Software

Tech Tip: Word's document map/Excel's IF function/Access report shortcuts

Learn about Word's document map, Excel's IF function, and some Access report shortcuts.

Use a document map for quick navigation

If you use Word 2000 to maintain long documents, such as legal opinion memos or technical manuals, a document map is a quicker way to get around than using the [Page Down] or [Page Up] keys.

To display the map, go to View | Document Map. Word adds a list of links to the major sections in your document to the left side of the document window. Click a section link to move instantly to any section in the document.

Within the document map, you can also click a plus sign [+] or minus sign [-] to expand or collapse a section. Right-click the document map to display options for customizing how many levels appear.

By default, the document map displays text formatted with Word's heading styles, such as Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3. If you would like to use a document map but don't want to use heading styles, you can make any existing style appear on the document map without changing its appearance in the document; just add a level to the style's definition.

Follow these steps:

  1. Go to Format | Style, select the name in the Styles list, and click Modify.
  2. Click Format, and choose Paragraph.
  3. On the Indents And Spacing tab, choose Level 1 or Level 2 from the Outline Level drop-down list.
  4. Click OK.

Text formatted with the style you specified now appears on the document map.

Use IF tests for determining multiple conditions

One of the first functions beginning Excel users learn is the IF function, which takes the form =IF(condition,true_result,false_result). When you use this function, you typically test only one condition at a time. For example, in the formula =IF(A1>10,"Great","Average"), the only condition evaluated is whether the value in cell A1 is greater than 10.

However, there may be times you want to display a result depending on whether any one of multiple conditions is true. Suppose you need a formula that says: If A1 contains 10, or if A15 is greater than 20, or if A25 is less than 100, display "Great." But if none of these conditions is true, display "Average."

You can create such a formula by combining the IF and the OR functions. The OR function takes the form OR(condition1, condition2, condition3) and evaluates to a logical true value if any of the conditions is true. If all of the conditions are false, the OR function evaluates to a logical false. In our example, the formula would take the following form:

=IF(OR(A1=10,A15>20,A25<100),"Great","Average")

If any of the three conditions is true, the OR function evaluates to true, and the formula returns "Great." If all three conditions evaluated by the OR function are false, the OR function returns a value of false, and the IF test returns "Average."

Minimize risk by creating report shortcuts

One of the responsibilities of Access database administrators is to minimize the risk of people making unauthorized changes to the databases. Identifying users who review reports on an as-needed basis, and giving them access to only those reports, can help reduce this risk.

There are a couple of things you can do to get information into users' hands in a timely manner. First, if you update and publish the report on a regular basis, consider opening the report in Preview, clicking the Print Preview toolbar's OfficeLinks button, and choosing Publish It With MS Word. You can then copy the resulting .rtf file into a common folder on your internal network and inform your users to retrieve a copy there.

You can also create shortcuts directly to specific reports, and put those shortcuts on end users' desktops. Open your database, and click Reports in the Objects pane. Right-click the report, and choose Create Shortcut.

In the resulting dialog box, the Location field contains the shortcut's destination. If the report's source file is on the local network, select the This Database Is On The Network check box, and enter the path to the appropriate network resource. Then, send a copy of the resulting shortcut to the folks who need to review that report.

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