Monday, March 16, 2009

Using Office 2007 files in Office 2003

I am one of those who reluctantly switches to the latest MS versions, be it Windows of Office. I still use Office 2003 applications, and sometimes receive Word 2007 files from clients and friends. No big deal - I have downloaded the MS Office compatibility pack for Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007 file formats. When I double-click on an Word 2007 file attached to an e-mail message, Word 2003 converts it and opens it. I can open, edit and save such files in the Word 2003 file format. I presume you can do the same with Excel and PowerPoint 2007 file formats, although I have not yet tried these. Note however, that the download size is 27.5 MB for the converter, and as stated on the MS web site, it would take you 1 hour and eight minutes to download it over a 56-Kb connection! Thank God for my broadband connection.

Note also that users of the Microsoft Office XP and 2003 programs Word, Excel, or PowerPoint need to install all High-Priority updates from Microsoft Update before downloading the Compatibility Pack. Does that mean that the converter won't work if you don't download these updates? Maybe so, I don't know. I try to keep my applications updated regularly, so I had no problems in installing the compatibility pack.

Note that users of Microsoft Word 2000 or Microsoft Word 2002 need to see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/925451 for information to enable Word 2007 documents to be displayed correctly in these versions of Word, if they wish to read or write documents containing complex scripts.

Have a great day!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some Neat Word Tips

Since many, many years, I have been using MS Word's AutoCorrect feature to insert the degree Celsius symbol — I type "deg" and the spacebar and ˚C is inserted. What if you need only the degree symbol and not the C? How would you find and replace subscripted text in Word? I have documented some of these tips here.

1. Find and replace superscripts and subscripts

A few days ago, a client gave me a translation job that had several tables containing numbers and units already filled in, but the units for volume of water were given as "m3." I had already inserted the superscript in the rest of the text that I had translated, and didn't want to let go these units in the tables with out changing "3" to a superscript 3. Word does not allow this in the Find and Replace window.

Here's what I did. I first copied "m3" to the clipboard (using Ctrl+C). In the Find box, I entered "m3." In the Replace box, I typed "^c" (without the quotation marks). This copies the contents of the clipboard. Next, I clicked on Replace All and all the hundreds of offending "m3"s were replaced  by "m3" in one shot!

Replace with clipboard contents  

2. Insert often-used characters using the keyboard

a. Degree symbol

I used to insert the degree symbol "˚" (for angular measurements) by first entering "deg" to insert ˚C (degree Celsius inserted together through AutoCorrect) and then delete C.  Just found an easier method. Type Ctrl+@, then hit the spacebar, and Word inserts just the degree symbol (˚).

b. Non-breaking space

Another keyboard shortcut that I use often is the non-breaking space, and I need to use this quite often especially when a number with its unit appears at the end of a sentence and the unit wraps over to the next line. For ex:

"The distance between the aft shaft coupling and the bracket is about 3425 mm.  Measure this distance …."

If you wish to preserve "3425 mm" together, type Ctrl+Shift+Space after 3425 and then type mm so that they stay together.

c. Greek letters

I have most of the Greek letters saved in AutoCorrect so that when I type a "phi" or a "beta" it gets automatically substituted by Φ and β.

d. Fractions through keyboard

I also remember three important fractions that I often use, namely ¼ ½ ¾. These can be inserted by typing 00BC, 00BD, 00BE and pressing Alt X after each (I use Word 2003; this may vary in your version of Word). You can find these Unicode character codes by pulling down the Insert Menu in Word and selecting Symbol (see below).

Symbol chart

Do you know of better and faster ways to insert special characters and symbols? Feel free to comment.

Until the next post, have a great day!