About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

May 7, 2013

Office 2013-Final Thoughts

Today is the wrap-up of Office 2013.  Thanks for all of the positive emails you sent about this series of articles.  Also, thanks for the ideas for future columns…keep reading, there is a good chance you will see them here eventually.

First, two tips I received from readers need mentioning.  Jennifer reminded me I should tell all of the Excel users the multiple workbooks in the same window feature is now gone.  YAY! 

Excel, side-by-sideFor years I have been the MS Office go to guy.  I cannot number the times I have gotten the question.  You know the one, "How can I open two workbooks and see them in separate instances of Excel, say one on my right screen and one on my left, at the same time?" 

There is a workaround for it in pre-2013 Offices.  Write if you want to know how.  But with Excel 2013, the default setting is to open a new workbook in separate instances of Excel.  This means that you have two detached versions of Excel running at the same time so you can look at both or copy data from one book to the other.

Next Matt at JMU said, "You know you wrote about Outlook not opening the reply, reply to all and forwards in a separate window?  There should be a setting in Outlook somewhere to fix that because it is a pain."  Well, Matt was correct.  This feature is called, "Reading Pane Compose" and it can be thwarted.  On an individual basis click Reply (or Reply to all or Forward) and you will see a small link in the upper-left corner of the compose area which says, "Pop Out."  When clicked to reply, email pops into its own separate window just as in the past.  If you want that to happen every time with every email go to File tab, click Options, then the Mail link in the navigation bar on the left.  Scroll about half way down that page until you see, "Replies and forwards" and uncheck, "Open replies and forwards in a new window."  You are done, easy.

Open replies and forwards in a new window.

Office 2013 is the desktop only version to be installed on one computer.  Office 365 is a cloud version that pairs up with the Office application. The previous versions of Office 365 had a much smaller feature list than the desktop version.  This means you just could not do as many things with the cloud version and if you were not online you could not use it; but now you can.

Let’s look at the pricing for Office 2013 and Office 365.

Office 2013 is more expensive than Office 365 and 2013’s license is only good for one computer.  Office 2013 Pro which includes the entire Office suite retails for $400.

Office 365 comes two ways.  1) Home Premium for $100 per year.  2) Small Business Premium for $150 per year. Both have the full Office 2013 Pro suite for your computer but up to five people can use Office 365 Home Premium on up to five systems. 

Small Business Premium also has five licenses; however, it is billed per user per year. Each user can install and use Office on up to five PCs, but the licenses can’t be shared with other users. This version also includes Exchange (for email management), SharePoint (for making an internal web space), and Lync (a messaging platform for the office).

To me, the pricing is a mess but if you need Office for business the Small Business version may be the way to go.

Office Pro

April 9, 2013

Office 2013-Excel, Part 1

Before we start on Excel 2013 today, please accept my apology.  Last week when describing "collapsing headings" in Word 2013 I stated, "…when you hover over that created section a small triangle appears to the right of the text."  That should actually be the "to the left of the text." Thanks to the users who caught me and wrote in.

This column will be more for those who have previous experience in Excel, since it is a more unique program that Word or Internet Explorer but anyone may read on and learn.

In my opinion the first and best addition to Excel is the new "Flash Fill" feature.  In the olden days if you had a column with first, middle and last names all together in one cell and you needed to separate the individual names out you had to use the "Text to Column" command in the Data tab.  You can do this much easier with Excel’s new predictive ability to recognize patterns.

Name combinationsNext to the column with the complete names in it, insert a blank column.  Now type in the name you want to "pull" out, say the last name.  I would type "Doyle" next to the cell containing "Ron Doyle."  Then, click the Home tab, "Fill" and from the dropdown box click "Fill Flash."  The last names of everyone else in the list will be entered into that that column immediately.  If you want to do the same thing to the first names, go to the next empty column and type the first name of one person and follow the same procedure.  Bang!  They are now all entered.  Now for an old-timer in Excel like me (this is my favorite MS Application if I have not mentioned that before) you can even turn that scenario around.

Flash FillSay that the first, middle and last names are entered into separate cells and you need to combine them.  If you are familiar with "Concatenation" you know the old way but now you do it just as above.  Type in one person’s complete name in a cell, run the "Fill Flash" feature again and all of the names are joined together in the column.  I think this is a remarkable new feature.



Choose from multiple Pivot TablesNow let’s talk about the most amazing addition to Excel 2013.  If you are a Pivot Table user you know that you basically have to "play" with them and keep experimenting in order to get the information you actually need from them.  Now with the new pivot tables you can start out way ahead of the curve on creating new pivot table data.  As before, you click in a cell of the data you want to use, go to the Insert tab but now click, "Recommended Pivot Tables."  A list of a few to many sample pivot tables will present themselves. This is dependent on how much raw data is available.  Now double click on the one you like and it is immediately created.  If you need to adjust it at all do that the same way you used to.  Pivot tables are one of the only things I did not like before in Excel since they were so convoluted.  But now they are a snap.

That ends if for Excel 2013 today.  I hope to see you back here next week!

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