TechRepublic.com readers often add to a technique's value in the comments. Sometimes they suggest an enhancement or even a superior solution. Both are always welcome - this audience deserves the best! This year, as always, I learned a few things from our readers. I wish I could include all of the great reader tips and solutions, but the following from 2012 stand out in my mind.
1: Finding hidden Excel data more efficiently
Three things you must do when you inherit an Excel workbook prompted a lot of insightful discussion. Revamping or enhancing someone else's work is often more difficult than starting over from scratch. One of my suggestions was to apply a garish font to an entire sheet to find hidden data, but Ian went a step further by pointing out that although the data is now visible, there's no easy way to discern the previously hidden data from all the other data.
In a relatively small area, you're going to spot the hidden data quickly enough, even though it's the same font color, but you'll still be working harder than you need to. If the area is large, you could easily miss something important! Ian suggested changing the background color instead of the font color. You'll expose hidden data and it'll be easily distinguishable because it'll be in a different font color from the visible data.
2: Quickly remove Word table borders
Users learned how to change Word's table defaults in Change Word's default table properties to suit the way you work. By changing the defaults borders and other properties, you can reduce a lot of tweaking when you create new tables. Cal Wilson shared a shortcut for removing table borders: press [Ctrl]+[Alt]+u.
3: A quicker way to select an Excel data range
In A quick way to select an Excel data range, I reviewed using [Ctrl]+[Shift]+8 to select the current data range. Mvdarend suggested using [Ctrl]+a, instead and it does work, sometimes. If you click a cell inside the data range or adjacent to the data range, [Ctrl]+a selects the data range instead of everything. When selecting an adjacent cell, [Ctrl]+a adds the adjacent row and/or column to the selection.
4: Delete whole paragraphs quicker
Reader Michael Boardman shared a quicker technique for deleting multiple paragraphs than mine in Quickly delete whole paragraphs by searching styles. I used Find & Replace. Michael used the Styles pane. Specifically, in the Styles gallery, right-click the style in question and choose Select All. With every paragraph in the document using the specified style selected, press [Delete]. It's quicker than my route and one I actually use. I was trying to show how versatile Find & Replace is and my example choice really bombed.
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.