Issue #49 January 6, 2004

1. Sounds Alike Find in Word

I don't know if this happens to you, but it does to me. I am working in Word and I want to find a name or word in the document but I can't remember exactly how to spell it (happens to me with names a lot). I try different combinations, but seem to never have any luck. Well, there is a better way. It is called the sounds alike search. It is an option in the Find feature and here is how it works when you are in a Word document. Click on the Edit menu and click on the Find menu option and you will see the Find dialog box (or press Ctrl+F to go straight to the Find dialog box). The regular Find options are displayed, but you can click on the More button at the bottom of the dialog box to reveal additional search options. Then check the box beside Sounds Like to search for words that sound like the search entry but are not necessarily spelled that way (for example, there sounds like their). Then spell your word or name as it sounds in the Find What box. When you click on the Find Next button, Word will attempt to find the word or name you are looking for by looking for words that sound like the term you entered. This can be a great time saver when you are searching for a name or word in Word. This tip and other time-saving search ideas are explained in more detail in my e-book titled "The 20% You REALLY Need To Know About Finding Information on Your Windows PC" that is available in the Learning Tools section of the web site at:

2. Excel Auto-Sum

At the start of a new year, many of us are using Excel to do financial analysis, whether it is our expenses for the past year, this year's budget or how our investments did last year. Many times we want to get a quick sum of a series of numbers in a column or row of numbers. Usually this means creating a SUM formula somewhere else in the sheet, or inserting a row or column to temporarily do this sum of numbers. This can cause problems in our calculations if the insert causes other formulas to change. I recently discovered a neat way to see the sum of a series of numbers without adding a formula to an Excel sheet. This technique works only if the series of numbers is in a continuous set of cells in a row or in a column. Here is how it works. Highlight the cells you want to sum using your mouse or by using the arrow keys. Now look down in the bottom bar of Excel. This is the bar at the bottom of the Excel window, underneath the horizontal scroll bar. About a third of the way in from the right side of this bottom bar, you will see the sum of that series of numbers! No extra formula, no inserting of columns or rows, just a quick sum of the series of numbers. This works in Excel XP/2002, and may also work in previous Excel versions as well.

3. Useful Resource - Long Life Laptop Battery

If you own a laptop and are away from your desk for periods of time, you know how crucial it is to have a laptop that has a long battery life. In November, I took a flight from the East coast to the West coast, about five hours in total. I worked almost the whole time on my laptop, writing reports, getting figures updated, etc. At the end of the flight, a guy sitting across from me leaned over and asked how I worked so long on the flight since his laptop battery gave out after 45 minutes. My battery normally would have run out much earlier, but I was using my new long life ncharge battery from Valence Corp. This battery uses new technology to give a laptop user 4-5 hours of usage. This thin wafer battery plugs into your laptop's AC power port, so it is external to your laptop and your laptop thinks it is on AC power. This allows it to charge while you are plugged in as well. I used my laptop on battery saving mode and got 4-5 hours of work done. They make different models for different laptop brands due to the different voltages that each laptop takes. You can buy this battery through their web site, or at most electronics or computer stores. It is a great device to extend the life of a laptop whose battery has started to fade and it costs about the same as a new laptop battery would, but gives so much more usage time. Highly recommended. Check out more details at: