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Word: Assign keyboard shortcut to paste unformatted text

August 11, 2016

I’ve previously written about using toolbar icons, macros, or other features of Word to paste copied text as unformatted text (see https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/word-keyboard-shortcut-to-paste-unformatted-text/ and https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/word-2010-keyboard-shortcut-to-paste-unformatted-text/).

However, if you have to do this a lot, there’s another, much easier, way — assign a keyboard shortcut to the ‘paste as unformatted text’ command.

Note: As far as I’m aware you can do this in all versions of Word from at least Word 2010 onwards.

  1. Open Word.
  2. On the File menu, click Options to open the Word Options dialog box.
  3. Click Customize ribbon in the left panel.
  4. Below the left panel of commands, click the Customize button (next to Keyboard shortcuts) to open the Customize Keyboard dialog box.
  5. Scroll down the list of Categories (top left box) to All commands and select it (number 1 in the screenshot below).
  6. In the Commands list (top right box), type p to get to the commands starting with ‘p’.
  7. Scroll down to PasteTextOnly and select it (2 in the screenshot).
  8. In the Press new shortcut key field, PRESS the keys you want to use for this shortcut. Do NOT type them. For example, if you want the keyboard shortcut to be Alt+p+t (‘p’ for paste, ‘t’ for text), then press those keys as though you were using them in the document. They will display in the field similar to this: Alt+P,T (3 in the screenshot).
  9. Checked that Currently assigned to has [unassigned] next to it. If it doesn’t, then the key combination you chose is already used for something else and you’ll have to assign a new combination in the Press new shortcut key field.
    paste_text_only
  10. Click Assign (4 in the screenshot). The new keyboard shortcut will shift into the Current keys box.
  11. Click Close.
  12. Click OK to close the Word Options dialog box.
  13. Test your keyboard shortcut by copying some formatted text from another source (web page, another document, etc.), then use the keyboard shortcut you just assigned to paste it into your Word document as unformatted text.

[Links last checked August 2016]

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Visio: Open two windows

August 5, 2016

I’ve been doing a bit of work with Visio files for my main client. I am NOT a Visio expert in anyone’s imagination, least of all mine!

One of the things that’s frustrated me as I’ve tried to copy objects from one Visio diagram to another is that, by default, Visio only opens a single instance of the program, with each file within the same window. This is REALLY frustrating when you have two monitors and want your files side-by-side for comparison or copying purposes. There had to be a way to open the files in separate windows that you could move around the screen(s). And there is.

There are a couple of simple ways to do this, which I’ll discuss here. There’s also a way to do it via a Registry setting so that Visio always opens a new window each time you open a file. I won’t discuss that method — you can Google it.

The instructions below are for Windows 7 and Visio 2010, though I believe the same/similar techniques also work in later versions.

Simple method 1

  1. Open Visio from the Programs list off the Start button.
  2. Repeat step 1.
  3. Once you have your two instances open (yes, you can have more — just keep repeating Step 1), use File > Open or File > Recent to open an existing file.

Simple method 2

  1. Open Visio.
  2. Hold down the Shift key as you click the Visio icon in the taskbar — this opens a new instance of Visio.
  3. Once you have your two instances open (for more, repeat Step 2), use File > Open or File > Recent to open an existing file.

Simple method 3

  1. Open Visio.
  2. Right-click the Visio icon in the taskbar and select Microsoft Visio — this opens a new instance of Visio.
  3. Once you have your two instances open (for more, repeat Step 2), use File > Open or File > Recent to open an existing file.

 

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Word: Find expanded text or spaces

July 26, 2016

Problem

Today I edited an activity guide. It had a formatting oddness that took me a while to figure out. Every so often (not consistently, but at least once or twice per paragraph), there would be a single space that looked like a double space.

It took me forever to figure out what the problem was (Expanded font style), then research how to fix it. I couldn’t find anything that indicated that I could do a global search & replace. If anyone knows a way to search & replace on particular formatting on Word, I’d love to know.

Solution

In Word for Windows, you can search for expanded text and replace it with normal, BUT you need to know how much it’s expanded by, and hope that all is expanded to the same degree.

In the screenshot below, some spaces (highlighted in green) are expanded by 2 pt. All others are not expanded. The yellow highlight shows an instance of a normal space followed by a ‘Y’ so you can see the difference between that and the green one with the expanded space in front of another ‘Y’. These things are hard to see, so make sure your formatting marks are turned on and zoom in — I zoomed in to 150% in this example.

FR_expanded space01

  1. Select one of the expanded spaces and check the Font settings > Advanced tab to find out what degree of expansion is used (e.g. 1 pt, 1.1 pt, 2 pt etc.). Write it down.
  2. Go to the Find and Replace dialog box (Ctrl+H), then the Replace tab.
  3. Type the space into the Find what field.
  4. Click More.
    FR_expanded space02
  5. Click Format > Font.
    FR_expanded space03
  6. Click the Advanced tab and select Expanded from the Spacing options, then enter the point size you found out earlier into the By field.
    FR_expanded space04
  7. Click OK to return to the Replace tab — you should have ‘Expanded by xx pt’ below the Find what field.
    FR_expanded space05
  8. Go to the Replace with field, type a space, then More > Format > Font > Advanced tab, select Spacing = Normal.
    FR_expanded space06
  9. Click OK to return to the Replace tab. The Replace with field should have ‘Not Expanded by /Condensed by’ below it.
    FR_expanded space07
  10. Click Find Next and then Replace to find each expanded space and replace it with a normal space (if you’re confident, click Replace All).

 

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Black screen on computer bootup

July 24, 2016

My computer wouldn’t boot up this morning. The lights were on, but the screens were black. I’d seen the manufacturer’s logo, but then nothing. No Windows login screen. Nada.

I tried a second reboot — same result. Then a third. No joy.

And then I saw that I still had my fancy Parrot Zik bluetooth headphones plugged in to a USB port to charge. Hmmmm…. Every time I’ve plugged them in, I get a message about a new device and do I want to open files, etc., so the computer thinks they are an external device. My husband has an external drive that won’t allow his computer to start up if it’s plugged in on bootup, so perhaps the headphones were the reason?

I unplugged the headphones, rebooted the computer, and everything booted up as it should. The headphones were the culprit!

Interestingly, I have an external hard drive that’s always plugged into this PC, but it’s ignored on bootup. I probably need to talk to my PC Guru guys to see if I can alter the startup sequence to look for the hard drive first, instead of any external drives.

Update 25 July 2016: I checked the BIOS boot sequence the next morning, and found that my hard drive is listed second, in front of USB storage devices, CD/DVD, onboard NIC, and the external HDD (last). However, ‘Diskette Drive’ is listed first (who’s used a floppy drive in the past 10 years???), so I’m pretty sure the PC thought the plugged in USB headphones were a floppy disk! Also, a quick Google search of “usb headphones boot sequence”gives many articles from others who have had this problem with various headsets/headphones.

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Word: More lesser known keyboard shortcuts

June 15, 2016

Following on from an earlier post (https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/word-lesser-known-keyboard-shortcuts/), here are some more keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Word for Windows.

Shortcut Does this
Ctrl+Shift+8 Toggles formatting marks on and off
Ctrl+1 Applies single-line spacing to the selected paragraph(s)
Ctrl+2 Applies double-line spacing to the selected paragraph(s)
Ctrl+5 Applies 1.5-line spacing to the selected paragraph(s)
Ctrl+0 (zero) Toggles the ‘space before’ setting for the paragraph where the cursor is to 12 pt (if some other value) or 0 pt (if the previous setting was 12 pt)
Alt+Ctrl+z Jump to your previous editing location

See also:

[Link last checked June 2016]

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World domination achieved!

June 11, 2016

Yesterday I got an email from a US friend. He’s in Budapest (Hungary) attending a tech writing/user assistance conference (UA Europe). He’s in a session presented by someone from The Netherlands when he spots a screenshot of a page from this blog! He has enough time to capture it on his phone and send it to me. How cool is that — a Dutch presenter showing a page from an Australian’s blog, seen and captured by an American, in Hungary!

Even cooler, the presenter said that it was great example of a ‘perfectly complete task explanation’ and ‘This rocks!’ My work here is done — I think with this, I have achieved world domination ;-)

20160610_100935

(In case you’re interested, the blog post the speaker referenced was: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/word-insert-a-multi-page-pdf/)

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Word: Get your computer to read your document

May 13, 2016

One final checks that many editors do is to read a document aloud. But until you’re used to doing that, reading aloud to an empty room seems really weird. Reading aloud to others who don’t care about the document can be awkward. Of course, if you have a pet, you could read aloud to it, but it might want to play (dog), or ignore you (fish, reptile), or ignore you and walk off (cat), or reply (bird).

Windows comes with an in-built text to speech reader, and the easiest way to get it to read some or all of your Word document is to add the ‘Speak’ icon to your Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).

Here’s how in Word 2010 – later versions should be similar:

  1. Open any Word document.
  2. Go to File > Options.
  3. Click Quick Access Toolbar on the left ([1] in the screenshot below).
  4. Click the drop-down arrow next to Popular Commands [2], then select All Commands [3].QAT_speech01
  5. Type the letter ‘s’ to go to the commands starting with ‘s’, then scroll to Speak and select it [4].
  6. Click Add [5] to add it to your QAT.
    QAT_speech02
  7. Click OK to close the Options window. The Speak icon (a speech bubble) should now be on your QAT.
  8. To test that it works, make sure your headphones or speakers are connected and on.
  9. Select any of the text in your Word document, then click the Speak icon. (To hear the entire document, select it all — Ctrl+A).
    QAT_speech03
  10. To stop, click the Speak icon again.

NOTE: I tested this on my Windows 7 64-bit computer, and there’s only one voice available by default — Microsoft ‘Anna’, a robotic female US voice. I couldn’t find any easy way to get other voices (without paying for them), though I believe there are more free voices available in 32-bit Windows 7, and in Windows 8 and later.

See also:

[Links last checked May 2016]

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