Tech Tip: Word Print To File/Customize Excel Auto Fill list/Search for Access single characters

Word: Print to a different printer with the Print To File option

Suppose you want to send a document to a printer on a network that's different from the default printer. When you try to print the original document on the new printer, some of the formatting may be missing or incorrect.

Instead of printing the original document, use the Print To File feature to create a file that contains all the commands and information the new printer will need to print the document correctly. To create this file, first install the printer driver for the destination printer on your machine.

Then, follow these steps:

  1. Open the file in Word, and go to File | Print.
  2. Select the name of the destination printer from the drop-down Name text box.
  3. Select the Print To File check box, and click OK.
  4. In the Print To File dialog box, choose a folder from the Save In text box.
  5. Give the file a maximum six-character filename, and click OK.

Word automatically adds the .prn extension to the file. To print the .prn file, use the DOS COPY command. For example, if you've saved Myfile.prn in C:\My Documents, enter the following at the command prompt:

COPY C:\MYDOCI~1\myfile.prn LPT1 /B

The COPY command requires the full DOS pathname for the file, which you can obtain by right-clicking the file and selecting Properties. The /B switch sends the commands and characters in binary format to the destination printer.

Excel: Create a custom Auto Fill list

The Auto Fill feature can make it easy to enter any data series that frequently appears in your spreadsheets. All you need to do is add the series to Auto Fill's built-in lists.

For example, if you report most operations by sales region (e.g., North America, Southeast Asia, Europe, etc.), you can create a custom fill series for those regions. Follow these steps:

  1. Select a column or row that contains the names of the sales regions.
  2. Go to Tools | Options.
  3. On the Custom Lists tab, you'll see the selected range displayed in the Import List From Cells text box. Click Import, and click OK.

Users can now enter all regions by typing one region and using the Auto Fill feature.

You can also use the Custom Lists dialog box to make entries to a new list. Follow these steps:

  1. On the Custom Lists tab of the Options dialog box, select New List.
  2. Type each item in the List Entries text box, and press [Enter].
  3. After you've entered the entire list, click Add, and click OK.

Access: Search for two or more single characters in a field

You can use the [ ] wildcard with the Like operator in your queries to search for two or more single characters in a field.

For example, suppose you want to find all customers with the following ZIP codes: 08052, 08053, or 08055. To use the [ ] wildcard, enter the following in your query's Criteria row under the ZIP Code field:

Like "0805[235]"

This expression searches for all field entries whose last character matches one of the characters specified between the brackets. Conversely, to search for all customers that don't live within these three ZIP code areas, place an exclamation point before the list, as shown below:

Like "0805[!235]"

The exclamation point inside the brackets stands for Not in the list. The query results will include all entries whose characters do not match any character in the list within the brackets.

You can combine the [ ] wildcard with any other wildcard character. For example, you can combine the * wildcard character with [ ] to search for any ZIP codes that begin with 0805, 0807, or 0808:

Like "080[578]*"

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