Top IT Questions of the Month

Question symbol on keyboard

The use of technology in our professional and personal lives is almost universal, and computers have enabled us to do so many things more efficiently that used to take considerable time. But despite this, many people still don’t use a lot of technology in the most effective way possible, and it’s usually just because they don’t know how. Our IT Consultants get asked so many questions about how to use programs like Excel, Word, and Visio more effectively, that we wanted to share some tips and tricks with you, to help you make the most of these tools, and save yourself even more time.

1. In Excel is there a quick way to maximise all columns to see all data?

A: When you’ve got a lot of data to input you don’t want to have to spend time sorting out all of your individual columns to display the best fit, luckily Excel is clever and there’s a built in function that means you don’t have to.  If you click on the square box in the top left hand corner between column A and row 1 this will select the entire sheet. You can then place your cursor between any two columns (for example A and B) and when you see the double headed black arrow, double click, and this will expand all columns to best fit.In Word, how do I insert a landscape page in the middle of two portrait pages?

2. In Word, how do I insert a landscape page in the middle of two portrait pages?

A: This is a question we get asked a lot, and one that is easy to rememdy as long as you know how, it simply requires the use of section breaks.  At the end of your first page, insert a section break (page layout tab > breaks > section break: next page). Make sure you have clicked in section 2, then change the orientation of the page to landscape (page layout tab > orientation > landscape). Next, insert a new section break as above, ensure you are clicked in section 3 and adjust the page orientation back to portrait (as above).Other than drawing what can I use Visio for?

3. Other than drawing what can I use Visio for?

A: Most people think of Visio as an application for drawing flow charts and creating organisation charts. However Visio has many powerful features hidden away. All items drawn in Visio have a set of data properties which can be modified and customised. These properties can hold information about anything such as cost, ownership, serial number, date etc. Once this data has been entered into the drawing, reports can be produced such as cost of processes in a flow diagram, value of furniture in a room plan or cost of salaries in an organisation chart. On the flip side plans and drawings can also be created by initially importing data into Visio.

4. How can I pause a PowerPoint show without having to exit out of it?

A: This is one a lot of people ask and the answer is actually really simple, all you need to do is push S on the keyboard to pause, and then S again to restart – really helpful when you’ve timed everything to perfection and someone asks a question when you’re not expecting it!

5. In Excel how can I make dates change colour as deadlines approach?

A: Modern versions of Excel have very rich conditional formatting tools and these can be used to highlight upcoming date milestones and draw attention to those where deadlines have passed. To highlight your milestone dates you must create your own rules in conditional formatting by calculating the number of days between your milestone date and the current date, using Excel’s “Today” function =TODAY(). Colours can be assigned to 30 days ahead, between 31 and 60 days ahead etc. The trick is to get the rules in the correct order. Excel will evaluate the rules in the order it finds them and will only apply a single rule to each date. Conditional formatting rules are ordered by selecting the “Manage Rules” option and moving a rule up or down the list.

We hope the above has offered some insight into the amazing things you can do with these ‘everyday’ programs. Each month we’ll be bringing you more tips, tricks and advice based on what we get asked in training sessions. But if there’s anything specific you want to know, get in touch and we’ll get our team on the case to find the answer.