# Saturday, 16 June 2018

There exists a competition in which a speaker must deliver a presentation in front of a slide deck that advances automatically every few seconds. The biggest challenge is knowing when the slide will change. Because most of us are not capable of simultaneously counting time and speaking, these talks often feature either awkward pauses waiting for the next slide or a rush to finish talking about a slide that disappeared a few seconds ago.

Prior to such a competition, one of the speakers asked me how to create a bar that would display across the bottom and gradually disappear as time expired. Here is how to do this:

Step 1: Create your slide

In PowerPoint, create your slides as you like each slide and set them to advance automatically. Fig. 1 shows an example of such a slide.

pp01-Slide
Fig. 1

Step 2: Draw a rectangle

Select one of your slides and insert a short wide rectangle shape at the bottom. From the Insert ribbon, select Shapes and click the rectangle shape, as shown in Fig. 1; then, drag your mouse along the bottom of the slide to draw the rectangle, as shown in Fig. 2. Make the rectangle exactly as wide as the slide.

pp02-InsertShape
Fig. 2

pp03-Shape
Fig. 3

Step 3: Animate the rectangle

Select the rectangle shape you just added. From the Animations ribbon, expand the list of animations and select "Wipe" from the "Exit" section, as shown in Fig. 4.

pp04-Animation
Fig. 4

By default, the "Wipe" animation will wipe the shape from the bottom. You want to wipe it from the right. Select the shape and, from the Animations ribbon, select Effect Options | From Right, as shown in Fig. 5.

pp05-EffectOptions
Fig. 5

Finally, set the timing of the animation. In the "Timing" section of the Animations ribbon, set the following:
Start: With Previous
Duration: Set to the same duration as the slide timing
Delay: 0

These are shown in Fig. 6.

pp06-Timing
Fig. 6

Step 4: Test your Transition

Press SHIFT+F5 to run this slide with the transition. You should see the rectangle slowly disappear from the right and completely disappear as the slide transitions to the next slide. Figures 7a, 7b, and 7c illustrate this.

pp07a-Results
Fig. 7a

pp07b-Results
Fig. 7b

pp07c-Results
Fig. 7c

Step 5: Copy Shape to Other Slides

When you are satisfied that the animation is working properly, copy / paste this shape to your other slides. The animations will copy along with the shape.

Saturday, 16 June 2018 04:59:34 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, 05 May 2017

Yesterday, I showed how to automatically generate lorem ipsum text in a Word document. While this is useful for showing what a document layout will look like with text in the appropriate places, you may prefer actual English words to the pseudo-language of lorem ipsum.

To generate paragraphs of English text, enter the following on an empty line of your document

=rand()

Press ENTER and the text above will be replaced by the following:

Video provides a powerful way to help you prove your point. When you click Online Video, you can paste in the embed code for the video you want to add. You can also type a keyword to search online for the video that best fits your document.

To make your document look professionally produced, Word provides header, footer, cover page, and text box designs that complement each other. For example, you can add a matching cover page, header, and sidebar. Click Insert and then choose the elements you want from the different galleries.

Themes and styles also help keep your document coordinated. When you click Design and choose a new Theme, the pictures, charts, and SmartArt graphics change to match your new theme. When you apply styles, your headings change to match the new theme.

Save time in Word with new buttons that show up where you need them. To change the way a picture fits in your document, click it and a button for layout options appears next to it. When you work on a table, click where you want to add a row or a column, and then click the plus sign.

Reading is easier, too, in the new Reading view. You can collapse parts of the document and focus on the text you want. If you need to stop reading before you reach the end, Word remembers where you left off - even on another device.

I have confirmed that this works in Word 2016.

Friday, 05 May 2017 14:16:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 04 May 2017

Here is a Microsoft Word feature I recently learned.

For sample documents, it is often useful to insert some meaningless text to fill sections of the document. This is especially useful when you are just starting a document and you don't have any content yet, but want to show how the completed document's layout will look. A popular method is to use "lorem ipsum" text filler - paragraphs of nonsense words that have similar word size and letter selections as English.

In Microsoft Word, you can quickly create a section of lorem ipsum text.

Type the following on an empty line of your document and press ENTER:

=lorem()

The entry above will be replaced with the following text, which you may delete or copy-paste to adjust the length.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Maecenas porttitor congue massa. Fusce posuere, magna sed pulvinar ultricies, purus lectus malesuada libero, sit amet commodo magna eros quis urna.

Nunc viverra imperdiet enim. Fusce est. Vivamus a tellus.

Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Proin pharetra nonummy pede. Mauris et orci.

Aenean nec lorem. In porttitor. Donec laoreet nonummy augue.

Suspendisse dui purus, scelerisque at, vulputate vitae, pretium mattis, nunc. Mauris eget neque at sem venenatis eleifend. Ut nonummy.

I am using Word 2016, but this appears to work on older versions as well.

Thursday, 04 May 2017 13:47:19 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Today, I tried to add a new Outlook contact and was blocked when I attempted to add an e-mail address to the contact. After typing in the address, I received the following cryptic error message: "An Outlook Address Book entry cannot be used as an e-mail address in a contact".

The problem arose because I had the same e-mail address in my "Suggested Contacts" folder.

To view your Suggested Contacts, select "Contacts" from the Navigation pane or press the CTRL+3 shortcut key combination. This view is shown in Figure 1.

image
Figure 1

Suggested contacts are populated automatically when you type an address into an e-mail's "To" or "CC" text box. They are used to quickly fill in these textboxes if you send to that same addressee again.

For me, this was hard to find because I use Outlook to manage multiple e-mail accounts and each account has its own list of Suggested Contacts and the Suggested Contact list and the Contacts list to which I was adding were not even associated with the same e-mail account.

I deleted the e-mail address from the Suggested Contact list and I was able to update the contact without error.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012 21:12:47 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 01 May 2009

Episode 20

David Edson of visibility.biz spends his time consulting on and teaching custom development using Microsoft Visio.

In this interview, he describes the advantages of using Visio as a platform for data visualization.

7 mins, 17 secs

 

Friday, 01 May 2009 12:03:05 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)