Project 2016 – recurring tasks issues

I was training Microsoft Project recently and when we input a weekly recurring task to our project plan, most computers crashed. This is on a specific release of Project 2016. You should be able to obtain a patch/update but we came across a suitable workaround. Assuming you are working a 5 day week, insert a recurring task to happen on a daily basis, but set that it occurs every 5 working days.

This did not cause the system to crash!

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Microsoft PowerPoint – entering text in Outline view

If you are a speedy typist, you don’t want to have to keep reaching for the mouse every time you want to move from a title to a bulleted list on a PowerPoint slide, or even from one slide to the next. Using the Outline pane saves you using the mouse.

To see the Outline pane, click the View tab, then in the Presentation Views group, click Outline View. The Slides pane will then display an outline of the content of your slides.

One you have typed a title, pressing Ctrl + Enter will take you to the sub-title or content level depending on type of slide chosen. In a bulleted list, press Enter at the end of each item, to move you down to the next bullet.

To move to a new slide, press Ctrl + Enter.

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Microsoft PowerPoint – inserting several pictures all same size

When working with Microsoft PowerPoint, you may want several pictures on a slide to all be of the same size. Insert your first picture, then on the Picture Tools Format tab, in the Size group, select your required size, or open up the dialog box launcher to select a specific % of the current size.

Now duplicate the picture by selecting it and using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + D.

Now with the second picture selected, on the Picture Tools Format tab, in the Adjust group, click on the Change Picture dropdown, then select one of From a File, From Online Sources or From Icons. Select your required picture, then click Insert. Your picture will be inserted into the slide at the same size as the initial picture.

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Microsoft Excel – keeping original column widths when pasting data

Sometimes you spend a lot of time and effort getting the columns on a worksheet to the exact widths that you want and then need to copy and paste the data elsewhere. The last thing you want is to then spend time adjusting column widths again!

To copy column widths:

  1. Copy the data as usual.
  2. Click in the location in which you want to paste the data.
  3. Click on the Paste dropdown.

Paste Special

Select Keep Source Column Widths Keep Source Column WidthsThe data will be copied with the column widths intact.

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Microsoft Excel – quickly unhide all columns or rows

If you have hidden multiple rows or columns in Excel, it can take a while to work out what you have hidden to unhide again. It is also hard to work out how to unhide column A or row 1!

To quickly unhide all columns or all rows, press Ctrl + A which will select the whole worksheet, then right-click over the data area and click Unhide from the shortcut menu that appears.

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Outlook 2013 and 2016 – attachment reminder

It is so easy to forget to add the relevant attachment to an email when you are in a rush or have other things on your mind!

It may be worth adding the attachment before you write the body of the message. However, if you are using Outlook 2013 or 2016 and you include the words attachment or attached in the body of the email and then send the message without attaching the file, you will receive a message asking whether you have forgotten to attach a file. How useful is that!

Also when you go to the Attach File dropdown, you will now see a list of recently used files to easily attach instead of having to browse for the file.

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Microsoft Outlook – changing default font for e-mails

Many companies have a specific font that they want people to use for sending out e-mails. To change the default font for your e-mails in Microsoft Outlook, click File – Options. Click Mail to display the mail options. Click Stationery and Fonts to open the Signatures and Stationery dialog box.

Outlook Signatures and Stationery dialog box

In the New mail messages section, click Font. The Font dialog box will be displayed. Choose your desired Font and Size then click OK. If required, do similarly for Replying or forwarding messages.

Click OK.

For any subsequent new e-mails and/or for replies to e-mails, your chosen font and size will automatically be used.

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Microsoft Outlook – do external meeting attendees see colour categories?

An interesting request recently was from a client where they wanted internal staff to know what room a meeting would be in but they didn’t want external attendees to know the meeting room!

The way we got round this problem was to colour categorise the various meeting rooms – actually the client already had the meeting rooms categorised in this way which was very handy!

When an invite is sent out the location can then just be the building location; internal staff will know which room the meeting will be in as their invites will show the appropriate colour category; external attendees will not see the colour coding.

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Microsoft Project – field to show tasks due to finish this week

I was asked how to create a field that would show the text “Due this week” if the task was due to finish within the next week and leave it blank otherwise.

Go to the Project tab and in the Properties group, click Custom Fields.

Custom Fields dialog box

From the Type dropdown, select Text, select a relevant text field and click Rename to rename it to something suitable, such as Due this week. Click OK.

Click Formula.

The required formula is

IIf([Finish]-[Current Date]>=0 And [Finish]-[Current Date]<=7,”Due this week”,””)

Due Date formula

Click OK twice.

On your table, right-click over the column heading where you want to insert the new column, click Insert column and select the required column from the drop-down list.

You will then see all tasks that are due to finish within the next week.

Due Date field

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Excel 2016 – Forecast Sheet

New in Excel 2016 is the Forecast Sheet capability which you will find on the Data tab in the Forecast group. This looks at past data and the trends within it, to allow you to forecast what is likely to happen in the future.

Open a workbook containing historic data. Here I am looking at International Visitors to London.

This is quarterly data starting in 2002 and finishing at Q3 2017 (the most up-to-date I could find on the Internet).

Forecast sheet 1

Click anywhere within the data set, then on the Data tab, in the Forecast group, click Forecast Sheet. A line chart will be displayed showing your past data and future forecast.

Forecast sheet2

At the top right, you have the option to choose a line chart or a column chart. Towards the bottom, you can either accept their Forecast End date or select your own. Clicking Options brings up a greater list of options.

Forecast sheet3

From here, you can accept their Forecast Start date or choose your own. You can also specify a different Confidence Interval if required. You can allow Excel to automatically detect the seasonality of your data or set it manually and you can also choose whether or not to Include forecast statistics. If necessary change the Timeline Range and the Values Range. In this forecast I am looking at predicted spend, but I could want to predict nights spent or number of visits.

When you are happy with your chosen options, click Create. As well as the chart, you will then have predicted figures.

Forecast sheet4

Here using a 95% confidence interval, it shows the expected forecast spend, the minimum spend based on my data and the maximum spend based on my data.

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