PowerPoint: Use to Touch Up Pictures

PowerPoint: Use to Touch Up Pictures

You don't always need expensive picture software.  Sometimes, PowerPoint can do the job just as well.
In fact, you can use PowerPoint to remove any background and make it transparent.
Here's How:

1. Open PowerPoint and paste your image onto a slide page.
2. Select the image,
3. click Picture Tools,
4. click Color

5. Click “Set Transparent Color” and a color selection tool (looks like an eye dropper)
    will be attached to your mouse cursor.

6. Precisely click in your picture on the color you want to remove.
7. When done, right click the picture and click "Save as picture", .png format

PowerPoint, pictures, transparent, background

Print Better Pictures

A customer of mine recently wanted to know why her pictures appeared to have a layer of line impressions. We went through her printing process and made some adjustments that cleared up the problem.

(But I have to tell you, it's cheaper and you'll get better results by taking your flash cards to Office Max, Walgreen's, or even Costco to get them printed.)

In this case, she wanted to print a couple at home for convenience. So here are the adjustments:

Word 2010 Crop Marks on Page Corners

MS Office 2010 has been out for awhile now and I recently did the "Big Install". I opened up Word to take a look and I see these light blue crop marks on the top and bottom corners of the document screen. My first thought was, "Huh?", followed quickly with, "Go Away."

Here are the steps to turn that feature off:
Open Word 2010
a. Click File, Options, Advanced on the left panel
b. Under the section "Show document content"
c. Un-check "Show Crop Marks"

Excel and the CTRL Key

The "CTRL" key is a powerful tool in Excel. Open Excel - any version:

- Ctrl and click random cells. This will select a range of non-adjacent cells.
- Ctrl + A will select the entire spreadsheet (if empty), or the range of data (if data is present)
- Ctrl + Home moves the active cell to A1
- Ctrl + End moves the active cell to the last cell with data entered. (But goes nowhere if the spreadsheet has no data.
- Ctrl + down arrow moves the active cell (within the selected column) to the absolute bottom row of the spreadsheet.
- Ctrl + up arrow moves the active cell (within the selected column) to the absolute top row of the spreadsheet.
- Ctrl PageUp or PageDown moves between sheets in a workbook.
- Ctrl + ~ (located under the ESC key) will open all the cells in order to view the formulas without clicking on each individual one. A lifesaver for large spreadsheets. (Press the Ctrl + ~ again to turn it off)

Excel: Formula Auditing, a vital tool

The vital role of Formula Auditing. An amazing but little known tool in Excel.

Trick 1) F2 Key, Shows formula in current cell (rather than looking up at the Formula Bar)
Trick 2) Ctrl ~, Show all formulas in worksheet (~ is located below the Escape key)
Trick 3) Formula Auditing, draw arrows to formulas (Add to your Quick Access Bar)

See Examples on this Video

Excel: Column, Row, Grand Totals - in 2 clicks

You read that right. You can total the columns, rows, and Grand Total in just 2 clicks. View this quick video and be smarter and happier.

Trick 1) Total all columns at once
Trick 2) Total all columns and rows at once
Trick 3) The 2-Step Chart

Excel Data Entry with Click and Drag

One of the best kept secrets in Excel is the amazing 'Fill Handle' for data entry purposes. Watch this video, the link will take you to a screen demonstration with me talking in the background: Excel Fill Handle Video

I would type it all out, but it would be a page long and the video is only one minute long.

Excel: Add Columns or Rows FAST

Adding new columns within your Excel spreadsheet is super easy: Right Click, Insert, Columns.

And then I learned a new way recently and just shook my head. (Old dog, new trick syndrome...)

This works on Rows or Columns:
Click the row or column header (A,B,C.. or 1,2,3..)
Press CTRL + (plus sign) to add a column or row
Press CTRL - (minus sign) to delete a column or row

Excel 2-Step Chart

If you enter any block of data into Excel, you can produce a chart in 2 quick steps:

1. Click into one cell of the data (Excel will assume all adjacent cells should be included.)

2. Hit the F11 key at the top of your keyboard.

Shazam! There's your 2 step chart!

Excel Data Forms: How and Why

An Excel Data Form is a useful data entry tool if you have the tedious job of entering data. (I avoid this at all costs, but periodically I have to cave.)

The reason you would ever use a "Form" is if the database you are using is vertically or horizontally off the screen. Go through the steps below and if you find it useful, then you have saved a little sanity. Otherwise, just ignore this.

Excel Hyperlinks: How to Select without Activating

In Excel, when you type an email address into a cell it automatically changes to a Hyperlink. (Tip: to Undo that automation, just hit Ctrl Z immediately after it happens. You can also Right click the hyperlink and choose "Remove Hyperlink")

Anyway, when you type an email address and it automatically changes into a Hyperlink that you want to keep, how do you then select that cell without activating the Hyperlink?

Answer: click and "hold" until the cursor hand changes to a crossbar again.

Wash your fingerprints off a Word document

My definition of MetaData: Hidden threads of document changes, revisions, the author's name, and various other incriminating details that travel along with a Word document like fingerprints on a drinking glass.

No big deal, you can't see that info, right? In the wrong circumstances, like a legal action, metadata could ruin your case. How to remove them...

Watermarks in Excel

Creating a Watermark in Excel 2003 & 2007

Watermarks are dim images in the background of a spreadsheet. 'Back in the day' we could identify quality paper from the watermark imprint. 'Nowadays', a watermark can be any word or image you like. Ex: Confidential, Draft, company logo, etc. Here's how to make one in Excel...

Watermarks in Microsoft Word

Watermarks are dim images in the background of a document to mark them as Confidential, Draft, a company logo, etc. Here's how...

Outlook: Move Personal Contacts above Global Contacts

Do you work in the corporate world and have that handy list of "Global Contacts" in Outlook? If so, then you know what happens when you click TO: and it opens the GLOBAL list when you really just want your CONTACT list.

By default, Outlook searches through the GLOBAL list before searching personal Contacts. Well... you can change that order and put your CONTACT addresses first. Here's how...

Outlook Email: Vanishing Unread Emails - Solved

Last week, for some freak reason, an email would come into my Outlook, appear long enough for me to notice it and see the first line, then vanish. Great. So the hunt began, clicking through my 50 folders (yes... 50) trying to find where it landed. No luck.

So I have this saying... Whenever you have the question "How Do I ____fill in question here___", the answer is "Right Click".

How do I find only my Unread emails? Answer: Right click. See below steps:

Outlook Contacts: Wrong Default Area Code

Question: "When I enter a new contact in my Outlook 2003 it automatically inserts a (651) area code for the phone number. How can I change this to (208)?"

Answer: "You are looking for the Phone and Modem dialing rules. Try this:
1. Open any contact. On the toolbar click on Actions > Call contact > New call
(For 2007 or 2010 versions, click "Call > New call")
2. Click Dialing Properties, then you will see a new screen.
3. Click Edit or New and change the area code"

Outlook Out-of-Office Replies

If you use Outlook Exchange, it's easy to click Tools, Out-of-Office Assistant. But if you don't use Exchange, how do you get your email to "Auto Respond" while you are away?

Here is the answer...

Outlook Inbox: Change the Subject line or Add notes

Sometimes, I just need to add a note on my email Inbox list to remind me what to do with a certain email. Here are the steps to get there...

Or watch me apply it at this link.

Outlook: Color Code Emails from Certain People

Note: This does not apply to "Outlook Express"
With Outlook, you can Color Code emails as they arrive in your Inbox. Color coding helps target specific messages. Here's how... (works in both Outlook 2003 and 2007)
Click to See a FREE Video on this topic for Outlook 2010.

Outlook Best Kept Super Secret

If you use MS Outlook as an email, calendar, and contact manager, then you are familiar with switching screens back and forth to check your calendar. This trick works best if you have two monitors on your desk. It still works with one monitor, but your best results are with two.

Basically, you can place your email on one screen and your calendar on the other. This saves a ton of frustration flipping back and forth. Here's how...

PowerPoint Free Sound Effects

If you want to jazz up your presentation with some actual and decent sounding music or effects, here are a couple of sites that provide free sounds: 

Calendar, Color Code Appts

Have you ever used color-coded file folders in your office? Of course! The red ones mean "this", the yellow ones mean "that", etc. They help because at a glance, you know the topic of the colored folder. Outlook offers the same priority coding in the calendar. Here's how to use it: (works Outlook 2003, 07 and 10)

Calendar "Today" Button

Many times throughout my day I am looking ahead at my calendar, shifting, adding, deleting, and scheduling appointments. In fact, besides my email, my calendar is the second most used tool on my computer. But with all that activity going on, the moment my phone rings I need to "re-group" and get back to "Today".

Calendar Time Increments

OK - Depending on your profession, your schedule may need multiple appointment slots per hour, rather than just 1 per hour. For instance a dentist may need 15 minute increments, but a phychiatrist may need 1 hour increments.

Word Count

I was writing a letter to the editor and the instructions said my word count had to be less than 300. Well how am I supposed to know without counting each word? Here's the answer...

Word: Page Setup Trick

When you are in Microsoft Word, and you are in Print Layout view (View, Page Layout or Print Layout), you will see a ruler on the left side of your document.

Move your mouse to the ruler and Double-Click.

SHAZAM!! Page Setup magically appears! You'll never go back to the old way of opening your margin settings. Now finish your document, and be happy...

Word: Disable Reading Layout

When someone emails a Word document to me, and I click to open and read it, it opens in this odd "Reading Layout". It sort of resembles a "storybook" layout. I just want to see the document as it will print without wrestling to get it to look normal. Here's how to disable that pesky feature forever...

Word 07: Rearrange Paragraphs Quickly

Swapping paragraphs in Microsoft Office Word can be complicated. As well as having to cut and paste, you often have to reformat line breaks afterward to make the paragraph line up properly. There is a trick in Word 07 that allows you to use the SHIFT+ALT keyboard shortcut.

Recover Deleted Pictures

My friend Anthony called me immediately after he had accidentally deleted 1300 pictures. And he was thorough... he also emptied his recycle bin. Well, I didn't have an answer for him, but he found a great one and shared it with me. I'm passing it onto you:

It's Free, easy, and he was able to retrieve all 1300 pics within a few minutes.

Don't Delete your Pictures!

Print Screen or Screen Capture

I remember way-back-when how easy it was to print a screen. We just hit the "Prt Scr" button on the keyboard above the Home and End keys, and immediately the printer would engage and shoot out a piece of paper with our screen on it. Then Windows 98 appeared and it all changed. Unfortunately, many of us never learned the new (hidden) step.

Change Desktop Icon Picture

Is it possible to change a Desktop Icon's picture? Yes. I get bored with those little yellow files on my desktop. Here's how...

Computer People Tricks

Here is a Computer "Underground" Super Secret:

Everyone knows that when you work in an industry for any length of time you learn things that the general public does not know. Tips, Shortcuts, Secrets. Here are a couple I've learned...

Remote Access is a Snap

Sometimes productivity isn't possible if you're away from your main computer. For instance, I teach a class on Digital Cameras and demonstrate photo manipulation. But the lab computer does not have PhotoShop. My home office computer does. To teach the class productively, I remotely access my home office computer. To do that, I have to use a remote access product.

Zoom In Zoom Out

While you are reading this, right now, press and hold Control on your keyboard and scroll the mouse wheel up or down.

Welcome to the Super Secret of Zoom control! No matter where you are or what you are looking at, the moment you feel your eyes squinting, just press Ctrl and Scroll the mouse wheel. So even if you can't find a Zoom button, this trick will work.

Computer System Restore

Here is a Computer Secret that I use just once in awhile - but it's a Biggy:

System Restore - the best thing Microsoft ever did for their customers. This will save you tremendous hours of heartache by re-setting whatever FREAK thing happened to your computer.

Computer Backup Files

It seems like the your computer is the all important tool, until you lose your files and you realize the computer is just the box that held the important stuff. You MUST backup computer files on a regular basis. And there are many methods to accomplish this. I'll list them here, you choose 1, 2, or more, and then make it a priority to put your choice into action!

Computer Increase Speed

For External computer care, a can of air to blow out the keyboard and an alcohol pad to clean the keyboard and mouse are standard in my desk drawer. And NEVER use Windex or alcohol on your monitor. You will streak the optical coating and you'll regret it forever. Only use water and a soft cloth.

The Internal computer care is a little more intense and takes more time and knowledge.

Computer Upgrade or Purchase New

This is an important topic; have you seen the price of computers? They're incredibly low! Buying a new computer isn't such a bad idea.

But it's a hassle to buy a new one. All that time to transfer files, install software, the expense of buying software you already have on your old computer, and the list goes on.

Computer Electronics Drawer

Does your home office have various cords and plugs and gadgets scattered around, laying on shelves, in the bottom of boxes, and at the back of a drawer? You find random USB cords that you *think* came with your digital camera, but you're not really sure... Hmmmm. Solve this chaos by designating one spot for all cords.

Computer Gadgets to Have

There are just some things in my office that I can't live without. I highly recommend these simple and inexpensive items so your computing time is streamlined.

PowerPoint: Use Smart Art Often

Microsoft SmartArt graphics allow you to create high-impact, professional diagrams. Instead of spending hours designing your own, use Microsoft Office 2007 to focus on the visual message that you want.

PowerPoint: Controlling the Audience

An audience is an interesting animal and your presentation can tame them or turn them against you. Here are some tips to keep them focused on your message and not on the LENGTH of the message while itching to escape.

PowerPoint Multi-Monitor View

Would you like to have access to your slide notes during a PowerPoint presentation--without printing? Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 and 2007 feature a multiple-monitor view that can display your presentation on one monitor and your notes on a 2nd monitor.

Outlook: Create Contact Folders

I'm big on organizing my piles and piles of papers. With Microsoft Outlook, you will eventually accumulate piles and piles of contacts. You need to keep them organized. There are 2 methods: (and I use both of these simultaneously)

Outlook: Group Your Contact Folders

So many contacts, and now... so many folders of contacts. I literally have 28 folders of contacts that apply to many industries. So I seperate my contacts by the industry: School, Business, E-commerce, and personal groups like Family, Hobbies, Holiday Cards, etc.

Computer Super Secrets all in one place - AT LAST

If you follow my weekly email super secrets, but occasionally need to dig back into your archives to find a particular computer tip, it might be lost, deleted, whatever. It's just gone.

So to the rescue comes Andy's "Computer Super Secrets" blog site! Yes ladies and gentleman, at last one place to find all the tips in nice little batches according to subject.

Start clicking over on the right hand panel to find or just catch up on any you've missed, or see some you're about to get and you can't wait for the next weekly email delivery. And post some comments on what has worked for you and what hasn't. I want to hear what you're looking for and what you're frustrated with on computers or software.

Happy Clicking!
Andy Lanning, Chief Nerd
Computer Software Training, LLC

Excel 07 charts: The Good and the oh so BAD...

Excel 2007 charting is absolutely delightful. The color splashes are beautiful, fresh, and just COOL! I couldn't wait to get started using them, afterall it was the main reason I upgraded to the 07 package.

And then I discovered a "teensy little problem". Ugh.

Print Excel Comments

First of all, what is an Excel comment?  It's basically a post-it note attached to any cell in the spreadsheet.

Outlook Attachment Issues

My friend Bill writes:
Andy, for some reason my attachments are not showing in the heading of my e-mails, but are in the body of the e-mail as a square icon. Is there a way to change this so it does not appear in the body of the message but on an attachment line? (I think this may have started when I had our company e-mail tech support fix some problems I was having.)

Outlook AutoFill email addresses

Outlook has a featured called "automatic completion" for any email address typed into the To or CC fields. This feature does not pull from the contacts or address book, rather, it adds names to the auto complete list as you type them. The problem comes in when you add a bad address, and then each time you start to type in the address, the incorrect one appears in the list.

Outlook 2007 & 10 Signatures - on Steroids

Outlook allows up to 2 active signatures for each email account on your system depending on if it's a NEW email or a REPLY email. For instance, I have 5 active email accounts (I know, I'm neurotic but I can't help it!) and I have about 7 signatures set up, but can only use 2 per account.

Outlook: Block/Unblock automatic picture downloads in e-mails

Microsoft Outlook is configured to block automatic picture downloads from the Internet. This can help protect your computer. But you can unblock pictures you feel are safe to download.

Outlook: Sorting Contacts on the fly

Take a look at your list of Outlook contacts. Have you ever noticed the vertical lines between the columns? They have a purpose:

Outlook signatures: A Backdoor approach for Productivity

In technology, the term "backdoor" originally meant a "hidden code" or "secret sequence". It has come to also mean "A unique way of getting something done by going through a different door."  I was in a seminar recently and saw the speaker use the Outlook signature feature as a quick autofill of text to eliminate redundancy. I could not believe my eyes. A backdoor use of signatures. Brilliant!  Here's how it's done...

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