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Apr 23
Sponsored Video: Microsoft 365

Take a look at Microsoft’s cloud based Office 365.

Dec 17
Word 2010 keeps crashing

While preparing an eBook containing 190 plus pages I found that Word 2010 randomly crashed as soon as text or pictures were added.

I therefore ran Word in safe mode (hold the ctrl key while Word starts up) and the program was then stable and did not crash anymore. This showed that Add-ins must be causing the problem, so I uninstalled some of these and Word behaved a bit better.

Word add-insTo uninstall Add-ins, open Word 2010 and from the file menu choose Options and then Add-ins from the left hand menu.

This shows you a list of the Add-ins in Microsoft Word.

From the Manage dropdown box at the foot of the page select Com-Add-ins and then click the Go button.

This now shows the Com-Add-ins that load when you open up Word 2010.

Just untick the ones that you suspect are causing the problems. Then close and open up Word 2010.

However Word was still not performing well enough so I opened up Regedit and deleted Words Data Key. To do this click Start and in the Search programs and files box type Regedit and then select this program from the top of the resulting list.

word data tabIn Regedit open HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word. Under this Word Key click on the Data subkey and on the Edit Menu click Delete (or right click the Data subkey and select Delete from the list). If the following message appears: Are you sure you want to delete this key? Click Yes. On the Registry menu, click Exit. Now restart Word 2010.

This Windows Registry change finally speeded up Word 2010 and made it stable in use.

Apr 12
Microsoft: you’ve got two years to get rid of XP and Office 2003

windows xp professionalMicrosoft has warned consumers and businesses that they have two years to upgrade their Windows XP systems or face the risks of running an unsupported OS.

In a post on the Windows Team blog, Microsoft reminded users that support for Windows XP and Office 2003 will cease on 8 April 2014. Users can keep running the OS and Office suite after that time, but they won’t receive any security or feature updates, potentially leaving their PCs open to attack.

Although Windows XP is now more than a decade old, it remains the most used Operating System worldwide, according to, with a 46.9% market share. Windows 7 is the next closest OS with 37.5% of the market.

Microsoft is urging users and businesses to upgrade right away, and not wait for the release of Windows 8 and Office 15, both of which are expected to launch later this year.

Businesses and consumers clinging to Windows XP because they have applications written specifically for the aged Operating System still have the lifeboat of XP Mode in Windows 7, which allows users to run apps in a Windows XP virtual machine. However, that feature is only available to users of Windows 7 Professional and above.

Source: Windows Team Blog

Jan 31
Microsoft slips out Office 15 tech preview

Microsoft OfficeMicrosoft has started showing select customers the next version of its flagship office suite, code-named Office 15.

The company said on Monday that the Office 15 technical preview was being shared under non-disclosure agreements, with the customers testing early builds and giving Microsoft feedback on their experiences.

“At this early point in our development cycle, I’m not able to share too much about Office 15, but I can tell you Office 15 is the most ambitious undertaking yet for the Office Division,” Microsoft Office development chief PJ Hough said in a blog post. “With Office 15, for the first time ever, we will simultaneously update our cloud services, servers, and mobile and PC clients for Office, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project, and Visio.”

Hough’s announcement coincided with Microsoft’s publication of the SharePoint 15 technical preview managed object model software development kit (SDK), for those on the technical preview programme.

Microsoft Office 15 is still something of a mystery though, as very little information has been released so far.

Source: ZDNet

Sep 16
Microsoft’s PowerPoint 2007

PowerPoint 2007Do you want a great looking presentation, but without all the design elements you find in the themes that come out of the box in PowerPoint 2007?

Well the simple, and great looking option is to use a Slide Background.

A slide background is a simple gradient that will turn any standard barebones deck into one that looks very professional.

To add a simple background to your PowerPoint 2007 presentation:

1. Click on the “Design” tab of the ribbon

2.Look for the “Background” group – on the right hand side of the ribbon

3. Click on “Background Styles”

4 Select your preferred background

You will notice that not all the colours of the rainbow are available.

Background styles are linked to the current colour palette that you have selected in the document. If you play around with the colors by clicking on the Colors button whilst you are still on the Design Tab of the ribbon, you will notice the background colour change to match the new palette.

May 23
Word 2007’s Gridelines

Word 2007-AlignGridlines are a great tool to use if you have a number of different objects in your Word 2007 document, and want to ensure proper alignment between them all.

To turn on gridlines (which appear in the background of your document, and do not get printed):

1. Make sure you are on the ‘Page Layout’ tab of the ribbon.

2. Look for the ‘Arrange’ group – on the right hand side of the ribbon.

3. Click on Align.

4. Click on ‘View Gridlines’.

To turn gridlines off again, just repeat the process above. You will notice that there is another option when you click on ‘Align’, called ‘Grid Settings’. Using this feature you can customise how the grid appears and impacts in your document. For example, you can ensure that objects snap to each other, the spacing of the grid, and whether the grid uses your margins or not. This is a very good option to use if you want fine control over the placement of objects in your document.

May 16
Freezing the top row of headings in Excel 2007 to make scrolling easier

Excel 2007 Windows Group

If you have a large spreadsheet you will have to scroll down the page to see all the fields and totals. As you scroll down the page your descriptive column headings disappear from view. The best way to remedy this is to freeze the top row of your Excel 2007 spreadsheet.

To Freeze the top row in Excel 2007:

1. Click on the ‘View’ tab of the ribbon

2. Look along the row for the ‘Window’ group

3. Click on ‘Freeze Panes’ and then click on ‘Freeze Top Row’

To reverse the operation, just repeat the process above, but instead of clicking ‘Freeze Top Row’ in step 3, just click on ‘Unfreeze Panes’.

May 2
Sort Data High to Low using Excel 2007

Sorting using Excel 2007Do you have a column full of numbers in Excel 2007 that you would like to sort from highest to lowest?

To sort from high to low using Excel 2007 just follow these simple steps:

1. Select all the cells that you want to sort.

2. Now click on the ‘Data’ tab of the Ribbon menu and look for the ‘Sort’ group.

3. Click on the “Sort Z to A” button – this is the one that has a ‘Z on top of an A’ with an arrow pointing down.

That’s all there is to it!

Apr 28
Mute Outlook 2007’s Email Arrival Sound

Mute Outlook SoundsWhen Outlook 2007 checks and downloads your emails it makes a ping sound to let you know your mail has arrived. If you are having a busy working day and are in the middle of something really important, this regular pinging noise as Outlook downloads your emails may become an annoyance. After all, is it really necessary to know exactly when a new email message arrives?

You’ll be pleased to know that this pinging noise is a configurable feature of Outlook 2007. To turn of (or turn on) audible email notifications in Outlook 2007 take the following steps:

1. In the top menu bar of Outlook 2007 click on ‘Tools’.

2) Now from the list produced click on ‘Options’. Make sure you are on the ‘Preferences’ Tab.

4) Now click on ‘E-mail Options’ and then ‘Advanced E-Mail Options’.

5) Just a little way down in this display box is a section called ‘When new items arrive in my Inbox’. Remove the tick from the ‘Play a sound’ option if you want to silence Outlook. To get the sound back just put a tick back in the ‘Play a sound’ option.

6) Click ‘OK’ three times to close all the open windows and your finished!

Mar 28
Appointments in Outlook 2007’s To-Do Bar

The To-Do Bar in Outlook 2007 is a great time saver and is a really quick way to understand your current workload and upcoming appointments.

The To-Do Bar is located on the right side of Outlook 2007. It shows you a calendar, your upcoming appointments, and your task list.

The task list shows:

1. Messages you need to respond to (flagged messages).
2. Contacts you need to call (flagged contacts).
3. Tasks that come up spontaneously.

By default there should be three upcoming appointments shown in the To-Do Bar, but you can customise this display to show any number of appointments.

To increase or decrease the number of upcoming appointments shown in the Outlook 2007 To-Do Bar take the following steps:

1. Right click at the top of the To-Do Bar.

2. Click Options’ from the drop down menu that appears.

3. In the ‘To-Do Bar Options’ box that appears, change the number of appointments to your preferred number.

Although you can choose more appointments than can comfortably fit on your screen, it’s not wise to go too far – 5 or 7 appointments would be the upper limit to make the To-Do Bar in Outlook 2007 most useful and practical for day to day use.

Mar 16
Taming Outlook 2007’s Spell Checking

Have you noticed that when you spell check an email Outlook 2007’s spell checker often highlights the poor spelling of the whole email, including the one you have already received and are replying to.

If this practice continues to annoy you, you will be very pleased to know there’s a setting in Outlook 2007 to ensure that the spelling and grammar checker only checks the content that you have written.

To ignore the original message text in reply or forward take the following steps:

1. Click ‘Tools’.

2. Click ‘Options’.

3. Click on the ‘Spelling’ tab.

4 Check the box ‘Ignore original message text in reply or forward’ and then click OK.

This action will tame Outlook 2007 into just checking what you have written in your email.

Mar 7
Configure Outlook 2007’s Autosave Settings

outlook 2007 autosaveDid you know that Outlook 2007 saves drafts of your emails as you type them?  This is a great feature if you accidentally close the email window before sending, or perhaps you start an email and then your PC suddenly crashes.

It’s good to know that, by default, Outlook 2007 will save a draft every three minutes.

But if you are concerned about the possible loss of all your important work, you can change how often Outlook 2007 saves your emails.

Here’s how to increase or decrease the AutoSave time for draft emails

1. Click on the Tools Menu at the top of Outlook 2007’s Toolbar and from the drop down list choose ‘Options’. Make sure you are on the ‘Preferences’ tab.

2. Now click the ‘E-mail Options’ button.

3. Next, click the ‘Advanced E-Mail Options’ button (about half way down the open window).

4. Beside the first checkbox ‘AutoSave items every:’ change the number to the number of minutes you would like the interval to be (between 1 and 99).

5. Click OK three times to close all the open windows.

To find your draft emails that Outlook has saved, just take a look in your Drafts folder.

Feb 7
Office Web Apps to go worldwide in March

ms office appsMicrosoft says that by next month, users worldwide will be able to get their hands on the free, online version of its Office suite.

In a post on the Office Blog earlier this week, the company said that it had expanded Office Web Apps availability in 150 new countries including Mexico, India, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, and that by next month it will hit “all remaining markets in Central and South America.”

The free service, which contains Web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, was launched by Microsoft in June of last year. Microsoft says that 30 million people are now using it.

In its blog post Microsoft added “If you’re one of the more than 30 million people who are using the Web Apps, we’d love to hear from you on the Web Apps Facebook page at Join the conversation and let us know what you think. To get started, or for more on the Web Apps, you can go to“.

Source: CNET

Dec 15
Microsoft plugs 40 holes and plans Office security update

Microsoft has plugged 40 holes with 17 patches and said it will improve the security of Office 2003 and Office 2007 by adding a feature to the older versions of its productivity software that opens files in Protected View.

Customers should focus on the two critical bulletins that are part of Microsoft’s monthly Patch Tuesday security update, says Jerry Bryant, group manager for response communications in Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group. The first is MS10-090, a cumulative update for Internet Explorer. It fixes seven vulnerabilities in the browser and affects IE 6, 7 and 8. There have been attacks targeting IE 6 on Windows XP, Bryant said.

The other critical bulletin is MS10-091, which fixes several vulnerabilities in the Windows Open Type Font driver. It affects all versions of Windows, primarily on third-party browsers that natively render the Open Type Font, which IE does not, according to Bryant.

Meanwhile, the company will be adding Office File Validation, which is currently in Office 2010, to Office 2003 and Office 2007 by the first quarter of 2011, Bryant said. This will be an optional update.

Source: ZDNet

Nov 22
Outlook 2007’s SMTP Email Error 0x80042109

I’ve had Outlook 2007 running successfully on Windows 7 for almost eight months but yesterday it would not send a single email!

I could receive email but not send any, so I researched the problem online and discovered a lot of people had email problems that all resulted in the error message:

‘Outlook cannot connect to your outgoing (SMTP) e-mail server. If you continue to receive this message, contact your server administrator or Internet service provider (ISP)’

The culprit is the outgoing SMTP protocol which, by default, uses port 25 for sending email to its correct destination.

A suggested answer was to change the SMTP port from 25 to 587 so I used a online form to contact my ISP to see if they agreed. A prompt reply (good service from 1and1) said – ‘Please be advised to change the outgoing port number from its default number 25 to its alternative port number 587′.

I fired up Outlook, went to Tools – Account Settings and double clicked the troublesome email account. I then went to the More Settings button and clicked the Advanced Tab. I then changed the outgoing server port (SMTP) from 25 to 587, clicked OK and then clicked the Test Account Settings button and Outlook connected successfully.

Although 1and1 didn’t mention why port 25 had been causing problems, it’s more than likely that it was blocked to stop a lot of spam email hitting their email servers.

Jun 14
Office 2010 and 64 Bit computing

MSFTOffice2010Microsoft Office 2010 is the first version of Microsoft Office that will ship with both 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) versions.

If you are currently running a 32-bit version of Windows, you can only use the 32-bit version of Office. However, on a 64-bit Windows platform, you can decide to install either the 32bit or the 64-bit version of Office.

Microsoft recommend installing the 32-bit version of Office, even on a PC running 64-bit Windows, unless you have special needs that require the use of 64-bit Office apps. For example, 64-bit computing is useful when you work with large (over 2GB) Excel or Access files.

If you follow Microsoft’s advice and install the 32-bit version of Office 2010 on your 64-bit Windows Operating System, you can still decide later to swop to the 64-bit version. However, the 32-bit version must be uninstalled before you install the 64-bit version.

Microsoft has published a detailed article which can help you to make an informed choice about Office 2010 and its two versions – 32-bit and 64-bit.

Mar 8
Office 2010 nearly ready for rollout

Microsoft Office 2010Microsoft plans to finalize the code for Office 2010 next month and, as expected, it kicked off a program enabling those who buy Office 2007 in the coming months to get a free upgrade to the new version.

In a blog posting, Microsoft said that it will have a business launch for the Office 2010 products on May 12. The company has said it expects the software to be broadly available in June. As for the technology guarantee program, Microsoft says it will apply to those who buy Office 2007 between now and September 30 and will allow an upgrade to the comparable Office 2010 product. Though such programs are typical, this one had even less of an element of surprise after a Microsoft employee briefly posted details of the program last month.

Microsoft CFO Peter Klein confirmed the program earlier this week, telling financial analysts on Tuesday to expect the company to defer revenue this quarter to next to account for the upgrades.

Although Office 2010 doesn’t bring a radically different look or new file formats, as Office 2007 did, it introduces a number of changes, most significantly the addition of companion Office Web apps that work in a browser. Also, for the first time, Office will come in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

A beta version of the software has been available since November and Microsoft has also been doing limited testing of a near-final “release candidate” version of the software.

Source: CNET News

Feb 17
Microsoft sets UK prices for Office 2010

Office 2010Microsoft has released retail prices for Office 2010 for British buyers, and has introduced a new product key-based version that is cheaper than traditional boxed software.

The prices, announced on Wednesday, cover three of the four retail versions of the suite, which is due for release in June 2010. The three versions are Office Home and Student, Office Home and Business and Office Professional. Microsoft also plans to sell an academic version of Office 2010, but did not say in its announcement how much it will cost.

When customers buy a product-key card, they get a code that will unlock versions preinstalled by manufacturers on new PC’s.

The key card allows installation of the Office suite on one machine only, while the boxed version is licensed for use on two. The exception is Office Home and Student, which is licensed for three.

Office Professional, which has the largest range of updated tools, is priced at £430 for the boxed version and £300 for the product key card alternative. Office Home and Business, which Microsoft recommends for small businesses, will cost approximately £240 in a box and £190 in a product key version. Office Home and Student is £110 and £90 respectively.

Upgrade pricing is being dropped completely for Office 2010, according to Adams. Those who want to move up from Office 2007 must get the boxed version, or buy a new PC with it preinstalled, ready for unlocking with a product key card. However, Adams pointed out that Microsoft’s pricing structure for Office Home and Business means it is cheaper to buy the 2010 version than it was to upgrade to Office 2007. The upgrade to the full version of Office Home and Business 2007 cost £350, whereas the full boxed version of Office 2010 is £240.

Retail prices for Office 2010 in the UK are consistently more expensive than in the US, if the prices are given a currency-exchange calculation. For example, the product key card version of Office Professional in the US is $349 (£223), compared with £300 in the UK.

Adams said Microsoft had received positive feedback to its beta, saying that more then three-quarters found Office 2010 to be improved. According to the latest available figures, the beta has been downloaded two million times, he said.

Source: ZDNet

Dec 14
Microsoft issues patch for Office 2003 bug

microsoft_entranceA bug, which cropped up on Friday (11/12), meant that users of Office 2003 were unable to access files protected using Microsoft’s rights management service (RMS) technology.

“The issue of the inability to open Office 2003 documents protected with RMS has now been resolved with a hotfix,” Microsoft said in a short statement on its Office sustained engineering blog.

Microsoft has said that the problem was due to an Office 2003 certificate that expired. “This resulted in Office 2003 customers not being able to open Office 2003 documents protected with the Active Directory Rights Management Service (AD RMS) or Rights Management Services (RMS),” a representative said, adding that Microsoft first learned of the issue on Thursday night and had the fix up by Mid-day Saturday.

“The original intent was to refresh and strengthen these certificates over time to keep up with newer technology,” the representative said. “We have not done a thorough post-mortem on this incident since we were very focused on fixing the problem. Looking ahead, we are exploring long-term solutions that will prevent something like this from happening again in the future.”

Mar 17
Microsoft’s Powerpoint Viewer

microsoft_entranceEver had an email from a friend enclosing a powerpoint file with the .pps extension?

If you’ve got a copy of Powerpoint installed on your PC then viewing the file is easy, just double click on the .pps file.

But if you’ve not got this program installed on your PC what do you do?

Microsoft have produced a Powerpoint Viewer program that lets you view full-featured presentations created in PowerPoint 97 and later versions.

To get this useful tool visit the Microsoft download site.


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