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March 2011 Efficiency Newsletter

Technology does not create productive people. We do.

Wow the time sure flies, but sometimes it’s a good thing.  Since we here at SET are spread out along the east coast, most of our phone calls start something like, “So how much did it snow where you are?”  But not for much longer!

Since the concept of saving time is always on our minds at SET, we decided to make the theme of this month’s newsletter be “time”.  If you find that you spend an excessive amount of time working in Microsoft Office thinking “Why don’t they just have a button to automatically do that?" contact us and we will give you some ideas about what we can do to help! We recently developed a tool for one of our clients that will automatically search for formatting errors in a document which makes manually reviewing a document for errors a thing of the past.  Now that’s a time saver!

And if you have any questions about how to do X-Y-Z in Microsoft Office, send us your questions. Maybe you'll see the answer in next month's newsletter!

David Green, Senior Developer

David Green
Senior Developer

Tip of the Month

Date fields and the Date Picker

Since the dawn of time, mankind has obsessed over dates.  No, I mean chronological dates.  It’s no surprise that we often find the need to add dates into our documents.  Thankfully, Microsoft Word 2010 offers several tools to assist you in keeping your dates up to date.  Three of these are the date field, the create date field, and the publish date using the date picker tool.

Examples of date fields in a Word document

The Date Field
Why use a date field instead of typing in the date manually?  One of the greatest utilities of the date field is that you can set it to update automatically, saving you from having to manually update the date.

  1. To insert a date field, first open the “Insert” ribbon
  2. Click “Date & Time”
    The Insert ribbon
  3. Select the date format you prefer.  If “Update Automatically” is checked, the field will update automatically to the current date when the document is reopened.  Click “OK” when complete
    Adding a date field

The Create Date Field
Perhaps the current date is not the information you would like to display.  You can easily change the date field to reflect other important dates, such as the date the document was created, when it was last printed, or when it was last saved.

  1. Begin by inserting a date field using the steps from the previous section
  2. Right click on the date field and select “Edit Field”
    Editing a date field
  3. From the “Field” window, you can change the information displayed in the field.  In the “Field names” area you will find options called “CreateDate”, “PrintDate”, and “SaveDate”.  You may also use this dialog to change the date formatting.  Click “OK” when complete
    Modifying a field

The Publish Date Using the Date Picker
There are times where a date is integral to your document and it happens to not be the current date or one of the other dates that Word stores.  Perhaps you are writing a newsletter and you want to show the date the newsletter will be published on the title page, in the footer, and six other places throughout the document.  And the date the newsletter will be published is next week.  Microsoft Word 2010 makes it easy with the Date Picker tool.

    1. To insert a Date Picker to select the publish date, open the “Insert” ribbon, select the “Quick Parts” dropdown, then select the “Document Property” dropdown, then click “Publish Date”
      Inserting a publish date
    2. Now that the date has been inserted, you can access the Date Picker by left clicking once on the date, then left clicking on the downwards arrow that appears to the right of the date.  If you have multiple “Publish Date” fields in the document they will all update to the newly selected date
      The Date Picker in action
    3. If you would like to format the appearance of the “Publish Date”, first add the developer bar by opening File > Options > Customize Ribbon and checking the box next to “Developer”
      Turning on the Developer ribbon
    4. You now have access to a new Ribbon called “Developer”.  Make sure the publish date you wish to format is selected and then open the “Developer” ribbon and click “Properties”
      Modifying a field's properties
    5. Format the date and click “OK”
      Content Control Properties window

    Tool of the Month

    Firefox 4

    Firefox 4 is out and ready for public download and I highly recommend you do so right away.  But what is Firefox 4 doing in a newsletter where the theme is time you ask?  That's because Firefox 4 is guaranteed to save you time!  It is noticeably faster than its predecessor and it uses less memory so it is less likely to slow down your system.  The customization tools are slick and easy to use.  And don’t get me started on Adblock Plus.  Internet advertisements seem to be getting longer and longer, but I don’t have to see them.  Now if only I could get Adblock installed on my TV…

    Firefox 4

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