Archive for January, 2014


Word: Updating automated caption and cross-reference numbering

January 31, 2014

NOTE: You must be using automated caption numbering, Word’s heading styles (mostly), and automated cross-references (x-refs) for these steps to work.

If you have a document with several sections and automated table/figure captions and x-refs to these, you might wonder how you can update these numbers etc. to reflect any changes you make, such as inserting new tables/figures/sections, or moving existing ones to other places in the document, or deleting some of them.

It’s actually very easy to do, so here’s how:

  1. Turn off Track Changes if they are on.
  2. Press Ctrl+A to select the entire document.
  3. Right-click on the selection, and select Update Field. (This update can take several minutes on a very long or complex doc with lots of x-refs, so be patient…. You’ll see the ‘spinning wheel of death’ and possibly ‘Not Responding’ in the title bar while Word is updating your doc, so don’t touch the mouse or keyboard until the cursor turns back to a static arrow.)
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3. (Why? Because the first update seems to update the numbering and captions, and the second pass seems to updates the x-refs. Sometimes just a single pass will work, but I’ve had situations where I’ve needed to do the update a second time, so now I just do it twice anyway.)

Once you’ve updated the caption numbering and the x-refs, you may need to update the automated Table of Contents (TOC), List of Tables (LOT), and List of Figures (LOF) too. Sometimes these elements update as part of the steps above, but not always.

  1. Make sure Track Changes is still off.
  2. Click anywhere inside the TOC.
  3. Go to the References tab (#1 in the image below), Table of Contents group on the ribbon (far left), then click Update Table (#2 in the image below). If asked, select the option to Update entire table.
  4. Click anywhere inside the LOT.
  5. Go to the References tab, Captions group on the ribbon (middle), then click Update Table (#3 in the image below). If asked, select the option to Update entire table.
  6. Click anywhere inside the LOF.
  7. Go to the References tab, Captions group on the ribbon (middle), then click Update Table (#3 in the image below). If asked, select the option to Update entire table.


[based on a Writing Tip I wrote for my work colleagues]


Review: TechSmith Fuse

January 16, 2014

TechSmith, the makers of the excellent SnagIt, have just released an update (v11.4 for Windows), and in the promotional video they talked about their new free app — TechSmith Fuse — available for both Android and Apple devices (I tested it on my Android phone and Android tablet). It’s a quick and easy way to get your photos from your device directly into SnagIt Editor or Camtasia on your PC or Mac. Obviously, you’ll need one of those pieces of software on your computer.


Once you’ve downloaded the app onto your device, you open SnagIt on your computer, select File > Connect Mobile Device, then use your mobile device to scan the QR code shown on your computer screen. That’s it for connecting!!

Next, open the TechSmith Fuse app on your device, and your gallery of pictures loads up and displays. Tap a picture to send it, then choose whether to send it to SnagIt or Camtasia, then the name of your computer app (I’m not sure why you need this last step, but I guess if you have SnagIt or TechSmith Fuse on multiple computers/devices, you need to tell it which device to send to).  The photo is sent straight to SnagIt Editor on that computer.

Just brilliant — no more Bluetooth pairing, no more USB connection cables etc. You can also take a photo and send it to SnagIt/Camtasia straight away.

But… while it worked seamlessly straight away from my phone and tablet and is a brilliant concept, I noticed a couple of things that could be improved for the next version:

  • cannot multiselect and send — currently have to send one photo at a time and select the send options each time Update: You can do this now. Hold down on the first photo, then lightly tap the others you want to send.
  • does not remember my last setting selection and/or know whether or not I have SnagIt AND/OR Camtasia — I only have SnagIt, so the Camtasia option is of no use; it knows who I am so it would be nice for it to remember which TechSmith product(s) I have or used to connect via the QR code
  • doesn’t send/display the photos in the SnagIt Editor in the same size/dimensions/resolution they were taken in — when I send the photo to SnagIt Editor, the photo is resized from the original quite substantially, with an associated loss of resolution; if I download the photos as I usually do with a wired connection or Bluetooth, I get no loss of size/dimension/resolution. Update: TechSmith responded to my Tweet about this post within minutes and showed me how to keep the original dimensions. Woohoo — customer service done right! To keep your dimensions, open SnagIt Editor on your computer, go to File, click the Editor options button (lower right corner), click Advanced, then select the check box near the bottom for Keep original image dimensions.

Despite these issues, for a quick connection to SnagIt where you aren’t concerned about size etc., this is just brilliant and beats connecting via other methods.

NOTE: I haven’t yet tried sending a photo when I’m out of range of my computer, or when my computer isn’t turned on. I doubt it will work if my computer is not on. Update: Not surprisingly, it doesn’t work when your paired computer is not on. And when I walked out to the shed where the wireless connection is ‘very poor to nothing’, it couldn’t make the connection. Again, that wasn’t surprising. But for when you’re sitting near your computer and need to upload a few photos taken on your tablet/phone, TechSmith Fuse sure beats having to make connections in other more cumbersome ways.


Word: Insert a zero in front of single digit numbers

January 14, 2014

If you don’t use Word’s auto numbering and you copy numbered content from another source (e.g. an Excel spreadsheet), you may end up with something like this:


If you sort on the first column and don’t specify that it’s a Number column type, you could end up with something like this, where 10, 11 etc. come after 1 and not after 9:


In such circumstances you may want to add a zero in front of the single-digit numbers so that you can sort them properly. While you can do this manually, which is quick and easy if you only have a few, that becomes tedious if you have many tables or lists in your document that have a mix of one- and two-digit manual numbers and you want to change all the single-digit numbers to two-digit numbers, with a zero in front, like this:


Enter Find and Replace using wildcards!

What you’re going to do is look for any single-digit number followed by a period, and then add a zero to the front of the number while keeping the number and its trailing period.

Here’s how:

  1. Select the table column or paragraphs that contain the numbers you want to change. (See NOTE below about this selection.)
  2. Press Ctrl+H to open the Find/Replace window on the Replace tab.
  3. Click More.
  4. Select the Use wildcards check box.
  5. In the Find what field, type this: (<[0-9])(.) (Note: make sure you type this exactly as written — you might find it easier to copy/paste this instead.)
  6. In the Replace with field, type this: 0\1\2 (Note: the first character is a zero.)
  7. Click Replace All.
  8. When asked if you want to search the remainder of the document, click No (unless of course you really do want to replace all instances of a single-digit number followed by a period in the rest of the document!)
  9. Thank me by donating to this blog if I’ve just saved you a heap of time ;-)

Explanation for what the wildcards mean:

  • (<[0-9]): Find a range ( ) starting with (<) a single number between 0 and 9 [0-9]
  • (.): followed by a period
  • 0: Replace with a zero
  • \1: followed by whatever was found in the first range (the single number)
  • \2: followed by whatever was found in the second range (the period)

NOTE: There’s a quirk in Find/Replace whereby Replace All replaces across the entire document if you click Replace or Find Next first. See this blog post for details:

[Link last checked January 2014]


Word: Replace All doesn’t work on selected text only

January 13, 2014

I recently investigated a quirk in Word’s Find and Replace that I’ve noticed every so often and that’s annoyed me for a long time because it seems so illogical. In the process I found out it’s ‘by design’ and has been like it since at least Word 2000!

So what’s the quirk? Well, if you select some text and do Replace All on it, sometimes just the selected text has the Replace All action applied to, whereas other times the entire document has the Replace All action applied to it, which is NOT what I want when I’ve selected only part of the text. If I notice that Word has performed Replace All on the entire document quick enough, I can ‘undo’ and go back to how it was, and then do single Replace instances to just replace what I want to replace, but that’s clunky.

This behavior is a real annoyance — I have to notice quickly enough that Word has done the Replace All on the entire document. Once I’ve saved and closed the document, it’s too late — when I next open it all those replacements cannot be undone easily, and I scream and curse at Word.

While this may be ‘by design’, I actually believe it’s a bug. Why? Because when I’ve selected a part of the document and clicked Replace All *while that part is selected*, then I ONLY expect the Replace All to work on that selection, unless I’m asked otherwise.

The real quirk is that when you first open a document and run Replace All, it *will* work on the selected text only, UNLESS you click Replace or Find Next first. Once you’ve clicked Replace or Find Next (NOT Replace All), Word thinks you want to do the replacements one by one and so ignores your selection! Then if you click Replace All AFTER clicking Replace or Find Next just the once, the entire document is scanned and the Replace All action happens across the whole document.

What a pain! At least now I know why it behaves differently at different times — it’s all to do with whether I’ve clicked Replace or Find Next first or not.

So how do you get around it? If you really want to Replace All just in the selected text, save and close the document, then re-open it. Run the Replace All action on the selection and it will work — DO NOT click Replace first, otherwise clicking Replace All will replace across the whole document.

For someone like me who uses Find/Replace all the time and will run several Find/Replace routines across a document, one after the other or scattered across several hours, this behavior is a real nuisance. Sometimes I need to replace everything (Replace All), and sometimes just individual items (Replace), and then follow that up later in the editing process with another Replace All on selected text. I guess I’ll have to change my workflow to do all my Replace All actions before I do any other Replace or Find Next action.

I found a description of this behavior on the Microsoft Support website — for Word 2000! It’s still behaving like this in Word 2010, and it’s a real pain, in my opinion. The Knowledge Base article describing this behavior is here:

Update: Discussed further with other solutions here:

[Link last checked June 2019]


Can Siri deal with Australian accents?

January 2, 2014

Based on the recent experiences of one of my loyal readers, Siri has trouble interpreting simple commands spoken in his ‘educated Australian’ accent.

He had a new iPhone and wanted to know how to close an app as it wasn’t the same as on his previous iPhone, so he asked Siri.

Here’s how Siri responded to that request (note that his spoken words were correctly converted to text, but even then Siri went off on the wrong tangent — how Norwegian Krona got into the mix is beyond me… and him!):


So the next day he asked Siri to show him the manual so he could find out for himself, and got this ‘helpful’ information (I’m not sure why there’s a blue dotted underline beneath the word ‘the’, one of the most common words in English):


Perhaps Siri thinks it’s all powerful and has totally superseded the manual to the point where it doesn’t believe there *is* a manual ;-) Sort of like ‘ethnic cleansing’ for potential usurpers to the throne of (mis)information.

It looks like voice recognition still has a way to go…