Tiplet: Add “Recent Items” to File Explorer in Windows 10

Several people attending my Windows 10 / Office 2016 upgrade classes at the U.S. Department of Justice in Los Angeles over the past few weeks have asked if there is a way to add the “Recent Items” icon to the Quick access list in the Windows 10 File Explorer.  One reason people like that icon / folder is that by default, the Quick access list – the one at the right side of the File Explorer – displays only 14 recent folders and only 20 recent files, which is convenient but not as comprehensive as the “Recent Items” icon / folder that Windows 7 users sometimes rely on.

It’s actually a fairly simple process to add “Recent Items” to the Quick Access list.  You just have to drill down through several folders and subfolders – assuming you have the appropriate permissions to do so (which shouldn’t be a problem on your own computer, but could be an issue on a computer provided by your employer).

To find the “Recent Items” icon in Windows 10, open the File Explorer (or This PC) and follow this path:

C:\Users\<UserName>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows

Of course, substitute your own user name for “<UserName>.”  (Your user name will not have the brackets around it.)

When you locate the “Recent Items” icon, right-click it, and when the menu appears, click “Pin to Quick access.”  That will add the folder to the Quick access list in the File Explorer.  When you left-click the icon, you will see many of your recently opened files and folders.  (Currently I’m seeing 149 items in my “Recent Items” folder.)

If you decide you don’t need it, you can right-click the icon and choose “Unpin from Quick access.”  But I imagine many users will like the enhanced functionality it provides.

July 30, 2016 at 12:40 pm

Using – and clearing – jump lists in Windows 10

“Jump lists,” first introduced in Windows 7, are the right-click menus of options for the applications that appear in the Windows Taskbar (the horizontal bar that typically runs across the bottom of the screen).  Most people probably are unaware that they even exist.  In fact, they’re quite handy.  They provide quick access to commonly used programs – and specific features within those programs – and other useful options.  For example, right-clicking the Taskbar icon for Outlook produces a jump list with buttons you can click to create a new e-mail, a new appointment,  a new meeting, a new contact, and/or a new task, even if Outlook is running in the background – or isn’t open!

The options available on a jump list depend partly on your version of Windows and partly on what the application’s developers chose to include.  All jump lists provide options for opening the program, for closing the program windows(s), and for unpinning the program from the Taskbar (or for pinning it to the Taskbar, if it isn’t pinned already). The jump list for File Explorer in Windows 10 (formerly known as Windows Explorer) reflects folders that are pinned to the Quick Access area within File Explorer.  Jump lists for browsers such as Chrome and Internet Explorer (“IE”) usually retain links to recently or frequently visited web sites, and also offer quick links for incognito / private browsing and for opening a new window or new tab.  Jump lists for word processing programs keep track of recently opened documents.

Recently opened documents can be removed individually from a jump list simply by right-clicking the document name.  In Windows 10, the menu that appears when you right-click a Word document contains numerous options:  Open, Edit, New, Print, Copy, Pin to this list, Remove from this list, and Properties.  The menu that appears when you right-click a WordPerfect document contains slightly different options:  Open, Print, View in WordPerfect Lightning, Pin to this list, Remove from this list, Properties.[1]

Depending on which browser you use, you might not have an option to remove any of the most visited web sites from the jump list.  For example, Chrome has no such option.  (If you’ve pinned a site, you can un-pin it with a right click.)  With Internet Explorer, by contrast, there is a right-click option labeled “Remove from this list.”  (As of this writing, Microsoft’s new browser, Edge, does not have a traditional jump list that keeps track of visited sites.  The only available option, besides the option to launch the browser, is to unpin the program from the Taskbar.)

There is a way to clear all of your jump lists at once – so that they no longer display recently visited sites or recently opened documents.  In Windows 10, do the following:

  1. Open Windows Settings by clicking the Start button in the lower left corner of the screen, then clicking “Settings.”  (Alternatively, press and hold the Windows key – it looks like a flag – and press the letter “I.”)
  2. Type “Start.”  (The word “start” doesn’t have to be capitalized; the search function is not case-sensitive.)
  3. Click “Start Settings” (or click “Show recently opened items in Jump Lists on Start or the Taskbar,” and skip to Step 5).
  4. Scroll to “Show recently opened items in Jump Lists on Start or the Taskbar.”
  5. Click the “On” button to switch to the “Off” position.
  6. Close the “Settings” dialog by clicking the “X” in the upper right corner.

Pinned items will remain in your jump lists, but recently visited sites and recently opened docs will not.  Note that you can turn tracking back on by repeating the above steps but, in Step 5, clicking the “Off” button to switch to the “On” position.

To clear jump lists in Windows 7, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click in a blank space in the Taskbar, then click “Properties.”
  2. When the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog opens, click the “Start Menu” tab.
  3. Uncheck the checkbox labeled “Store and display recently opened items in the Start menu and the taskbar.”
  4. Click “OK.”  CAUTION:  Be sure to click “OK” rather than closing the dialog by clicking the red “X” in the upper right corner.  Otherwise, Windows will not save your changes.

As with Windows 10, simply repeat the steps, but in Step 3 be sure to check the option to re-enable tracking of recently visited sites and recently opened documents.

To clear jump lists in Windows 8.X, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click in a blank space in the Taskbar, then click “Properties.”
  2. When the Taskbar and NavigationpProperties dialog opens, click the “Jump Lists” tab.
  3. Uncheck the checkbox labeled “Store and display recently opened items in Jump Lists.”
  4. Note the option to change the number of recent items to display in Jump Lists (the default is 10).  You can use the “spinner” arrows or type a number in the box.
  5. Click “OK.”  CAUTION:  Be sure to click “OK” rather than closing the dialog by clicking the red “X” in the upper right corner.  Otherwise, Windows will not save your changes.

As with Windows 10, simply repeat the steps, but in Step 3 be sure to check the option to re-enable tracking of recently visited sites and recently opened documents.

________________________________________________________________

[1] At least, these options appear on my computer.  Depending on which versions of Windows and WordPerfect you are using and how your computer is configured, you might see somewhat different options.

April 4, 2016 at 11:53 am 1 comment

$10.00 discount on my Word 2016 book extended thru April 18

Because we all could use a break at this time of year, I’ve extended my offer of a $10.00 discount off the regular price of my new book, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2016, through April 18, 2016.  For information about how to obtain and apply the discount code (and purchase the book directly through CreateSpace, Amazon.com’s publishing unit), see this post.

Thanks in advance for your interest in my book(s)!

March 31, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Safety alert: Microsoft recalls certain Surface Pro power cords

Microsoft has recalled AC power cords for its Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, and Surface Pro 3 computers sold before March 15, 2015 (last year). According to the May 2016 issue of Consumer Reports, the cords can overheat and cause a fire or an electric shock.

Microsoft will replace your cord for free. For a replacement, call (855) 327-7780 or fill out a form online (see this page on Microsoft’s web site).

Note that the recall affects only the models listed and only those sold before 3/15/2015. Also note that Microsoft advises not to use your current cord while waiting for the replacement.

 

March 31, 2016 at 1:59 pm

The Line and Paragraph Spacing drop-down menu (Word)

Training clients sometimes ask me about the Line and Paragraph Spacing drop-down in the Paragraph group on the Home tab in Word.  In all candor, I actually hadn’t noticed the drop-down until a client pointed it out to me several years ago.  That’s because I typically open the Paragraph dialog when I want to change the line and/or paragraph spacing of document text.  The Paragraph dialog, which provides access to a full range of configuration options including paragraph alignment, indentation, line spacing, before and after spacing, widow and orphan control, tab settings, and more – it’s sort of a “one-stop shop” for paragraph formatting – comes in very handy in most situations.

However, the Line and Paragraph Spacing drop-down can be useful for a few specific types of formatting.  The options are limited to a few pre-set line spacing choices; a command that opens the Paragraph dialog; and, at the very bottom, context-sensitive commands that alternate among “Remove Spacing Before,” “Add Spacing Before,” “Remove Spacing After,” and “Add Spacing After,” depending on the configuration of the paragraph your cursor is in.  The pre-set line spacing choices – 1.0, 1.15, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 – aren’t particularly useful for legal documents (and where standard single and double spacing are appropriate, it’s easy to apply those options with the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl 1 and Ctrl 2).  Sometimes, though, it’s convenient to add or remove spacing before or spacing after.  And you can do so for multiple paragraphs simply by selecting / highlighting the paragraphs first.

Let’s quickly review “spacing before” and “spacing after,” since experience has taught me that even long-time Word users aren’t always sure of the meaning of those terms.  In essence, you can configure paragraphs so that they incorporate extra white space – kind of like a buffer – above and/or below them.  It’s really spacing between paragraphs, but it is created as an attribute of a paragraph, not by pressing the Enter key.  Spacing after, which is more commonly used in legal documents than spacing before, is what makes the cursor appear to skip a line when you press the Enter key after typing the text of a paragraph.  It’s as if you pressed Enter twice.

Spacing before and spacing after usually are configured in points (and usually increment by 12 points).  There are 72 points in a vertical inch, and 12 points, while not the same as true single spacing, is approximately one line.  So adding 12 points after a paragraph is like creating a blank line after that paragraph without pressing Enter.

As mentioned earlier, the options at the bottom of the Line and Paragraph Spacing drop-down change depending on the configuration of the paragraph your cursor is in.  If the paragraph already incorporates spacing before, the command in the drop-down changes from “Add Spacing Before Paragraph” to “Remove Spacing Before Paragraph.”  If the paragraph already incorporates spacing after, the command changes from “Add Spacing After Paragraph” to “Remove Spacing After Paragraph.”

When you select / highlight multiple paragraphs and choose “Add Spacing After Paragraph,” Word adds 12 points of spacing after any paragraphs that lack such space, but doesn’t affect any paragraphs that already incorporate 12 points of spacing after.  Interestingly, that option removes extra spacing from any paragraphs previously configured with more than 12 points of spacing after.  In other words, it essentially equalizes the spacing after all of the selected / highlighted paragraphs.  The “Add Spacing Before Paragraph” option works the same way – adding or removing spacing before, depending on how the paragraphs were configured prior to applying the option.

You can imagine how useful these options are for adding or removing extra space between paragraphs.  Of course you can do the same thing by selecting / highlighting paragraphs, then opening the Paragraph dialog and tweaking the spacing before and/or spacing after settings, but the Line and Paragraph Spacing drop-down on the Home tab makes it a cinch.

There are a couple of other noteworthy options that affect line and paragraph spacing.  For one, you can add or remove spacing before one or more paragraphs by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl 0 (zero).  The shortcut is a toggle, which means that you can press it once to add space before and press it again to remove space before the paragraph your cursor is in or selected / highlighted paragraphs.  However, keep in mind that this key combination affects only spacing before.  As far as I know, there is no built-in keyboard shortcut to add / remove spacing after.

Also, you can change the spacing before and/or the spacing after directly from the Paragraph group on the Layout tab (aka Page Layout, depending on which version of Word you are using).  That works just fine, but I sometimes forget that the option exists because I usually have the Home tab at the forefront (and it seldom occurs to me to apply paragraph formatting from the tab that mainly affects page formatting).

One final comment:  When you hold the mouse pointer over the Line and Paragraph Spacing drop-down, a pop-up appears.  It describes the functionality of the drop-down and, in Word 2013 and Word 2016, adds:  “To apply the same spacing to your whole document, use the Paragraph Spacing options on the Design tab.”

I don’t recommend doing so, at least not for documents such as pleadings that are subject to stringent formatting requirements.  With the exception of the first option on the Paragraph Spacing drop-down menu on the Design tab (“No Paragraph Space,” which applies single spacing with no spacing before or after), the pre-set choices apply line spacing and/or spacing after settings that are inappropriate for most legal documents.  Those choices are as follows:

  • “Compact” – single spacing with 4 points after;
  • “Tight” – 1.15 spacing (i.e., 1.15 lines) with 6 points after;
  • “Open” – 1.15 spacing with 10 points after;
  • “Relaxed” – 1.5 spacing (i.e., 1.5 lines) with 6 points after; and
  • “Double” – double spacing, but with 8 points after.

If you are working with a document that isn’t subject to strict formatting rules, go ahead and experiment.  You might find that you like some of the options available from that menu.  But for obvious reasons, they won’t work for most California pleadings or similar documents.

 

 

March 18, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Attaching recently used files in Outlook 2016

One of my favorite new features of Outlook 2016 is the “Recent Items” drop-down that appears when you click the “Attach File” icon on the Message tab or the Insert tab in a new message window.  The drop-down lists approximately a dozen of your most recently opened and saved files, which makes it easy to attach documents that you’ve been working on within the past day or two without having to browse for them. Moreover, the list isn’t limited to Microsoft file formats (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.). As an example, my current “Recent Items” list includes Word documents, unsurprisingly, but also WordPerfect files, PDFs, and images (.png files).

After you attach a file, the icon / placeholder for the attachment appears in the message screen along with a drop-down arrow that provides access to more options.[1]  If you opened the file from a local computer drive (as opposed to a shared location), the drop-down menu includes options to remove the attachment, to print it, to open it, to save it (presumably with a different name and/or in a different folder), or to copy it.

However, if you opened the file from a shared location such as a network, OneDrive, or SharePoint, the drop-down menu includes three additional options:  “Open file location” (i.e., go to the folder where the file is stored), “Attach as copy” (as opposed to attaching the file as a link, which is the standard option that people use when it’s important that everyone view / work on the most recent version of a document), and “Change Permissions.”  The “Change Permissions” option in turn provides two choices:  “Anyone can edit” and “Anyone can view” (the latter is the equivalent of “Read-Only”).

The bottom of the Recent Items drop-down features a “Browse Web Locations” icon.  If you use OneDrive, SharePoint, or similar cloud-based services, those choices will appear when you hover over the icon.  You might see a list of recently opened folders and/or documents there, as well.

The icon at the very bottom of the Recent Items drop-down, labeled “Browse This PC…,” is a useful option of last resort for attaching one or more documents you haven’t used recently enough for them to appear in the Recent Items list.

From my experiments, I don’t think it’s possible to attach multiple documents at once from the Recent Items list.  Nevertheless, it’s a quick and easy way to attach one or more recently used or saved documents to an e-mail message. _______________________________________________________________

[1]  Another way to open the Recent Items menu is by right-clicking the icon for any document you’ve attached.

March 9, 2016 at 1:14 pm

Discount code for $10.00 off my Word 2016 book

When I first published my new book, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2016, Amazon imposed a 10% discount off the regular price of $41.95 – resulting in a final price of $37.76.  Within the last couple of days, Amazon removed the discount (with no notice to me).   In case the sudden change in price discouraged people from buying the book, I thought I would offer a $10.00 discount (i.e., more than 20% off the regular price) – at least through the end of March.  That brings the price down to $31.95!

In order to use the code (which I’ll provide momentarily), you’ll need to buy the book directly from CreateSpace, Amazon’s publishing unit, rather than from Amazon.com.  The CreateSpace page for the book is located here: Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2016 on CreateSpace

To apply the discount, first click the “Add to Cart” button.  Then enter the code in the box marked “Apply Discount,” click the “Apply Discount” button, and then click “Check Out.”  But before you check out, calculate the total cost – including the shipping fees – to determine whether it’s a better deal than buying the book through Amazon.com, where you sometimes can make purchases without paying shipping fees.  (I have no control over the shipping fees that CreateSpace and Amazon charge.)  If you’re buying more than one copy of the book, it’s probably more economical through CreateSpace.  Still, run the math just to make sure.

Here’s the discount code:  FXSVRGP6

I don’t believe it’s case-sensitive, but I’m not 100% certain.  If you copy the code from this post and paste it into the “Apply Discount” box, it should work fine.

Again, I’ll probably make the discount available at least through the end of March.

Thanks in advance for your support!

March 8, 2016 at 9:57 am 1 comment

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