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You may think you know all there is about Excel--I mean, you've been using it since its inception in the mid-80s. (Well, okay, maybe you haven't. I sure haven't; my parents bought me my very first computer in 1995—a PowerMac--and it had Excel 5.0 on it. So...that makes it 15 years for me.)
But even so, an old hat (like the Hogwart's sorting hat) can discover new tricks that it didn't know were possible. Excel 2010 has some really great new additions as well as improvements (I probably shouldn't use that word--improvements--but everything and everybody can fashion some room within themselves in order to to squeeze some in...right?).
And then one day the clouds part and Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and partying AND fertility--which, in our context here, means productivity--smiles his sweet, naughty, benevolent smile down at you and y ιδού * you are anointed! But with what?
Read on to find out...
There's nothing worse finding your home mailbox filled with trash: useless coupons, real estate ads for houses you'll never be able to afford (cruel marketers!), sweepstakes entries, direct mail nonsense, and catalogs for you, your clothes, your hobbies, your wife (her clothes, her hobbies), your kids (ditto), and even your pets (time for your manicure, Fifi?).
But wait; there IS something worse: Junk mail in your inbox, clogging it with promises of weight loss, virility, cases of champagne, and miracle cream to erase your fine lines and bad memories.
Making friends with your Outlook Junk Mail filter is like employing your very own beefy bouncer who’ll never let the uncool people beyond the front door.
Sometimes you need something but you don't KNOW you need it and so that little nagging sensation in the back of your brain starts to slowly—but surely—drive you crazy. But as we all know, necessity is the mother of invention (or maybe it was Mrs. Edison?) and so we humans start thinking.
Consider these scenarios:
Now you get it. And of course this also applies to working in Office. Today's underused feature is one that a reader clued me in on; I had NO idea it was even there and now I truly can't live without it. Shall we?
Yep, it's coming:: On October 26th you can buy Office for Mac 2011.
Lots of you have written to me asking about when the next version was coming out...and here it is. There have been feature improvements (such as faster performance and launch times) and several new features (such as "dynamic reorder"—the ability to create very rich documents by layering and reordering text, shapes, pictures, SmartArt, animations, and charts). And, just like Office 2010 for the PC, Office for Mac 2011 will implement the Ribbon, co-authoring tools, and access to Office Web Apps.
Oh, and one more thing: Entourage, the mail program for Office for Mac, is saying goodbye so that you can say hello to Outlook for Mac. Yes! Curious about what else is in this newest version of Office for Mac? Check out the full post...
You waited, you demanded, you cajoled, and then you waited some more until finally...it happening.
No, NPR and Fox News are not co-hosting a pancake breakfast.
But listen to this: Office for Mac 2011 is ready to fly off the shelves and into your life. (You've been kvetching about it for a while so...what are you waiting for?)
It never fails. I'm at a party or a family gathering or even interviewing a new dog sitter, and the conversation eventually winds around to, "So. What do you do?" Sometimes I want to collapse onto the floor into a horizontal position and start twitching and drooling (and maybe gesturing in an unladylike way) and look up and say, "Sometimes I do this—usually just while I'm sleeping, though." And then that would bring the ha-ha-has but eventually I would have to fess up and tell Curious George or Georgette that I'm a writer and I work for Microsoft and I used to write a column and now I write a blog and it's a sort of techie and sort of humorous and it's supposed to help people use the Office products and survive life in the office.
And then the questions begin.
What does this X mean? What's a protocol? What's a profile? What is SMTP? What's a macro? What are BIOS? What's CSS mean? What's the difference between a Rumba and a Beguine??? Why don't you guys talk in regular language? Is it a conspiracy?
Yep, that's it: It's a conspiracy. And me with all my Crabby Office Lady power, I have all the time in the world to be in on this.
Happy Bastille Day, Francophiles!
And because today is my delightful Uncle Phil Stahl's 80th birthday, I thought I'd offer some special tips that I know he—and you—could use. Listen up Crabbyphiles: This is a guy born in 1930 who uses Office like no other 80-year-old (or 70-year-old, or some 20-year-olds) I've ever seen. Sure, he comes to me with questions once in a while, but not until after he's done some pretty fancy troubleshooting himself. And so today, Uncle Phil, these tips are from me to you (and anyone else who wants to wish you a happy 80th birthday).
You all just love Office tips and tricks and I can't say I blame you. It's fun to learn secret things like your very best friend can still do five back handsprings in a row, or that that your nephew-in-law was a runner-up in the Scripps National Spelling Bee back in the 1980s, or that the gal on your block with the unbelievable hydrangeas turned out to be a Russian spy...
"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun."
"The first rule is not to lose. The second rule is not to forget the first rule."
" Any fool can make a rule, and every fool will follow it."
(Sources, in order: Katharine Hepburn, Warren Buffet, Henry David Thoreau).
Apparently everyone has different ideas about what a rule is and how/when/why/IF to follow it. Are you a rule maker or a rule follower? The shepherd or the sheep? In life, we are often both (depending on the circumstances), but when we're talking about Outlook, I want you to be in charge—you're the herding dog and Outlook is the sheep (or cow), following your every move, performing every rule you set down and, truth be told, with a dose of healthy fear (the great motivator). That's right: you can create a rule—an action performed automatically when you send or receive email—and be confident that Outlook will follow it. You are the master! Read on to find out what awaits you in your kingdom...
I love getting emails and comments from my readers, even if they're less than...happy or flattering. What they say to me is that you're paying attention, and I can't really ask for more than that (although I do and will continue to do so).
Speaking of letters...(indulge me, won't you? If no, you can't/won't, just go directly to the full post). A couple of days after Halloween I found a letter addressed to "Halloween Wrecker" in my mailbox. Apparently I'd hurt the feelings of 6 foot tall 13-year-old when I asked him if he might be too tall/old for trick-or-treating, and his mother found it necessary to write me a piece of anonymous and vitriolic hate mail. Calling me out as a "cruel and insensitive judger of children," she told me how sensitive her son is because he's so tall (I'm pretty sure that will work out in his favor in a year or two), that he'd spent the week wearing a costume of his favorite cartoon character, and that their dog had recently had a leg removed due to cancer and so couldn't go out that night with him and his little sister, who he accompanied (nice touch).
The moral of this story for my readers: If you need to tell me (us) something, don't keep it all bottled up! Submit a feedback in the form of an email or a comment, I read them all and hey, I don't even know where you live!
Let's all come clean: Sometimes the Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations or other things you've created using Office 2010 or 2007 cannot be viewed by others, inviting bad blood and general crabbiness.
When all your hard work—your documents, spreadsheets, whatever—can't be opened by the people you send them to, it's frustrating, to say the least. But now you can turn those files into universally accepted (and beloved) PDFs.