I see a lot of inefficiency while watching people work. Most users do what they know, even if that method takes longer than necessary. Usually, people don’t even know there’s a better way. I ran into this recently while watching a user update a PowerPoint presentation. She was entering and formatting text. After inserting a text box and typing the text, she would use the [Shift] and [Left Arrow] keys to highlight the text she’d just entered–selecting it so you could format it. There’s an easier way to select the text—do you know it? The method I have in mind also works with an existing text box.

Last week we asked…

What’s a quick way to get a list of file names into an Excel spreadsheet? What a response! You guys are creative and efficient. I won’t try to condense all of the suggestions, but I do want to mention Eanderson’s suggestion of sending the directory list to the Clipboard—magnificent. Of course, this method has one problem: Excel doesn’t parse the pieces of information into separate columns. Everything goes into a single column, which might not work for you. Of course, you can parse the data using functions, but there’s another way to get the list into Excel, with no parsing—just check out Vanhaven’s response. Using the command prompt form takes care of the problem:

dir [dirname][/b] > filename.xls

When you open filename.xls, Excel prompts you to import the data. If you specify the Fixed Width file type, Excel will parse the data as it imports it.

You can also use Windows Explorer. First, enter the local path in the URL control. When Windows Explorer displays the list of filenames, press [Ctrl]+A to select them all. Then, copy them to the Clipboard using [Ctrl]+C. Open Excel and paste the filenames into a sheet by pressing [Ctrl]+V. However, the command prompt to an .xls file and then importing as a Fixed Width file is definitely the quickest method in my opinion.

Thanks everyone for another great challenge!