Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Insert Text from a File into Word

You can quickly insert text from a file into your document using Word’s Text from File command. This used to be as simple as choosing Insert > File  but the command got hidden behind an additional layer of the UI in Word 2007, making it almost entirely invisible to most users.

To insert text from a file in all recent versions of Word, open the Insert tab in the ribbon and, in the Text settings find the Object button. Click the small arrow to the right of the Object button, and choose Text from File…. Choose the file you want and click Insert. The file type selection here defaults to Word documents only, so if you wish to insert a .txt file or other non-Word document, you’ll have to change the file type to your desired type or All Files.

If you insert a Word document it will include all elements of the document such as images and special formatting. If you wish to include the file’s header or footer (if it has one), you should insert the file into a new section of your document. Be careful when inserting multiple files with different formats, since text from one file may take on another file’s format if the inserts aren’t separated properly.

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Word 2010 and 2013 Tip – Flow text through a document with linked text boxes

How to use linked text boxes to flow text throughout a document automatically

If you’re familiar with using desktop publishing software you’ll know that it is useful to be able to create text boxes and have the text flow automatically from one to the next. You use this feature to start a story on one page of a newsletter, for example, and to have it continue on a later page.

Word 2007, 2010 and 2013 can do this for you too, if you use the built in text box feature. To do this, first choose Insert > Text Box > Draw Text Box and click and drag to draw a text box on the page.

Repeat this and add a second text box on another page in the document.

Now select the first text box, right click and choose Create Text Box Link.

Now click in the second text box to link the two together.

In future, any text which you type into or paste into the first text box and which won’t fit because the box is not large enough to accommodate it, will flow automatically into the second text box.

Helen Bradley

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Word 2010 and 2013 Tip – Add a time and date stamp to a printed page

Know when your document was printed by adding a date and time stamp to each printed page

Add a date and time stamp all your printouts by placing the current date and time in the document footer so it prints when the page is printed.

To do this in Word 2007, 2010 and 2013 choose Insert > Footer > Edit Footer. Click the Date & Time button and enable the Update Automatically checkbox. From the list of dates and times choose a date or date and time – depending on what you want to see on the page. Click Ok.

Select the text that Word has inserted in the footer and you can now format it to a small font – such as Italic 8 pt. You can also prefix the text with the words Printed On: or something similar, if desired.

Click Close Header and Footer to return to your document. Now the current date and time will be printed in the footer each time the document is printed.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Word 2010 and 2013 Tip – Wrap Text Around a Table

Use a text box in Word to control text wrap around a table

In a previous tip I showed you how to place a table inside a text box so you could put two tables side by side. You can use the same process to make the text on your page wrap around a table.

Click here to learn how to place a table inside a text box

To control the way text wraps around a table, first create a text box and place a table inside it.

Then click to select the text box and, from the Ribbon, select the Format tab > Text Box Tools. Click the Wrap Text dropdown menu and choose the desired wrapping option from those in the list – typically you will use Square to wrap text round the text box with its inserted table.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Word 2010 and 2013 Tip – Create Side by Side Tables

Place tables side by side in a document using text boxes to keep them in place

If you add a table to a text box in Microsoft Word, you can position the text box wherever you want it to be on the screen.

If you need two tables to be placed side by side in your document you can do so by placing each of them inside a text box and then arranging the text boxes side by side.

To do this, create a text box by selecting the Insert tab on the Ribbon, click Text Box and click Draw Text Box. Click and drag to create a text box and then click inside it and create a table by choosing Insert > Table. Repeat the process to create the second table in its text box then drag to position the text boxes side by side.

Helen Bradley

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Create Complex Mathematical Equations in Google Docs

It can often be difficult to represent more complex mathematical equations in a word processor. Google Docs makes it easy with the equation toolbar. To activate it, select View > Show equation toolbar.

To create your equation, simply click New equation and begin filling it in with operations from the insert function dropdown menus. Even if you require none of the special operations provided, the New equation feature will also neatly format simple equations that can be entered using the keyboard.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

PowerPoint 2013 – What’s new and cool

PowerPoint just got a whole lot cooler, so come check out what’s new. I’ll walk you through many of PowerPoint 2013’s features, including the new start screen and account screens, how saving is new, using the new task panes, charting options, and discovering theme variants.


Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this video tutorial. Today we’re going to be looking at the new PowerPoint 2013 and asking what’s new and cool for PowerPoint users. There is a lot to like about the new PowerPoint 2013. And we’re going to have a look at some of the features of it here in this video.

The first thing is the Start screen. This opens as soon as you open PowerPoint 2013. And there’s a lot here for new users. You can actually turn the screen off. But I think most people are going to opt to turn it on. The default is to start with a new presentation with a default theme, but you can see here that we’ve got recent files that we’ve opened in PowerPoint so they’re all available to us. We could go online and search for templates and themes online. And there are some suggested searches here. We can also click here to open other presentations that we might have stored on SkyDrive or on our local computer or SharePoint. And up here is the current account. So when You open PowerPoint 2013 or any of the new Office 2013 applications you’re going to be logged into your SkyDrive account, and this is access to it. And here we could switch accounts if we wanted to. These are just for testers so I think that they’re probably going to go in the final production.

But let’s have a look and see what would happen if we selected one of these templates. So I’m just going to click this one to open it. And you can see here that there’s some variants in this theme. We’re having a look right now at the More Images so we can see what this layout is going to look like if we select this particular one. And there’s this title layout, and this is what the chart would look like, and then smart art graphics, and this is a photo layout. And then there are different variants, different color combinations that we could use in this particular theme. Now what they’ve done in PowerPoint 2013 is that they’ve removed some of the color options that we had previously and sort of scaled them down to a more manageable group. So this particular design has four color options and you choose one of them and go with it rather than having to select from a set of color schemes that are probably twenty or thirty of them.

So I’m really liking this sort of red one so let’s click Create. And we’re now all ready to start our PowerPoint presentation. None of this is going to be unusual for PowerPoint users. A little bit has changed with the interface here. You can see that it’s got a metro style look to it so everything is a lot flatter. There’s no dimension in the screen, no shading. The buttons have sort of all gone to the back and really what we’re doing is focusing a little bit more on the content of our presentation.

Let’s go to Backstage View before we come back here though and see what’s there. I’ll click File to go to Backstage View. Now some of these options have changed. There’s Save and Save as. If we go to Save as you’ll see that by default we’re now saving to SkyDrive so this is the SkyDrive account that I was already logged into. Details are up here, and it’s opting to save it to SkyDrive by default. If I want to I can save it to my own computer so I can click Computer and this gives me access to my own folder structure. I can also add a place. So I could add things like a SharePoint location or a different SkyDrive account. Print is pretty standard. There’s not much changes here but Share has some options. You can invite people to share your document on your SkyDrive account. You can email it. You can present it online or publish your slides here. Export here we’ve got our PDF, XPS document support. Here’s the video option. Here’s packaging it for a CD, creating handouts and changing our file type. Down here are the standard options. This is general options for working inside PowerPoint and there’s not much changed here. Let’s go back here however to this Account area. And this is where you manage your accounts. So at the moment you can see that I’ve got a connected service with my Facebook account, my SkyDrive account, Twitter. I can also add LinkedIn if I wanted to. I could add Flickr. There’s the ability to add SharePoint or another SkyDrive account, lots of options here. And I imagine that over time we might see even more appearing here. This is also showing me where I am with my product. I can get updates and get information about whether the updates are installed, whether there are any, and it’s just telling me which version of Microsoft PowerPoint I’m using. So there’s our Backstage View. There’s our Start screen.

So let’s go back now and have a look and see what’s different inside the PowerPoint interface itself. The ribbon is pretty standard from the older versions of the ribbon. The difference is that the Design tab is split in two now with the themes and the variants. So here we have the various themes that we can use. We’re using this one here, but you can see that what we’re using this variant of it. This is another one of the built in themes for PowerPoint 2013, and here are the variants so we could make it blue or pink, whatever we want to do here.

The Developer tab is now visible by default so that’s a big change for people who want access to macros. I’ve got some additional things open here, and it’s picked up my old handy Tools tab which is one that I added to my PowerPoint 2010 and it’s been brought forward into 2011. So too has the add-in Visual Bee. But these are things that I’ve added in myself. They’re not actually in the default PowerPoint install. There is a new button here on the toolbar. It’s the Touch Mode button, and you can enable it if you’re on a touch screen. With that enabled, if I just tap it what happens is that the buttons become a little bit further apart and everything is a little bigger for work on a touch screen. Click it again and everything shrinks down just a little bit.

Let’s have a look at adding a chart so I’m just going to go back to the Home screen. And we’ll do a new slide with a chart so I’m going to choose a title and a content slide. And let’s just add a chart to our Presentation and close this down. These settings here are new, and these are in Excel as well. So these give you the ability to add chart elements or remove them. For example if we don’t want a legend we could just disable the legend here. We could also for example disable the chart title if we planned to add the chart title in as the slide title. There’s access here to styles and color options. And you can see that we could change the colors but we’ve got a smaller subset of colors this time. And they’re more true to the theme itself. So we’ve been given smaller numbers of options but probably more relevant options if you could think of it that way. And then here we’ve got other settings. We can change the values and the names. So there’s options here for working with our chart.

Let’s go again and let’s add another new slide. This time I want to add an image. So I get a choice of selecting pictures from my own computer or online pictures. Online pictures allows me to select images from clipart. I can search them using Bing or I could go and get them from my SkyDrive account. It’s also possible for me to get them from my Flickr account. So let’s just go and get an image right now. Let’s go and get a coffee image. Okay, let’s grab this one here. And I’m going to insert it so I’m just clicking it and tap Insert. And now we’ve got our image inserted on our slide.

Now if we wanted to make changes to this image we would typically go to the Picture Tools Format tab. But watch what happens when I right click the image here and choose Format Picture. What we get is this new format picture pane here. It’s a task pane. And in it are all the things that we can use to format our pictures. So let’s go ahead and let’s add a reflection to this picture, just add a very simple reflection to it.

Okay, let’s go now and add another slide and this time I’m going to add a small art graphic. So let’s just add a default smart art graphic. But look what’s happened to our pane. Now we’re seeing Format Shape options because these are the options that we can use with this smart art graphic. If we go back to this slide here and click on the picture the pane is still there. It stays in place if we want it to, but it changes to show us the kind of options that we have for the object that we’re working with. And I think users are going to really like this because you don’t have dialogue sitting over the top of your slides. This is all tucked away on the side and you can leave it open as you work. And it’s just giving you much quicker access to things. You can see we haven’t moved away from the Home tab and yet we’ve got most of the smart art tools available that allow us to format the smart art as we work.

Now another handy tool we’ve got is the eyedropper tool. So I’m just going back to this image and I am going to click on the image and go to Picture Tools Format tab. And I’m going to select Picture Border. So instead of actually choosing one of these theme colors what I can do is use the new eyedropper tool. What the eyedropper tool does is to allow me to select a color from the image itself. So I can just mouse over an area of the image and select that as the color of my picture border for example. So it’s now my selected color so I can now add a border to the image that is a color that I’ve selected from the image itself. Now you may be missing the color options that you used to have inside PowerPoint, but we still have access to them. We just have access to them in a limited way.

So let’s say that we like this general layout, but we’d really like it to be a different color combination. In this case we’ll go to the View option and we’ll go to Slide Master View. In Slide Master View we can control the slide master that controls the look and feel of out presentation. And you can see here that the All Theme Color options are back again. So for example if we wanted to use a theme color for example medium we could do that. And here’s our medium color scheme that’s now been applied to the presentation. I’ll close Master View and let’s go back into the Design View.

We’ve still got the four options that came with this slide presentation, but we also have our own custom option that’s a Slide Master that we can use. Now if we like this color scheme in preference to the other variants we can save it as we always could, just drop down this theme option and save the current theme. So you do get the customization options of being able to change colors, but you get it where they really should have been all along which is in the Slide Master because you really want it to be thematically strong and you want this color scheme to be applied throughout the entire presentation. Now some of the other options that are available inside PowerPoint 2013 is the Video options so you can select Online Video or Video on your PC. There are a few more options in working with video content. You’ll find things in the Slide Show menu.

When you go to rehearse a slide show or set up a slide show you’ll have different options in terms of viewing presenter view so you can actually see presenter view if you want to. So let’s just do that. And let’s send the slide show to the monitor and the primary monitor which is not the one I’m using right now, and let’s do Presenter View. And let’s just view the slide show. So here’s our Presenter View. You can see that we can see which slide we’re on and we can navigate through the slides. In fact this is my title slide and this is the next one up. And there’s two and three. We can also use a See All Slides option where you can see the slides themselves. You can press Escape here and you’re just going back into Presenter View, not ruining the presentation which is actually running on my second monitor right now. You’ve got the ability to zoom into the slide show so you can click on here and zoom it up full screen. And there are the standard laser pointers so you can use a laser pointer on your screen and you can see other slide show options here.

So there’s plenty to like about this new PowerPoint 2013. I think you’ll like it a lot. If you haven’t already done so why not go and download the customer preview and install it and have a play around with it. I’m Helen Bradley. Thank you for joining me for this presentation. You can find more of my videos here on my YouTube channel. I encourage you to subscribe to the video channel as we’re releasing at least two new videos every week. And also follow me at where you’ll find tips and tricks for all the Office applications as well as much, much more. If you liked this video please go ahead and like it and I’m always happy to hear your comments.

Helen Bradley

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Permanently fix Word’s image insert behavior

I was at dinner the other night and talking computers with some friends. We were joking about Excel not being a word processor when the subject of images came up. And Lo! and behold someone suggested that Excel was a much better option to use than Word so far as images are concerned.

This has been a particular issue for me for years. You see Word inserts all images, by default as in line with text which is the option you’d probably never want to use.

I promised my friends to show them how to fix Word – permanently – so images get inserted as you’d want them to be – with a square wrap around. It’s a good starting point and my recommended default for Word. You can change the wrapping if you want but 99.9% of the time this is the setting you’ll want to use.

In Word 2003, choose Tools > Options > Edit tab and from the Insert/Paste Pictures as dropdown list choose Square and click Ok.

In Word 2007 choose File > Word Options > Advanced tab and locate the Cut, Copy and Paste group. From the Insert/Paste Pictures as dropdown list choose Square and click Ok.

In Word 2010 choose File > Options > Advanced tab and locate the Cut, Copy and Paste group. From the Insert/Paste Pictures as dropdown list choose Square and click Ok.

Now you know how to fix it … spread the love and tell a friend!

Helen Bradley

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

Inserting Images in Word

In recent implementations of Word they broke the image insertion tool. When you insert an image it comes in as “Inline with text” which means it won’t move, it breaks up lines and, in general, looks awful.

Luckily it’s fixable and permanently so. To do this, choose Tools, Options, Edit tab. From the Insert/Paste pictures as dropdown list choose something like Square or In front of Text (in fact anything other than In line with text). Click Ok and the change will be permanent. Although you can, of course, always change the setting for any inserted image if you really do want to put it inline with text by selecting the option from the Picture toolbar on an image by image basis. My bet is you won’t ever do it though!

Helen Bradley

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

Automatic Excel cell entries

We all love to save time and here’s a great tip to make repetitive cell entries in Excel just so much easier to complete.

You do this by making a drop-down list in a cell so you can select your entry from it rather than having to type it fresh each time.

To do this:

  1. Type the list of items to use in a single column in a spare sheet in the workbook.
  2. Select these cells and choose Insert, Name, Define and type DataForList and click Ok.
  3. Move to the sheet where the data goes, select the cells for the drop-down list and choose Data, Validation, Settings tab. From the Allow list choose List and, in the Source area, type =DataForList and click Ok.

Now, whenever you click a cell in this range you’ll see a list box indicator appear and you can choose the cell entry from the list.

Helen Bradley