My 12 favorite Office tips for 2011

The MS Office blog published a lot of tips in 2011. See which tips Susan Harkins likes the most from the past year.

We've published lots of great tips this year, but here are some of my favorites of 2011. Sometimes, they were yours too. Some of these tips also proved useful in my own work or allowed me to help someone else. Enjoy!

January 2011: How do I create a custom sort in Excel?

Learn how to accommodate unique sort tasks without using code or helper columns. Just take advantage of the built-in Custom Lists feature.

February 2011: Tip: View non-consecutive dates in Outlook's Calendar

This quick keyboard trick shows you how to create a group of nonconsecutive dates in Outlook's Calendar view.

March 2011: Skipping text in Word while spell checking a document

This is a frequent user question. You can easily omit sections from a spell-check task, but finding the right setting isn't easy!

April 2011: A quick fill handle trick for Microsoft Excel

Some of the best tips are the easiest ones! While most users know how to use the fill handle, they don't know about double-clicking the fill handle.

May 2011: Nine guidelines for writing effective email messages

Making each email count takes a bit of thought and planning! These guidelines should help.

June 2011: Placement is everything when using aggregate functions in Access reports

The same expression in different report sections will yield different results. You can use that to your advantage!

July 2011: Use color to identify mail messages to and from specific people

Using color to identify messages from specific people can help you work in Outlook more efficiently!

August 2011: 15 ways to select text in a Word document

There are many ways to select Word text. Learn my favorites and then view the comments for more.

September 2011: Troubleshoot VLOOKUP() formula gotchas

Excel's VLOOKUP() is a favorite but it's easy to use it incorrectly. You avoid trouble by knowing this function's behaviors.

October 2011: Create a dynamic Excel chart and make your own dashboard

Creating an Excel dashboard looks hard, but it isn't. Knowing how to work dynamically with the data is the key.

November 2011: Use SUMIFS() to sum by multiple conditions in Excel

SUMIFS() makes quick work of arrays and other more complex solution. Check it out and start working more efficiently!

December 2011: How to selectively use clip art components using PowerPoint

Despite the experts' warnings, you can use clip art, but you might want to customize it a bit. Fortunately, doing so is easy in PowerPoint.


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.

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