Thursday, June 28, 2012

MS Office Clipboard Manager

Using the clipboard - copying, cutting, and pasting - is one of the most fundamental ways to increase productivity and efficiency in your workday.  For most uses, keeping only the most current copied item is just fine - until it's not.  Maybe you copy one thing, then copy another, overwriting the first copy you haven't yet pasted.

A coworker recently had something like this occur.  They copied the text of an entire document, went to paste it into a new document...and it was gone.  When I got the call, I shared this tip with them.

To find the clipboard manager, look on the 'Home' tab of the ribbon on the far left, and click on the box in the corner:

This will display the clipboard pane.  If you want Office to collect clipboard items whether the clipboard pane is visible or not, click Options at the bottom of the pane and select 'Collect Without Showing Office Clipboard'.  

Items on the clipboard will survive until you clear them or until you close all Office programs.  

If you are working on a low-resource (RAM) machine, you can also open up more memory by clearing your clipboard through the clipboard pane.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Starting Back Up

I'll be starting this blog back up again.  Yes, I do still have the Tumblr blog, and that will stay as a quick place to post links to interesting things.  This blog will be a place to post more detail on tips and interesting tricks I pick up over time - like the successful Jasper Reports series (part 1 / part 2) from last year.

The reason I am doing this is to practice writing and communication, which I think is important.  If I can help someone out along the way, all the better.

To start off, here's a tip about keyboard shortcuts.

Ctrl+Shift Keyboard Shortcuts in Excel (and Windows)

While experimenting with some Excel (2010) keyboard shortcuts (as mentioned in this article), I discovered to my dismay that the Ctrl+Shift+0 (unhide) shortcut didn't seem to be working.  Ctrl+0 worked just fine to hide, but Ctrl+Shift+0 just did not respond (and yes, I had the appropriate rows/columns selected).  

What gives, Excel?

Well, it turns out not to be Excel's problem at all.  Windows (Vista and 7) are to blame in this case.  These versions of Windows use the Ctrl+Shift combo to switch keyboard layouts (by default, even if you don't have multiple layouts).  Here's how to fix the issue (see this MS KB article):

1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
2. Double-click Regional and Language Options.
3. Click Keyboards and Languages, and then click Change keyboards.
4. Click Advanced Key Settings, and select Between input languages.
5. Click change Key Sequence.
6. For Switch Keyboard Layout, select Not Assigned.
7. Click OK to close each dialog box.

Once you've done this, Windows will no longer hijack Ctrl+Shift, which will allow Excel and any other program to accept this key combo for use in keyboard shortcuts.