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New web site

A whole new look for has arrived.  Check it out at

We've moved all 2000+ past articles to the entirely new web site.  Not just a different look but all the 'back office' has changed too, including a move from Windows to Linux hosting.

The new design is cleaner in the modern 'flat' look.  Behind the scenes there's HTML5, Javascript, and CSS3 to let us add nicer menus, transitional effects and more.

The same web site and look now applies across all devices from big screens to tiny phones.  The site automatically adjusts to the screen size.  

Searches will be faster and private to the web site.

The migration is still happening so some things will be on the old site - creatively called until they are moved.

>... click here to read more at ...

Two ways for sorting by Number reader Peter M. reminds us that choose the sort type is really important: Text, Number or Date.

I just thought it worth pointing out that, for example 8, 70, 600 would sort in one order as Text and the reverse order as Number. Perhaps obvious, perhaps not.”

Sadly Word doesn’t always guess correctly, so you have to check.

Look at these two tables, both are sorted by the Part No. column:

The left table is sorted as if the Part Numbers are numbers from smallest to largest. The right table is sorted as Text. The one you or your company chooses is up to you, but you need to be aware that Word can’t distinguish numbers that are text labels from real numbers (it’s the same problem in Excel PivotTables).

In the Sort dialog for the above tables, Word defaults to Number for the first column

Change the type to ‘Text’ if you prefer.

... click here to read more at ...

Office for iPad, September updates

Microsoft has just released updates to their Office for iPad apps (Word, Excel and PowerPoint for iPad). What’s new and fixed for Office 365 customers?

Nothing …. If you’re already an Office 365 renter/subscriber there’s nothing new at all.

The entire 600MB of updates is to help Microsoft sell more Office 365 packages. If you have the choice, you can skip these updates and wait for some that improve the software for customers – not Microsoft alone.

Updating the apps, just for more Microsoft's revenue, is quite inconsiderate to their millions of existing customers. Not everyone has a free, fast connection like they do. Promotional changes should be part of some new or changed features in an update for all paying customers.

Office for iPad: The Complete Guide covers every menu, ribbon and feature in Word for iPad, Excel for iPad and PowerPoint for iPad.

Office for iPad now includes ‘in-app purchases’ for the monthly Office 365 payment option.

... click here to read more at ...

Why is Gene Cernan ignored in Word?

The last man to walk on the moon, Captain Eugene Cernan, is a notable omission from the Microsoft Office dictionary.

Last week, we used a list of the men who walked on the moon as the sample list for Sorting in Word, Sort by Hidden Column and How to Hide a Column in Word.

We kept seeing a red squiggly line in the middle of the Word 2013 list …

Why is Cpt. Cernan not included in the dictionary? Does someone at Microsoft hate him?

No … It’s unlikely there’s been any deliberate omission of Cpt. Cernan’s name from the dictionary.

Many of the astronaut first and last names would be in the Word dictionary are in common use while some others like ‘Aldrin’ where probably added after analysis of user documents or a deliberate addition of a notable name.

... click here to read more at ...

DropBox prices drop but is it enough?

Dropbox has announced price decreases / storage increases to match offerings from Microsoft and Google.

The lowest level of paid Dropbox is ‘Pro’ for $9.99 a month or $99 per year. That did give you 100GB of storage and now you get 1Terabyte (1,000GB).

That sounds impressive until you realize that both Microsoft and Google offer a Terabyte for around the same price with document editing as well.

Microsoft Office 365 Personal costs $70 a year for the Office desktop and mobile applications plus a terabyte of OneDrive storage. Office 365 Home Premium is $99 a year for 5 people to use the Office programs and a terabyte each.

Google Drive is also $9.99 a month (no annual price) and integrates with Google Docs.

Dropbox did have an advantage being untied to a particular operating system (Windows, Android etc.) but that’s being somewhat eroded by the improvements in OneDrive apps.

All three major players are trying to ignore security and privacy issues in the hope that customers won’t notice or forget. Microsoft has been caught reading private emails for its self-interest. Dropbox has a former US National Security Advisor on their board which doesn’t help appearances. All the major players have no choice about supplying information from cloud storage to the US government even if it’s on a server outside the USA.

... click here to read more at ...

Sort by hidden column in Word

Sometimes you want to sort a list in a way that isn’t apparent to the reader.

To continue our Apollo theme, here’s a list of the twelve men who walked on the moon with the order they stepped onto the surface.

To put that list into the order of stepping on the moon is simple but what if you want to place them in that order but without the ‘Order’ column showing?

The beauty of this method is that you can go back to the table, add or change rows then re-sort the table. Probably a good idea to add an unpublished comment to the document reminding you and others to the presence of the hidden column and the reason for it.

The first step is the hide the column from view, which we’ve covered in a separate article.

Then select the table and choose Table | Layout | Data | Sort. The hidden column still appears in the ‘Sort by’ list, only without the header text, just the Column number. Choose the Column to Sort by and other options as usual. As you can see, the list is now in the arrival order but without that order showing.

... click here to read more at ...

How to hide a column in Word

Sometimes you want to hide a table column in a Word document but according to Microsoft you can’t do it. Here’s how to do it anyway.

It’s true that there’s no explicit ‘hide column’ option like in Excel but you can fake it in various ways. Here’s the example table we’ll use. We want to have the list in order of stepping on the moon but not display the order column.

You might think that the ‘Hidden’ formatting option (Font | Effects | Hidden) would do the trick but that only works for the contents of table cells, not the cells or column.

But the Hidden attribute gets you part way there. To finish the job, change the cell formatting to remove the vertical column border. Then narrow the columns and you have what looks like a single column table.

To prove we didn’t cheat, here’s the same table showing the column separator (in Word 2013) and the columns in the ruler.

Narrowing the column might require using a small font size.

... click here to read more at ...

Sorting in Word

Following our look at different alphabetical orders, here’s a look at the sorting options in Word.

You can sort paragraphs, lists and tables in a Word document. Select the list or paragraphs then choose Home | Paragraph | Sort. For tables there’s similar sort options are at Table | Layout | Data | Sort:

The main sort dialog box lets you sort by up to three columns or entries. This is the sort dialog for paragraphs and lists.

For tables there’s the additional ‘Using’ option at each level.

Sort by - choose the paragraph or column. If you’ve chosen ‘Separate Fields at’ (see below) the fields will appear in this list.

Type – either Text, Numbers or Date. Word will guess the correct type from the data but you can override that choice.  Choose 'Numbers' to sort by value and 'Date' to sort in date order (assuming that Word recognizes the values as dates).

... click here to read more at ...

Alphabetical order in Word

I thought that alphabetical order was, well, alphabetical order. That’s what I was taught at school and apparently I was taught wrong. There are at least three ways, two used by dictionaries, another by Microsoft and that’s for English alone!

Reading Sue Butler’s delightful book 'The Aitch Factor' I found that there's more than one alphabetical order! Naturally, that got me wondering which alphabetical order is used by Microsoft Word and Office when sorting.

Alphabetical orders

Look at these two word lists, both have the same words and both are in alphabetical order.

Source: The Aitch Factor and the Macquarie Dictionary.

... click here to read more at ...

OneNote for Windows updated

There’s a new version of OneNote for Windows 8 out today with some ‘new’ features that help it catch up ‘real’ OneNote for PC or Mac

At this stage let’s be clear, we’re talking about the OneNote app for Windows 8 in Modern/Metro style that’s been such an underwhelming ‘success’ with customers. The OneNote Windows Store app is possibly the only reason for some people to try the Modern interface.

We like the OneNote app, especially the innovative radial menu that takes a little time but is worth getting used to. But the unquestioning hype about ‘new’ features is hard to stomach.


Yes, the idea of a Microsoft Office program being able to print is considered a big deal. Microsoft should really be apologizing that it’s taken them about two years to add this essential feature.

The Print option is on the right-hand Charms menu under Devices.

Or swipe up from the bottom of the page or right-click on the page and tap ‘Print Page’. The familiar Ctrl + P shortcut also works.

... click here to read more at ...

Office for iPhone v1.2 secrecy

What’s with Office Mobile apps and their secrecy? click here for more ...
Hanx Writer and Office for iPad

Make Tom Hanks and Office for iPad work together. click here for more ...
Windows 8.1 update disappoints

When the August 2014 update was finally released it disappointed in more ways than one. click here for more ...
Adding the Ruble to Office

Microsoft adds the Ruble symbol to Windows 8.1 and we show you how to add it to earlier versions of Windows. click here for more ...
Why PivotTables get confused and how to fix them

Why Excel PivotTables get messed up and how to stop it. click here for more ...
PivotTables: selecting and changing data sources

How to add and remove data from a PivotTable. click here for more ...
What has the Smartphone ever done for us?

Forget the Romans … what use is a smartphone? click here for more ...
Where is Microsoft on email encryption?

Microsoft needs to play ‘catch up’ with email encryption. click here for more ...
The Old Alt + X trick

How to quickly insert symbols in Word without taking your fingers off the keyboard. click here for more ...
How to Email direct to cloud storage and services

Some programs let you email documents directly – here’s now. click here for more ...
Free updates now available: Office for iPad and Windows 8.1

Updates now available free for our popular Windows 8.1 and Office for iPad ebooks. click here for more ...
Word – Insert Symbol wish list

The Insert | Symbol feature in Office is overdue for an overhaul. click here for more ...
Office is 25 years old

Microsoft celebrates 25 years of the software suite. click here for more ...
Some Excel worksheets should not be shared

A bad example of Excel and document sharing online. click here for more ...
Caught! how Microsoft tricks you and the media

The latest Office for iPad announcement is misleading and accurate at the same time. click here for more ...
How you can update Office for iPad: The Complete Guide

Only days after the v1.1 app updates, we’ve revised the matching ebook. click here for more ...
Extra goodies in Office for iPad

More good stuff added to Office for iPad click here for more ...
Simple and useful PivotTables

A simple, practical and non-scary example of how Excel PivotTables can work for you. click here for more ...
Microsoft’s commitment to Office beyond Windows

Microsoft confirms Office across devices, including Android. click here for more ...
Which character code is that?

Word: how to find the character code used for a particular letter or symbols. click here for more ...
How Word’s grammar check can let you down

A funny example of how you can't trust the spelling and grammar checks in Word. click here for more ...
One Terabyte of OneDrive is here

Microsoft delivers 1,000GB for Office 365 users. click here for more ...
What is Microsoft Delve?

What is Delve and what does it mean for Microsoft Office? click here for more ...
Use the latest Unicode symbols in Office

How can you get the new Unicode symbols in Office documents? click here for more ...
More characters for Unicode

Unicode adds more characters to an already large list. click here for more ...
Get a wireless second screen

Miracast gives you a wireless external screen for PowerPoint and a lot more. click here for more ...
Office update status page

Microsoft makes a ‘one stop’ page for the latest Office update details. click here for more ...
Mending an Inkjet printer

A guide to getting more life and value from your printer. click here for more ...
Free Office ebooks from Microsoft

Plenty of free ebooks about Office 2013, Office 2010, Office 365 and more. click here for more ...
Surface mini is dead but Office for Android nears birth

A smaller Surface machine isn’t coming soon but Office for Android surely is. click here for more ...

Office News Wire

Free Office extra for the blind and visually impaired

Screen reader software now available for Office 2010 and Office 2013 users. click here for more ...
Paste in Microsoft Word

Demystifying the many paste options in Word. click here for more ...
Office 15 starts external testing

The Office 15 Technical Preview has begun. click here for more ...
Online Cloud-Based File Repair Service for Corrupted Microsoft Office Files

Innovative Online Data Recovery Technology Allows Users to Repair Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access Files from Web Browsers Faster Than Ever click here for more ...
SSD's - some tips

If you want to take the plunge to Solid State Drives, here are some comments from our experience. click here for more ...
Low use of Bitlocker

Why the low use of Bitlocker when it can secure your private documents and emails? click here for more ...
Office 2010: the real startup guide

Things you should know that Microsoft won’t tell you: saving money, installing, configuring and using Office 2010. click here for more ...
Office 2010 licence terms

A full copy of the licence terms (aka MSLT formerly EULA) for Office 2010. click here for more ...
Microsoft Office 2010 Retail Pricing Comparison Chart

This is a direct copy of the Office 2010 pricing as presented by Microsoft with all the footnotes described as a 'more detailed guide'. click here for more ...
Microsoft Office 2010 Reaches Beta, Bringing Productivity Gains to the PC, Phone and Browser

Q&A: Kurt DelBene, senior vice president of the Office Business Productivity Group at Microsoft, discusses what is new in the public beta and what developers can expect from the upcoming release of Office 2010 and related products. click here for more ...

New & Popular
» New web site
» Two ways for sorting by Number
» Office for iPad, September updates
» Why is Gene Cernan ignored in Word?
» DropBox prices drop but is it enough?
» Sort by hidden column in Word

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Office Watch is definitely not affiliated with Microsoft - and that's just one reason why we are so useful to Microsoft Office users around the world J (Erko).