Issue #61 June 22, 2004

1. Text formatting in PowerPoint

The default formatting for the body of a slide in PowerPoint is to have bullet points for each idea. While this is usually a good idea, in this tip I want to share some ideas on how you can have a little more control over the formatting of the text on a slide. When you are typing along and the text is too long to fit on one line, PowerPoint will automatically wrap your text to the next line (sidebar point: try to observe the 6 x 6 guideline when creating bullet points – no more than six words per bullet point and no more than six bullet points per slide in order to make the bullet points short and powerful and the slide readable – see my article on writing powerful bullet points on the web site for more details). If you want to make the line break at a certain point, hold the Shift key down and press the Enter key. This Shift+Enter key combination starts a new line within the same bullet point. There are times when you do not need a bullet point, for example when you are using a quotation. You can remove the bullet point from one or more bullet points by highlighting the points you want to unbullet (there’s a new word) and clicking on the bullet point button on the toolbar. When you do this, you will notice that the lines without bullet points have a hanging indent (the first line starts to the left of the subsequent lines). You can change this by selecting the text and moving the margin tools on the ruler at the top of the screen (if the ruler is not shown, you can display it by clicking on the View menu and clicking on the Ruler menu item). Beware that changing the indents affects all text in that text box or placeholder, so even the bulleted items will change. If you need a mix of bulleted and non-bulleted text in the same text box you can insert a tab (by pressing the Tab key) before the first character of the first line of the non-bulleted text and the non- bulleted text will now look like it all starts at the same point. By using these tips, you can get your text boxes to look the way you want them to. And remember, you can always have more than one text box on a slide to accomplish more complex text formatting for different slide items.

2. Tabs in Word tables

I use both Excel and Word a lot and I expect to be able to use some of the same techniques in a Word table as I use in Excel since they look the same. Most of the time it works, but when it comes to tabs, I think it should work differently. In Excel, the Tab key moves you to the next cell to the right, but in a Word table, I think pressing the Tab key should insert a tab in the text I am typing. But it doesn’t, it moves me to the next cell to the right just like in Excel. Now why would I want to insert a tab character in a Word table anyways? Well, there are times when you need to be able to format the text within a cell exactly the way you want it to appear. I discovered a way to insert my tab character within a Word table cell – just hold the Ctrl key down and then press the Tab key. This Ctrl+Tab key combination inserts the tab character and does not move you over to the next cell. Within each table cell you can set the tab stops so that text formatting (especially bullet points in a Word table) look proper. When you click inside a cell of a Word table, you can see the ruler at the top of the screen that shows where the tab stops have been set for this cell – the default is no tab stops by the way, so you probably won’t see any shown (if the ruler is not displayed at the top of your screen, click on the View menu and click on the Ruler menu option). To add a tab stop to this cell, click on the Format menu item and click on the Tabs menu option to display the Tabs dialog box. Here you can specify the position and type of tab stop you want. When you click the OK button, the tab stops will be added to this cell. Note that the tab stops are only added to the current cell. If you want to add tab stops to multiple cells, select them before opening the Tabs dialog box. These ideas should allow you to format your Word tables so they look exactly as you want them to.

3. Useful Resource – PC Security Tips

Making our computers secure should be a top concern of all of us. The reason so many viruses and nasty bugs keep circulating is that many people have not taken steps to make their PC secure. For the last week I have been bombarded every day by a virus on someone’s PC that is sending me about 200 copies of itself every day. My Norton Anti-Virus keeps killing them every time they show up. PC World had a good article a couple of months ago with 29 ideas for making your computer more secure. I suggest you check out the article and see which steps apply to you so your computing experience is a little less painful. Here is a link to the article:,aid,114727,00.asp