Category Archives: Word

Microsoft Word: Protect Your Sections!

Restrict EditingHave you ever thought about protecting certain areas of your Word document? In some cases you really don’t want users to change any text in a particular paragraph. Microsoft Word has the option to protect the document but in that case it shuts done the entire document. So we are looking for functionality that enables us to protect certain areas of our document while the rest of the document stays editable. Here’s one way to achieve that goal.

Starting with some text
If you would like to follow the steps create a document to perform the next steps. I started with a new blank document and added some random text in it by using =rand(20). This creates 20 paragraphs of random help text in your document.

Setting up the document: Breaks
The first thing we have to do is create page breaks in our document. For practice purposes I’ve just added breaks after each paragraph. There are various kinds of page breaks available. The one we are looking for is the continuous section break. This will keep your text in place but breaks down your document in various sections.

Restrict Editing IV

So choose the spot and after each paragraph insert a continuous page break. Your document should look something like this: see pic below

Restrict Editing V

Restrict Editing possibilities
The next step we have to do is set the restriction on the document. To do so click on the Review Tab and look for the button that states “Restrict Editing”.

Restrict Editing II

Click on that and the Restrict Editing task pane will appear on screen. In the task pane you will see three sections.

Restrict Editing IIIWe will use the second section here: Editing Restrictions. Enable the check box that says: “Allow only…. Document”. From the combo box select the Filling in forms option. When done you should see a text appear below the combo box which states “Select sections…”. It will be no surprise that we need to click that text. A new dialog will pop up right in the middle of your screen. In this dialog every section you have created in your document is protected by default. Uncheck the sections you don’t want to protect leaving only those you do want to protect enabled.


Restrict Editing VI








Restrict Editing VII

Enforce protection
Now the last step we need to take is to enforce the protection. To do so click in the last section of the task pane and click the button that states “Yes, Start Enforce Protection”. A dialog will appear asking you to provide a password. As usual you need to type your password twice. So choose wisely and make sure you don’t forget the password. When done try editing the specific sections that you have protected and try editing sections that you did not protect. Pretty cool right?

Restrict Editing VIII

Protecting documents
During my work I see a lot of documents. Especially when we are helping a customer migrating his documents from an earlier version of Office to the current version. That’s when a lot of documents pop up asking us for passwords. And yes you have guessed it, most of the times those passwords have been forgotten or set by employees that are long gone from that company. So my advice would be to use passwords wisely and in reduced numbers. Don’t just go about protecting every document you might create. There will be a day when it will bite you back if you don’t know the password anymore 🙂

Find, Replace And Format In One Action

find_replace_select_IWait, wait how did you do that? Every now and again you get these wondered looks from other users when performing an action in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and so on. A couple of days ago I was reviewing a document and decided that a specific word needed to be replaced by another word and should be emphasized in that specific document. With a blink of an eye I replaced every occurrence of that specific word, replaced it by the one I thought would be appropriate and formatted is at the same time. How I did it? Here we go…

Sample document
You can follow the steps by creating a simple document. We will start of by starting Word. Choose blank document and type the following: =rand(50) followed by pressing Enter
This should give you 50 paragraphs of random text extracted from the help files. That should give you something to play with.

This sample text contains the word document frequently. For demonstration purposes this is great. We are going to replace this word with the word File and emphasize it by making it Bold and Red at the same time.

Start by clicking the Replace option in the Home tab in the group Editing (far right on the home tab).
find_replace_select_IIThis will present you with the following dialog:
find_replace_select_IIINow here is where we provide the necessary information. First we type in the word File in the “Replace with:” text box. Now the important next step is hidden under the “More >>” button. So click that and your dialog will be expended to the following situation:
find_replace_select_IVThe “More >>” caption has changed to “<< Less“. We are looking for formatting options so at the bottom left you will see a button that states “Format”. Click that button and a new menu will appear. From the menu choose “Font”. This will present you with the following dialog:
find_replace_select_VThis is a dialog you should be familiar with. Make the appropriate choices and click OK. The font dialog will be closed returning to the previous dialog. One major change has been added. This is often the part being overlooked by many users. Have a look at the image below and focus on the red box around the formatting option:
find_replace_select_VIThis indicates that it will replace the word “document” with the word “file” and will format that specific word blue and bold! Now click replace all to see if we achieved some result.

find_replace_select_VIIWe did! It replaced 50 instances of the word document with the word file and applied the appropriate formatting as well. The output looks like this:
find_replace_select_VIIINo text just formatting?
Is it possible to just replace the formatting and don’t replace a word? Yes it is. If you wanted to apply a formatting to the word document and not replace it by any other word just leave the “replace with..” text box empty and click it once so it has focus. Now follow the same steps as described earlier and click replace all. This will replace all occurrences of the word document with the word document with formatting applied to it just the way you set it up!

You can make a real efficiency boost by applying the various techniques in Word. Instead of taking 50 steps by clicking every word you can apply it all in one action. Believe me if you have used this once you will never go back!


Autonumbering In Your Word Document

Numbered_List_IIf there is one option in Microsoft Word that I have seen users use various techniques for it has to be autonumbering. Backspacing and pressing the Enter key are on top of the list. Most times I will explain that a lot of options in Word are simply On and Off options. Autonumbering is no exception. The big disadvantage to messing with the autonumber feature is that it can cause nightmares if you haven’t applied it correctly. In the end you have to spend a lot of time getting the numbers right if you have been backspacing and entering the whole document. Let’s show how to avoid this.

Start numbering
Start by creating a new document and typing a 1.  (that is a 1, a dot and a space). Type some text to get started with and after that press the Enter key. You will automatically get a 2. showing up in your document.


That’s great. We get the famous thunderbold sign offering the various options to choose from. Nope that are not the options we need so we type the text for number two and after that we press Enter again.


Now here’s where the interesting part comes into play. Suppose you don’t want number three yet and you first want to add a paragraph with text before adding number three. Here is where most people start with tampering the list. I will show you the various options and what the specific differences are. I have added a square around the button that is activated in the ribbon. Keep that in mind.

Using Backspace
Here’s what will happen if you use the backspace key. The 3 will disappear and the indentation will change.

Numbered_List_IVThe indentation is often the problem. Your text will continue below the I from Inserting. If that is what you are after a backspace could be the way to go.

Using the Enter key
Here’s what will happen if you use the enter key. The 3 will also disappear and the indentation will also change.

Numbered_List_VBy pressing the Enter key another option comes into play. Not only will the indentation change but the style will also be reset to normal. This is important to know.

Using the autonumber button in the ribbon
The final option you can use is the autonumber button in the ribbon. This will give you the following layout:


As you can see the 3 will also disappear and the indentation will be set below the previous numbering aligning the text with the previous numbers.

It is vital to say that there is no wrong option here. You have to decide what fits your needs best.

Adding the third option
After you added your text you can press enter again. Now let’s add another number and preferably we would like to continue the numbering with number three. The easiest way to do this is click on the autonumber button on the ribbon again.


This will add a one to your document again. But this is not what we are after. You will see the thunderbold icon appear again. By clicking this option you will be surprised to see the option that will be offered. “Continue numbering” exactly what we are after!


Thunderbold option disabled?
Now what if you have disabled the thunderbold options? No worries you will see the same option if you right-click the mouse. You will see the following menu with a separate section for autonumbering.


Continue where you left…
With that taken care of you can take the next step. Add more text! If necessary add more paragraphs in between numbers and use that simple autonumber button on your ribbon. Need a number? Click the autonumber button, don’t need a number but just want to add a paragraph of text? Click the autonumber button again. Need to continue numbering again? Click the autonumber button on the ribbon again, use the thunderbold option to continue numbering or choose from the right-click menu options.


No more tampering the autonumber!
So by simply clicking the autonumer option in the ribbon to On or Off you will get perfectly numbered documents. The great thing is that if you use the button on the ribbon you can easily add numbers in between. Try it… Press enter after the second option (2.) You will see that a number three ia added and every number afterwards is automatically incremented. This is how we want to see numbering in your documents!

Happy numbering 🙂




Word Online – Save As, Rename or Not?

Word_Online_SaveAs_XIIf there is one thing every user knows about Microsoft Word it’s the fact that you can Save your documents or you can choose Save As. So what happens when you take that away from them. Exactly you create chaos! In the last year innovations follow-up rapidly. You have Office, Apps, Office Online, 2013, 2010, 365…. You tell me what I am using. When working with your favorite applications it is important to know which version you are working with. If you do, you know the limitations that specific version has. For example let’s meet the Word Online version.

Save As, sure…
Let me dive straight into it. I am going to make a new document in Word Online using My personal OneDrive. So I start up OneDrive and choose “Create” and from the list I choose “Word Document”.

Word_Online_SaveAsEasy enough right? I add some text to the document and after a couple of seconds I see that Word has saved my document. You can see this at the bottom of your document:

Word_Online_SaveAs_IIIOk, I am fine with that. But I think this will be saved as something like ‘document1’ or something like that. That’s not what I am looking for so I want to rename this to something more meaningful. So the next logical step would be to go to File and choose Rename or Save As. Let’s see if we have that option:

Word_Online_SaveAs_IVYes, there it is. Exactly what I am looking for. So I choose Rename and give my document the proper name. No worries here!

OneDrive for Business
Now here’s the challenge. Let’s try this using OneDrive for Business. Same steps. I open OneDrive for Business (your famous My Site) and click on the ‘Waffle’.


Great, now choose Word Online and start creating some text. I know Word will save my document automatically so I don’t have to worry about that. Now all I have to do is going to File and rename my document to give it a meaningful name. So of to File it is…


What? I am presented with two options here, Download a Copy and Download as PDF. I don’t want either of these I just want to rename this to something meaningful. Luckily Word is telling me my document is save automatically… yes to document1 and that’s not what I want.

Return to your document and have a look at the title bar of the document:

Word_Online_SaveAs_VYou will see the document name presented in the title bar. Hover you mouse over the title and a label ‘Rename File’ will appear. By just clicking on the document name you are able to rename your file. Phew, close call but I can rename my document to something meaningful this way.

Whenever possible I use the client software. This offers me all functionality I am used to all these years. If presented with other option such as Word Online I do experiment with that to see if it can be an addition to my work tools. What surprises me is the fact that functionality that is available in OneDrive is not available in OneDrive for Business. I am training people right now in using Office 365 and using Office Online. So far 2 out of 10 people discovered that this is the way to rename their documents. For the other users their documents became ‘Document1, Document2 etc…’. So somehow it doesn’t seem that intuitive at all. So make sure you know the limitations of your work environment and you will be good to go 🙂


Word: New Document Please! Start Up The Way I Want

blankdocumentIt is nice to see everyone using the latest versions of MIcrosoft Office. Yeah I got Office 2013 and i am all up to date. So Word and Excel are still the apps most likely to be used in the Office (besides Outlook of course). What intrigues me is the fact that many users I speak still take their work enironment for granted. They go to the Office startup the pc and start up Word to work on their documents. Most pc’s are configured by IT departments. To make this efficient installation packages are deployed with at least modifications as possible. This has a lot of advantages but also lets the users do a lot of extra clicks because by default settings do not apply to everyone. Example: Microsoft Word start up. If you read on you might recognize yourself in this pattern. At the end you might be surprised by the number of countless clicks you can save by this tip.

No i do not want to use a template
So the last days I have been looking at several users to see the work routines starting Microsoft Word. First step…. open Word this is what they see:


Now the next thing they do is click Blank document. They do this every time Word starts. So my question for them was… How many times did you choose something other than Blank Document? The respons I got was never always the blank document..

Make Word start with a Blank document automatically
I decided to share a tip. Did you know that you can actually bypass this openings screen and go straight to a new document without first selecting Blank document? Here’s how to:

Go to FileOptions
You will see the following dialog pop up:

Now all you have to do is uncheck the box as shown in the image above and next time Word starts up you will go straight to a new document. Now count all the clicks you will save without having to click (or double click) New Blank Document!

The same applies for PowerPoint and Excel.
Concluding: to make Word work for you adjust some settings so it wil actually make a difference 🙂

Put Yourself On The Coverpage!

CoverPage_I One of the great features of Microsoft Word I like is the possibility to add a Cover Page to your document. I think a report is finished when it has a fine looking coverpage. Of course there are many coverpages to choose from but wouldn’t it be nice if you could add your own coverpage? In this blogpost I will explain how you can accomplish this. In all fairness I have to say that credits for my own coverpages go to my colleague Arnold. He’s the one designing stuff for me when I ask him to. He’s a real wizard in designing stuff in Microsoft Word. So it’s because of him our company has such great looking coverpages to choose from. Ok now let’s get you started creating coverpages for yourself or your company.


Full page cover
First you have to create a full cover page which will be the cover for your document. This can be done in any program you like. Maybe PhotoShop, Paint, or you name it. Now because we want our coverpages to be ready for use we will make a template document so we can add them to our templates folder.

Start Microsoft Word and you will be presented with a nice new document. Save this document as a template (file save as – word template). It is important to know where you want to save your template. By default Word will present you with the templates folder for Word. In this case that’s fine. If you don’t want that change the save location to a path you like better.

Paste your art work!
CoverPage_VIRemember that artwork you made earlier? Paste it on the document in Word. Taddaaa. Looks nice right?

Now how do we let Word understand that my artwork should be placed in the dropdown menu where we can choose our cover pages? That’s where the Building Blocks come into play. If you want to make a couple of other cover pages now would be a great time. As you can see in the images my template holds about 15 cover pages to choose from.

Quick Parts – Building Blocks – Quick Parts Organizer
CoverPage_IIINow if correct you have a fully filled first page in your word document. Now select the whole page (Ctrl+A). The next step is to add this selection to the Quick Parts Gallery. You do so by going to the Ribbon, click the Insert tab and click the Quick Parts button in the Text group. Now choose the last option you see in the menu Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery… The three dots you see after this menu caption tells you that a new dialog window will open. You will be presented with the following dialog. I have made the appropriate changes to dialog which I will explain:

CoverPage_IVName: here you can type any name you like. This is the name that will appear under your cover page.
Gallery: choose Cover Pages from the drop down menu.
Category: choose one of the categories. Even better create your own category. This category will show up in the Cover pages menu.
Save in: make your choice. I have chosen my own template here.
When done click OK to close the Buiding Block window.

Be curious!
CoverPage_VDon’t wait for it, be curious. Go to the ribbon and click the Insert tab. Click the Cover Page button and look for your art work! Yep there it is and even in my own category. You have just created your very own Cover Page!

Next steps
Now the last steps we have to take are the following. Add the template to the correct folder. This can vary from computer to computer. In my case it is in the Templates folder: C:\Users\<<username>>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates. In Word i chose to add it to add in options. So go to FileOptionsAdd Ins – choose Templates at the bottom and click Go. Mark the checkbox in front of your template name. Now every time Word starts it will start your template as well and your Coverpages will be loaded in the Coverpages menu. How cool is that!

Need more Cover Pages?
If you want to add more cover pages just follow the steps as we started. Remove the first piece of artwork. Paste some new artwork – Copy whole past – add to gallery etc. etc…

So no more excuses, make some stunning cover pages to make a statement with your reports. Look mom i’m on the cover 🙂




Make the Switch!

This is wrong!

When you want to merge data from Excel into a Word document it might not return the result you were hoping for. During my classes I regularly hear complaints about the date being wrong, number formats that are incorrect etc. I know that my friends from the United States always tell me that the european people don’t use the correct dateformat. We always blame them that their dates are incorrect. What are we talking about. If you merge data from Excel which contains datefields it will show up in the US format. For instance 6/18/2014. In Europe we read this as the 6th day from the 18th month of the year 2014. This has to be corrected in 18/6/2014.

Fortunately for us Microsoft Word has the Field Switch option to help us with this situation. Switch

Let’s take a look at the example below:

The first number is formatted as €20.000, the second field is formatted as 11/6/2014 and the last field is formatted as 18/5/2014. So in our source the formatting is correct. Now when we merge this data to Word it gets changed to the formatting as below in the picture!.


How do we change this:

First switch to the field code view by pressing the Alt-key and then the F9 key. This is a toggle combination so if you click this key combination again it will switch back to its original view.


Now we add some additional information to the mergefields to correct the display in our document:


There are a couple of simple things you should know when you work with switches.

  • First when converting a number you start your switch with \#
  • When you need to convert datefields you use the \@ switch
  • When you need to convert characters you use the \* switch.
  • With that in mind you can start experimenting. I just want to leave you with one final comment. If you need to convert a date field bare in mind that the MM as you see it in the example is on purpose. Word makes a distinction between minutes and month displays. So if you need a correct month view you must use capitalized letters MM to get the correct result. If you forget this you will end up with a couple of zeros.

    Custom format
    If you have a specific number format you are looking for just copy paste it from the cell properties in the numbers tab from within Excel. You can find them under the option Custom.

    So no more wrong dates, no hassle with regional settings or what ever. Just make the switch!


    Collaboration – Many hands on One Word Document

    Would it not be great if you could collaborate in a word document – at the same time – with your colleague. This would be like having four hands working on one document. You already know that this is possible in the latest Word versions. Many people ask me if this does not give any issues if two persons are editing the same paragraph at the same time. Yes it does and it can be resolved. In this blog post I will try to explain how two people can work together on the same document without messing up the same paragraph. HandsOn

    Let’s get started! First step: we start Word and open a document. Second step is to ask to co-worker to open the same document. For this example i have asked my colleague Wendy to open the same document. Just to show you that two people are working on the same document i will add some screens here. Scenario: we opened the same document which is stored on a SharePoint document library.

    collaborate_I collaborate_II

    The two images above show us that two people are editing this document at the same time. The first image shows that there are two people active, the second image shows who that second person is. If you have Lync integration this is a great feature because you can just as easily start a chat about your editing session here!
    I asked Wendy to edit a specific paragraph in this document. I will edit the same paragraph in this document making sure we are working on the same paragraph. Wendy added some sentences to the paragraph (in Dutch). I also added some sentences to the same paragraph. When one of the editors clicks save the other will be notified that updates are available.

    collaborate_V collaborate_VI

    Now because we are editing the same paragraph one might wonder what the final result will look like. Well first of you do get a warning that two people are editing the same paragraph. You then have the opportunity to view the changes the other made. You can then approve one or the other.

    collaborate_IV collaborate_VII

    The images above show the warnings / information i receive about the state of the document. I decide to apply the changes by clicking save. Word responds with a following notice:


    Word tries to explain that there is a conflict in the same paragraph. Luckily for us it does give us an option to resolve it. So i click the resolve button on the warning. I am presented with the document and a taskbar where i can view the conflicts. When checking i see the the conflicts are minimal. We haven’t touched each others sentences but just added information in different places. So i accept all the changes and click resolve.

    collaborate_IX collaborate_X

    So we now have a document with changes made by two people. But what if i don’t want to take the risk of someone editing my paragraph while i am working on it? There is always the risk that a co author is editing the same sentence you are just working on. This is where the next option comes to the rescue. I will change the same paragraph again but without taking the risk that Wendy will edit the same sentences. This time i select the specific paragraph and right click the mouse. A popup menu presents me with the one option i am looking for right now: block authors.
    When i choose this option the other co worker will see something specific happen in their document. The name of the other author will pop up next to the paragraph telling the co worker that this paragraph is now bocked for editing.

    collaborate_XV Collaborate_XII

    I can adjust any text in the paragraph without risking my sentences being edited by other co autors! I asked Wendy to take the risk and try to edit a sentence in that specific paragraph while i blocked it. The message is clear (although in Dutch) it states: This change is not allowed because the section is locked. Rock on… my paragraph is save!


    So whenever you want to co author a document take the necessary steps to make sure you are not editing each others paragraphs. So how can you tell you are save? Well i have another image for you right here:


    So collaboration really has taken the next step. It is possible to co author a document at the same time. If you have Lync integration a chat is right there to assist you even more. No more mailing around and asking co workers to look at the attached documents. Review live and make adjustments at real time. That’s what we call collaboration!

    Next time i will take a closer look how this collaboration stuff works in PowerPoint and Excel.

    For now Happy collaborating 🙂

    Navigation Pane in Word 2010 – Your Content Guide

    About that one little checkbox
    I like exploring the various options available in the office applications. When exploring Microsoft Word 2010 i stumbled upon this little checkbox and wondered what it was for. Hmmm Navigation Pane? I know that option in Microsoft Access and it shows the database objects. What would this do in Word. Curious as always i ticked the box and nothing happened. Well so much for satisfying my curiosity. I should have known better and i do know better. For exploring options it is always best to do so using a well sized document (or at least a document with some pages of text). So i opened up a document and went ahead to explore this little checkbox option. And wow how much functionality can one checkbox reveal!! Let me explain in detail.

    This document doesn’t contain any headers
    When you start a new document and you decide to activate the navigation pane by clicking the checkbox you will see the navigation pane appear on the left side of your screen. It will look something like this:

    This means that if you actually do have a document which contains text it should be formatted with headers. Only then you will get to enjoy the full functionality of the naviagtion pane. If you don’t know how to work with headers you can read this blog entry. I will do a separate one in the near future. Anyway for practical reason i will use a document which contains headers to show you the Navigation Pane in action.

    An automatic content guide
    If you have used headers like i did in this documents you will see that the navigation pane in Word is automatically filled with some sort of table of contents.

    Now let’s take a closer look at the navigation pane and see what functionality it offers.

    I have highlighted the various options in the navigation pane. The first option is the “Search” textbox on top. If you provide a search topic here you will see that the search topic is highlighted in the document and in the navigation pane you will see the various sections being highlighted. This shows you in which section the search can be found.

    Just below the Search box you will see three tabs. The default view is set to the first tab. This view gives you the “Table Of Contents” style look. This is the view i love to use. When reviewing large documents you have the option to move sections around without doing any cutting, pasting or copying. Just ‘grab’ the header in the naviagtionpane and ‘drag’ it to the position where you think it should fit better in the document. Don’t worry about numbering because this will be automatically corrected. Now that’s what i call service!
    The second tab in the navigation pane
    Now let’s see what we get when we click the second tab on the navigation pane.

    When you click the second tab in the navigation pane you will see that the contents are changed to thumbnails of pages in your document. This way you can easily navigate by page through the document. So in fact you don’t have to navigate through the whole document anymore but using the navigation pane you can easily click on the page you want to examine.
    Final tab
    the final tab show the same functionality as the search box. So in fact the searchbox and the third tab function act together. Now if you take a closer look at the searchbox you will see another little arrow besides the magnifying glass. When clicked you will see the option to search by various other options like graphics, tables, comments and so on. Wow i am impressed by the fact that checking one little checkbox can offer so much functionality. Trust me whenever you have used this navigation pane you will look for it the next time because this is what’s called productivity on demand.
    Happy Navigating 🙂

    Office 2010 Icons Gallery – Icons for your Ribbon

    When you create your own ribbons in one of the Office applications such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint you will probably want those nice looking icons in your own ribbon as well. Isn’t there some kind of list available where one can find these icons? Of course there is. and you can find it here

    How it works

    Once you have downloaded the file, it is actually a Microsoft Word file, open it in Word. You will see this line in the document:

    This line states that the actual overview of the icons can be found under the tab File in Word. Be patient though it might take a second or so to load the pictures… When done you will see the following situation:

     On the bottom of the Backstage you will find to menu options imageMSO 0 and imageMSO 1. Klik one of the options to see the icons on the right side of the screen.

    Now what you need to do to implement the icons into your ribbon is to look for the description under the icon. This is the description you should typ in your .xml code attached to your document. When you open your doccument you will see that icon appear in your ribbon. How cool is that! All you have to do is pick the one you like and typ its description.

    Let me show you a small section of the xml to show you what i am talking about. Look at the image below. Just after imageMso you typ the title of the description you have found in your word document. Now let’s see if you get it. How will your ribbon look after you have used this piece of xml as seen below?

    Happy iconing 🙂 and let me know if it worked!