Report Writing – Defining the Purpose of a Report

It is vital to be clear about the purpose of the report:

        What do you want to achieve?

       What response do you want from the reader?

       What are your ambitions in producing this report?

Is the aim of the report to:

  •  Inform
  • Persuade
  • Instruct
  • Fulfil contractual obligations
  • Build/ enhance profile
  • Generate action / make decisions?


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Crystal Reports – inserting missing field headings into page headers

When you drag a field into the Details section in Crystal Reports, the field name will automatically be placed in the Page Header. Occasionally you may place a field in the wrong section of a report and then realise, you want it in the Details section. Moving it will not cause a field name to be added to the Page Header. To get the field name showing, click on the field in the Details section, then click Insert – Field heading. The field heading will be added to the Page Header above its appropriate field.

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Microsoft Word – fine-tuning text on mailing labels

When you create mailing labels in Microsoft Word, you may find that the text for the Address block ends up with double spacing. To get round this, before starting your labels, go to the Home tab and in the Styles group, choose the No Spacing style. This will ensure single spacing between the lines of the address.

If you find you cannot see lines to see where each label will start and finish, go to the Table Tools Layout tab, and in the Table  group, select View – Gridlines.

If you want the address to move down slightly on the label, go to the beginning of the address and press the Spacebar and then press Enter. This will give more space at the top of the address.

Remember to press Update Labels to ensure you get multiple labels on one page!

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Microsoft Excel – creating a 2-D map

In the newest versions of Microsoft Excel it is possible to produce 2- and 3-D maps of geographical data. In this blog post, I look at creating a 2-D map; in a future one, I will discuss 3-D maps.

In this instance, I have Last Year’s Sales figures by Country.

Excel 2-D map dataSelect the data set with the regional category on the left and the data to be plotted as the second field; if the columns are not next to each other, hold down the Ctrl key to select the relevant data.

Go to the Insert tab and in the Charts group, click on the Charts drop-down and click Filled Map. A map will be displayed. Contextual tabs, Chart Tools Design and Chart Tools Format will also be displayed.

Excel 2-D map

You may want to put the map on a sheet by itself, in which case from the Chart Tools Design tab, click Move Chart and move it to a suitable location.

To add labels to the map, indicating the data, click the + sign to the right of the map, select Data Labels. Suitable labels will be added. You could also add a suitable title to the map.

Excel 2-D map with data labels

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The Importance of a Good Work-Life Balance

Why It’s Important

A healthy balance between work and home should be a priority for everyone. Implementing proper work-life balance offers many important benefits. There are, however, many hazards linked with an unbalanced work and home life. 


  • Poor health: Working long hours without taking time to relax will take its toll on health.
  • Unresolved conflict: A lack of balance can create conflicts at work and at home.
  • Poor performance: Taking on too much responsibility will lead to exhaustion and cause performance to suffer.
  • Financial loss: The impact on health and productivity takes a financial toll on both individual employees and organizations.


  • Fulfilment: People who successfully implement work life balance improve their sense of fulfilment at work and at home.
  • Health: A healthy work life balance decreases the risk of heart disease and other health problems. 
  • Greater productivity: Being relaxed and well rested increases productivity and improves work performance.
  • Stronger relationships: Personal and professional relationships are strengthened and conflicts are avoided when there is work life balance.
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Guest Blog – 5 SEO Tips for Your Online Business

You run an online business and look for SEO tips so that your business can be found on the first page of Google’s results, right? How did I know? I guessed based on the fact that you clicked on the blog URL to read this blog.

I will not disappoint you, my friend. In this blog, I am going to share five search engine optimization tips that will help you grab a better position in search results, attract more visitors to your website, and convert more visits into sales.

Here they are.

On-site Optimization

Check the uploading time of your website. This must not be more than 2-3 seconds. Neither users nor Google will like the website if it takes more time to upload to the browser.

Make sure the appearance of the website is user-friendly. If the appearance is user-friendly, people will spend more time on it, and the more time people spend on your website, the more chance there is of a sale.

Make sure the content is original and persuasive. This will help you kill two birds with one stone – the content will influence readers to take action and it will influence the search engine to promote your website in the search results.

However, to get the favour of the search engine, you will need to include keywords in the content. Select the keywords with average competition and use them appropriately in the content. If you use keywords with high competition, it will take quite a while to beat the competition and be found on the first page. If you take keywords with no competition, you will be seen on the first page easily, but that visibility will be of no use.

You should not overuse keywords in the content to manipulate the search results; otherwise, your website may disappear from the top search results because Google counts this as spamming.

Link Building

Links matter a lot for your site’s visibility in the search results. The search engine counts the links as votes in favor of your site. As in elections, the contestant who gets the most votes wins the election, and the website that gets the most high-quality links gets positioned on the first page of the search results. Still, I have not assured you the first position because there are also other factors on which your website is measured.

I have used the word ‘high-quality links.’ Do not ignore it. Google values only high-quality links and promotes websites only because of them. The search engine disapproves of poor quality links and downs the ranking of a website because of them.

Content Marketing

The next important thing to concentrate on is the content marketing. You must run a smart content marketing campaign. You should search for the best content marketing websites of your business domain and publish your blogs on them. Do not forget to add a link to your website from the content marketing website. Most of the content marketing websites do not allow you to add a link to the content part, so you can add a link to the author bio section.

In addition to blogs, post press releases and articles as well. However, the thing that you need to take care of is making sure that the site that you select is a high authority website.

On-site Blogging

Add a WordPress blog to your website and post at least one high-quality blog every week. Give a link to the page relevant to the blog. However, the link must be genuine. The blog will attract people to read it. This will increase the value of your blog, and your website, for the search engine. If the value of your blog increases, believe me, you will not need to do anything else to reach your target audience. People will search for your blog on Google to get useful information. This will increase the value of your blog, and your blog will appear on the first page.

Social Shares of the blog

Though Google has not accepted that social shares have any effect on the ranking, in reality, they do. When you share something on your social networking account, your friends and followers read it and share it if they like, and this increases the visits to the blog, which directly improves their visibility in the search results.

These tips can really help your online business by improving its visibility, traffic, and conversion rates, so think about these tips seriously. If you do not want to take any chances and want sure-shot success for your business, seriously consider consulting with an experienced search engine optimization company.


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Resilence and Emotional Intelligence

Resilience (or resiliency) is our ability to adapt and bounce back when things don’t go as planned. Resilient people don’t wallow or dwell on failures; they acknowledge the situation, learn from their mistakes, and then move forward.

According to the research of leading psychologist, Susan Kobasa, there are three elements that are essential to resilience:

  1. Challenge – Resilient people view a difficulty as a challenge, not as a paralyzing event. They look at their failures and mistakes as lessons to be learned from, and as opportunities for growth. They don’t view them as a negative reflection on their abilities or self-worth.
  2. Commitment – Resilient people are committed to their lives and their goals, and they have a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning. Commitment isn’t just restricted to their work – they commit to their relationships, their friendships, the causes they care about, and their religious or spiritual beliefs.
  3. Personal Control – Resilient people spend their time and energy focusing on situations and events that they have control over. Because they put their efforts where they can have the most impact, they feel empowered and confident. Those who spend time worrying about uncontrollable events can often feel lost, helpless, and powerless to take action.

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Crystal Reports – using Propercase but with some words needed in lower case – for example Wired for Sound

In Crystal Reports, if the data coming into a report is a mess of upper, lower and proper case, you may well want to convert the field using the function PROPERCASE. However, on doing so, you may find there are one or two that still look strange – for example ‘Bikes And Trikes’ may look better as ‘Bikes and Trikes’, etc. Decide which words you want to still be in lower case, for example, ‘to’, ‘and’, ‘for’ and ‘the’.

Proper case

In the example above, I have created a formula which converted my original customer name to proper case. I then use cstr to convert the resulting formula to a string.

To take into account that there may be a string where and is part of a word for example Bikes of England, when looking for a particular word in the string I have included spaces on either side of the word.

In the screenshot below, the Proper case column is to the left and the column to the right shows the result using the formula above.

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Microsoft Excel – deleting all blank rows in a worksheet

If you have several empty rows in an Excel worksheet, it is a bit of a nuisance to go through and delete them all manually. You can select blanks cells, using Go to Special, but if you are not careful you will end up deleting rows that contain a few blank cells rather than being completely blank rows.

Instead, go to the column to the right of any data and set up a formula:

=countblank(a2:?2) where ? is the previous column letter

Copy the formula down to the end of the column.

Blank rows

Now, put on a filter on that column (Data – Filter) and filter so you are just seeing the rows with the maximum number of blanks (these rows will be completely blank).

Blank rows

Delete these rows, clear the filter and delete your extra column.

You will now have removed the blank rows.

Blank rows

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Microsoft Excel – gridlines lost when formatting cell background

When you add colour to a cell background in Excel, either manually using the Cell Background  Cell background icon button or by using Conditional Formatting, you lose the gridline round the cell.

Cell gridlines


If you really want to see the gridline, you can reproduce it using the cell borders button. Select the relevant cells, then from the Borders dropdown, select All Borders, then click More Borders. The Format Cells dialog box will be displayed with the Borders tab uppermost. From the Color dropdown, choose White, Background 1, Darker 15%. On the right-hand side, click on all borders of the rectangle in the Border section.

Format Cells Borders dialog box

Click OK.

You will now see gridlines round your data.

Cell gridlines

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