Tech Tip: AutoFormat Word dashes/Compare Excel text values/Publish an Access report

Word: AutoFormat dashes

You don't have to memorize complicated shortcut keys to insert dashes into your documents. Word's AutoCorrect feature lets you insert them by typing one or two hyphens. First, activate the feature in AutoCorrect by following these steps:

  1. In Word 2002, go to Tools | AutoCorrect Options (or AutoCorrect in Word 2000).
  2. In the AutoCorrect dialog box, select the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  3. Under Replace As You Type, select the Hyphens With Dash (or Symbol Characters With Symbols in Word 2000) check box, and click OK.

Once you've activated this option, you can insert a dash between ranges of numbers or dates by typing the first number or date, a space followed by a hyphen, and the second number or date. To insert a longer dash, type the text and type two hyphens followed by the rest of the text.

Excel: Compare values in text fields using DCOUNTA

Excel's DCOUNTA function finds and counts the number of records that meet specific criteria, such as how many employees were hired before Jan. 1, 2000, or how many customers live within the 08053 ZIP code.

For example, to find out how many people in an employee spreadsheet live in the state of New York, follow these steps:

  1. Insert two blank rows above the range, and copy and paste the column headings into the first blank row.
  2. In the second blank row, enter New York in the cell under the State field.
  3. In another cell outside the criteria range, enter =DCOUNTA(
  4. Type the range or named range. For example, if the range is named Employees, enter that name as the first argument to the formula: =DCOUNTA(Employees,
  5. Type the field name that you want counted. For example, if you want to count the number of records that have an entry in the Last_name field and whose City field contains the text "New York," enter: =DCOUNTA(Employees,"Last Name",
  6. To complete the formula, enter the criteria range, which in this example is A1:L2, and press [Enter]: =DCOUNTA(Employees,"Last Name",A1:L2)

The total number of employees living in New York will be displayed.

Now that the criteria range has been set, you can use DCOUNTA for other ad hoc reporting functions; just enter different criteria.

Access: Publish an Access report as a Word document

Not all users who need to work with Access reports will have Access on their machines. To ensure that all users can open an Access report over a network, publish it as a word processing file before sending it.

Follow these steps:

  1. In Access 2002, open the report in Print Preview, or select its name in the Database window.
  2. Go to Tools | Office Links | Publish It With Microsoft Word.

Word opens to reveal the published report saved as a rich text format document in the My Documents folder. (When using this tip with Access 2000, the file is saved to the default database folder.)

Because Word automatically saves the report with most of its formatting as an .rtf document, users don't need to have Access, Word, or a Word viewer to open it. Almost any word processing program can read the .rtf format.

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