Archive for October, 2009

The Office Clipboard

Many people are unaware that when they cut or copy some text while using Microsoft Word (or any of the other MS Office programs, such as Excel, PowerPoint, or Access), the cut / copied text is stored both in the Windows clipboard and in a separate Office clipboard. Although it is similar to the regular Windows clipboard, the Office clipboard has additional functionality. It allows you to store up to 24 of your most recently copied or deleted items, and it also lets you paste one or more of those items into another Office program.

Word 2007

In Word 2007, you can open the Office clipboard in a couple of different ways: by clicking the dialog launcher in the Clipboard group at the very left side of the Home tab or by pressing and releasing the Alt key, then tapping the H, F, and O keys in sequence.

Alternatively, you can configure the Office clipboard to open when you press Ctrl C twice. I’ll explain how momentarily.

The clipboard opens in a separate pane at the left side of your screen. You can adjust the width of the pane by moving the mouse pointer across the right border until you see a double arrow, then pressing and holding the left mouse button and dragging to the right or to the left. If you like, you can reposition the pane by dragging it via its title bar.

As you copy or cut text from your open programs, each copied or cut item is stored in the clipboard in sequence, with the newest item at the top. (An interesting note: In my tests, text that I copied or cut from WordPerfect went into the MS Office clipboard alongside items I had copied or cut from Word and Excel.) If you go beyond the limit of 24 items, Word automatically removes entries, starting with the oldest one.

With the clipboard displayed, it’s easy to paste an item from the Office clipboard into Word (or another Office program). Simply position the cursor where you want the item to appear, locate the item in the clipboard, and click it. Or you can click the drop-down that appears when you hold the mouse pointer over an item and then click the Paste command. If you are working simultaneously in — and pasting between — different Office programs, note that the contents of the clipboard will be identical in each program.

When you paste an item from one Office program into another, be aware that the item will retain the formatting you used in the source document / program, rather than automatically taking on the formatting of the destination document / program. So, for instance, when I pasted some text from Excel 2007 into Word 2007 using the Office clipboard, the pasted text displayed in Calibri (the default font in Excel), even though I’ve changed the default font in my copy of Word 2007 to Times New Roman. However, if your version of Word is configured so that the Paste Options icon appears when you paste text, it’s easy to apply the formatting of the destination document by clicking the Paste Options drop-down and then choosing Match Destination Formatting. To enable (or disable) the Paste Options button, click the Office button, Word Options, Advanced, scroll to “Cut, copy and paste,” then check (or uncheck) “Show Paste Options buttons.”

There is a “Paste All” button at the top of the clipboard pane. If you click it, all of the items in the clipboard will be pasted at once at the cursor position. Note that they will appear in reverse order — that is, from oldest to newest. I’m not sure how useful that option is, but it’s worth knowing about just in case.

There is also a “Clear All” button at the top of the pane that you can click if you want to remove all of the items currently stored in the clipboard. Doing so will empty the Windows clipboard, too. (Essentially, the Windows clipboard holds the most recently copied or cut item, which is replaced each time you copy or cut another item.) You can remove individual entries from the Office clipboard by clicking the drop-down for an entry — or by right-clicking the entry — and then clicking “Delete.”

At the bottom of the clipboard pane, there is an “Options” button. It offers the following choices:

  • Show Office Clipboard Automatically
  • Show Office Clipboard When Ctrl + C Pressed Twice
  • Collect Without Showing Office Clipboard
  • Show Office Clipboard Icon on Taskbar
  • Show Status Near Taskbar When Copying

The first two options work in tandem. That is, when you check “Show Office Clipboard Automatically,” the “Show Office Clipboard When Ctrl + C Pressed Twice” option also becomes checked (enabled). You must select some text before pressing Ctrl C twice, or the clipboard pane won’t open.

The “Collect Without Showing Office Clipboard” choice worked as expected. It produced pop-up notifications near the clock in the Windows Taskbar indicating that items were being collected (“7 of 24 Clipboard Item Collected”), but the clipboard itself didn’t appear until / unless I opened it with the dialog launcher or the Alt H, F, O keyboard shortcut mentioned toward the beginning of this post.

Obviously, you should uncheck the first two options if you want Word to “Collect Without Showing.”

When “Show Office Clipboard Icon on Taskbar” is checked, a clipboard button appears in the Windows system tray. Double-clicking it opens the clipboard pane; single-clicking it closes the pane again.

If you’ve enabled the “Show Status Near Taskbar When Copying” option, you should see a pop-up confirming that an item has been “Collected” (along with its sequential number in the series of 24 items) whenever you copy or cut some characters. The pop-up appears regardless of whether the clipboard pane is open or closed. It doesn’t appear when you paste text, however.

Word 2003

In Word 2003, the Office clipboard functions the same way as in Word 2007. However, in that version — and presumably in earlier versions, though I haven’t tested anything prior to Word 2003 — you open the clipboard either (1) by clicking the Edit menu, then clicking the Office Clipboard command or (2) by selecting some text and pressing Ctrl C twice. Also, the clipboard pane appears at the right side of the screen by default. Otherwise, there are no notable differences between the way the feature works in Word 2003 and Word 2007.

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October 31, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Creating a sheet of labels using Mail Merge in Word 2007

I have just made available on Lulu.com for a modest price ($3.75 per copy) a downloadable tutorial about creating a sheet of different labels using Word 2007’s Mail Merge feature. This article is not available in my Word 2007 book, though I might include it in a forthcoming supplement.

The tutorial deals specifically with labels — a topic I decided to address because setting up a page of labels that aren’t identical isn’t straightforward in Word — but the general principles about using Mail Merge can be applied to form letters and other types of merge documents, as well.

Providing training materials in electronic form is something of an experiment for me. At this point, I’m not sure whether I will allow downloads for a limited time period (a month or so) or make the article available indefinitely. I’m also uncertain how to price individual articles, so the $3.75 introductory price could change at some point. In any case, you can purchase the labels / mail merge tutorial on Lulu via this link. It is in PDF format.

Because it is a download, there are no shipping / handling charges, and the article will be available to you immediately.

Please keep in mind that it is a copyrighted work and is not to be duplicated without my prior written permission.

I hope the article proves useful to you!

October 31, 2009 at 10:12 am

Save Without Metadata (WordPerfect X3 and X4)

Corel introduced a new feature in WordPerfect X3 called “Save Without Metadata.” Similar in some respects to the “Document Inspector” tool that Microsoft included with Word 2007, “Save Without Metadata” allows you to remove one or more of the following items from your documents:

  • Comments
  • Hidden text (text to which the “Hidden” font attribute has been applied)
  • Annotations (redlining and strikeout marks applied when you use WordPerfect’s Document Review feature)
  • Undo/Redo history
  • Document Summary Data
  • Headers
  • Footers
  • Hyperlinks
  • OLE Object Information
  • Routing Slip

To run the metadata scrubber on an existing document, open the document (or save one that is in progress on your screen) and then click the File menu, Save Without Metadata.  When the Save Without Metadata dialog opens, you’ll note that WordPerfect already has created a copy of your document in the same folder as the original, adding the characters “_mtd” to the file name (making it easy to identify the document as “minus metadata”).  You can rename the copy if you like.

You’ll note as well that there is a checkbox toward the top of the dialog box that gives you the choice of keeping the original document open.  In my tests, there were no discernible differences in the results based on whether I kept the original open or closed it.  You might find it somewhat less confusing to have WP close the original document, however.

To remove one or more of the above-listed types of metadata, first click the appropriate checkbox(es) in the dialog.  If you want to delete any existing annotations, you must choose to accept or reject all of the annotations; the “Accept All Changes” option is selected by default.  After you have selected the items you want to eliminate, click the “Save” button to perform the metadata removal.

So far, I have tested removing all types of metadata except hyperlinks, OLE object information, and routing slips.  Here are the results of my rather preliminary tests.

The tool did a reasonably good job of removing most vestiges of the various items, with a few notable exceptions.

First,  although it worked as expected and removed comments from my test documents, it did so because I have a release or “build” of WordPerfect X3 later than 13.0.0.446.  If you have an earlier release — a build numbered anywhere from 13.0.0.406 to 13.0.0.446 — you need to download a hot patch for the Save Without Metadata tool. Otherwise, some or all of the comments in your document will not be deleted.  The patch is available from Corel via this link.  You can determine which release you have by clicking the Help menu, About WordPerfect and looking about 2/3 of the way down the dialog.  (WordPerfect X4 doesn’t need to be patched.)

The scrubber easily and completely removed hidden text, headers, footers, and Undo/Redo history from my documents.  (In most recent versions of WP, the default setting is not to save the Undo/Redo history with the document, but it doesn’t hurt to click the checkbox next to this item before you use Save Without Metadata just to be on the safe side.  To find out if the Undo/Redo history is being saved with the document, click the Edit menu, Undo/Redo History, and then click the Options button.)

Note that unlike Word 2007’s Document Inspector, the Save Without Metadata feature lets you remove headers separately from footers, which can be useful.  (The Document Inspector groups headers and footers together, so you can’t choose to strip out one or the other.  It’s both or neither.)

For the most part, the tool worked as expected with respect to annotations.  The one glitch I encountered — something I was inspired to test as a result of a post a while back on WordPerfect Universe — was that the scrubber choked on annotations in footnotes.  In other words, I performed a Document Review and, as a reviewer (rather than as an author), inserted or deleted footnote text.  Afterwards, when I attempted to use Save Without Metadata to strip out annotations from the document, WordPerfect failed to remove the annotations I had made to the footnote — regardless of whether I chose “Accept All Changes” or “Reject All Changes” prior to performing the scrub.  At one point, WP displayed an error message indicating it hadn’t been able to complete the task.

That might not matter much to you.  If there are no annotated footnotes in your document, you shouldn’t experience the problem.

Judging by my tests, the Save Without Metadata tool doesn’t work on text to which redlining or strikeout marks have been applied manually, and it appears not to work on documents that have been redlined (or blacklined, if you prefer that term) via the Document Compare feature.

My tests on the Document Summary produced mixed results.  The scrubber removed most of the information from the Summary tab, with the notable exceptions of the Creation Date, Author, and Typist.  (I tested only a few of the many fields that you can choose to incorporate into the Document Summary; it might be helpful to run a more extensive test that included all of the fields.)  Also, the full path of the document is displayed in the Word Count tab of the Document Summary even after saving without metadata and, as far as I can tell, that information can’t be removed.

Fortunately, you can instruct WP not to save the Document Summary with the document.  To do so, click the File menu, Document, Properties… and when the Document Summary appears, click Options, then click Delete Summary From Document and click OK.  That step doesn’t actually get rid of the Properties Dialog itself, but it strips out all identifying information except the full path, which remains visible on the Word Count tab.

All in all, the Save Without Metadata feature seems like a useful tool, though clearly it’s not sufficient in and of itself to remove all metadata from your WordPerfect documents.

For a significantly more detailed explanation of the types of metadata that can exist in WordPerfect documents, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to scrub most of it, see Minimizing Metadata Content in Corel® WordPerfect® Documents, Article No. 753605 in the Corel Knowledge Base.

* * * * *

Note:  There is a new feature in WordPerfect X4 that allows you to “redact” — or, essentially, black out — sensitive information from your documents. I haven’t tested the redaction tool yet, but will experiment with it and write up my findings at some point.

October 24, 2009 at 2:35 pm 1 comment

Corel seeking input from lawyers who use the TOA feature

Corel Corporation, the company that manufactures WordPerfect and its associated suite of programs (including Quattro Pro and Presentations), is asking for feedback from lawyers and other legal professionals who use the Table of Authorities feature. They’re interested in how you create TOAs: with WordPerfect, manually, or with a third-party utility. Corel’s Jay Larock posted this note on the Office Community web site:

“Just polling community members as to whether anyone works on TOAs (either manual or using some sort of tool or WPO itself). Would love to dialog on how you do things.”

There hasn’t been much of a response so far, so if you get a chance, please take a few minutes to post.  Your comments could help Corel improve the TOA feature in future versions of WordPerfect.

I believe you have to register and sign in before you can post.

Jason’s request for input is on the Corel Office Community blog, which you can find by clicking here.

October 21, 2009 at 7:41 am

“Find” triggers “Browse By Object” — and disables Page Up and Page Down (Word, all recent versions)

Note: This article appears in a slightly different form in my book, Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Office Word 2007.

After you use “Find” (or “Find and Replace”) to look for a word, phrase, or object in Word, the keyboard shortcuts for Page Up (Ctrl Page Up) and Page Down (Ctrl Page Dn) stop working as navigation keys. In addition, the Page Up and Page Down buttons in the scrollbar stop working as expected. This seemingly arbitrary change in functionality actually happens by design, but it can be disconcerting if you’re not expecting it. It has to do with the “Browse by Object” feature and the fact that this feature is linked to “Find.”

“Browse by Object,” which is invoked by clicking a circular button at the bottom of the vertical scrollbar, can be quite useful. Related to “Go To,” it allows you to move through your document in the conventional fashion — page by page — or by various other objects or “landmarks”: edits (modifications made while the Track Changes feature is enabled), headings, graphics, tables, fields, endnotes, footnotes, comments, or sections. It also offers a “Go To” option and a “Find” option. By default, this feature is set to browse by Page.

As handy as “Browse by Object” can be, it also has the potential to trip you up in unexpected ways. The confusion stems from the fact that Microsoft assigned the key combination for Page Up (Ctrl Page Up) and Page Down (Ctrl Page Dn) not to Page Up and Page Down specifically, but to the Browse by Object feature itself.

That fact alone doesn’t necessarily present a problem—unless and until you use “Find” (or “Find and Replace”). When you use Find (or Find and Replace) to search for text, the “Browse by” default search object changes from “Page” to “Find.” Afterwards, when you try to go to the previous page or the next page by pressing Ctrl Page Up or Ctrl Page Dn—or by clicking the Page Up or Page Down arrows on the scrollbar—Word stops browsing by page and instead browses by the word or phrase you last typed into the Find box! In fact, you might see a rather mystifying error message: “Word has reached the end of the document. Do you want to continue searching at the beginning?” That message won’t make sense to you unless you realize that your earlier use of the “Find” feature has triggered “Browse by Object” and, in effect, has hijacked the Page Up and Page Down commands.

You’ll run into the same problem if you use the Browse by Object feature and select any object other than Page. The object you select—edits, comments, sections, whatever—will become the default “Browse by” object, and using Page Up / Page Down will cause Word to search through your document by the object you’ve chosen.

The thing to keep in mind is that whatever object you last used as your search criterion—whether you used the “Find” dialog box or “Browse by Object”—becomes the new “Browse by Object” default. This new default will stick until (1) you close out of and re-launch Word (when it reopens, the program restores the “Browse by Object” default to “Page”) or (2) you specifically click the “Browse By” button and then click Page to reset the default object.

TIP / WORKAROUND: One workaround for the “Browse by” issue is to assign a different keyboard shortcut to the Page Up and Page Down commands and use that shortcut instead of Ctrl Page Up and Ctrl Page Dn.

To assign a new key combination to the Page Up and Page Down commands, click the Office button, Word Options, Customize, then click Keyboard shortcuts: Customize. In the Categories box, scroll down to and click All Commands. In the Commands box, scroll down to and click GoToNextPage.

Next, click in the Press new shortcut key: box and press a new key combination, such as Ctrl Shift Page Dn . If that key combination isn’t already assigned to another function in Word, click the Assign button.

Then, in the Commands box, scroll down to and click GoToPreviousPage. In the Press new shortcut key: box, press a different key combination, such as Ctrl Shift Page Up. If that key combination isn’t already assigned to another function in Word, click the Assign button.

For that matter, you could use Page Dn and Page Up, keys that in Word — unlike in certain other programs — take you from screen to screen, rather than from page to page. Choosing those keys would be perfectly logical and would have the added advantage of being easy to remember.

When you’ve finished assigning shortcut keys, click Close, and then be sure to click OK (not Cancel) to close out of Word Options.

Now, when you wish to move up or down one full page, use your new keyboard shortcuts. They’ll work regardless of whether you have recently used “Find,” “Find and Replace,” or “Browse by Object.”

October 18, 2009 at 2:34 pm

A couple of new “Find” options (Word 2007)

The “Find and Replace” dialog in Word 2007 (often referred to simply as the “Find” dialog) has been modified somewhat from previous versions. It offers two new options:

(1) “Reading Highlight“; and

(2) “Find in.”

To use the “Find” feature, either press Ctrl F or locate the Editing group at the right side of the Home tab and click the Find button. When the “Find” dialog appears, type a word or phrase in the “Find what” box.

If you want to highlight every instance of that word or phrase in the document, click the “Reading Highlight” drop-down, then click “Highlight All.” Word marks the word or phrase — everywhere it appears — in yellow.

There are two ways to turn off the highlighting. One is to click the “Reading Highlight” drop-down again, and this time click “Clear Highlighting.” (Note that the “Clear Highlighting” button doesn’t turn off any highlighting that you applied by using the highlighter icon in the Font group on the Home tab. To remove that highlighting, select the affected text and either click the highlighter icon a second time — it’s a toggle — or press Ctrl Alt H.) The other way to turn off the reading highlighting is by sending the document to the printer. At least in my tests, printing removed the highlighting, and the printed document did not display any highlighting marks.

Another new choice in Word 2007’s “Find” dialog, “Find in,” lets you specify where the program should look for a word or phrase:

(1) in the Main Document;

(2) in Footnotes, if any exist in the document;

(3) in Headers and Footers, if any exist in the document; or

(4) in selected text (“Current Selection“), if any.

If you don’t tell Word which portion of the document to search, typically it searches everywhere. At times it can be useful to look only in the footnotes, however, or only in the body of the document (excluding the footnotes, headers, and footers from the search).

Regardless of how — or whether — you use this option, it’s important to be aware of it because every once in a while it goes haywire. When you perform a search, making the reasonable assumption that Word is scouring the entire document, the program sometimes “gets stuck” searching only the footnotes. If an error message pops up, indicating that the program can’t find any more instances of a particular word when you know it hasn’t turned up all of them, be sure to click the “Find in” drop-down to see which part of the document Word is examining. If necessary, reset the search location (usually you’ll need to change it back to “Main Document“), then click the “Find Next” button to resume searching the document text.

For another caution about using the “Find” feature, see the companion post (above) about the interaction between “Find” and “Browse By” in Word.

October 18, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Legal Management Magazine’s blurb about my book

The October, 2009 issue of Legal Management, a magazine published by the Association of Legal Administrators, features a blurb about my Word 2007 book. You can find it on page 12, in the “Up Front” section — under the heading, “Formatting Made Friendly.”

Here is a link to the online version of the October issue. The “Up Front: Practical News and Perspectives” section, which is available in PDF format, is listed under Columns and Departments. (The PDF is available via this link.)

Many thanks to the nice folks at the ALA for showcasing my book!

October 17, 2009 at 9:07 pm

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Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

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