Transparent Shapes in PowerPoint

When I make screen captures, there are times that I would like to add a highlight to a graphic. There may be some tools within OneNote Clipping Tool that I am not familiar with yet (be on the lookout for a new post in the future if that’s the case), so I have been using PhotoShop as a work around.

I realize not everyone has PhotoShop, and I also don’t always want to have to save out a screen shot, open in PhotoShop, add shape, use the “Darken” filter to create transparency, and then save out the image again.

Sometimes I just want to copy and paste the screen shot and then highlight it in PowerPoint using a transparent shape.

How to create a transparent shape

Create a shape from within the Home tab, set the Shape Outline to No Outline and set the Shape Fill to the color of your choosing.

The transparency feature is actually somewhat hidden:
In the Shape Fill menu, click More Fill Colors.

At the bottom of that dialog box, is a transparency slider. While you slide it, it won’t change the shading in the view, but once you click ok, you’ll see you have a transparent shape.


Using RSS feeds with SharePoint apps

Oftentimes it’s easier to work in SharePoint when you have RSS feeds of changes sent straight to your Outlook or to your preferred RSS reader.

What is RSS?

If you’re not sure what an RSS reed is, it stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication according to It will enable you to get updates to announcements lists and other SharePoint apps so you can stay informed about ideas, recommendations, and other information shared by your SharePoint users.

How is RSS useful to me?

The benefit for me in subscribing is that I can receive the RSS feed in my Outlook and have the quick info at my viewing pleasure while sorting through my emails, calendar appointments, and tasks. I also like that I’ll be able to keep the past RSS feeds handy for future reference.

How do I get this RSS feed?

On a regular SharePoint site, click the LIST tab and select the RSS feed icon. Then copy and paste the link into your RSS reader, or in Outlook, go to Account Settings, then RSS feeds, then New, and paste the location there. If you are on a Blog site, you can click the RSS FEED link under the Blog photo.  You’ll likely be asked in a pop up window to either Launch Application or Do Nothing; choose Launch Application.


Linking an image in SharePoint

Oftentimes, when I add an image to one of my blog posts, I add a full screen shot of what I am discussing. The images themselves are often fairly large – between 1000 and 2000 pixels. If I left them that way in the image settings, then the image would take over the page, rather than appear within the blog post.

In order to combat that, I change the width in the image settings options on SharePoint to resize the image to a width of 500 pixels.  When we do that, however, sometimes the detail is lost on what I am trying to show. I could handle that one of two ways: either create a cropped version of the image in PhotoShop or Microsoft Paint, and then upload that into my post; or I can link the smaller view of the image to the actual image and have that open in a new window.

To add the link to the image, you click on the image, then choose the INSERT tab at the top of the page and choose LINK. In this case, you’ll want to use “from SharePoint” and then you need to navigate to the image you just uploaded. This can get a little tricky because you need to have a sense for where images end up once you upload them, and SharePoint is not always consistent in where it puts them. Generally, they appear in the SiteAssets folder on your site, and then from there, check the sub-folders to find your image.

Once you have found your image and linked it, you may not see anything on the page that shows you accomplished the task. However, we need to make sure now to open the link in a new tab, so click on your image again, then go to LINK, and there you set the open in a new tab checkbox.

Alternatively, you can just upload the image file again as an UPLOAD FILE item, and then SharePoint will enter the file name with a link to it.

Using OneNote to organize my communication plans

onenote-pagelist-blurredI tend to craft a lot of my division-wide email messages in OneNote before I actually mail them out. I do this for 2 reasons:

  1. I like to refer back to the emails I already sent, which is easier to do when I have the emails in one document rather than all over my Outlook sent items or inbox
  2. I often plan out my communications in advance and don’t like having them sitting in draft mode or anywhere near my email until I am ready.

I do the same with blog posts. Some days can generate 3-4 posts and other days I get zip. I try to post one each day, so I plan the extra blog posts out in advance so I can use them on days when I don’t have fresh content.

I use the tip from January 28th post about using OneNote as a Task List to help separate my content.

I was initially using sections to organize my content, but I found having to flip back and forth between sections too cumbersome and I had a hard time finding my content. The search feature works better within a section as well.

Copying a calendar item from SharePoint to your own calendar in Outlook

One question I get asked often is how can I add one event from the SharePoint calendar to my Outlook Calendar.

We are looking into some other options as well, but here is one way: Connect the SharePoint Calendar to your Outlook. View this Sway tutorial for instructions on how to do this.

Once you have connected the Calendar, view the SharePoint Calendar besides your own within Outlook. Drag the event that you want to copy, from the SharePoint Calender over to your own. You don’t need to place it exactly, just drag it over, and it will automatically add itself to the same timeslot as listed on SharePoint.

You can then turn off the view of the SharePoint Calendar by clicking the little checkbox next to the name of the calendar.

Changing the cell movement after Enter (Excel)

o365-excelNormally when you’re using Excel and you hit the Enter key, your cursor moves down to the next row.

Today I was creating a spreadsheet and I needed to fill in data cross a row and into multiple columns, so I needed set my Enter key to move to the right. I knew this was possible, so I used my trusty friend Google to find the answer quickly.

​This tip comes from ExcelTips (Ribbon).

  • Display the Excel Options box by going to the File Tab, then clicking Options.
  • Under the Advanced Tab, the first option has the answer you need.
  • Make sure the “After pressing Enter, move selection” checkbox is checked.
  • You can set the “After pressing Enter, move selection” dropdown to up, down, left or right.
  • Then click OK

When you’re done with your spreadsheet, just go through these steps again to set it to your normal default.

Use the Styles when formatting text in SharePoint

While reviewing the sites ​that were updated by the SPOCKs on Friday, I noticed a common theme, and that’s that formatting was somewhat inconsistent across the sites. Some had Times New Roman, others had larger text, others had incorrect leading.

If you are finding inconsistencies with your text on your page, I suggest you use the styles that are standard with your text boxes. SharePoint comes with a bunch of standard font styles including

  • Paragraph
  • Heading 1
  • Heading 2
  • Heading 3
  • Heading 4
  • Heading 1 Alternate
  • Heading 2 Alternate
  • Heading 3 Alternate
  • Heading 4 Alternate
  • Normal
  • Quote
  • Intense Quote
  • Emphasis
  • Intense Emphasis
  • Reference
  • Intense Reference
  • Accent 1
  • Accent 2

Between all of these styles, you should have enough variation while remaining consistent.

You can find these styles in the FORMAT TEXT tab at the top of the page.