Microsoft Office Tips to Make Your Life Easier
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Microsoft Office Tips to Make Your Life Easier

Microsoft Office is still the most popular enterprise office productivity suite. CBT Nuggets trainer Simona Millham has put together a quick list of tips that can help you maximize your productivity using Office. Prepare to save some time and get tasks done quicker.

For more Microsoft Office-related training, check out Simona's training catalog at CBT Nuggets.

Microsoft Office Tech Tips

  • Use the “Tell me what you want to do” box at the end of your ribbon tabs, even if you don’t know the proper name of the feature. Type “note” for example and you’ll get to the Insert Comment command.
  • You can have up to 24 things on your clipboard at any one time and then paste any one of them when you want to. Click the little pop-out button on the clipboard chunk on the Home tab to turn on this functionality. Check out the Options at the bottom of the Clipboard pane too.
  • You might find it useful to export customizations to use on other computers. Right-click on the ribbon, choose to Customize the Ribbon and you’ll see the Import/Export option.
  • If you used to use an option in Office that no longer seems to exist, then you MIGHT be able to find it. Go to File, Options, Quick Access Toolbar, and in the “Choose commands from” dropdown, choose “Commands Not in the Ribbon”. Find what you’re looking for (hopefully) and click Add. This puts the command in your little toolbar at the top left of your screen. Hurray!


  • Have you ever sent a Word document to a customer with comments and track changes simply hidden and not removed? Have you ever laboriously deleted PowerPoint speaker notes one slide at a time? Then check out the Document Inspector in the Office applications. Go File, Info, and Check for Issues to save you time — and potential embarrassment!
  • You may know that when you crop a picture you can delete the cropped area by using the Compress Pictures button on the Picture Tools ribbon. But did you know that the Document Inspector will also spot this for you? Shift arrows to extend the selection.
  • To change the background graphic in Office 2013, go to the File menu and choose an option from the Office Background list. I was amused to spot Clippy lurking in the Schools Supplies one. I also rather like the cat theme in OWA. I’m easily pleased!
  • If you’d rather open your Office applications with a blank document rather than the “Start screen,” which displays templates and recent files, go to the File menu, choose Options, General, and un-tick the “Show the Start screen when this application starts” option.

Keyboard & Mouse Shortcuts

  • Hold down the CTRL key while you open an application to start it in Safe mode. This is especially useful when there is a pesky add-in stopping Outlook from loading properly.
  • Press CTRL+H to open the Find and Replace dialog box. It’s an oldie but a goodie.

  • You know that CTRL+V pastes the last thing that you copied, but try CTRL+ALT+V to get the Paste Special options.
  • F4 repeats your very last action. I use this all the time. For example, let’s say I’ve adjusted the spacing for bullets in PowerPoint and want to make the same adjustment for other bullets. This is jolly handy. 

Learn more

For more tips like this, follow Simona on LinkedIn. Start a free week with CBT Nuggets to check out Simona's training for popular tools like Microsoft Word and Skype for Business.



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