After Hours

10 underused Office features

Microsoft Office is so feature-packed, most users barely scratch the surface of its functionality. See if you're using Office apps to their full potential.

There's a saying that 80 percent of users will use only 20 percent of an application's features. This is probably true of most Office users because they don't know the features exist. Once they see the features in action, they put them to use. Here are 10 features that are among the most underused but easy-to-implement features in the Office suite. Most applications share many of these features; I've noted those that are application-specific.

1: Paste

Older versions had limited paste options. Now there are several, and they go well beyond simple pasting. They're available via the Paste option in the Clipboard group on the Home tab. Paste is in all of the applications, but options are application-specific and contextual, as you can see in Figure A.

Figure A

The options are different, but Paste is available in all Office applications.

Perhaps the most helpful step you can take is to change the feature's default. Office retains the source formatting when pasting content. To disable this behavior or customize it to suit your working style, access the settings as follows:

  • Office 2010: Click the File tab, choose Options, and select Advanced in the left pane.
  • Office 2007: Click the Office button, click application Options, and select Advanced in the left pane.
  • Office 2003: Choose Options from the Tools menu and click the Edit tab.

In addition, Paste is a versatile feature that can perform calculations, transpose text, and much more. To learn a few advanced Paste techniques, read 10 powerful ways to use Excel's paste features.

2: Recent

Finding a file when it's not where you know you put it is frustrating. You can use Windows Search feature, but that route can be hit or miss, and it's slow. A quicker and easier way to find a lost file is to use the Recent option, shown in Figure B. Click the File tab and choose Recent in the left pane to view a list of recently used files. In 2007, click the Office button.

Figure B

Quickly access files using the Recent feature.

This area is enhanced in 2010:

  • Click the Recover Unsaved Documents link at the bottom of the screen to recover recently unsaved files. It doesn't always work, but it can be a lifesaver when it does.
  • Don't ignore the little pushpin icons next to the files. Use these to pin a file to the list and keep it there until you unpin it.
  • To the right are recent places you've visited.

To learn more about this feature, read Put Word's recent documents list to work for you.

3: Templates

Some users revamp similar settings every time they create a new document. In the moment, it's only a few clicks; over time, it adds up. When new files share common properties and formats, it's efficient to create a custom template (or adjust the default template). Most users know about templates, but they find them a bit confusing, so they avoid them. To learn more about using templates, read The right way to create a Word template and Modify Excel's default sheet to fit your needs.

4: AutoCorrect

AutoCorrect automatically corrects common typos, such as replacing teh with the. But there's more to this feature than just fixing a few typos. You can use it to enter repetitive text, symbols, and more. To learn how to apply AutoCorrect in unusual ways, read How to enter symbols using Office AutoCorrect, Five keyboard shortcuts for inserting arrows into a Word document, and Tweak an annoying AutoCorrect entry instead of deleting it outright.

5: Replace

Most users know how to use Replace, but they don't realize how versatile and powerful the feature is. For instance, you can replace multiple spaces with a tab, append text to an existing phrase, change all instances of italicized text to bold, and much more. To move beyond this feature's basic use, read 10 cool ways to get more from Word's Find and Replace feature. Excel's Replace feature is more limited than Word's, but some of these tips will also work in Excel.

6: Word styles

Using styles can save a lot of time and ensure consistency throughout an organization. Although styles are the most efficient way to tame formats, most users hate them because they're a bit unruly. To learn more about styles, read Microsoft Word 101: A quick look at formatting styles.

Excel has cell styles. They're less complex to implement and manage but still underused. The article Use an Excel style to identify data input cells explains an interesting use of cell styles.

7: Word's Document Map

Document Map is part of Word 2010's Navigation Pane. Figure C shows a simple document's outline. This feature reduces a document to heading nodes. That means you must employ the built-in heading styles for this feature to be of use. Clicking a node takes you to that heading in the document, so it's a quick way to navigate a complex or long document. The map also highlights where you are in a long document. In addition, you can drag a heading in the map to move that heading and its text in the document. If you forget about this feature, open the Navigation Pane and leave it open so you'll remember to use it.

Figure C

Use the heading nodes to navigate and manipulate a document.

Although the Navigation Pane was introduced with Word 2010, the Document Map is available in earlier versions -- it's just not quite as feature-rich. To display it in Word 2007, click the View tab and choose Document Map in the Show/Hide group. To display it in Word 2003, choose Document Map from the View menu.

8: PowerPoint's Set As Default

Formatting a shape or text box can take a bit of time. To apply the same formats to subsequent objects, you can set the formatted object as the default for that type of object. Simply right-click the formatted object and choose Set As Default object. PowerPoint will remember the formatting defaults until you change them or close the presentation.

9: Outlook's search folders

One of Outlook's most underused features is the search folder. Using this folder, you can set search criteria and then quickly access the filtered mail in one spot. Doing so allows you to view all the filtered messages as a whole, instead of rooting through different folders. Search folders continue to group the filtered mail until you delete the folder. To learn how to use this feature, read Find Outlook messages quickly with an All Mail search folder.

10: Excel tables

Excel tables are new to 2007 and they've yet to catch on with users, despite their advantages. With a few quick clicks, you can turn any data range into a table, making the data easier to manipulate and manage:

  • Format using AutoFormat.
  • Insert a new row and the table extends formulas and formatting.
  • Apply AutoFilter instantly.
  • Add totaling rows with a quick click.
  • Use table nomenclature to reduce errors in formulas.

Tables do have limitations, but if you can live with those limitations, tables make most everything you do a little easier. To learn more about Excel's table feature, read Put Excel 2007's new Table feature to work for you, Use Excel tables for quick formula auto-fill, and Use Excel's table nomenclature to quickly create dynamic formulas.

Other underused features?

Do you have a favorite Office feature that nobody else seems to know about? Share it with fellow TechRepublic members.

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About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

64 comments
smiljanaivanc
smiljanaivanc

I used to use all presented possibilities to work more quickly and comfortable. I also made some macros of my own, e.g. "print current page" in Word, "print selection" in Excel etc. For my oppinion Word and Excel 2007, 2010 and 2013 are not so good as in Office XP/2002/2003, there are many clicks needed in Excel 2007/2010/2013 for the same with 1 or 2 clicks in earlier versions. Test: what I work for 4 hours in earlier versions, I need 5 hours on clicks account in Excel 2007/2010/2013, so I will keep working in Office XP/2002/2003.

JonathanPDX
JonathanPDX

It's nice to get these things covered on occasion. Sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day average stuff that we forget about the little extras that exist as well. Much appreciated.

danmar_z
danmar_z

My pet peeve: Outlook search - a retarded complicated feature. I once used a free email program that had a proper search feature. Why can't Microsoft (who've always bragged about hiring the best programmers - yeah right!!), give us simple, to the point search for Outlook?

tlpnightwatcher
tlpnightwatcher

I use 7 out of 10 of these features. I found out about them because I learned that if I have a question about an app, the app can answer it! The Help resources have introduced me to said features and shown me creative ways to implement them. No need for remedial training if you aren't afraid to ask for directions.

4wsilver
4wsilver

I'm glad I'm in the 20% of users. Office is terrible, poorly written, bloatware, but the offerings from other venders are much worse. At least Office functions most of the time. The list of items not used is only the tip of the iceberg, there are many more out there. The far reaches of ACCESS is not even touched on. The outline function used to be great but then they took it out. I have heard they put it back but I do it differently now with different software. All in all Office isn't too bad but a company like Microsoft should be able to do better and charge less. The programming is pretty much mushware.

Darren B - KC
Darren B - KC

... some features are underused, doesn't make them unused. Microsoft usually adds features because enough users, at some point in the past, said to Microsoft, "Yeah, this is great, but it would be better if I could also do X". It doesn't happen very often, but I still get users who call me up and ask, "Hey, I know I can do yadayada in Excel, but can I also do it in Word?" It's nice when I can say, "Actually, yes! I'll come over and show you how." Like I always say, it's better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it. Guaranteed, as soon as you take some of these "underused" features away, someone will kick and scream about it.

JohnOfStony
JohnOfStony

I know of a man who was technical director of a company yet he didn't know how to use the New Page command and never used tabs other than in their default settings. He was an intelligent man but had never bothered to learn a few simple commands. I'm pretty sure he was completely unaware of 99% of Word's facilities. A friend told me of someone he worked with who used Excel but never used formulae so did all calculations on a separate calculator; she might just as well have used a sheet of paper! I wonder how many other users of Office are equally ignorant.

TsarNikky
TsarNikky

Reader "ginz," who posted a comment earlier is right on target. Word's Style feature, and certain others (i.e., MailMerge), will always be a horror show. When a feature is non- intuitive, it will always be ugly situation. In these two instances, WordPerfect has always had the much better more intuitive approach. WP's better approach becomes so much more obvious when one has multiple users, many of whom are unsophisticated, creating and/or editing the same document.

baldree
baldree

There is lots to learn in these powerful applications. Nice list to highlight a few that could be of value. Thank you!

dhamilt01
dhamilt01

Since Excel first came out, I've been using a certain feature because it speeds up searches which I constantly use in my Excel spreadsheets because of the type of data I enter in them. To access the feature, do the following in an open spreadsheet: 1) Press Shift-F5 to open the Find and Replace dialog box. 2) Type in part or all of the text you are searching for. 3) Click on the Options button. 4) Click on the down arrow in the Search box and select By Columns. 5) Click on the down arrow in the Look In box and select Values. Unfortunetly, I have to do this EVERY TIME I open Excel because the developers have failed to allow the selections I make to become the default for this dialog box. I haven't tried the 2013 version yet but I bet it's still the same as version 1 of Excel ... no option to set your desired default.

Jim Johnson
Jim Johnson

I see so many users mutter not nice things about the Ribbon, yet very few bother to take 10 minutes per Office application to customize their Quick Access Toolbar. Put your most commonly used commands there. This alone will substantially boost productivity in every Office application. And, since it looks like some folks are voting for their favorite word processor... My all time favorite was AmiPro - before IBM bought it and destroyed its intuitive interface and renamed it (Lotus) Word Pro.

BillGates_z
BillGates_z

More rah rah rah for software worth $50 not $300 let alone a $$$ sucking subscription.

lmnogoldfish
lmnogoldfish

By the time you truly learn something it is obsolete. Case in point: Office

Childerstone
Childerstone

Once upon a time styles were easy to set up in Word. Once upon a time it was easy to modify a template for a letter so that it had every option for salutation and closing. Once upon a time Excel macros were easy to write and edit. Once upon a time it was relatively quick to modify a graph to have a professional hierarchy (for scientific writing) of symbols and lines (yellow lines on a graph? Get serious!) And on and on but - Once upon a time it was a pleasure to learn how to use a typewriter, then an IBM golfball, WordStar, 123, MS Word and so on. With each development I could do something more, better or faster. What annoys me so much is that now with every new version of Office I have to relearn how to do the same task. And that's not more, better and its a whole lot slower.

tsschall
tsschall

So many of the "features" in newer versions of office are no more than bloat. The fewfolks who want (for example) tables in excel or seven different ways to paste a bit of text seem to be the tail shaking the office dog. And ribbons - get real - just what is needed - a bunch of new, non intuitive, icons leading to little or never used tasks mixed with a bunch of new icons for daily use tasks. Thanks, MS, you set productivity back for my people while they try to figure out, and find, the icons they need.

ScotCan
ScotCan

Apart from being free OpenOffice is far more intuitive, flexible and in the long run more productive since using its features allows a less convoluted approach to mixing and matching features in any application. Moreover, any Microsoft product is readable in OpenOffice so although Microsoft is dominant in the enterprise document utilization is relatively seamless usin OpenOffice in place of Microsoft's products.

hulyalkar
hulyalkar

Once you know feature it can be tweaked to your advantage. There amny tounge twisting wordes or phrases that can be effectively simplified using Autocorrect. To give an example : Bhubaneswar is capital city of Orrisa State in India. With different languages and with many dialects it is spelled as Bhubaneshwar, Bhuvaneswar or Bhuvaneshwar depending on users dialect. Just using "Bhu" as a autocorrect options missplled corrections are automatically avoided.

DAS01
DAS01

To sperry532 - I jumped from Word 2000 to 2010, and I LIKE THE RIBBON. You can switch it off if you don't. To glnz - I jumped from WordPerfect 2000 and Word 2000 to Word 2010. I absolutely agree that even old WP 2000 is noticeably superior to Word 2010. Just a shame it has been relegated to a bit player. The relatively high price of modern WP versions does not help (so I do not know how the current version looks or works, and I do not mean the cut-price Corel Office).

wwgorman
wwgorman

I am a heavy user of Excel in Office 2003 with Microsoft integrated menus. I have Office 2007 and bought the third party menu program but it is not fully integrated and I have trouble finding old features I use in Office 2003. It is likely I will switch from Microsoft Office to something else unless they "improve" the product to the Office 2003 standard.

ToriToriTori
ToriToriTori

The most interesting/underused feature of word.

sperry532
sperry532

Generally speaking, these Office "features" are underused because they are either not worth using or a pain to use. For example, I see no reason to use "tables" in Excel. Autocorrect is another "feature" that is the absolute bane of our office and so many others. Having to spend hours tweeking it so it doesn't replace the specialized spellings we use is a pain. In most cases, we simply disable it completely. We've taught our people the wonders of F7 (spell check) and careful proofreading. MS just continues to add bloat to the programs while decreasing efficiency. And don't even get me started on "Ribbons".

dinomutt
dinomutt

If you are unaware of the features listed, then you really should sign up for some remedial training. Most of these are features that have been in office for many versions now. Templates, Cutting & Pasting - really? If you are an Office user and are unaware or are not using these features - you really deserve a good whack!

glnz
glnz

Ms. Harkins - Love your columns and find really useful stuff - thanks. BUT for 12 years MS Word has been the worst piece of excrement application I've had to wrestle with. It is so badly done that it is beyond description. I'm a hard-working commercial real estate lawyer, I'm on the computer all day long, with Word, and I'm better than most users. Styles are a disaster, section breaks are a disaster, underscoring in bold looks terrible, we need special extra programs to do Tables of Contents and Automatic Numbering and even then they break down, macros require a degree in engineering, and Not Even Title Case Is Right Because It Capitalizes A And The And And. WordPerfect in 1996 remains a better program than every version of Word I have ever seen. Your loyal readers shouldn't tell me about using styles correctly because I do. The problem is that nobody else can figure them out. When our documents are emailed to the other parties on a deal and they insert language with their own set of styles (badly done) and contradictory manual formatting, the result is a technical disaster EVERY TIME IN EVERY DEAL IN EVERY DOCUMENT. If you ever see a picture of Bill Gates with a black eye, you'll know I finally had a chance to thank him properly.

africord
africord

It's been around from the earliest Office editions, but its regularly ignored. But for those who have to develop and present formal papers, the Outline view in Word set you up with real writing power. Additionally, PowerPoint can read that outline into your presentation to jump start your effort there. In the last month, I introduced a graduate student who was looking for writing efficiency to complete their thesis.

WinHaven
WinHaven

Just because features don't get used doesn't mean they shouldn't be. This points out a few items that should be spoon fed to employees in order to increase productivity. Thanks!

RocRizzo
RocRizzo

Ode to a Spell Checker I have a spelling checker I disk covered four my PC. It plane lee marks four my revue Miss steaks aye can knot see. Eye ran this poem threw it. Your sure real glad two no. Its very polished in its weigh, My checker tolled me sew. A checker is a blessing. It freeze yew lodes of thyme. It helps me right awl stiles two reed, And aides me when aye rime. Each frays comes posed up on my screen Eye trussed too bee a joule. The checker pours o'er every word To cheque sum spelling rule. Bee fore wee rote with checkers Hour spelling was inn deck line, Butt now when wee dew have a laps, Wee are not maid too wine. And now bee cause my spelling Is checked with such grate flare, There are know faults in awl this peace, Of nun eye am a wear. To rite with care is quite a feet Of witch won should be proud, And wee mussed dew the best wee can, Sew flaws are knot aloud. That's why eye brake in two averse Caws Eye dew want too please. Sow glad eye yam that aye did bye This soft wear four pea seas. I challenge anyone to read this aloud, without rehearsing it! Therefore, I NEVER use auto-correct! I just learn to spell, and also learn proper grammar.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Find emails with 1 or all of the words you enter in the search box, and that's it.

holmesgd
holmesgd

In response to the author and several comments, ANY feature can be underused if you are dealing with ignorance and/or apathy. F1 has to be the all-time most underused feature of any application (For those that may be in ignorance at this moment, go ahead and push it). Few people are ever motivated to become more productive in their computer usage. I am a former high school Science teacher who now teaches Office applications. I made the switch partly because I learned to do in a few minutes what would take others an hour. Naturally, people would ask me to show them how to do something. The majority of computer users only know how to do things that someone told/showed them how to do. My class goal is to transform casual computer users into competent computer users. The only way to facilitate that transformation is to force users to have to figure something out on their own, and then teach them strategies for working smarter. When was the last time that you recorded a macro and a keyboard shortcut to speed up a frequent/repetitive task? The problem then becomes the "I don't have time to learn how to do that" routine. My response is always, "Well, you can't afford to keep doing it the long way or the hard way either. Learn how to use the software, and learn how to work around its limitations!"

gitmo
gitmo

I do the same thing 20 times a day. I've often wondered why I cannot set these as defaults. I don't think I've ever used search and didn't need these options set.

JohnOfStony
JohnOfStony

Imagine if we could customise the keyboard to suit our own typing preferences. Perfect providing I only ever use my keyboard and no-one else ever does, but if I switch to a different PC or someone tries to use mine - oops! The same argument applies to customising Word. I like to stick to standards where possible and the Ribbon is a real mess of a standard.

billballew
billballew

Lets get started with the ribbon. With the ribbon convolution we have lost functionality and employee effeciency incredibly. Who can afford to retrain their employees. We are a small business and cannot afford any training of the like. Afte the ribbons came out we finally had to "share" documents with someone in the office who had discovered a "lost function" E.g. we lost the watermark for 6 months febore someone discovered it. We now send documents to them for watermarkinig. I admire you corporate types who can egotistically prognosticate what the small businesses should do to flush hard earned dollars down the drain. Ofice 2003 was easiest to use and easiest to train, and therefore most functional. The ribbons reduce Word to a basic typewriter for everyday business. Specialty work is restricted to fewer people who can create the forms, insert text, etc.

aevans196204
aevans196204

We had many users who used Wordperfect and once they saw Word they jumped to change, one reason above all - tables and how simple it was to use. Too many people spend their time in the past and are not willing to embrace the new and train to use the products properly. The problems you seem to have is not with Word but with your other parties, maybe you should have a word with them about them having some training. Autocorrect is never going to suit everybody and it can be tailored to most people's needs. If you don't like the program why not use something - probably because others do not live up to the job. Many other products would suit a lot of users but Word has many more features than other programs. When Word cam along it upped the game for word processors and many would not have changed had it not been for Word, and a few have fallen by the wayside. I am old enough to remember using programs where you had to input special characters at the start and end of special text (e..g bold) and the only way to check was when you printed things out. Even worse the word processors where to change font you changed the wheel on the printer (pre-laser printers). Microsoft set the standard and though not perfect, neither were the alternatives. For those who commented on the ribbo, no one likes change and I sometimes wonder why some options have moved to where they are now - but as most of our users seem to cope well with the changes it cannot be all that bad, we do have some low usage users who only use the basic functions as well as power users - those that would have been in the typing pools of days gone past - they had the same issues when documents were sent out to others for amendment, no one stuck to the standards they set - not an MS issue, a training issue. In case your wondering - I am not a Microsft employee, just someone who has to support it in my organisation. Definitely easier than pre Word - every department seem to have it's own favourite, then everyone moved to Word as it was better than everything else they used.

ssharkins
ssharkins

Thank you John -- I appreciate that!

gitmo
gitmo

You're not implying that Auto correct caused all those errors are you? It looks like you purposely used homonyms, knowing the results would be spelled correctly. Autocorrect doesn't overcome ignorance. It catches many typing and spelling errors. It also allows the user to build some shortcuts to accelerate his work.

gitmo
gitmo

When you click the Search Box, Outlook opens a search menu in the ribbon. It allows you to select the folders you need to search. It allows you to select the Sender's name (partial name search works fine). It allows you to select the Recipient's name (partial name search works fine). You can search for words within the subject of the email. You can limit the search to emails with / without attachments. You can limit the search to categories. You can define a time range for the email. You can limit the search to unread or read emails. You can limit it by flagge, by importance, bcc, sensitivity and a host of other options. You can recall recent searches for re-use. It's easy to use and intuitive.

dhamilt01
dhamilt01

"The majority of computer users only know how to do things that someone told/showed them how to do." Software is writtern by nerds for nerds. Getting someone to show them is the quickest way from point A to point B for non-nerds. Having to learn 10 billion lines of code just to insert a comma in a Word document is not the answer. The stuff is so complex a couple days in technology kindergarten won't cut it. If ya want to know it, ya have to go to university ... maybe even graduate school. And don't bother asking your local nerd. Yar just asking to be flipped off!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I suspect most people rarely use multiple machines often enough to be handicapped by customization on their primary systems. And if they do, customizing the QAT doesn't affect the original Ribbon layout.

dogknees
dogknees

So you have time for your Employees to wast days figuring out how to do something, but not enough time for them to learn it properly and improve their overall efficiency.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Most proficient WP users [u]did not[/u] "jump to change" to MS Word. Almost all of those who changed, including myself, were [b]forced[/b] to change because their employers purchased new Windows computers that came with MS Office as part of the contract. MS Word still cannot accurately reproduce features and capabilities that were fully incorporated into WordPerfect over 20 years ago.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

No Paragraphs, No Punctuation and it's impossible to read. Sorry but you are [b]WRONG[/b] [i]We had many users who used Wordperfect and once they saw Word they jumped to change[/i] I at the time worked in Legal and Medical Offices and WP was the best Word Processor available. In contrast Word from Microsoft was utter garbage. When we moved to Word from Word Perfect there was not one Secretary or Word Perfect User who was happy with the change, they all complained about the Substandard product that they where told to use. Even the first Windows version of Word Perfect was so much better than Microsoft Word that there was not one business on the face of the planet that used Word from Microsoft who needed to exchange Documents with others. What made Microsoft Word the Default was not any improvement to Word it was the Introduction of Microsoft Office where you had all of the Production Software that a Business required in the One Package from the One Supplier and the [b]Killer Thing[/b] about it was the Ability to move the Data between the different applications. Prior to the introduction of Microsoft Office you had Word Perfect as a Word Processor, Lotus 123 as a Data Base and so on. In each and every occasion the Data used in Word Perfect [b]Was Not[/b] transferable to Lotus 123 and so on. This made it necessary to have several teams of people as Data Entry Teams, one for each package and many mistakes where introduced between the different Data Sets used to do the same thing in different programs. The Template over the Keyboard which so many complained about that made Word Perfect so different [i]though word back then needed it's own Function Key Template[/i] was effectively done away with when Word Perfect for Windows was introduced. Sure it still came with the Function Key Template because the same Key Combinations where used as the DOS versions but in the Windows Program you have the option to use Menus instead of the Function Key Combinations of if you preferred you could use the Function Key Combinations. Many simply stopped using the Function Key Combinations and started using the Improved Menu system that was available. Even today I was laughed by my staff when I started this business a while ago as I preferred Word Perfect over Word and what I did find interesting was that now every one of those Staff Members complain bitterly when they are forced to use Word at all for any reason. They all use Word Perfect whenever possible and detest Word which they where using when they first joined this business. From what I could Comprehend from your Illegible post above you never really knew Word Perfect and really never understood how to make things happen in it. So I would surmise you where never trained to use Word Perfect through any of the Word Perfect Training Courses for Business that was available, let alone any of the Advanced Functions that where in Word Perfect. Microsoft Office never had a similar training course available, you where just expected to be able to use it out of the box. Granted there where many business offering Training for Office Users but at the time none where from Microsoft like was provided from the then Word Perfect Owner. OH and By The Way, why today is a Mail Merge in Word considered as [b]Advanced[/b] and not a standard requirement at the collages who teach Word and Microsoft Office to their Students and when Word Perfect was in use it was one of the Basic Functions who everyone who ever touched Word Perfect was expected to be able to perform? Col

JohnOfStony
JohnOfStony

It appals me how many people don't know when to use "it's" or "its", "your" or "you're", "affect" or "effect" and many other pairs of similar words and abbreviations. IMHO, more people need a simple course in grammar and spelling than a course in using Word's features. Here's a quick grammar course in the above 3 examples: "it's" is short for it is "its" means belonging to it. It's easy to remember which is which because my, your, his, her, our, their and its don't contain apostrophes (i.e. all the personal pronouns). "you're" is short for you are "your" means belonging to you To check whether you're using the correct version of the above, simply replace the one you've chosen with its meaning. If the meaning doesn't fit, you're using the wrong one "affect" is a verb meaning to change something (often slightly) "effect" can be a verb or a noun. To "effect" something is to cause something or bring it about An "effect" is the result of doing something. "Affect" and "effect" are best illustrated by examples: The driver effected a right turn by rotating the steering wheel clockwise. The height of mercury in a thermometer is affected by the temperature. By painting the room yellow we got the effect we wanted.

DAS01
DAS01

"Wordperfect - not the better product" I agree with you about resistance to change, e.g. the ribbon, which a lot of people claim not to like, but I did as soon as I saw MS 2010 (having jumped from MS Office 2000. The superiority of WP has nothing to do with Autocorrect. See the recent post by the lawyer. Besides Reveal Codes, which Word does not have, the whole approach to formatting is different to Word, and there is not the nannying and 'dictatorial' approach of Word. However, WP has fallen by the wayside because of a mix of reasons including, apparently, a late release of Windows code to WP, giving MS a big advantage, plus some early issues in WP for Windows (though I don't know which). The main positive thing I see in Word (clever MS marketing) is that it has become a de facto world standard, making it easy to exchange files with almost anybody in the world.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

He didn't purposely use anything other than copy and paste. The poem is about 15 minutes older than the first AutoCorrect erroneous substitution.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

And one wouldn't be far wrong in doing so. In my experience, the primary difference between the DOS-based DBMSs (Condor, dBase II, Foxbase, etc.) and Lotus 1-2-3 was the flexibility of the DBMS report generators.

DAS01
DAS01

On could argue that Lotus 1-2-3 (any spreadsheet, in fact) is a flat-file, 2D database... :-)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I helped open a new unit on an existing base once, and the computer equipment we got to start with was all issued from existing stock. Every single stinking one of the monitors either had a spreadsheet grid or a logo (or both!) burned into the phosphors.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

I'm getting old and forgetful. About all I now remember of Lotus 123 is the Logo burnt into the Screens so badly that you could clearly see it when the monitor was turned off. ;) Col

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Lotus 1-2-3 was a spreadsheet, not a database...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Sez the guy who can't figure out how capitalization works :D

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

All those high-order and complex characters either disappear or appear as garbage when cut and pasted elsewhere. Word is by far the worst for this. I can't say whether WP would have the same problem, but I know you can reduce the issue in Word by turning off the autocorrect crap, especially smart quotes.

gitmo
gitmo

I always stop and pause when I use affect and effect. I worked with a professor who published a thesis with the word "effect" in the title. She said she keeps a sticky note on her wall to this day prompting which one to use in which circumstances.

JohnOfStony
JohnOfStony

All double quotes and most apostrophes were removed by the software that handles comments!!!!! I must apologize to aevans as some of his errors were probably due to the same formatting errors in the comment software! Update - I typed the original comment in Word (yes - in Word!) and then cut and pasted it into the comment field. All the apostrophes and double quotes were removed because Word uses "smart" quotes and interprets an apostrophe as a single "smart" quote. The comment software obviously doesn't understand these characters and strips them out - so next time I'll use Notepad to write my comments! I did successfully edit my first comment in situ once I'd figured out what must have happened.

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