Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

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Acrobat and Word: Tagging slows down PDF creation

February 20, 2019

An ex-colleague contacted me about a 220+ page Word document she was trying to PDF using Acrobat Pro. It was taking forever and seemed to be held up at the ‘tagging’ stage. I remembered that I’d encountered this problem many years ago, and the solution was to turn tagging off.

She was using Acrobat Pro DC, whereas I only have Acrobat Pro XI. But it seems the settings are very similar.

I asked her to turn off just one setting and try again. It worked, and she had her PDF within a few minutes.

That setting? In Acrobat Pro XI it’s: Edit > Preferences > Convert to PDF, select Microsoft Office Word, click Edit Settings, then uncheck the Enable accessibility and reflow checkbox. Click OK to exit the preferences screens and retry creating the PDF.

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Word: Find and replace multiple asterisks used as separator lines

February 15, 2019

On one of my editing forums, someone had a situation where the author had used many long strings of asterisks to separate various parts of the document. The length of these asterisk ‘lines’ weren’t the same—sometimes the author had used 3 asterisks, other times they’d used 4 or 8 or 35 or some other random number of asterisks. How to get rid of them all at once? Enter Word’s wildcard find and replace feature!

  1. Press Ctrl+H to open the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Click the More button to show more find/replace options.
  3. Select the Use wildcards checkbox.
  4. In the Find what field, type: (^013)(*{2,50})(^013)
  5. In the Replace with field, type: \1\3
  6. Click Find Next to find the first instance, then Replace to replace the multiple asterisks with a paragraph mark.
  7. Repeat step 6 as many times as you need to be confident that it’s finding the right things. Once you’re confident, click Replace All to run through the whole document and fix all instances.

Explanation for how this works:

  • (^013) looks for a paragraph mark (this indicates the end of the previous line of text). This string defines the first section of the Find.
  • (*{2,50}) looks for two or more asterisks, up to 50 asterisks (yes, you can change the numbers inside the curly braces to suit your situation— if you think you might have some lines with 100 asterisks, then change the 50 to 100; if you don’t know what the upper limit is, then leave it empty [i.e. use *{2,}). This string defines the second section of the Find.
  • (^013) looks for a paragraph mark immediately following a string of asterisks. This string defines the third and last section of the Find.
  • \1 replaces the first part of the wildcard string with itself. In other words, the paragraph mark found is replaced with itself, so no change apparently occurs.
  • \3 replaces the third part of the wildcard string with itself. In other words, the paragraph mark found is replaced with itself, so no change apparently occurs.

A note about ^013: In an ordinary find/replace, you would use ^p for a paragraph mark, but this doesn’t work in a wildcard find/replace—instead, you have to use ^013.

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Word: Can’t open a template in Office 365

February 15, 2019

I installed Office 365 on a test Windows 10 machine and wanted to change the language setting in the normal.dotm template from US English to Australian English (this determines which autocorrect [*.ACL] file is used for any documents based on that template).

But when I right-clicked on normal.dotm and selected Open, I got a message telling me that a default app hadn’t been associated with this file type and to do so in the Default Apps settings. When I went to those settings, I found that Word was already associated with *.dotm files, and there wasn’t anything more I could do about that. I also noticed that some usual document file types weren’t associated with Word and I couldn’t associate them either, no matter what I did in the Default Apps settings.

I thought something might have got scrambled when I installed Office 365 and then (on the advice of my IT guys) uninstalled Office 2016, which was already on that PC. So I contacted my IT guys, and they told me to run a quick repair of the Office installation to see if that fixed it. It did! Once the repair had been run, I could open normal.dotm and all my other Word templates without a problem.

Just a quick note about repairing Office 365—you don’t get a Repair option in the list of programs, despite the user interface text telling you so. Instead, you have to click on Change, say Yes to allow the app to make changes (if asked), then choose Quick Repair from the list. It only takes a few minutes. Once the repair was done, my IT guys told me to reboot the PC, which I did, then I tested the repair by successfully opening normal.dotm.

Windows 10 steps for repairing Office 365:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Select Programs and Features.
  3. Select Microsoft Office 365.
  4. Click Change at the top of the list of programs.
  5. If asked, say Yes to allow the app to change the program.
  6. Select the Quick Repair option.
  7. Click Repair.
  8. When finished, restart your machine and test that what you were trying to fix has been fixed.

[Links last checked February 2019]

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Word: Mixed messages from Microsoft about Word 2019 functions

February 13, 2019

I’m investigating whether to upgrade to Office 2019 (NOTE: Office 2019 requires Windows 10; it cannot be installed on Windows 7 or 8), so I went to the Microsoft website to find out about some of the features in Word 2019, in particular.

Good ol’ Microsoft—confusing users every single day! Check out these two screenshots I took from their website. Both clearly state that the function is available in Word 2019 (see my yellow highlights), but then state that it’s only for Office 365 subscribers. What?

And this one:

 

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Word: Fields won’t update

January 18, 2019

I’ve been using Microsoft Word for Windows since about Word 2.0 (yes, more than two decades…) but sometimes it still stops me in my tracks with something I didn’t know existed. And I usually ‘find’ the thing that I didn’t know existed because I’ve come across something in a document that I can’t solve and have to investigate (search Google) to find the cause and the solution.

In a recent document I was editing, I could update the TOC, list of figures/tables, and the fields in the headers/footers using one or more of the usual methods (switch to Print Preview view then back to Print Layout; F9; right-click and select Update Field; update table of contents command etc.).

I’d assumed all the cross-referenced fields in the document had also updated and did my usual check for ‘Error!’ to find anything that broke during the update. On this document I fully expected several of them, but there were none. That in itself was a little unusual especially as I’d redone the Appendix headings, so the original cross-references to them should have broken. But what told me definitively that something wasn’t right was that old template used 3.0, 4.0 etc. for the numbered Heading 1 style, whereas the new template I’d transferred this document to used 3, 4, etc. When I Ctrl+clicked on a 3.0 cross-reference (for example) it went to the correct place. But why wasn’t the cross-reference showing as 3 instead of 3.0?

I thought I’d just try updating one of these cross-referenced fields, but when I selected it and right-clicked, Update Field was grayed out (greyed out). I’d never seen that before, so I tried a few more with the same result—I couldn’t update a cross-reference!

Off to Google… where I found that if the fields are locked (who knew?) then you get a grayed out Update Field option. I had no idea you could even lock fields (or why you’d want to), but I figured I’d try unlocking one of the fields using the method described to see if it worked. It did! Next, I tested (on a COPY of the document, as always) to see if I could select the entire document and apply the fix to ALL fields in the document—that worked too! Immediately all the fields in the document were now updatable.

The fix (test on a copy of your document first):

  • Press Ctrl+Shift+F11 on the locked field to unlock it.
  • To unlock ALL fields in the document, press Ctrl+A to select everything, then press Ctrl+Shit+F11 to unlock all the fields.

Thanks to Charles Kenyon for having a list of field functions, which is where I found this solution: http://www.addbalance.com/usersguide/fields.htm#Function.

[Links last checked January 2019]

 

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Word: Macro to add left and right padding to all table cells in a document

January 18, 2019

Here’s an issue I found in a document I was editing this week—someone had set most of the tables to have 0 cm padding for the left and right margins of each cell (the default is 0.19 cm for metric users). This meant the text butted right up against the cell borders (it was most noticeable on the left as I was using ragged right justification). I needed to change the cell padding back to 0.19 cm.

This is easy enough to do if you’ve only got one or two tables to fix (select the table, right-click and select Table Properties; on the Table tab, click Options, then set the left and right margins to 0.19 cm; click OK to save and exit).

But this was a nearly 300-page document with hundreds of tables, many of which had their margins set to 0 cm. Off to Google to see if someone had a quicker way. They did. I tested the macro and modified it a bit for my purposes, then ran it on a copy of my big document and fixed the problem on all tables in my document in seconds.

Notes:

  • This macro will set the left and right margin padding for ALL tables in your document. In most cases that’s what you’ll want, but if you want some tables to have different padding, change those tables or cells manually after running this macro.
  • ALWAYS test on a copy of your document before running the macro on your main document!

Here’s the macro (I suggest you copy it from here so that you get all of it—on some devices, the text may go off the screen):

Sub TablePadding()
'
' TablePadding Macro
' Adapted from a macro by Greg Maxey: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/all/vba-code-to-set-all-word-tables-left-cell-margin/420672d4-d294-40a9-8832-7bebb3ab9bf0
' Set left and right cell padding for ALL table cells to 0.19 cm
'
Dim oTbl As Word.Table
 For Each oTbl In ActiveDocument.Tables
    oTbl.LeftPadding = CentimetersToPoints(0.19)
    oTbl.RightPadding = CentimetersToPoints(0.19)
 Next

Thanks to Greg Maxey for the original macro that I modified. If you want to change the padding to be smaller or larger, change the 0.19 value to a smaller or larger number.

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MYOB: Dealing with PayPal payments and merchant fees

January 9, 2019

This is for me, because I’m bound to forget what to do the next time someone pays me via PayPal and I have to account for the PayPal fee incurred.

Follow Steps 7 and 8 in this support note from MYOB: http://help.myob.com/wiki/display/supae/PayPal+payments+from+customers

In case that webpage ever goes missing, here are those steps:

Step 7: Receive Payment

When payment for the sale is received it comprises the net payment you will receive for the sale, plus the PayPal fees. In our example the total sale was $100, which comprises a net sale value of $98 plus a $2 PayPal fee.

This is recorded as two separate Receive Payment transactions:

  • one payment for $98 which is allocated to the PayPal Bank Account
  • one payment for $2 (the PayPal fee) which is allocated to the PayPal Clearing Account.

To record the payment for the sale

  1. Go to the Sales command centre and click Receive Payments. The Receive Payments window appears.
  2. In the Deposit to Account field at the top, select the PayPal Bank Account.
  3. In the Customer field, select the customer to whom you made the sale. The customer’s open invoices will be displayed.
  4. In the Amount Received field, enter the net sale amount, in other words the total sale amount minus the PayPal fees. In this case it would be $98.
  5. Click in the Amount Applied column for the customer sale. The amount will be automatically applied. See our example below.
  6. Click Record.

 

To record the PayPal fees

  1. Go to the Sales command centre and click Receive Payments. The Receive Payments window appears.
  2. In the Deposit to Account field at the top, select the PayPal Clearing Account.
  3. In the Customer field, select the customer to whom you made the sale. The customer’s open invoices will be displayed.
  4. In the Amount Received field, enter the amount of the PayPal fees. In this case it would be $2.
  5. [Optional – see Task 1 above] In the Payment Method field, select PayPal.
  6. Click in the Amount Applied column and the amount will be automatically applied. See our example below.
  7. Click Record. The $2 will be allocated to the PayPal Clearing Account and this will be cleared out in the next task.

Step 8: Clear the PayPal Clearing Account

The final task is to clear the PayPal fees from the PayPal Clearing Account to your Merchant Fees expense account. To do this:

  1. Go to the Banking command centre and click Bank Register. The Bank Register window appears.
  2. In the Account field, select the PayPal Clearing Account. The payment made to this account in the previous task will be listed.
  3. Click to highlight the PayPal payment.
  4. In the bottom section of the widow in the Type field, select Spend Money.
  5. In the Card field, select the PayPal supplier card.
  6. In the Amount field, enter the amount of the PayPal fees – in this example that would be $2.
  7. In the Account field, select the Merchant Fees account created in Task 4 above.
  8. In the Tax/GST field, select the relevant tax/GST code.
  9. Click Record. See our example below.

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My next step is to find out how I can add an automatic percentage fee to an invoice to account for the PayPal fee (and BPay fee, if I ever get it). It doesn’t look like this will be easy to do…