Tag Archives: tips

IT tips #5: Grow font sizes with the keyboard in Word

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This is really handy when you’ve got just a few words to put on a poster, title page or address label, and you want to get the maximum size possible, but aren’t sure what size font you can go to without splitting the text across lines or going over the page limit. This way, you can just select all the text you want to make bigger, and push it up and down by increments with the > and < keys on the keyboard, and see what works.

1. Select the text you want to make bigger

2. Hold down SHIFT+CTRL (⌃⌘ on a Mac) and press the > key.

3. Watch the text increase in size. Every press of the > key increases the font by a point size

4. To reverse the procedure, keep Shift+Control (or ⌃⌘) down, and press the < key until you get the size you want.

 

IT tips #4: Sort things in Word, even when they’re not in a table

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Anything you put in a table in Word can be sorted – alphabetically or numerically, ascending or descending (go to Table>Sort and click on the options).

But you can also use Word to sort things which aren’t in a table, by selecting a number of paragraphs and then using Table>Sort – it will give you the option to sort by paragraphs. It will rearrange the paragraphs according to the first letters of each. It’s probably the most counter-intuitive feature of Word, because it’s patently not a table that you’re sorting.

The most obvious use for this this would be if you’re sorting items in a bibliography, where the authors need to be listed alphabetically. I’d normally use Zotero for this, but if you have a manually generated list of books, Table>Sort is a great way to organize them.

 

IT tips #2: Get rid of text-wrap when copying and pasting into Word

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Most people know about search and replace, but fewer know that you can search & replace weird stuff like paragraph marks. This is a life-saver if you want to get rid of fixed line-breaks in text that you’ve copied and pasted into Word. It happens a lot with emails, but also with text copied from pdfs – resulting in a 25 page document that could easily be unwrapped into 4 pages.  You can’t see the paragraph marks unless you press the ‘show non-printing characters’ button (see left), but if you’ve got lines that won’t unwrap, they’re probably to blame.

Tip: If you’re faced with a load of annoying paragraph breaks on every line of pasted text

  1. Go to Edit>Replace (or Press Ctrl+H/Mac: ⌃⌘+H)
  2. Select the advanced options
  3. Press the ‘special’ menu button (see image below)
  4. Select ‘Paragraph Mark’
  5. This will put the sign for ^p in the ‘Find’ box
  6. In the ‘Replace’ box, press Spacebar once (i.e. so you’re replacing the paragraph mark with a space)
  7. Select ‘replace all’

And there you are – all back into normal text again. You can of course just type ^p instead of selecting the special menu – but it’s worth seeing what else you can search for to replace.

With emails, once you’ve done this, you may still need to  get rid of the chevrons (>) that sometimes get put on the beginning of every line of quoted text.

  1. Go to Edit>Replace
  2. Type > in the ‘Find’ box
  3. In the ‘replace’ box, press Spacebar once – i.e. you’re going to replace each > with a space
  4. Select ‘replace all’

Result: one clean piece of text. Oh I nearly forgot: you’ll need something to practise on, here you are:

>The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

  >The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

  >The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

  >The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

  >The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

  >The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

  >The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

  >The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

  >The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

† I originally had ‘put nothing in the replace box’ but two people have suggested that it’s better with a space, and I find this too, now, so I’ve changed it.

Advent calendar 2011: tips from a former Kelly Girl

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Back in the 80s, Kelly Temporary Services was called Kelly Girl, and the term ‘Kelly Girl’ was frequently a synonym for anyone employed as a temp.  Kelly were a brilliant company, who used to hold little get togethers for their temps, and they were fun to work for. It was working as a Kelly Girl paid my rent while I was struggling to make ends meet as a musician.  There were quite a few male temps at the time, which is probably one of the reasons that they took ‘girl’ out of the title.

It was during that period that I learned most of my basic computer skills, and I learned them from women – older women (i.e. women who will now be pushing 60). How things have changed. IT is now often regarded in companies as a masculine domain, and there is a myth that if you’re a) a woman and b) above a certain age, there’s some natural reason why you won’t be any good at it.

Since my site advertises itself as being about music, dance and IT, it’s now time for a bit of IT. Not nerdy stuff, but the kind of thing that saves you time to get a life and go and do something interesting.