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October 2003 Efficiency Newsletter

Technology does not create productive people. We do.

This month flew by for SET Consulting, literally. As our primary consultant I've trained over 250 government employees in six cities around the country in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access. The feedback has been phenomenal and I'm excited to bring the lessons learned on the road to clients back at home in DC-MD-VA!

Due to all the travel we're not quite ready to unveil all the new material for our website, but stay tuned for an update announcing the second release of setconsulting.com! The design work is all completed and we're very happy to have worked with Wood Street on this project; more on that next month...

Tip of the Month

Microsoft Word's AutoText Feature

Microsoft Word is sometimes criticized for doing things we don't want. AutoText is one feature that there's nothing to complain about...

AutoText automatically completes words or phrases that you type frequently. You're probably aware that when you begin to type today's date, Word first offers to complete the month and then the entire date. In addition to these predefined entries, you could configure AutoText entries for your street address, names you type frequently, or technical terminology that's long and tricky to spell. What's especially nice about AutoText is that it doesn't impose its "corrections" upon you; it merely suggests them in the form of a little beige box above the word. To accept an AutoCorrect suggestion, you simply press the Enter key.

Let's give it a shot. In Word XP, click on the "Tools" pull-down menu and select "AutoCorrect Options". In Word 2000, click on the "Tools" pull-down menu and select "AutoCorrect..." In the dialog box that appears, click on the "AutoText" tab. In the textbox for "Enter AutoText entries here," enter the first line of your mailing address. For instance, "4615 Guilford Road." Be sure to click the "Add" button and then click "OK."

Now, back in any Word document, type out your address as you entered it in the AutoText entry. At a certain point of typing your address, Word will offer to complete it for you (you'll see a little beige box with your address in it), press Enter. Ouila!

Tool of the Month

Handspring Treo 270/300

This tool of the month has really been a lifesaver. While traveling from city-to-city my new smartphone has made keeping in touch a breeze. The Treo is a cellphone that works with SprintPCS', AT&T's, and T-Mobile's wireless networks; it also has excellent email*, web access*, and all the regular features of an organizer (Palm OS). Folded, it's not much larger than a regular phone, and it weighs well under 6oz.. Its email software is designed specifically for its screen size and its full keyboard is just like a Blackberry's. In other words, it's not difficult to keep track of appointments, thousands of contacts, new emails, and phone calls while on the go.

There's no commission in this--it's really just been helpful for me. They're also relatively inexpensive: visit Handspring's website for pricing and more detailed information. If you have any questions or need help, just drop me a note :-).

* While I use my Treo through Sprint PCS, I cannot attest to the data access plans of other cell phone providers. Also, as with any cellular purchase, it would be wise to check the coverage in the areas where you'll be using a phone before switching providers.

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