ctrl-F), enter the word or phrase you want to find, and press Enter. Close the Find dialog with Esc and head for the double triangles at the bottom of the vertical scrollbar (see Figure 4-21). Click the lower one to search down in the document; the upper icon searches up. Ctrl-PageDown and Ctrl-PageUp do the same thing.

Figure 4-21. Click the upper or lower double triangles to repeat a previous word or phrase search without opening the Find dialog.


The Annoyance:

When I type a URL or email address into a document, Word automatically creates a hyperlink. I know many people like this feature, but can the default be no hyperlink?


If you need to see an embedded URL right away, press Alt-F9, which prefaces all URLs with {HYPERLINK.

The Fix:

In Word, click Format → AutoFormat and click the Options button. Under Replace, uncheck "Internet and network paths with hyperlinks." Click OK and then Close or Cancel (unless you want to autoformat the document).


You can turn off the hyperlink feature in WordPerfect, too. Click Tools → QuickCorrect, select the SpeedLinks tab, and uncheck the "Format words as hyperlinks when you type them" box.


Word macros can capture-and play back-a combination of keystrokes and mouse-issued commands, automating any number of dreary operations.

The quickest way to create a macro is to have Word record what you do:

  1. Choose Tools → Macro → Record New Macro. In the Record Macro dialog box, type a name for the macro in the "Macro name" field (don't use spaces), as shown at the top of the figure (see right).

  2. Assign the soon-to-be-recorded macro to either a toolbar button or, in this example, a keystroke combination. In the latter case, click the Keyboard button and actually press the keys you want to use (see bottom left). If the shortcut keys are already in use, you'll get a warning; unless you want another big Word annoyance, use a different set of keystrokes (see bottom right).

  3. Click OK. The Record Macro dialog box vanishes, and a small floating toolbar with the Stop Recording button appears. The Macro Recorder keeps track of your mouse clicks and keystrokes. Click the Stop Recording button when you're done, and your keystrokes and mouse clicks (but not mouse movements) are saved for posterity.


The Annoyance:

My boss sends me Word documents filled with embedded URLs. They look like plain text except they're blue and underlined, and when I inadvertently click one, Word turns into a quasi-browser, adds things to the toolbar, and heads for the site.

The Fix:

There are two ways to get rid of irritating hyperlinks:

  • In Word 2000, move the cursor over the hyperlink, right-click (careful-don't left-click), and select Hyperlink → Remove Hyperlink.

  • The same thing works in Word 2002 and later. But try this trick instead. Open Tools → Options, click the Edit tab, and check the "Use CTRL + Click to follow hyperlink" box (see Figure 4-22). If you Ctrl-click a URL, Word will hop online and find the site. Just click a URL, and nothing happens. When the checkbox is not selected, you get the old annoying behavior.

Figure 4-22. If you check the "Use CTRL + Click to follow hyperlink" box, you'll be able to see URLs in a Word document, but you won't turn Word into a browser if you click one.


The Annoyance:

Sometimes I want to print only the page I'm viewing; other times, I want to print just a few lines I've selected on that page, such as a shopping list. But either way, Word prints the whole document when I click the printer icon on the toolbar.

The Fix:

Create a macro for each task. The step-by-step instructions in the sidebar "Make a Macro in a Minute" (earlier in this chapter) will show you how to do this in less than, well, a minute. Name the macros "A_PrintPage" and "A_PrintSelect" to make them easier to find later.

When the macros are created, assign them to their own toolbar buttons. Here's how:

  1. Right-click a blank area of a toolbar in Word, choose Customize, and click the Commands tab.

  2. In the Categories list, click Macros, find the two macros in the Commands list (see why those naming conventions were valuable?), and drag them (one at a time) to the toolbar. Make sure you drop the macro in the active toolbar area; if you don't, no button will be created.


The Annoyance:

Office 2000 and Office XP insist on hiding menu options that I haven't used for a while. They call it a feature. I call it a pain.

The Fix:

"Custom" menus are the default in Office, but if you change this setting in one Office application, it affects every other installed Office program in one fell swoop. In Word, select Tools → Customize, select the Options tab, and check the "Always show full menus" box. Voilà: no more à la carte Office menus.


While you're fiddling around at the bottom of the scrollbar, click the round Select Browse Object button between the double triangles.

That click opens new, cool ways to temporarily navigate through your document. For instance, while writing this book, I clicked the Browse by Heading icon (bottom row, third icon from right) to zip through the title of each annoyance. Later, I was able to find my editor's annoying questions by using Browse by Comment (top row, third icon from right).


The Annoyance:

Word always opens documents in Normal view, but I prefer Preview (in Word 2002, Print Layout view).

The Fix:

You can switch views with shortcut keys: Ctrl-Alt-P gets you to Preview or Print Layout view, and Ctrl-Alt-N takes you back to Normal view. I hardwired the view I like best by editing normal.dot (Word's Global Template) as follows:

  1. Close Word and use Start → Find → Files or Folders (Start → Search → For Files or Folders in Windows XP) to locate normal.dot on your hard disk. Right-click it (or the appropriate filename if more than one are found) and select Open Containing Folder.

  2. Back up the original normal.dot file. Hold down the Ctrl key, drag normal.dot to a blank spot in the same folder, and release the mouse button. The file is named "Copy of normal.dot". Press F2 and name the copy default.dot.

  3. Right-click normal.dot and choose Open; don't double-click the file, because that just opens a new document.

  4. Make whatever modifications you want: change the fonts, remove toolbar items, or even-ta-da!-make Preview the default view.

  5. Save normal.dot and close it.

The next time you open Word, the program will have all your new settings.


It's easy to lose the vertical scrollbar in Word. Get it back in Tools → Options by checking the "Vertical scroll bar" box in the Show section of the View tab.


The Annoyance:

I often get Word documents from a buddy who sets the fonts on his 15-inch CRT at a space-saving 10 points. On my high-end LCD, the fonts look minuscule. Of course, the opposite occurs, too: when he opens my Word docs the fonts are humongous. What's the solution?

The Fix:

The standard toolbar in Word (and Excel) has a Zoom box with a percentage setting. Simply increase or decrease the number to zoom in or out as you please. A quicker way: press the Ctrl key as you roll your mouse wheel up (for zooming in) or down (for zooming out). This trick doesn't actually change the font size, merely the way it appears onscreen. By the way, if the Ctrl-mouse wheel combination doesn't work, you may need to change an existing setting, such as Pointer Speed or Pointer Acceleration. Upgrading your mouse driver may also do the job.


Buried deep within Windows is System Information, a cool diagnostic tool that helps me unearth gazillions of details about my PC. For instance, I can review Word's settings and learn which file converters are installed; I can also scrutinize a comprehensive list of my system's hardware resources and components. System Information's Tools menu gives me access to five more diagnostic tools, including Dr. Watson and Network Diagnostics. The tool also gives you quick access to Win XP's System Restore. It may be buried in Windows (select Start→Programs→System Tools→System Information), but Word pops it open with just Ctrl-Alt-F1.


The Annoyance:

I sent a Word document to a coworker and was stunned when she somehow figured out exactly who else edited the file. How'd she find out?

The Fix:

Privacy paranoiacs take note! When you save a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document, all sorts of your personal baggage goes along with it (depending on your version of Office): Smart Tags, hidden text, a list of everyone who worked on the document and how long, and more. For example, open up a Word doc and select Files → Properties and browse through the tabs. Scary, huh?

The good news is that you can make your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint XP and 2003 documents slimmer and safer by removing hidden information, thanks to Microsoft's free Remove Hidden Data add-in at http://snipurl.com/Office_data. Close all your Office apps before you install the tool, and when you reopen them, you'll see a new entry on the File menu about a third of the way down-Remove Hidden Data. You'll have to run this add-in for each file and in each application. The tool creates a new document, so your original is preserved. Be careful, though. If you open and edit this new document, you'll have to run the Remove Hidden Data tool again.

Quick Word Privacy Tip

To save Word XP and 2003 files with all your tracked changes, comments, and personal data stripped out, select Tools → Options, choose the Security tab, and make sure both the "Warn before printing, saving, or sending a file that contains tracked changes or comments" and "Remove personal information from this file on save" boxes are checked. Note that this option doesn't remove as much hidden information as Microsoft Office's Remove Hidden Data add-in, but it is a lot quicker.


The Annoyance:

When I create a new, blank document, I expect it to be blank. But clicking the New Blank Document button on the toolbar (which is equivalent to choosing File → New and selecting Blank Document) sometimes opens a new document that already contains text or graphics. What is this stuff? Where did it come from?

The Fix:

When you request a new blank document, Word creates a new document based on the normal.dot template file. A template can contain text and graphics (many templates include common elements, such as a letterhead, basic contract text, and so on). A template can also include macros. The most likely cause of your woes is something in the normal.dot file.

But wait, there's more! Word can be configured to load one or more "global templates"-templates that always load, such as normal.dot. These templates can contain text, graphics, styles, macros, toolbar buttons...you get the idea.

The quick-and-dirty solution is to start Word using the Run command (select Start → Run). Starting Word with the command winword /a causes it to start with a new document that's truly blank. No global templates-including normal.dot-are loaded.


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A more lasting solution is to clean up (or re-create) your normal.dot file and remove any global templates. First, find your normal.dot file, which is buried in the folder Documents and Settings. Right-click it, choose Open, delete the stuff you don't want, and save it. An easier alternative is to simply rename normal.dot (call it xnormal.dot or normal.xdot, for example). The next time you start Word, it'll create a new, clean normal.dot.

To remove global templates, start Word and choose Tools → Templates and Add-Ins. In the list of global templates, select each item and then click Remove. (If the Remove button is grayed out, the selected item is in the \Documents and Settings%UserProfile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Word\Startup folder; the only way to banish such items is to move them from that folder.)


Bembo's Zoo is a must-see web site for font fanatics. (Besides, you were ready for a break.) See http://snipurl.com/bembo.


The Annoyance:

I like Word's Print Layout view, but the space between the bottom of one page and the top of the next is considerable, and a good chunk of screen space is wasted. It doesn't leave much room to admire my clever prose.

The Fix:

If you have Word 2002 or Word 2003, click the gray area between two pages while you're in Page Layout view. The headers, footers, margins, and gray space between all the pages in the document disappear and are replaced by a bold black line. You're still in layout view, but with a lot more usable stuff visible, as shown in Figure 4-23.

Full Screen Ahead

Another way to make better use of your screen real estate (and this one works in all versions of Word) is to choose View → Full Screen. This view takes some getting used to because the menu bar, all toolbars (except for a floating Full Screen toolbar, which contains a single Close Full Screen option), and the scrollbars disappear, leaving almost the entire screen for your document. While in Full Screen view, you can access menu commands from the keyboard or by moving the mouse pointer to the top of the screen. To exit Full Screen view, simply press Esc.

To restore the full Page Layout view (which you'll need to do if you're editing the headers and footers, for example), click the line separating the pages. When you save the document, the last page layout setting (full or scrunched) is saved with the document. You can change this feature's default setting by visiting Tools → Options, clicking the View tab, and setting or clearing the White Space Between Pages checkbox.

Figure 4-23. Clicking between pages compresses all the space between margins to a single line.


The Annoyance:

I sometimes need to type Latin plant names, and as soon as I hit the spacebar, Word has this nasty habit of changing the arcane words without so much as a warning. For example, if I type "Purshia tridentata" (that's bitterbrush, in case you're wondering), Word almost imperceptibly changes the last letter to an "e". Usually, if Word doesn't recognize a word, it applies a red squiggly underline, and I'm okay with that. But I don't like these sneaky changes.


Every time I open a document just to print it, Word asks if I want to save changes when I close it. But I didn't make any changes! What's going on?

Word prompts you to save changes even if it made the changes, not you. What's going on here is that Word is updating the fields in the document before it prints. A field is a code that is replaced by text. Fields are commonly used to print the page number on each page, to print a date, and many other items that can change. The mere act of updating fields counts as a change, even if no field results change; hence the reminder to save the document before closing it.

The easiest way to avoid the problem is to ensure that your document contains no fields-a totally impractical solution for many documents. You can try going to Tools → Options, clicking the Print tab, and clearing the Update Fields checkbox; doing so is supposed to prevent Word from updating the fields before printing (and, therefore, your document won't change), but in my experience this doesn't always work. You could automatically blow off the "Save changes?" dialog box in various ways, but that would be pretty dangerous, since it would also discard changes you intended to save.

Bottom line? Get used to it.

The Fix:

To stop this nonsense, open Tools → AutoCorrect (AutoCorrect Options in Word 2002) and uncheck the "Automatically use suggestions from the spelling checker" box. This feature corrects typing mistakes when the word you type is very close to a word in the dictionary, but it's often too smart for its own good, particularly with foreign terms. Turn it off.

You have an alternative solution if you're using Word 2002 or later. Whenever Word makes a correction like this, it adds a "smart tag," which appears as a small blue bar underneath the word when you hover the mouse pointer over the word. Click the blue bar and a small menu appears (as shown in Figure 4-24), allowing you to correct the "correction" or tell Word to stop changing a particular word. (If you later change your mind, go to Tools → AutoCorrect Options, click the Exceptions button, and on the Other Corrections tab, remove words that you want Word to correct.)

Figure 4-24. If you happen to catch Word in the act of improperly correcting a word, you can click the smart tag to rein it in.


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The Visual Thesaurus is a fascinating, brain-numbing way to discover the meaning and relationship of words. Type a word into the text box (try the word "change" or "process"), and sit back as your deadline whooshes by. See http://snipurl.com/thinkmap.


The Annoyance:

I hate programs that are so cautious that they ask for confirmation for every little change, supposedly to protect me from myself. The only time I want to see "Are you sure? Y/N" is if I'm about to do something truly drastic and irreversible. That certainly doesn't apply to deleting text in Word, which I can easily undo. But all of a sudden, Word now refuses to delete highlighted text until I press Y in response to its annoying prompt (see Figure 4-25). What gives?

Figure 4-25. Is Word asking you to confirm even simple text deletions? You've accidentally turned on "Help for WordPerfect users."

The Fix:

Word is channeling WordPerfect. In some versions of WordPerfect, if you highlight some text and press Delete, WordPerfect asks if you want to "Delete Block?" Microsoft Word mimics this behavior when the user turns on "Help for WordPerfect users." It's easy to unintentionally turn on, and just as easy to fix: choose Tools → Options, click the General tab, and uncheck the "Help for WordPerfect users" box.


The Annoyance:

Most of the time, the automatic numbering feature in Word works great. I type some paragraphs, select them, and click the Numbering button on the toolbar. Even easier, I start the list by typing a number before the first item, and Word magically starts applying numbers to successive paragraphs. But too often Word becomes numerically challenged, proving that it is, in fact, a word processor, not a spreadsheet program.

For example, if I have an unnumbered paragraph between two numbered paragraphs, Word will number following paragraphs in the proper sequence, but will sometimes restart at 1. If a document contains more than one numbered list, the same thing happens: subsequent lists sometimes pick up numbering from the end of the previous list. Worst of all, the numbering sometimes changes spontaneously. Everything looks just right, and the next time I open the document, my list starts with 6. Aaaargh!

The Fix:

I must give Microsoft credit; the numbering foul-ups in Word 2002 are fewer than in previous versions. But they still happen, and I avoid using the automatic numbering feature whenever possible because I just don't trust it. I still create numbered lists, but I use a much more reliable counter: the Seq (sequence) field. Here's how:

  1. At the beginning of the first numbered item, press Ctrl-F9 to insert an empty field code, which looks like a pair of curly braces.

  2. Between the braces, type SEQ numlist \r1. (The last character is the number one, and it specifies the starting number for the list.)

    Format Numbers the Easy Way

    If you format the number and period in a different font or color from the rest of a numbered item's text before you create the AutoCorrect entries, Word keeps that formatting as part of the AutoCorrect entry definition. This makes it easy to automatically have bold numbers, for example.

  3. Click outside the braces to the right, type a period, press Tab, and enter the text for the first item. Press Enter to start the next item.

  4. At the beginning of the next item, press Ctrl-F9 and type SEQ numlist \n between the braces. Click outside the braces, type a period, press Tab, and type away.

Now, I know this sounds way too complex, and if you do it manually as described above, it is too complex. But turn these two field codes into AutoCorrect items, and creating numbered lists is a piece of cake. Here's how:

  1. If you see the field codes-the cryptic text between curly braces-instead of numbers, press Alt-F9, which toggles the display between field codes and field results. (A field result is what prints in place of the field code.)

  2. Select the number "1", the period, and the tab character that follows.

  3. Choose Tools → AutoCorrect (AutoCorrect Options in Word 2002).

  4. In the Replace box, type 1]. Next to With, select "Formatted text." Then click OK.

  5. In your document, select the number "2", the period, and the tab character.

  6. Choose Tools → AutoCorrect (AutoCorrect Options in Word 2002).

  7. In the Replace box, type n]. Next to With, select "Formatted text." Then click OK.

Once you've created these two AutoCorrect entries, which are now available whenever you use Word, creating numbered lists is easy. You need to remember only three things:

  • At the beginning of the first item in a list, type 1] followed by a space. When you press the space bar, Word replaces the text with the AutoCorrect entry: a field code that displays the number 1 followed by a period and a tab.

  • At the beginning of all subsequent list items, type n] followed by a space. Word will enter the appropriate number in sequence.

  • You can add, remove, and move items any time-but the field results don't change automatically. If the displayed numbers are incorrect, press Ctrl-A to select them all and then press F9 to update the fields.


The Annoyance:

To delete something from a Word document, you select it and press Delete, right? That works for most things, but, annoyingly, not for tables. If you select a table and press Delete, Word deletes the contents of the table but leaves the empty table in the document.


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The Fix:

I offer not one, not two, but three easy workarounds. Take your pick:

  • Place the cursor anywhere in the table and choose Table → Delete → Table.

  • Include the table as part of a larger selection-even if it's just a single character or an empty paragraph mark before or after the table. Then press Delete.

  • Select the table and press Shift-Delete. There are a number of fast ways to select the entire table. If the cursor is in the table, press Alt-Shift-NumPad 5 (the 5 on the numeric keypad). Or you can place the mouse pointer to the left of the table's first row, and when it points to the right, hold down the mouse button as you drag the pointer down, highlighting the table's rows. If you're using Word 2000 or later, you can simply click the "table move handle" (the square with the four arrows in it that appears at the table's upper-left corner when you move the mouse pointer over the table).


The Annoyance:

When I use Office's help system, I'm often confronted by Clippit (a.k.a. Clippy), the smarmy talking paperclip. How can I scrap him permanently?

The Fix:

Switch to WordPerfect. Or suggest Clippy take his own life. Or take your own: Clippy can help (see Figure 4-26). Just kidding. You can dump Clippy with a few quick clicks:

  • If you're still using Office 97, Clippy and his cohorts are located in the \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Actors folder. The quickest way to banish them is to simply change the name of that folder-to NoActors, for example.

  • If you have Office XP or 2000, open the control panel and (depending on your version of Windows) double-click Add/Remove Programs or Add or Remove Programs. In Windows XP, Me, or 2000, select either Microsoft Office or a specific Office program in the "Currently installed programs" list and click the Change button. Click the Add or Remove button, expand the Office Tools item, select Office Assistant, and then "Not available." Confirm your choices and exit. In Windows 98, select the item for Office or a specific application under the Install/Uninstall tab, and click Add/Remove Program. Then follow the wizard to remove the Office Assistant (it may be called "Clippit"); change its setting to Not Available. (The wizard may ask for the Office CD-ROM; I hope you keep better track of yours than I do.)

Figure 4-26. David Deckert's humorous take on Clippy's demise.


This is a flowchart for problem resolution in the workplace. It's ideal if your boss resembles Dilbert's. See http://snipurl.com/flow_chart.

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