Issue #59 May 25, 2004

1. Fix to PowerPoint Custom Shows bug

In previous issues of this newsletter you have read how I think that the Custom Shows feature of PowerPoint is one of the most useful features because it saves a lot of time when you present slightly different versions of a presentation. To recap, the Custom Shows feature allows you to select slides from your file to show in a particular order and save that list so it can be shown again. You don’t have to create a new file and copy slides over, and if you make a change to one slide, all Custom Shows using that slide have the new version because they are all drawn from the one slide file. But there has been a bug in the Custom Shows feature that I reported on earlier. It occurs when you delete a slide that is in a Custom Show. PowerPoint no longer allows you to edit any of the Custom Shows that contained that slide. Well, in Office XP/2002 Service Pack 3 (known as SP3), they say that they have fixed this bug. And in my testing after installing this latest service pack, it appears that they have got it right this time. This fix allows you to take more advantage of the Custom Shows feature without being forced to keep old slides in a slide file simply because they might be in a Custom Show. To get SP3 for Office XP/2002, go to and use the Office Update tool to check for which updates your system needs. Installing SP3 takes a little while since it is so large, and you will likely need your original CD handy, but it is worth it so far. If you want to see the previous articles on Custom Shows, just use the handy Search facility on the web site to search for that term in all past newsletters (access the search feature by clicking on the link in the list of links on the left side of any web site page).

2. Customizing toolbars in Office

Sometimes when you are clicking through the menus in Office to get something done, don’t you wish that there was a quicker way to do it – maybe a way to just click one button instead? Well there may be. Most Office users never really take much notice of the toolbars that are at the top or bottom of their screen. There are usually one or two there by default and we use some of the buttons provided when we figure out what they do. But did you know that you can customize these toolbars with a lot more functions? Yes you can, and it can save you a lot of time. Here’s how. In any Office program (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), click on the Tools menu, click on the Customize menu item and click on the Toolbars item in the sub-menu. This brings you to the Customize Toolbars dialog box. Click on the second tab which is named Commands. You will see two columns. The column on the left is a list of menu categories and if you look down the list, they are basically the same words as the menus you see across the top of the screen (File, Edit, View, etc.). The column on the right is a list of menu commands for that menu category, and they basically correspond to the list of menu items you see when you click on the menu word. The list on the right changes when you click on a different menu word in the left column. Explore the different lists and when you find a command that you use frequently, you can add it to one of the existing toolbars at the top of your screen. To do so, just drag the command (by clicking on it with your left mouse button and not releasing the button as you move the mouse) from the right column up to a spot inside one of the toolbars. You will know you are inside a toolbar because you will see a black “I” beam indicating where the command will be placed on the toolbar. If you are outside a toolbar, you won’t see the “I” beam. When you have it in the spot you want, release your left mouse button and you will drop that command into the toolbar. This is a permanent change to the toolbar so it is always there when you need it. If you make a mistake, you can just drag the command off the toolbar when in this customizing option. Then, to use this command, simply click on the new toolbar button. One of the commands I have added to my PowerPoint toolbar is the Insert Picture from File command that has saved me many mouse clicks over using the menus. See what commands you can add to save time!

3. Useful Resource –

Wow! If you want to look up darn near about any fact that exists, they have a link to a source on The page is so packed with links to useful information that it is hard to know where to start. I suggest you just dive in and get the facts you need.