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Developing for Windows 10

The recent advent of Windows 10 has brought with it a wealth of development resources and tools.

At the top of the list, of course, is Visual Studio 2015. Click Visual Studio Downloads to download any of the Visual Studio skus.

You can find all the information you need to develop Windows 10 apps by following these links:

Microsoft Virtual Academy offers online courses for Windows 10 and there is some great content on Channel 9. Microsoft Virtual Academy also offered a Windows 10 Jumpstart on August 14th. This event has ended but an on demand version should be available soon.

Happy developing!

Recently on Channel 9

At the 2015 Microsoft MVP Virtual Conference (May 14-15) Crystal Long, Brent Spaulding, and Julian Kirkness presented an information packed session on Access, Access Web Apps, and connecting Access desktop applications to Azure servers.

Channel 9 is a Microsoft community site for Microsoft customers created in 2004. It has video channels, discussions, podcasts, screencasts and interviews with Microsoft. Wikipedia

If you are interested in expanding your knowledge and understanding of the power of Access, the video of this session is a must watch. In it you will see an introduction to data management using Access, a demonstration of a working Access Web app, and a tutorial on connection an Access Desktop frontend to a cloud-based Azure backend.

Office 2016 Pre-Release Program Expanded

Looking to see where Microsoft are heading with the next release of Office (2016)?

Office CloudWant to see new features in action?

Interesting in trying the look and feel of the next Office version for yourself?

Want to provide your feedback to Microsoft and help shape the final product?

Then the Office 2016 Preview program is for you.

According to the download page, “You should try the Office 2016 Preview if you: enjoy trying out software that’s still being developed and providing your insights and feedback; you know how to reinstall your previous version of Office; and you know your way around a PC and feel comfortable troubleshooting problems, backing up data, and uninstalling and installing the Office.”

Read more about the program and sign up here

OneNote Shortcuts

A Fortunate Accident

I was writing a OneNote page when suddenly the page took on an appearance that I had never use. It had lines and a red margin, just like a ‘scribbler’ page. 



Instinct told me that I had somehow triggered a keyboard shortcut, one that might prove useful in the future. That set me to digging in to OneNote keyboard shortcuts. My search led me to this site (for OneNote 2010) and this one (for OneNote 2013).

It didn’t take long to identify the shortcut I had accidentally triggered (<shift><ctrl>R). Like many shortcuts this one is a toggle so that by keying <shift><ctrl>R again (deliberately this time) the margin and lines disappeared. Problem solved and I had added a new item to add to my personal bag of tricks. By the same token, some shortcuts apply only to a specific application.

Shortcuts – the Road Less Travelled

I didn’t used to be a shortcut fan. Until a few years ago, I quickly turned my attention to other things whenever the topic came up whether in something I was reading at the time or in personal discussions. After all, learning anything involves personal effort and time and I had more important things to do and little enough time to do them in. Happy in my ignorance, I completely missed the point that investing a tiny amount of time in learning shortcut pays a huge dividing in time saved, time that becomes available for other, more ‘important’ tasks.

I suspect that many computer users, especially those who have been using personal computers for a relatively short time take the same ‘path of least resistance’ that I allowed myself to be caught by. In their defense, the learning curve for a new user can be overwhelming. It is difficult enough to learn and remember what to do without taking on the additional burden of learning shortcuts. Besides, for a computer newcomer, there is no apparent benefit for investing the time involved.

Nevertheless, one aspects of shortcuts does help to ease the learning curve. Many shortcuts are, at least in the Windows world virtually universal. That means that you have only to learn them once to be able to use them ‘everywhere.’

A Selected Few OneNote Shortcuts

This list is by no means comprehensive. It contains a small sampling of shortcuts that I find useful on a daily basis. Some are useful throughout the Windows world; others are specific to OneNote. Shortcuts are associated with keyboard keystrokes. Some use just a single key, others a combination of two keys pressed together, still others a combination of three keys pressed together. In most case you position the cursor or select the portion of text to which you want to apply the shortcut

‘Universal Shortcuts’



Undo the last action <ctrl>z
Redo the last action <ctrl>y
Move cursor one character to the right <right arrow>
Move cursor one character to the left <left arrow>
Move to the next paragraph <ctrl><down arrow>
Move to the previous paragraph <ctrl><up arrow>
Scroll to the top of the current page <ctrl><home>
Scroll to the end of the current page <ctrl><end>
Scroll up in the current page <page up>
Scroll down in the current page <page down>
Cut the selected text or item <ctrl>c
Copy the selected text or item <ctrl>x
Paste cut or copied text or item <ctrl>v


OneNote Specific Shortcuts



Copy the formatting of selected text <ctrl><shift>c
Paste the formatting of selected text <ctrl><shift>v
Apply or remove yellow highlight from selected text <ctrl><shift>h
Apply or remove strikethrough from selected text <ctrl><shift>-
Apply or remove superscript from selected text <ctrl><shift>=
Apply or remove subscript from selected text <ctrl>=
Apply or remove bulleted list formatting from selected text <ctrl>.
Apply or remove numbered list formatting from selected text <ctrl>/
Right align a paragraph <ctrl>r
Left align a paragraph <ctrl>l
Go back to the last page visited <alt><left arrow>
Go forward to the next page visited <alt><right arrow>
Insert the current date <alt><shift>d
Insert the current time <alt><shift>t
Insert the current date and time <alt><shift>f
Apply, mark, or clear the To Do tag <ctrl>1
Apply of clear the Important tag <ctrl>2
Apply or clear the Question tag <ctrl>3
Remove all tags from the selected text <ctrl>0


This list contains but a selected few OneNote shortcuts. The best way to learn these and other shortcuts is simply to start using them

For a more comprehensive collection of OneNote shortcuts visit this page: Shortcut World.

Office 2016 Public Preview

Yesterday Microsoft announced Office 2016 availability for public preview. Details and a link to the Office 2016 Preview site are in this blog article.

Over the last 12 months, we’ve transformed Office from a suite of desktop applications to a complete, cross-platform, cross-device solution for getting work done. We’ve expanded the Office footprint to iPad and Android tablets. We’ve upgraded Office experiences on the Mac, the iPhone and on the web. We’ve even added new apps to the Office family with Sway and Office Lens. All designed to keep your work moving, everywhere. But that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten where we came from. While you’ve seen us focus on tuning Office for different platforms over the last year, make no mistake, Office on Windows desktop is central to our strategy.

Office Blogs

This version introduces some exciting new Office features:

  • Anywhere Document authoring
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Smart Applications
  • Faster and easier data analysis

All in all this looks like an exciting advance in Office technology.

Microsoft Announces MVP Virtual Conference


I wanted to let you know about a great free event that Microsoft and the MVPs are putting on, May 14th & 15th.  Join Microsoft MVPs from the Americas’ region as they share their knowledge and real-world expertise during a free event, the MVP Virtual Conference.

The MVP Virtual Conference will showcase 95 sessions of content for IT Pros, Developers and Consumer experts designed to help you navigate life in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.  Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Developer Platform, Steve Guggenheimer, will be on hand to deliver the opening Key Note Address.

Why attend MVP V-Conf? The conference will have 5 tracks, IT Pro English, Dev English, Consumer English, Portuguese mixed sessions & Spanish mixed sessions, there is something for everyone! Learn from the best and brightest MVPs in the tech world today and develop some great skills!

Be sure to register quickly to hold your spot and tell your friends & colleagues.

The conference will be widely covered on social media, you can join the conversation by following @MVPAward and using the hashtag #MVPvConf.

Register now and feel the power of community!


· World-class free online conference that features technical content presented by Americas’ region MVPs that is open to the public

· More technical content (Level 200, 300, 400), less marketing

· 5 tracks: IT Pro English, Dev English, Consumer English, Mixed Spanish, Mixed Portuguese

· Event will be broadcast via Lync using L+ which enhances the conferencing capabilities of Lync

· Two full days of sessions with simultaneous webcasts running across all 5 tracks

· Thursday May 14th and Friday, May 15th

· Start at 8am PT and running until 6pm PT (Pacific)

· Day 1: 45 sessions + Keynote, Day 2: 50 sessions

· Keynote on Day 1 to be delivered by Steve ‘Guggs’ Guggenheimer, Corporate VP of DX

· On Demand content available via Channel9

· This event is not just for MVPs, it’s for everyone!

Protecting Custom Templates


Between now and May 31st, check out these offers from Microsoft:

Azure 30-day Trial

MSDN Subscription

CANITPRO At The Movies (English)

CANITPRO At The Movies (French)



A crash can impact your computing life in ways that are mere inconveniences to major disasters. In this article I am going to discuss ways of limiting inconvenient data loss.

First a definition: an inconvenient data loss (as opposed to a catastrophic loss) is the loss of data which can be rebuilt relatively easily, requiring only a moderate amount of time and inconvenience to accomplish the re-build.

Catastrophic loss, on the other hand, refers to the loss of critical data that would be very difficult, perhaps even impossible, to rebuild. Some examples of critical data are business or personal financial records, family photos where a print doesn’t exist, original artistic creations, any non-trivial original work that you have created on the computer.


Data loss is a question of when, not
if it will happen; it will happen.

Catastrophic Data Loss

The only way to prevent catastrophic data loss is to regularly and frequently back the data up to a second location. How often should you back up? The more important the data, the more frequently you should back it up. A web search will turn up links to many backup applications that will assist you in backing up. Once you have decided on an application, you then need to decide what (individual files and folders) to backup, where to place the backup, and when the backup should happen.

  • Choose what to backup carefully
  • Choose a location that is not on the same
    disk or media as the actual data
  • Choose a backup frequency that will
    minimize the amount of critical data
    that will be lost when your computer crashes

Inconvenient Data Loss

The specific inconvenient data loss that prompted this article was a recent computer failure. In short, Windows crashed, making my computer unusable until I re-installed Windows. At the time, Office 2010 applications were my main tools. Roughly 75% of everything I do using my computer involves one or more Office applications (Word, Access, Excel, Publisher, PowerPoint.) I thought I had a reliable backup strategy in places with backup software copying my documents, spreadsheets, etc. to a backup folder that was in turned synced to a cloud location. That way, even if my computer experienced a total failure, I would still have all my files, with little or no loss.

Over the years, custom templates have become an essential part of my electronic tool box. For example I have Word templates that help me quickly create several different documents that are an essential part of my training practice. These include class lists, class evaluations, training quotations, and course outline formats. In short, whenever I recognized that I was creating documents that repeated standard information, I created a template that would include the information common to each of these types of documents.

Of course it takes time to create good templates but the invested time is quickly repaid because having a template eliminated re-inventing the wheel to create routine documents.

imageAnd so it seems, templates were the Achilles’ heel of my  backup strategy. I had overlooked that fact that custom templates and page parts in Office 2010 and earlier, were not stored in a location that is readily accessible to backup software. In other words, backing up document does not back up templates.

When windows went down for the count, the crash took out of circulation the folders where my custom templates were stored. Recovery, while not difficult, has been time consuming. Because I didn’t lose my data, I have been able to open files that I had originally created from each template and delete any of the content that was not part of the generic template. The difficult part has been remembering exactly what templates I had been using.

Avoiding the Problem in Office 2010 and Prior

Obviously this is an experience I would like to avoid in the future so I have modified my backup strategy. Ironically, the solution I came up with resembles the Office 2013 approach to custom template storage, something I became aware of only after I had worked out my new strategy.

First, I created a folder, MyTemplates,  in my Documents folder. Each time I create a new template, I save it to the the default templates folder and then save a new copy to MyTemplates. My backup strategy already included the Documents folder so MyTemplates is automatically backed up with every scheduled backup.

This approach isn’t ideal because it does require manual intervention whenever I create or modify a template but this minor inconvenience is well worth the bit of time it takes because it minimizes the risk of having to recreate templates in the event of a catastrophe.

How Office 2013 Handles Custom Templates

Office 2010 and prior Office versions buried custom templates in subfolders managed by Windows. The exact folder location depended on the particular Office version. In Office 2013, custom templates can become more accessible to the user. The default is a folder, Custom Office Template in the user’s Documents folders.

Given the experience I outlined above, I strongly recommend going with the default and then ensuring that the Custom Office Templates folder is included in the list of locations that you regularly backup.


Related articles:

The article Finding Template From Previous Office Versions suggests pointing your custom templates link to the templates folder that Office 2010 used. This approach is not a solution to the lost templates issue discussed above.

This article: Office 2013 Custom Templates Location the Custom Office Templates folder in Office 2013.

New OneNote Videos from Microsoft


I’ve long been a fan of OneNote as a simple to use yet effective business and personal organization tool.

Check out this article to see Microsoft’s tongue in cheek depiction of the sticky note jungle that OneNote can help you solve.

Web Enabling your Application

Access 2010 now allows you to easily publish your application to the Web for sharing with other users. This process has been simplified by using Microsoft’s SharePoint Online, part of the Office 365 suite, as no local placement of a SharePoint server is needed. When you share the app with others, all they need is a Web browser to work in your Database Application.

Publishing your Application

One of the common uses of Data Macros is to validate data being entered into a record. The following example will stop the creation of a record in the Asset table if the user is trying to add a warranty value if they have not entered an Aquired Date.

Procedure: Publishing your Application

1. Open the Database Application to be published.

2. Select the Backstage View ribbon tab.

3. Click the Save & Publish option and then Publish to Access Server.


4. Enter the full address of your online SharePoint server. Enter the credentials to the SharePoint site, and click the Publish to Access Services button.


If successful and Access can publish to the given site, the Web Browser will open and display your published site – distribute the URL to users who need to access the Application via the Web.

This article was written by Nick Williams. Nick is one of the Access course tutors at Acuity Training, a hands-on IT training company with offices in central London & Guildford UK.

Data Macros

Use Data Macros to add logic to events that happen in Tables, this could be adding records, updating a record or deleting data. Data macros are created and managed from the Table ribbon tab while you are working in the table view. There are two main types of data macros

  • Event Driven, which are those triggered by table events.
  • Named, which run in response to being called by name.

Creating a Data Macro

One of the common uses of Data Macros is to validate data being entered into a record. The following example will stop the creation of a record in the Asset table if the user is trying to add a warranty value if they have not entered an Aquired Date.

Procedure: Create a Data Macro

1. Open into Data Sheet view the Table you are adding the Data Macro to.

2. Select the Table ribbon view tab.


3. Click in this instance the Before Change button.

4. Within the Macro screen, add the necessary actions you require. This example shows an If program flow


Add the necessary values













5. When you have completed the Macro, Save and Close the Data Macro.


The next time a new or edited record does not meet the validation set, the following message will appear and stop the update of the Record.


Procedure: Edit a Data Macro

1. Open into Data Sheet view the Table you wish to edit the Data Macro for.

2. Select the Table ribbon view tab. You will notice the Event button will appear yellow if there is already a Data Macro created.

3. Select the relevant Event button and make the necessary changes.


4. When you have completed the Macro, Save and Close the Data Macro.

Procedure: Delete a Data Macro

1. Open into Data Sheet view the Table you wish to Delete the Data Macro for.

2. Select the Table ribbon view tab.

3. Select the relevant Event button and make Delete the changes for.

4. Within the Data Macro screen, remove each command by selecting the at the top right corner of the command.


5. When you have completed the Macro, Save and Close the Data Macro.


This article was written by Nick Williams. Nick is one of the Access course tutors at Acuity Training, a hands-on IT training company with offices in central London & Guildford UK.