Software

Office challenge: How do you inhibit Word's tendency to add new formats to an existing style?

This week's Office challenge test your skills with Word's styles. You'll also learn the answer to last week's challenge on using graphics in Excel charts.

Where styles are concerned, Word is a bit flaky. It does things you don't always intend. For instance, when you apply formatting to selected text, Word sometimes updates the entire document. You could might find yourself removing a lot of unwanted formatting.

The key is to inhibit Word's behavior so it doesn't happen at all. How do you keep Word for adding new formats to a style if that's not what you intend?

Last week we asked…

How would you replace a bar series in an Excel chart with a graphic? Using a graphic in this unique way is easier than you might realize, according to Joshua.Masson (and I agree):

  1. Right-click any bar in the series.
  2. Choose Format Data Series from the resulting submenu.
  3. Click the Patterns tab.
  4. Click Fill Effects is the Area section.
  5. Click the Picture tab.
  6. Click Select Picture button.
  7. In the resulting Select Picture dialog box, use the Look In control to locate and select the picture you want to use in the selected data series and click Insert.
  8. Click OK twice.

The results aren't always picture perfect, especially if Excel stretches (the default) the picture to accommodate different size columns. Some graphics just won't work.

The better option is often to stack the graphic. In the Fill Effects dialog box, choose Stack or Stack And Scale in the Format section.

Depending on the graphic and the size of the chart, even stacking might not produce something you'd want to keep. In this case, the graphic isn't readable either way — at least not onscreen. A printed copy might be more effective.

Clip art is often too large for data points, but it doesn't hurt to try:

  1. Select the series (left-click one of the bars or data points).
  2. Select Picture from the Insert menu. (In Excel 2007, select Clip Art or Picture from the Insert tab).
  3. Choose Clip Art from the resulting submenu.
  4. In the Clip Art task pane, locate the file and choose Insert from its drop-down list.

Thanks to CAopsguy for great instructions for working with data points in Excel 2007. In addition Thunderbird23 offered advice for pasting a custom graphic into the worksheet — thanks!

About Susan Harkins

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox