About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

November 16, 2010

Office Tricks

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , — Ron @ 4:54 am

When I originally started writing this column years ago it was going to be devoted mostly to Microsoft Office products.  Since that time I have written about those products and most everything under the sun, at least computer-wise.

Today, I am going back to the beginning and will answer questions I have received from several readers over the past months.  So today and for the next few weeks we will look at some tips for Office applications.

So you are writing a long document in Microsoft Word.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to track all of the changes made in that document throughout its history?  Tracking changes is a handy feature if you know you will be working on the file for a long time or if you are working on a document with others.  This will allow you to see what has transpired throughout the document’s life. 

To turn on tracking in versions before 2007 use the TOOLS menu and select "Track Changes." For version 2007 and later go to REVIEW tab on the ribbon and in the "Tracking" group, choose "Track Changes." 

Do not be alarmed. I am sure you will have many red lines, vertical bars and other unknown effects pop up on your document.  The text you add/delete will show up in red (maybe with lines) and some changes will be noted in a red comment box along the margin.  Personally, I do not like to track changes in a document since it gets sort of "junky" looking.  However, there are some really good reasons to track a document.


If you are feeling like you are seeing red a little too much, just reverse the steps for starting tracking and they will disappear.   You may also have to click an indented button in the Tracking group.

When you are on the receiving end of a tracked document you should review each of the changes shown.  To agree with a comment choose the "Accept Change" icon.  If you have reviewed the entire document and agree with all of the changes you can choose, "Accept All Changes."

Then as you edit the document your changes will also be recorded and tracked for the next person’s input.
As I started writing this I realized MS Office has many versions people still use so I would have to write three instructions for each tip.  The following is one of those, so check which version you have before changing the settings.

When you select text in Word (also Excel, PowerPoint, and several other Office programs) a little "Mini Toolbar" pops up over the selected text.  It has the bold, italics, font face, font size and many other formatting options available for you to easily click and change.  But if you are like me you prefer other ways to format your text and the mini-bar just gets in the way.

Here is how to remove it in three different versions.

Office 2003 and earlier, the versions without the ribbon:  Choose Tools, Customize, Options and then uncheck, "Show ScreenTips on toolbars" and/or "Show shortcut keys in ScreenTips."

Office 2007, the first with the ribbon:  Click the Office Orb button, Word Options, Popular, (which most likely will already be chosen) under "Top options for working with Word." Uncheck "Show Mini Toolbar on selection."

Last but not least: the latest version Office 2010:  File, Options, General, User Interface Options and finally uncheck, "Show Mini Toolbar on Selection."

If you try either of these and do/don’t like them, let me know.

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