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Technology Q&A: determine the size of a group of files ... save a table but clear its contents ... create random passwords ... make changes in Excel cells appear in more than one place ... control word's list-making feature ... fast-forward contact information via outlook ... shortcuts.

OPERATING SYSTEM

Q. I need to determine the size of * group of files so I can fit them on a floppy disk. I know I can go into Explorer to check the size of each and then add up the ones I want to copy, but there must be a more efficient way than having to do all that manual addition myself.

A. There is. Go into Explorer a, but instead of stopping to add the size of each, highlight all the files you want in the group. If they are contiguous, encircle them with your mouse; if they are not contiguous, as shown in the screenshot below left, hold down the Ctrl key and click on each. Then right-click. That will bring up the screen shown below right.

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Now click on Properties to evoke this screen, which tells you the total size of the six highlighted files is 2.72 Mb.

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WORD

Q. Often, after spending time creating a complex table design in Word, I'd like to save it for future use, but it's a daunting task to erase all the old data one box at a time. I wish there were an easy way to do that.

A. There is a simple way--it involves one button. Highlight as much, or as little, of the table data you want to erase, and then press Delete.

So, for example, you start out with a table loaded with data such as the one below.

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Afterward, you want to keep the names and the sales areas, but erase the dollar amounts. So highlight just the dollar amounts ...

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and press Delete.

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PASSWORDS

Q. I need to create 250 passwords for all the computer users in my office. It seemed like a simple chore until I tried to do it. Do you have any suggestions?

A. I know of at least one program that can do the job for you--and it's free. Webmaster Password Generator creates large lists of random passwords based on different criteria--including length, upper- and lowercase letters, numerals and special characters. To download it, go to www.web attack.com/get/wmpwgen.shtml.

The passwords can be copied to your clipboard or saved in a text (.txt) file (one password per line).

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EXCEL

Q. I have a spreadsheet with a range of cells that contains frequently changing data and several formulas, and I want all of these--the changing data, the formulas and even all the corresponding formatting--to appear simultaneously in another worksheet each time a change occurs in the original one. I know that's a tall order, and a spreadsheet expert tells me I need to create a fairly complex macro to accomplish all that. Is there no other way to do it?

A. Your expert is partly right--a macro will do the job, and it would be a fairly complex command. But I have a much easier solution that doesn't require the use of macros.

There is a seldom used tool in Excel called Camera. As its name implies, Camera takes a snapshot of all or any part of a spreadsheet. The resulting graphic can be copied to other parts of the file and other worksheets; it even can be copied to other applications--for example, Word and Access. However--and this is where it gets very interesting--if you copy it to somewhere in your spreadsheet, that graphic is not static, it's "dynamic"--meaning any and all changes in the original will immediately be reflected in the copy, and the copy will be a graphic--not an Excel formula.

If you're having trouble imagining this, think of Camera as if it were a live television camera trained on a scene (in this case, a range of cells), and when it's turned on, it's as if the camera keeps transmitting that live picture of the range of cells to the place where the Camera graphic was copied. Thus, any changes in the original scene are simultaneously reflected in the copied graphic.

Admittedly, all this sounds awfully complicated, but in fact, it's a lot easier to do than to explain. To begin, you need to access the Camera function. It's probably not in your default toolbar drop-down menu; you'll have to customize your toolbar. To do that, click on Tools, Customize and on the Command tab, bringing up this screen.

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Then under Categories, click on Tools, and under Commands, depress the down arrow until you come to Camera, which is adjacent to an icon of a small camera ([ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]) and drag it to your toolbar.

Now that you have the tool in place, highlight the worksheet, cell or range of cells you want to capture and then click on Camera. The mouse pointer will change to a plus sign. Go to the place where you want the dynamic image to appear and click on where you want the top left hand corner of the graphic to be. To illustrate I placed the copy in the same worksheet next to the original. The original is in the A column (A1, A2, A3) and I used Camera to copy them to the C and D columns.

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Notice the eight little circles around the numbers; they indicate it's a graphic. If you grab one of the circles, you can enlarge or move the image. And, of course, if you make any changes in the original cells--to the data, the formula or the formatting--they will be reflected immediately in the adjacent graphic.

WORD

Q. I am not a big fan of how Word handles lists--whether they're numbered, alphabetized or marked with bullets, Too often, Word assumes what I want, and more frequently than not, it assumes wrung and I have to delete the entire list and start from scratch. But there are times I really do want Word to format a list for me. Is there a way to get Word to do the job right from the get-go?

A. Yes, but only if you turn off Word's automatic list-making feature. To do that, click on Format, AutoFormat. I know it seems counterintuitive, but make sure AutoFormat now is checked.

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Then click on Options, which brings up the AutoCorrect screen. Click on the AutoFormat As You Type tab, evoking this screen.

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Under the section Apply as you type, uncheck the Automatic bulleted lists and the Automatic numbered lists. Removal of those checks will stop Word from assuming everything that looks like a list is a list and thus is a target for automatic formatting.

Now, each time you really do want a list, type it, being careful to press Enter at the end of each item. If an item runs more than one line, let the line wrap automatically and then press Enter when you've completed the entry. When you've added all your items, highlight them and click on Format, Bullets and Numbering, bringing up this screen.

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Choose how you want to format the list by clicking on the appropriate model and thumb your nose at Word.

OUTLOOK

Q. A colleague frequently asks me to forward information about a business associate that I have stored in nay Outlook contact file. Is there an easy way to do that?

A. Sure. Let's say my friend Mickey Mouse wants my contact data on Donald Duck. I check my Outlook contact file and see I have the following abbreviated listing.

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To see my more detailed Donald Duck listing, I simply double-click on the abbreviated one, evoking the screen below.

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To send Mickey the whole Donald file, simply click on Forward in the toolbar or press Ctrl-F, which instantly opens a new e-mail message that already contains Donald's contact information. Then address the e-mail to Mickey and click on Send.

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Key to Instructions

To help readers follow the instructions in this article, we use boldface type to identify the names of icons, agendas, URLs and application commands.

Shortcuts

* Excel: A fast way to move between tabs is to press Ctrl+Page Up to skip one tab to the left and Ctrl+ Page Down to move one tab to the right.

* All dialog screens: To move forward through the tabs, press Ctrl+Tab; to move backward, use Shift+ Ctrl+Tab.
COPYRIGHT 2004 American Institute of CPA's
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:1385
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