Tech Tip: Create a Word flowchart/Analyze Excel chart data/Change a control's formatting in Access

Learn how to create a flowchart with AutoShapes, analyze chart data with trendlines, and change a control's formatting with two mouse clicks.

Create a flowchart with AutoShapes

You can use a more expensive program like Visio to create a flowchart, but Word's AutoShapes feature may be all that you need. And Word 2002's addition of Connectors to AutoShapes makes it even easier to draw flowcharts.

To use AutoShapes for flowcharts in Word 2002, go to View | Toolbars | Drawing to display the Drawing toolbar. For each shape you want to add to the flowchart, follow these steps:

  1. Click in the document where you want to place the flowchart, and go to AutoShapes | Flowchart on the Drawing toolbar.
  2. Select a shape, and click where you want to place the object.
  3. Position the object within the drawing canvas.

After you've positioned all of the objects, connect them by following these steps:

  1. Go to AutoShapes | Connectors on the Drawing toolbar, and select a connector.
  2. Select an existing object. (Blue dots appear around the edge of the object, indicating the points to which you can attach a connector.)
  3. Click and drag one of these points to a blue point on the object that you want to attach to the connector.

After you've connected all of the objects, add text by right-clicking each flowchart shape, choosing Add Text, and typing text. You can also add color and format the flowchart shapes as you would any other graphic object.

Analyze chart data with trendlines

One way to analyze a downward or upward trend is to add a trendline to a series of chart data. For example, let's say your chart displays the average age of a population over a 10-year span.

To find out if the population is getting older or younger, right-click the data series, select Add Trendline, and click OK.

When you create a new trendline, it often looks as if you've added a new data series to your chart. To distinguish a trendline from a data series, make changes to its format in the Format Trendline dialog box. To open the dialog box, double-click the trendline.

Change a control's formatting with two mouse clicks

You've just finished formatting a text box on your form, and you want all of the form's text boxes to exhibit the same format. You don't want to spend a lot of time on this cosmetic work, but you don't have to.

With Access' Format Painter, you don't have to reformat each one individually. You can copy the format directly to each object with a couple of mouse clicks. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the form in Design View.
  2. Select the control whose properties you want to copy.
  3. Click the Format Painter button in the Form Design toolbar.
  4. Click the control that you want to change.

Access copies the format properties from the first control to the selected control. Repeat these steps for each control that you want to reformat.

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