1. Resetting PowerPoint Slide Design
I am sure many of you have had (or will have) this experience with PowerPoint. You get handed someone else's file to "fix up and put into the company template". You look at it and it is the dog's breakfast - text boxes not properly positioned, titles not where they are supposed to be, colors are not at all the standard ones and so on. If you have ever manually adjusted a set of slides, let me share an easier technique that I used once again recently with a client. In a previous issue of the newsletter (March 30, 2004 - see the archive link at the end of the newsletter to access any back issue), I explained how you can reapply a slide layout to control the look of the slide from a content point of view. Well you can do something similar for the slide look from a color and design point of view. If you click on the Format menu and click on Slide Design, you will get the Slide design task pane (dialog box in PowerPoint 2000 and older). This allows you to apply a slide design that you have recently used in another presentation to the slide you are now viewing (and shows all the master slide design in the current presentation as options as well). You can also apply a slide design from any PowerPoint presentation or template by using the Browse option to find the file that has the design you want. By default, the design gets applied only to the current slide, but you can change that. You can select multiple slides in the slide outline pane on the left of the screen (by using your mouse to Click, Shift+Click (to select a range) and Ctrl+Click (to select more than one)) and then apply the design as listed above. This is a great technique for quickly getting a set of slides into an existing look and can save you a lot of reformatting time.
2. Paste Special in Word
In previous issues I have talked about how valuable the Paste Special option is when copying text from one application to another. It seems especially important when copying items into a word processor to create a document so that you don't have to keep reformatting it every time. Here are some of the ways I use it and hopefully you will find a tip that will save you time and effort. If I am copying text from a web page (like one of my articles or a past newsletter issue), I find the Paste Special option of Unformatted text to be very useful if I want the text to be in the current font and size. If I want the web formatting (including links) to be the same in Word, I will choose the HTML format option. If I am copying from an e-mail into Word, the Unformatted text is a great option so that the font and size of the e-mail is replaced by the Word font and size. This is especially helpful when copying replies that are in a different color or text that is in a monospace font like Courier. When I am copying from Excel, I have more options. The unformatted text option simply copies the text of what I have selected in Excel. The Picture option inserts a picture of the selection as it appears in the worksheet (this is useful for showing someone exactly what the selection looks like, especially good for showing what a full report looks like and not allowing them to change it). The Formatted Text option inserts the selection as a Word table, which can be a time saver when data in Excel needs to be formatted in Word. I hope this glimpse into the power of Word's Paste Special link (found under the Edit menu item) gives you ideas of how to share information with other applications more efficiently.
3. Useful Resource - What To Do When Things Go Wrong
When your PC doesn't work, it is very easy to panic (been there myself). PC Magazine has a good article on what to do if this happens to you. In addition to some strategies for solving the problem yourself, it gives some links to some free and some paid technical support services (and rates them too). The biggest thing I can suggest to reduce the stress of computer problems is to always have a recent backup of your data around (including your e-mail data file). If you haven't done one recently, go do one right now - you will thank me for it if anything ever happens to your PC. Here is the article link. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1542640,00.asp