The TechRepublic Microsoft Office Blog is dedicated to providing useful tips for all Office Suite users whether they are novices or power users. Most of the posts are written by our Microsoft Office guru Susan Harkins, who posts tips at a rate of three per week. (Editor’s Note: That’s a lot of tips each year, think about it.)

Susan has also been issuing challenges throughout the year that measure the readership’s ability to assess a problem and offer a practical solution. It is a process that requires all of us to learn something from time to time.

Top 10

The most popular tips in the Microsoft Office Blog run from the simple to the complex and from the feature everyone should have known to the feature almost no one knew existed.

1.       How to find duplicates in Excel (2009)

Takeaway: You’ll need more than one trick up your sleeve to find duplicates in Excel.

2.       How to add a drop-down list to an Excel cell (2008)

Takeaway: Drop-down lists can greatly facilitate data entry. Here’s a look at how to use Excel’s data validation feature to create handy lists within your worksheets.

3.       Convert Office 2007 files to a 2003 readable format (2007)

Takeaway: This is the post where I showed you how to find the latest version of the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats, which can be downloaded for free from Microsoft.

4.       10 annoying Word features (and how to turn them off) (2009)

Takeaway: Word can be a little unruly sometimes, making inexplicable changes, inserting text you didn’t ask for, and hijacking your formatting. Here are some common stunts that Word tries to pull on unwary users, along with a cure for each one.

5.       Build a simple timesheet in Excel (2010)

Takeaway: Excel makes it easy to set up a system for tracking time. Follow these steps to create your own or download our sample timesheet template and customize it to fit your needs.

6.       Delete a stubborn page break in Word (2010)

Takeaway: Sometimes, Word won’t let you delete a page break. The fix is usually simple – although the cause might surprise you.

7.       Office challenge: When an IF() returns FALSE, when it should return TRUE (2011)

Takeaway: A user sends you a workbook with a simple IF() function that compares the text in two cells. If the two values are the same, the IF() function returns TRUE. When they don’t match, the IF() function returns FALSE. Simple, right? It should be, but there’s a fly in this one. Two cells (A4 and B4) contain the same text value, but the IF() function returns FALSE. Any idea what the culprit is?

8.       How to customize the Microsoft Office Toolbox (2011)

Takeaway: If you use controls with the same or a similar set of properties, stop building them from scratch and customize the Control Toolbox.

9.       Use a built-in Microsoft Office color scheme to reduce visual noise (2011)

Takeaway: If you find the Office screens a bit “loud,” switch to a more soothing color scheme. Susan Harkins shows you how.

10.   Use Microsoft Office to create Google docs with Cloud Connect (2011)

Takeaway: Google Cloud Connect synchronizes your Microsoft Office documents with Google Apps automatically as you create them, saving time and hassle.