Tech Tip: Find Word synonyms/Simplify Excel data entry/Prevent changes to Access form fields

Word: Find synonyms easily

In Word 9x, users searching for synonyms were limited to using the Thesaurus, which could often be confusing and didn't work very well for phrases. Word 2000 introduced a simpler way to find synonyms. So now when you know what you want to say but can't think of the word, you can let Word find it for you.

For example, to find a substitute for a word, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the word you want to change.
  2. Highlight Synonyms, and select the word you want to use.
  3. If none of the words are acceptable, select Thesaurus to perform a manual search.

You can also find synonyms for phrases. For example, to find a substitute for "state of mind," select the phrase, right-click the selection, and follow Steps 2 and 3.

Be aware that if the word you wish to replace is flagged for a spelling or grammatical error, you must resolve that error before the Synonyms option will appear in the shortcut menu.

Excel: Simplify data entry with Excel's built-in form

If your spreadsheet has more columns than can fit on your computer screen, you can use Excel's built-in data form and spare yourself a lot of scrolling.

To use the data form, select any cell within the spreadsheet range and go to Data | Form. Select New to enter a new record, and Excel will display a blank form. Enter data in the first field, tab to the next, and continue to enter data in each field, tabbing between fields. Press [Enter] to go to the next blank record.

If there are calculations in your spreadsheet, Excel will display only the results on the form. This prevents users from inadvertently overwriting formulas. To delete a displayed record, click Delete. A warning box reminds you that the record will be permanently deleted after you click OK.

Follow these steps to search for a record within the form:

  1. Click Criteria to clear the form.
  2. Enter keywords in appropriate fields (e.g., enter Jones in the Lastname field).
  3. Click Find Next (or Find Previous).

If you enter search criteria in more than one field, Excel will find the next record that meets both criteria. The form doesn't support OR searches. Use the scroll bar to browse through the records.

Access: Prevent changes to form fields with the Locked property

Some forms, such as order entry forms, are used both to display customer information and enter data. Because changes to customer data fields in the order entry form affect other orders from the customer, users shouldn't modify them from the order entry form.

Follow these steps to prevent users from entering data in a form field:

  1. Open the form in Design view, right-click the field, and select Properties.
  2. Select the Locked property under the Data tab, click the drop-down arrow, and select Yes.
  3. Close the Properties box.

To lock multiple fields in a form, press [Shift] while selecting each field, right-click one of the selected fields, select Properties, and follow Steps 2 and 3. Now only the fields that weren't selected can be changed.

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