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MS-Word Building Blocks

My job involves using 30 different types of tables repeatedly across a document. I usually have a source document from which I copy each table template and paste it into the document I’m working on. Recently, I was trying to find a better way to do this. I thought I should record a macro for each table and save it as a button. However, Word 2007 allows for very little customization of the ribbon (without some complicated VB scripting etc.) and that’s when I stumbled upon Building Blocks.

If you have objects (tables, drawings, paragraphs, pictures) that you need to repeatedly paste into a document, you can also use the following method. I have demonstrated with a table as an example:

1. Open a new word document.

2. Copy and paste the template table for ST1 into the new document.

3. Select the entire table (or object).

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4. Press ALT+F3

5. A box named “Create New Building Block” will open up. Select the options shown in the image below and click Ok.

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Note: You can also add the table to any other category which you think might be easier for you to access.

6. Repeat the steps for all the tables or objects you use frequently.

7. To insert the table or object, go to Insert -> Table -> Quick Tables and select on the table you want to insert.
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8. Voila! 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in Tools, Tricks

 

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Macro to Highlight Track Changes in Word

Note: This macro highlights only the insertions in your track changes. It does not highlight the deletions.

Often, we need to highlight the changes in our document after making the corrections suggested by a reviewer. I came across this interesting macro that made my job easy.

To change the highlight color, find the word WdYellow in the code above and change it to WdTurquoise, WdBrightGreen or other highlight color names.

Macro Courtesy: p2p.wrox.com

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2011 in Tools, Tricks

 

PowerPoint Animations with Wingdings

I once had a situation where I had to create an interesting PowerPoint presentation but I had no access to interesting graphics or visuals. I was not allowed to take images off the web or use stock photography due to some constraints at my work place. So I invented this fun method to make cute little animations by using Webdings and Wingdings fonts.

Follow these steps to make your own animations:

1. Go to “Start” menu and click “Run”

2. Type “Charmap”

3. From the “Font” list, select “Webdings” or “Wingdings 1, 2, 3”

4. Select a character that you want to animate, from the table of characters and copy it to the clip board by clicking “Copy”. You can also press CTRL+C.

5. Open MS- PowerPoint

6. Right- click on a blank slide and paste the font. You can also press CTRL+V. If the font changes to an arbit square or a martian hieroglyphic, select it and apply the correct font from the PowerPoint font list.

7. Select the character and enlarge the font size to “72” or more. Now the character will be clearly visible as an image.

8. Change the color of the font, if required.

9. Select other characters and repeat the same procedure.

10. Right-click each of the characters and select “Save as Picture”. (This can be a little tricky if you do not select the character properly. Don’t select the font but the whole character.)

11. Type a name and save the characters as image files.

12. In the “Insert” menu, select “Insert Picture” and insert the saved images.

13. Animate each image by using “Custom Animation”

14. Play your slideshow to check the animation.

15. Rejoice!

You can find a simple PPT animation I created by using this method, in the following link:

Download from Google Docs (otherwise you cannot see the animation). This download is not required to understand the method.

Feel free to post questions/doubts in the Comments section.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2010 in Tricks

 

Profilactic

Profilactic is a lifestreaming website. What is lifestreaming?  Some of us tend to go on a wild signing-up spree when we see amazing new Web 2.0 tools or social networks. We soon realize that we have a staggering number of accounts across the internet and our data is strewn all over the place. Then we wish there was some way to keep all this content in the same place and access them quickly. This is where lifestreaming comes into the picture.

Lifestreaming also helps us to share our online content, profiles and activities with a wide audience including friends and family. Profilactic helps you create a mashup of all your content from various websites and share it with other friends on the site. You can also create a lifestream badge with links to your various accounts and the your latest activity on each of the accounts. This badge helps you display your lifestream on your blog or website for others to see. Similarly, an RSS feed can be generated for all the content you have posted across multiple sites.

Profilactic currently supports 190 social sites.

You can request Profilactic to add new sites which may not be present in the existing list of supported sites. Profilactic lets you aggregate your content with RSS Feeds from your websites. And of course, it counts your tweets in from twitter. Another important features is the ability to save clippings of content where you or your site have been quoted or mentioned on another site. Check this out and trust me, it is pretty useful!

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2008 in Reviews

 

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Firefox 3 Rocks

Its official. Firefox 3 rocks. Gina Trapani’s Lifehacker.com blog is one of my personal favourites on the web. I am a regular visitor and subscribe to the blog on my Google Reader too. She has a nice post up about the recently released Firefox 3 and some of its quirks. Nice, nice browser, better than Firefox 2 in its memory usage. Tasty extensions as usual. Rock on!

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2008 in Gadgets, Generic, Tricks

 

Digsby – The New Age IM Client

The thing that has recently caught my attention is Digsby. I have always longed for a multiple IM client that helps integrate all chat services but is not minimalistic and geeky. Though, Pidgin is a great multiple IM client, it has issues in enabling file transfers and video chat. It calls for extra-geeky meddling with options, if these things are to be made possible.

Digsby is a cool IM client which is sure to be the next big thing like Firefox. And like Firefox, it seems to hog a lot of memory. However, trust me that should not be a deterrent in using Digsby. This is because Digsby can make up for Msn, Yahoo, AIM and Gtalk clients. Imagine running all of these clients individually and it would certainly work out to that much of memory usage.

The setup file is over 11 MB and takes a while to download. Once this thing is installed, it is completely hassle-free. Though, it has the characteristic geek tinge to its minimalist interface, it can quickly be customized. In fact, geeks have more to rejoice for because it allows for back-end customization and a lot of scope for the ones that cannot keep from exploratory coding adventures.

Rightly represented by a friendly cute logo, Digsby is intuitive all the way. You can immediately configure all your IM accounts. But here is the easter egg. You can also configure your Facebook and Twitter into this IM client. It will give you updates about your Facebook pokes, friend statuses and other notifications. You can also update your Facebook status by using Digsby.

As if this were not enough, there is good news for the compulsive twitter addicts. Twitter allows for updates via IM but Digsby also lets you read your friends’ tweets. You can click on the Twitter tab in your Digsby interface to do this.

Digsby allows for tabbed conversations and has amazing skinning options that makes your boring IM windows look really new age. Those who use gtalk must especially be starved for some skinning and emoticon action. Now you can quench those cravings with Digsby.

I personally use Windows but I understand that Digsby is compatible with Linux and Mac as any open-source software is likely to be. They also have support forums and wikis to assist the newbies.

Digsby is here to stay. Check it out!

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2008 in Reviews, Utilities

 

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Demystifying KM for Tech Companies

Knowledge Management or KM is turning out to be the proverbial Elephant surrounded by the blind men. Much has been written on what it is, how useful it is and so on but then there is no definite success formula. One of the major reasons for this ambiguity is that people have yet to define knowledge. While most of us think a completed task constitutes knowledge, what we fail to understand is that real knowledge resides in how the task was completed. The reusability of such knowledge is very high and can form the much needed knowledge platform.

To look at some examples in a technical organisation, some people would think knowledge ideally resides in the minds of professionals and the documents that they churn out. While this might work in certain quarters, what can really work is a collaboration and a capture of ideas while the documentation (documents, presentations, .pdf files and more) is being created.

Email exchanges, discussions, and external research links constitute a huge portion of the knowledge which floats around in an organisation. One classic example is technical documentation in technology organisations. While the finished documents constitute a chunk of knowledge, a larger chunk remains in the ‘journey’ of the documentation. Reusability of this knowledge helps in reducing the timelines for similar activities in the future and also helps build a series of best practices.

It is important for organisations to establish methods by which such useful yet undocumented knowledge is saved and shared for future activities.

By

Jiten Gajaria

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2008 in Management

 

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