Tech Tip: Troubleshoot Word startups/Cleaner Excel multitasking/Display Access ampersands

Word: Troubleshoot problem startups

How do you help a user who complains that the computer locks up soon after launching Word? One way to rule out a problem with Word itself is to launch a custom version of the program using a startup switch. If your custom session works, the Word program itself is fine, and you can focus on the usual suspects.

To launch Word using a startup switch, go to Start | Run and enter the following:

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\WINWORD.EXE" /[letter]

If the exact path to Winword.exe is different on your system, click the Browse button to navigate to it. Then, replace [letter] with a single-letter startup switch, followed by the switch's argument, if required.

The /a switch lets you start Word without launching any add-ins or loading any templates, including To try it, go to Start | Run and enter the following:

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\WINWORD.EXE" /a

If you want Word to load the default template (typically, but you don't want it to execute any autoexec macros, use the /m switch.

For more information about other startup switches, launch Microsoft Word Help, select the Index tab, enter startup in the Type Keywords field, and click OK.

Excel: Keep a cleaner desktop when multitasking

Are you one of the many busy Excel 2000 users who frequently have two, three, or more workbooks open at once? If so, you know that kind of multitasking can create a lot of screen clutter. In the Windows taskbar, you'll have an icon for each open workbook. Within the Excel window, you can navigate between workbooks by pressing [Ctrl][F6] or by opening the Window menu and selecting a workbook from the list of open files.

Excel offers an option that can help you avoid screen clutter while keeping as many workbooks open as you like. To try it out, open three or four workbooks, and go to Window | Hide. When you do, Excel erases all traces of the current workbook from your screen. The workbook is still open, but you can't see it.

To make a hidden workbook visible again, go to Window | Unhide, and you'll see a list of the hidden workbooks. Select the workbook name that you want to display, and click OK.

Don't worry about forgetting that you have a workbook open. If you close Excel while a workbook is hidden and you haven't saved your changes, Excel asks if you want to save the changes to any unsaved workbooks.

Access: Display ampersands

Have you ever opened a form in Datasheet or Form view and noticed an underscore immediately preceding one of the words in a field label? If so, chances are that an orphaned ampersand [&] was entered in the label.

The ampersand is a reserved character in Access: Access formats the character immediately following an ampersand as underlined, and users can access the button or menu item by pressing [Alt] and the underlined letter.

However, if your customer insists on including an ampersand as part of a field label, or if you want to use the ampersand to save space, there's an easy workaround.

Whenever you want to display an ampersand, enter two of them in a row. For example, if you want to display the phrase Time & Billing Code in a label, enter Time && Billing Code in the label's Caption property.

In Print Preview, an orphaned ampersand won't show up as an underscore character; instead, Access won't display anything where the ampersand should be. However, the underscore will appear when you open the report in Design view and click the label that contains the orphaned ampersand.

The same fix applies in a report. If you want to create a report header for a law firm that says Smith & Jones, enter Smith && Jones in the label's Caption property. Then, when you print or preview the report, Access displays a single ampersand.

Editor's Picks