Tag Archives: MS Office

Hide Slide Parts in PowerPoint

Hide PowerPoint Slide Objects

Sometimes you have a part or parts (objects) on a slide that you want to use again but that box (placeholder) information doesn’t apply to a current situation. You could create a duplicate slide and delete or edit the information but PowerPoint has an easier solution.

Available in PowerPoint 2007 and above.

Hiding PowerPoint Slide objects

Use the Selection Pane to Hide Slide Parts

This feature is especially helpful if this is a slide presentation that is used frequently. No messing around with deleting or duplicating. Here’s how to hide objects on the slide until you need to use them again:

  • On the Home tab, Editing group, click the drop down arrow on Select
  • Choose Selection Pane…

A task pane displays on the right side of your slides (can be dragged to left side if you prefer)

The elements (placeholders) will be listed for the current slide (shown here in example), and identify Title, Shapes, Pictures, Slide numbers, text boxes (anything that is an object). You can also rename the objects in the Selection Pane to make it clear what they represent.

Example of Show/Hide PowerPoint object with Selection Pane

Use the Icons to Display and Hide

I don’t want the “Free through Saturday!” to display on the slide currently but will use it later so don’t want to delete the placeholder:

  • Click on the placeholder border in the slide to select that text box which will automatically highlight its item name in the Selection Pane. (You can also click its item name in the Selection Pane and the box will be selected).
  • Click the eye icon to the right of the item name.      Use the eye icon to show/hide PowerPoint slide objects
    • That placeholder is now hidden and the eye becomes a line.
  • Click the line to display the object on the slide again.

You can hide/display any parts of a slide without editing. PowerPoint will accommodate with the Selection Pane details as long as it can identify as an object.

Note: The slide image example above represents an actual eBook of mine available on Amazon as shown. However, it is not free, so if this was an actual slide presentation, I would remove that placeholder. If you would like to be notified of any free promotion, just fill out the signup form on this page and get a free cheat sheet of Office tips while you wait!

If you are doing narrations, creating video or using PowerPoint for teaching or demonstration, take a gander at my blog for using Office Mix to take your PowerPoint to a new level.       http://gaylelarson.com/share-powerpoints-office-mix/

Have you played with the Selection Pane? How are you using this feature to organize slide presentations?  Thanks for reading and comment below.

Convert Bullets to SmartArt in PowerPoint

Even dogs can't take "Death by PowerPoint"
When your presentation has gone to the dogs…

In spite of the warnings, (can you spell “Death by PowerPoint?”), who can resist the multiple bulleted list on at least a couple of slides? Your audience has read the points before you can talk about them so their eyes glaze over or they are tweeting while you speak. Wow them instead by using SmartArt to display great graphics that make your point without a bullet in sight!

Here’s the usual (yawn) bulleted list slide:

You know it is exciting information that they need to have but  they won’t get it if you can’t keep their attention. Less text and more graphics is the way to go.

Transform That List to a Graphic

You can convert each point to an object and leave the original text or, better yet, reduce the amount of text and explain the rest. Here’s the steps:

  • Select the bulleted list on the slide
  • Click Home tab; Paragraph group; Convert to SmartArt icon
  • Roll mouse over graphics to see live preview and choose a shape
  • Apply color changes, special effects, etc., from the Design and Format ribbon tabs

Now, in a few mouse clicks, your bulleted list can become a graphic…

Edit the text to one or two words in large font on each object, and there you go!

More Convert to SmartArt Options

Here’s another example of quickly changing normal bullet points to a Smart Art graphic style and then changing the special effects and color scheme:

After selecting the bulleted list, explore the SmartArt Graphic choices under Convert to SmartArt in the Paragraph group on the Home tab. It is Live Preview so you get to see the effect as you mouse over the options:

Format SmartArt Graphics with Color and Style

Quickly apply some special effects in the SmartArt Styles group on the SmartArt Tools Design tab for something like this:

Now, change the color scheme with the Change Colors drop down arrow:

Your slides will never be boring again!

You can also change the properties of parts of the main object by clicking them separately. Use Design and Format in SmartArt Tools on the Ribbon to apply different colors and special effects for objects and text.

TIP:  Use keyboard shortcuts to gain even more control by breaking up each box/graphic with CTRL SHFT G. You can then treat each object separately. Each one can have its own personality! When formatting is complete, if desired, group them as one object with CTRL G. (This allows applying same formatting all at once and/or moving the parts as one object).

No more excuses for bland presentations. Are you using this great feature? Tell me what you changed to make your PowerPoints shine!

The Excel Camera Tool, Part 2

Create a Dashboard Using Camera Tool

We saw in Part 1 how to add the Camera tool to the Quick Access toolbar and how to use it for capturing linked pictures that automatically update when the source data is changed.

Another great use for the Camera tool is to create dashboards. The pasted objects can be sized proportionately and positioned anywhere on a worksheet. Here’s an example of sales figures and a chart:

Dashboard Example

This can contain as many objects as you choose. Note that the location of the original data is displayed in the Formula Bar.

Arranging as images on a worksheet in a dashboard-like mode is also a great fix for printing all your related information on one page. If you had selected all your original data separately, even from the same worksheet, the Add to Print command would have to be used which would automatically print each addition on a separate page. This way, you can add images, move, size and print at will.

The Camera tool captures everything as an image, including values, color formatting, shapes, even the gridlines. Because it is an image, the Picture Tools | Format tab is displayed on the ribbon so anything you can do to a picture, you can do here, including sizing and rotating. Use the right click menu to quickly perform commands such as Crop:

Moving Original Data

The Formula bar displays the path of the original data and the cell references are absolute by default. This is terrific because if the original data gets moved to another area, your pasted pictures reflect that, and continue to display any updates. Should be automatic but be sure that the workbook name (if different) and worksheet name display as well as cell references. If your workbook and worksheet are named, could look like this:

The Paste Special Option

The Paste Special Linked Picture option is available in Excel versions 2007 and above. If you prefer Paste Special, you can access it from the drop down arrow on the Paste icon in the Clipboard group or by right-clicking over desired destination cell and mousing over the Paste icons:

Paste Special Linked Picture

Tip: If you like keyboard shortcuts, press: ALT-H-V-I to paste a linked image.

Paste Special Linked Picture and Camera Tool Restrictions

Not too many downsides to using the Camera tool but here’s some cautions:

  • Some users say that it does not work with Tables; that the data must be converted to a range, but I have not experienced that with newer versions. The table copies, pastes and updates.
  • If using formulas such as IF function with Camera tool, you must use Named Ranges, rather than cell references to maintain the update connection.

Note: The Copy command in the Clipboard group on the Home tab, contains a Copy as Picture… option. This is handy but know that it pastes an image but not a link. Use when you just want a snapshot of your data.

Grab the post for Part 1 hereCamera Tool Part 1

See – don’t even have to be a photographer! Take some pictures and play with dashboards. What did you create?

Use the Excel Camera Tool to Combine Objects from Several Workbooks

Uses for the Camera Tool

There is a little known spiffy tool that has been available for a long time in Excel which allows you to take screenshots of data from multiple worksheets or workbooks and paste them in a separate workbook as objects with links to their original locations. This can include ranges, tables or charts. Even better, if the original object updates, so does the linked object on your “collector” worksheet.

Here’s a short video to give you a quick overview of what the Excel Camera tool can do for capturing data and objects from different areas:

Collect desired data on one worksheet

For instance, you want to know the sales or prices from workbooks saved in different locations. You have figures for sales reps and a corresponding chart in Workbook A, and expenses that you want to track in Workbook B. Someone else may be updating the data but because anything you copy and paste with the Camera tool is pasted as a linked picture, any changes made to original data will auto update your screenshots.

Print collected objects on one page

This is also a great way to collect different areas of the same or separate worksheets or workbooks for printing a variety of data on one page as you can resize and move the different objects anywhere on the worksheet.

Add Camera Tool to Quick Access Toolbar (QAT)

First things first…The Camera is not available on the Ribbon by default so needs to be added to the QAT with the Customize Quick Access toolbar command:

  • Click the drop down arrow at end of Quick Access Toolbar. Choose More Commands… (or right click on the Ribbon)
  • Choose All Commands from drop down arrow next to Choose Commands from:
  • Scroll down the alphabetical list and click Camera.
  • Click Add button to add to Quick Access toolbar.
  • Click OK button at bottom of dialog box to place the Camera icon at the end of the QAT.

How to Capture a Screenshot

Select a range, table or chart to activate the Camera tool. Note, if selecting a chart, select the cell above the top, left border of the chart and draw around it. When you release the mouse, the “marching ants” will be around the object as if you had used the Copy command:

  • Go to your destination; usually in another worksheet or workbook.
  • Click in the desired cell location and the linked picture will auto insert.
  • Move and size the object(s) as desired.

Similar Feature with Paste Special Linked Picture

The newer versions of Excel (2007+) have another feature which behaves the same as the Camera tool – the Paste Special Linked Picture. I still prefer the Camera tool as just clicking on the desired destination cell pastes the linked image, all ready for sizing and relocating but both work.

The Camera tool can also be used to create Dashboards. We’ll cover that and some of the other options in an upcoming blog.

Take a picture and let me know what you think!

Want more ways to use the Camera? See Part 2: Camera Tool Part 2

Convert Text to and from Tables in Microsoft Word

Convert Text to Table

If you have to create lists in Word and line up the text in separate columns, you have probably had a few frustrating moments! This is actually an easy fix if you have used the TAB key and only pressed it once between each piece of information. Where we usually run into trouble is when the space bar is used to create the needed space and/or the TAB key pressed more than once.

Let’s say I’m doing a simple list with names and department. I am hitting the TAB key once between each column which will look odd and not seem like the way to go but it is what works. ENTER is pressed at the end of each line. (Show/Hide is turned on to show the formatting marks for TAB and ENTER):

This looks like a dog’s breakfast but not for long. Make sure the text that is to be converted into the table contains only a single tab character between each column. (It could also be a comma for the separator).

Here’s how to have a neat, organized list in no time.

  1. Select the text you want converted into a table. (Avoid paragraph markers above and
    below the text).
  2. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Table tool and then click Convert Text to Table. Word displays the Convert
    Text to Table dialog box.
  4. Make sure all the table settings in the dialog box are correct. (In this case, the Number of columns should be 3 and the Separate text at should be Tabs. (Word will automatically do this but always wise to check).
  5. Click OK to display a table.

Not only is this neat, you now have all the advantages of table formatting. When you click in the table, two new tabs will display at the end of the Ribbon under Table
Tools. The Design and Layout tabs give quick, professional looking formatting options. Most of them display a live preview when you mouse-over each selection. Can’t get much faster than that!

Remove Borders

Prefer to just have the text displayed as columns?  Remove the cell borders:

  1. Click in the table. Design and Layout tabs will display at the end of the Ribbon.
  2. From the Layout tab | Table group; click drop down arrow on Select and choose Select All (can also click the + symbol at upper left of table if it displays when you click in the table).
  3. Click the Design tab | Borders group and the drop down on the Borders icon. Choose No Border.

There you go, nice neat columns! (This is still a table, just without borders displayed).

Convert a Table to Text

No sooner do you get this accomplished when you find you have tables that need to be converted to text. You can convert the entire table or just specific rows:

  • Select the rows or table you want to convert to text.
  • On the Layout tab | Data group (at end of Ribbon), click Convert to Text.

  • The Convert to Text box displays. Under Separate text with, click the separator character you want to replace table cells (in this case, TAB) .

  • Click OK.

Here’s the results:

Note that the column spacing is based on your original table but can be adjusted by changing the tab stops. (These display on the ruler when the text is selected and can be just dragged to desired width).

This feature is a great trick also for a paste from Excel (and other programs), as the paste can sometimes produce strange results!

How would you use these features in your Word formatting?

10 Reasons to Organize with OneNote

Organize with OneNote

If you’re not using OneNote to capture notes, pictures, web clippings, audio and video, and just plain organize all types of information, you might want to give it a look. Free is a great draw, especially when it applies to a valuable tool that just might save your sanity.

Here’s Why You Want to Organize with OneNote:

  1. Available free on all platforms and devices.
  2. Create your own notebooks and color coded categories and reorganize with drag and drop.Multiple Content Oval photo 5 inch
  3. Type or insert text, audio, images, video anywhere on a page.
  4. Grab web pages or screen portions with Web Clipper from any browser.
  5. Insert PDF’s or file attachments.
  6. Format with MS Word built-in Styles for headings.
  7. Automatic date and time stamps for all entries.
  8. Share or link Notebooks, and export Sections or Pages and password protect Sections of a Notebook.
  9. Touchscreen and stylus friendly.
  10. Auto save and sync across all devices.

These are just a few of the features in OneNote. You can even insert equations; no need to find a calculator or fire up Excel at that meeting!

The Many Versions of OneNote

There are several varieties of OneNote and they are all free, including the full, desktop version. You can download it from Microsoft and, of course, it is included in the Office Apps available from any Microsoft account. Also, if you have purchased any version of Office, it is part of that suite. A subscription to Office 365 has it and will have automatically been upgraded to the latest version (currently 2016).

OneNote is available for all platforms and devices and the mobile app is integrated with Windows 10. It is designed for use with touch screens, tablets and phones but you can also download the full desktop version for free at www.onenote.com. Notebooks created in the app version automatically save to OneDrive, not to your computer. Those created in the desktop version can be saved anywhere. There are differences in the features of the two so you might want to test and see which one suits your needs and use it if you don’t want to be switching back and forth. Keep in mind that the online app does not have all the features of the Desktop version.

Not Your Daddy’s Notebook

OneNote’s structure is a digital version of the traditional multi-tabbed binder but before you stifle a yawn, it is no boring note-taking or storage device although it does both extremely well. Arrangement is divided into three levels and is organized much like the file and folder hierarchy you are used to on the computer. Allows for flexibility of organizing your way:

Top level: Notebooks. The big overall subject. You can create as many as you want and assign different colors. Keep it simple with one or two, or go crazy and create a gaggle. You control it. The list of created Notebooks displays at left.

Second level: Sections. Sub-categories. Are also color-categorized. These display as tabs on the top bar in the current Notebook..

Third level: Pages. Individual pages that display within the Section. The page names display at right.

Make OneNote Fantastic with OneTastic

Really make OneNote pop with this free Add-in to OneNote 2010 and above Desktop versions. This was a garage project by a Microsoft employee who used his bus time to create these great extra features to expand on OneNote’s already ample offerings.

You can create a monthly calendar of all your notes; resize and crop images and create a Table of Contents for a notebook, to name a few. If you want a sampling of what it can do, scope out this video:


If you like what you see and want to download Onetastic, go here: Download at website: https://getonetastic.com/

Evernote into OneNote

If you are an Evernote user and want to try out OneNote, Microsoft has an app for that! You can import your Evernote entries into OneNote here:


Most of us are always looking for a better and faster way to organize so let me know how OneNote is working for you!