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Tips on Microsoft Office

When it comes to proofreading, many people recommend reading aloud what you have written. That technique often works well. But to be successful using it, you must read what is on the page or screen--not what should be there. Reading what is actually there is challenging because you know what you intended. You...
In Microsoft Office the grammar and spelling checker often flags non-errors. It flags certain constructions that have "fooled" the software into detecting a possible error.  My grammar and spelling checker flagged a potential error in each item below. But don't be fooled! Each item is correct.    I am wondering who they are and how to...
Today I received a brief, thoughtful message from a successful colleague who works in another field. Here is the email: Thanks, Ly7nn. Let me know if you have any questions concerning the report. What went wrong? How could my friend send me a message with my name mangled by a number? Why...
Today I received an email in which a business writing class participant answered the prework questions for an upcoming writing class. She wrote at the top of her email, "My answers are in blue." As often happens with such messages, her answers were in black--not blue--so they did not stand out...
Working with over a hundred people on their business writing over the past seven days, I recognized once again that people's writing can be slowed down and weakened by something that has nothing to do with words. That something is lack of knowledge of Microsoft Word features. When people space manually...
I just finished reading Real Leaders Don't Do PowerPoint: How to Sell Yourself and Your Ideas, an excellent book by Christopher Witt for those who write and deliver speeches. As with so many books that take a strong stance, the author backtracks in the chapter "When You Must Use PowerPoint." He admits that there...
In a Writing Tune-Up I led last week, a manager exclaimed that a tip I had just provided was worth the price of the entire workshop. Here is the tip, and you don't have to pay me for it: If Microsoft Office is automatically correcting something for you--and you don't want it...
In yesterday's Better Business Writing class in Everett, Washington, a woman told a horror story of a "trick" gone wrong in Microsoft Office. As I remember the story, she had just begun to work on a contract at a large company. When she composed a document on the computer...
People in business writing seminars often ask me this excellent question: How can I know whether the changes suggested by my Microsoft grammar and spelling checker are correct? You can't, not without understanding the rules of grammar, punctuation, usage, and sentence structure. But one way to find out more...
One of the keys to being an efficient business writer is having tools that work for you. I need help with one of my tools, and I am asking for your advice. Here is the problem: When I get email from clients and others, my Norton anti-virus program often...