Software

Tech Tip: Link Word files/Navigate Excel windows/Group Access reports

Word: Link to another file in your document

When you go to Insert | File, Word lets you navigate to a folder, select a file, and insert it into the current document. The result is a static copy—the inserted text won't change unless you edit it. In most situations, this is probably the result you want. But in other cases, you may want to insert a dynamic copy of a document instead—one that stays linked to the external file.

An inserted link is a Word field, which means that when you select it and press [F9], the link displays the most current version of the external file. For instance, suppose your company prints a standard disclaimer at the end of all business correspondence. If the text of that disclaimer is subject to frequent revisions, you might want to link to the disclaimer's source file.

Go to Insert | File, and navigate to the file you want to link to. Select the file, click the drop-down arrow on the Insert File dialog box's Insert button, and choose Insert As Link. When you do, Word inserts a field in the following form:

{INCLUDETEXT "<drive>:\\<path>\\disclaimer.doc"}

If you see this Word field instead of the text, press [Alt][F9] to toggle field codes.

Next, open the external file (in our example, disclaimer.doc), make a change to the text, and save and close that document window. Return to the document where you inserted the link, select the linked text, and press [F9] to update. When you do, changes made to the external file will show up in the linked text.

Excel: Navigate between windows

Do you frequently open and work in two or more Excel workbooks simultaneously? If so, there are four basic ways to efficiently navigate between workbooks.

  • Open Excel's Window menu, and either type the number corresponding to the workbook you want to view, or click the workbook's name.
  • Press [Ctrl][F6]: Each time you press this key combination, Excel will switch to the next open workbook.
  • Press [Alt][Tab]: This causes Windows to display a set of icons corresponding to all open applications, not just your Excel workbooks. Hold the [Alt] key, and press [Tab] to cycle between icons. As you access the Excel icons, Windows will display the name of that workbook. When you find the one you want, release the [Alt] key to display it.
  • Click the appropriate item in the Windows taskbar. By default, Excel displays a separate taskbar item for each open Excel window.

There's only one problem with the fourth option. If you're also running an e-mail client, a Web browser, or a word processing program, you may suffer from taskbar clutter.

If you run Excel 2000, you can eliminate some of that clutter by going to Tools | Options | View. In the Show section, deselect the Windows In Taskbar option, and click OK. Excel now displays only one item in the Windows taskbar, no matter how many workbooks you open.

Access: Enhance grouping in reports

When you're analyzing customer records for trends, grouping related records allows you to look at data from different angles. For instance, grouping sales by fields such as sales rep, state, city, or ZIP code lets you evaluate sales by region. Grouping sales by date lets you view results over time.

To group records in a report, open the report in Design view, and click the Sorting And Grouping icon on the Report Design toolbar. Choose the primary field for sorting and grouping.

The default for the Group Header and Group Footer properties is No. You don't have to define a group header or footer. If you don't activate them, Access will sort your records by the field you select. Having the records in the right order suffices for most reports.

When you want to draw special attention to groups of records, activate either or both of the Group Header and Group Footer options. When Access adds those sections to the report design, you can add whatever you like. One way to enhance these sections is to provide summary details about the group.

For example, display the number of items in the group. Create a text box in the Group Header or Group Footer. For the Control Source property, enter the following expression:

=Count(*)

Of course, you can label that output by concatenating a string in an expression such as:

="Total Customers This Region "&Count(*)

To determine whether to use a singular or plural noun, use the Immediate-If function:

="This region has "&Iif(Count(*)>1,"customers","customer")

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