MS Word shortcuts for increasing and decreasing font size

Using shortcut key combinations can often allow us to get our work done much more quickly. Key combinations don’t always follow one another between applications, and so this is sometimes where happy accidents come from. We love happy accidents.

Ctrl + }

increases your font size

Ctrl + {

decreases your font size

Some of you may be thinking “what, you didn’t know this one?” but this one was new to me. What is your favorite key combination and which application uses it? Please post it in the comments below.

Removing all images in Word or Excel

Sometimes when copying information from a SharePoint page (or any website for that matter) to an Excel or Word document, you can end up with images that you don’t want. You could click each of the images and hit DELETE to get rid of them, but here is a faster way:

In Excel

Use the Go To command (Ctrl + G), then choose Special, then Objects.

The delete and backspace keys will remove the images from your worksheet.

In Word

Open the Find & Replace tool (on the PC, it’s Ctrl+H)

To remove all images at once, place ^g in the find field, leave the replace field blank, and then choose Replace All

Quick Parts in Outlook (and Word)

This tip about Quick Parts came from my colleague Annabelle Fuselier from VT Business Services:

Wouldn’t it be great to save time on typing the same e-mail over again? Well there is a feature in Outlook that will help you work smarter and not harder. It’s called Quick Parts and the feature is not only handy in Outlook it also works in MS Word. I have personally used this feature to request HokieMart/Banner approvals, sending screening matrices or meeting requests.

Creating a Quick Part in Outlook

  1. Create a new e-mail message
  2. In the body of the message type your text or select from a previous e-mail.
  3. Highlight the text you are using
  4. Click the insert tab
  5. In the “text” pane, select Quick Parts.
  6. Click on “Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery.”
  7. In the “Create New Building Block” screen:
    • Type in a descriptive name for the text or graphic in the Name field.
    • Type in a description of the Quick Part in the Description field.
    • Don’t change any other fields.
    • Click OK.
  8. When you want to insert the Quick Part into an e-mail message, click the Insert tab, select “Quick Parts” from the text pane.
    • scroll to the Quick Part you want to insert, and click it.

The process is the same in Word. However, Quick Parts are not shared between Word and Outlook, so you have to create separate ones for each application.

Email merges

We’ve heard of using Mail Merge for sending out letters. Have you ever had the need to use Mail Merge with emails?

The process for creating mail merges for outlook is almost the same as for letters. You start with a word document and an excel spreadsheet with contact information.

Preparing the recipients list

Create a spreadsheet containing at minimum, these three columns:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email

Make sure the email column contains no special characters (other than the @ sign, the hyphen (-), the underscore (_) and the period (.) of course) and to make things easier for yourself, include a header show with these column labels, so you can find your fields more easily.

Prepare the email message

  • Start Microsoft Word and begin a new blank document.
  • Switch to the Mailings ribbon.
  • Click on the Start Mail Merge menu and select the E-Mail Messages option.
  • Click on the Select Recipients menu and select the Use Existing List option.
  • Browse and select the Excel spreadsheet you created earlier, and then click on the Open button.
  • In the Select Table window, click on the name of the sheet that contains your recipient’s information.
  • If you have options for Sheet1, Sheet2, and Sheet3, the information is probably on Sheet1.
  • If you entered column headings in the first row of your spreadsheet, make sure the First row of data contains column headers option is checked.
  • Click on the OK button.

Compose the body of your message using Word

You can switch back to the Home ribbon to add formatting including bold, italics, font colors, and headings.

Not all formatting will visible to all recipients. Outlook users will see most of the formatting. Web mail users will see bold, italics, and lists but not font styles or colors.

To customize the contents of your message with information from your spreadsheet

  • Position the cursor where you want to insert the data.
  • Switch to the Mailings ribbon.
  • Click on the Insert Merge Field menu and select the field containing the data you want to insert.
  • Save the body of the email message the same way you would save any other Word document.

Send the email messages

  • Switch to the Mailings ribbon.
  • Click on the Finish & Merge menu and select the Send E-Mail Messages option.
  • From the To drop-down menu, select the field containing the email address of each recipient.
  • In the Subject text box, enter the subject line used for the email message.
  • From the Mail format drop-down menu, select the HTML option.
  • For the Send records radio button, select the All option.
  • Click on the OK button to send the messages.

More Tips

If you customize the message for each recipient, use the Preview Results button on the Mailings ribbon to see the data from your spreadsheet in the body of the message instead of the field names. Use the arrows to right of this button on the ribbon to preview different records from your spreadsheet.

Customizing the email message for each recipient is easiest when the information is split into several columns. For example keeping the first name and last name in separate columns is better than keeping them in a single column called name. You can always put two fields together in your message, but pulling fields apart is much more difficult.

If you send newsletters or flyers as PDF attachments, consider publishing the PDF on your SharePoint site and then using email merge to send a notice with a link. Later you can check your site’s statistics to determine how many people downloaded the PDF.

This last tip goes for other types of documents as well. One great reason for sending a link to a cloud version of the site rather than an actual file is that if you discover an error in your file, you can fix it without needing to resend the document to everyone.

You may want to add yourself as the first recipient in your spreadsheet so you can test the message delivery. Use the Preview Results button to view the message you will receive. Follow the sending instructions, but change the Send Records option from All to Current. This will send only the message currently being previewed through Outlook.

Rearrange your paragraphs using Alt, Shift and up/down arrow keys

This tip is exceptionally useful if you do a lot of writing or editing. I bet you spend a lot of time copying and pasting paragraphs to rearrange text in a document, or when you’re writing a story.

Next time you want to move a paragraph (or more), try holding down the Alt key and the Shift key, and then use the up or down arrow keys to rearrange your text.

Handy for when you’re in a meeting, and someone starts talking about something a little off-topic, you can take your notes wherever you are in the document, and then use Alt+Shift and your up/down arrow keys to move the notes where they belong.


Oh, and just in case you try this with the left/right arrow keys: they let you toggle the styles within your document, so you can quickly switch between headings and normal. Styles are worthy of a post all unto their own – they really help with managing content, and I’m sure I will write one in the near future.

Making Templates for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

Today I made templates in MS Word, MS Excel, and MS PowerPoint. Why? Because of a feature/glitch in SharePoint Online. Site owners – read on.

Creating templates

Using templates in your daily operations is actually good practice. It saves you from needing to open a file, do a save as, and then delete the content before starting over. Working from a template ensures that all documents look the same.

Templates tend do have a t as part of their file extension: Word.dotx, Excel.xltx, PowerPoint.potx

For my Word document, I added the filename, page numbers, and a last modified date to the footer of the document.

For my Excel document, I added the filename, page numbers, and the current date to the footer of the document.

For PowerPoint, I asked one of our CIT designers to provide me with a template and just uploaded it.

All of the templates include corporate colors and fonts.

Once I saved out my templates, I uploaded them to SharePoint for everyone to use. (Note, apparently you cannot save template files directly to SharePoint Online – at least it wouldn’t work for me.)


  • Unfortunately, OneNote is no longer a file, but rather a collection of files, so if you want a OneNote Notebook on your site, you will need to create a blank notebook yourself in the Desktop version of OneNote, and then save it to your sites, using the URL or webaddress of your site to tell OneNote where to save it.


Advanced / site owners:

In document libraries, out of the box, there is no way to just add a link to a document that lives in a differerent library or even a different site. You can add that capability by adding a “Link to a Document” content type to your document list. Cool right?

However, when you do this, it breaks the well-loved feature of the “New” icon, and it now only shows Document, which is a Word Document. Because we like to work in different types of documents, we need to have the other types available to us also. So, I created the templates complete with our corporate color scheme, and in the case of Word and Excel templates, page numbers and file names in the footer to help make it easier for us to work with printed documents.

Creating Mail Merges

Tomorrow I am conducting SPOCK meetings at work for SharePoint Online Coordinators in the Know, or site owners in our organization. They will be populating their Intranet pages for the Division of Student Affairs. In order to that, there are quite a few portions of their sites that need to be updated, including

  • department head
  • lead site administrator
  • message from dept leadership
  • about the department
  • a map with their locations (the location finder app)
  • an organizational chart (linking visio files)
  • links to their discussions page on another site
  • link to their private team site

For the committees, the list wasn’t as long but they would be updating

  • the committee’s charge
  • the member roster
  • the co-chairs for the group
  • basic meeting information – when and where they meet, etc.
  • links to their discussion page on another site
  • link to their private team site

I also included instructions for the committees to add people to their member rosters since many of them hadn’t been added yet.

o365-excelAll of this information was gathered and captured in an Excel spreadsheet. I used a spreadsheet because I knew that I would need to mail merge that information later.

A lot of people think mail merges is only for letters or address labels, but it can be used for any kind of information sheet.

I had one Excel file with three or four sheets with different headers of information, and today I used the mail merge feature in Word to take the information from the various spreadsheets to make the different kinds of info sheets.

o365-wordThe combined file was great for print-outs, because I did want at least that info available in a printed form so people would know what they needed to copy. At the same time, I also wanted that info available to them in an electronic format, and I needed to split my letters up into separate files.

I know enough about the Internet that there are lots of smart people on there who have already figured out how to do this. Microsoft itself had posted one for splitting pages out. gave me one for splitting out sections, which is what I actually needed, since some of the info sheets actually spanned 2 pages.

This macro, which I modified to make it save docx files rather than doc files, does a fine job of splitting the data into separate files. The only place where it broke down was where I had turned some member lists into columns prior so I could print the info on one page. Word apparently takes columns as sections also, and it split the second column’s data into a separate file. Easy enough to recombine, but just something to be aware of before you use it. Using the split macro before changing the format of the page probably would have worked beautifully. Another thing to note is that the cursor needs to be at the beginning of the file in order for this macro to work correctly.

Once I split the files, they all had the name test followed by a number test1.docx, test2.docx etc. so I did have to rename them all, but all that is still less time than manually copying and pasting into separate files. Once I renamed the files I uploaded them to SharePoint, ready for tomorrow’s workshop.

I believe I now have all of my materials together. I have info sheets for each department and committee, in printed form, and in electronic form. I have instructions in two PowerPoint files – one for departments, one for committees. I have signup sheets, feedback forms, and resource pages with helpful tips and tricks, and also instructions to gather the info they need to complete the task.