The ten most popular Office tips of 2012

Susan Harkins lists ten of 2012's most popular Office tips published in the Windows and Office Blog, and the now inactive Office Blog.

When considering tips to share, I usually think about ease-of-use and efficiency. A few naturally rise to the top as your favorites, and I never know which tips will please you the most. For your commemoration, here are 10 of 2012's most popular posts from both the Office Blog, which was deactivated in mid-2012, and the current Windows and Office Blog. Thank you for reading, and thank you for sharing your thoughts and enhancements with one another (and me) throughout the year.

The Ten

1: A quick Word trick for typing text into a scanned document

The response to this limited technique surprised me. It's something only a few will use, but if you're one of those few, it can be a big help! I was pleasantly surprised at the positive response it received and the way readers enhanced the technique.

2: Use Word macros to save your place in a document

These two short macros make quick work of bookmarking work areas in a Word document. When the built-in navigation techniques just don't get the job done for you, consider these macros or one of the alternative methods that readers shared.

3: A quick and dirty way to compare columns of Excel data

This quick Go To comparison solution is great for a one-time task. Comparing Excel data is a common task, and I receive frequent questions for solutions. This solution is a great one to add to your bag of tricks.

4: Demystify Excel's PivotTable feature with this simple method

Sometimes a great tip doesn't offer a specific solution, but rather guides you to using a feature more efficiently and effectively. Users tend to ignore Excel's pivot table feature because they don't really understand it - hence this blog post offers some quick insight into how to use this feature without mind-bending tricks.

5: Create a dynamic Excel chart and make your own dashboard

This blog post is one of my favorites. I enjoyed sharing the technique, but more than that, I loved the way the readers jumped in to help one another with a step I accidentally omitted in the instructions. TechRepublic readers rock!

6: A quick Excel keyboard trick for selecting large ranges

This technique uses Go To ([F5]) in an unusual way - to anchor two cells, creating a range. The ensuing conversation shared a number of great selection tips!

7: Three tips for rounding Excel time values

Using the right function can help you round up your rounding woes. Excel offers three rounding functions and knowing them all will round out your skills nicely. (Okay, I promise to stop that.)

8: Three things you must do when you inherit an Excel workbook

I review a lot of workbooks, so this blog was one of my favorites to write. In my experience, performing these three quick tasks when inheriting a workbook can speed up your troubleshooting time. Fortunately, it sparked some insightful conversation into what others do.

9: Launch Word with the most recently used document

Reader response sometimes surprises me, as it did for this easy technique. I hadn't expected so many great alternatives from the readers.

10: Run a list of rolling credits at the end of your PowerPoint presentation

I'm glad a PowerPoint technique made the top list, but it wasn't because the readers loved my technique. Mostly, the conversation centered on the typo I missed, and then my lack of proper contrition for said typo. It was fun while it lasted.


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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