What MS Office Knows That You Don’t

by Justin Nescott 2. July 2012 16:50
  An excellent resource in Microsoft Office tips, hints, and general knowledge, Office Watch has posted multiple articles recently discussing some of the “hidden information” that is stored in Microsoft documents. Many of these problems were created from the introduction of the “Fast Save” feature, which increased the save speed of documents by saving the changes made since the last save point, rather than the entire document. With Fast Save the file remembers names, email addresses, file locations, and server names. It also stores changes made to a document, even if the person editing the file believes earlier changes were deleted. Beginning with Microsoft Office version 2007, there is a feature called “Document Inspector” that is available across most of the suite. By clicking on the Microsoft Office Button, then pointing to Prepare, and selecting Inspect Document, you can access the “Document Inspector.” This will find and remove data including comments, revisions from tracked changes, user names, email addresses, watermarks, file paths, hidden rows/columns/worksheets in Excel, clip art, text boxes, text added as notes, and much more from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. For a full list of items that will be found and removed by Document Inspector, please visit Microsoft Office’s support page. If you still use Office 2003, you can download free a Microsoft add-in that will perform the same functions as Document Inspector. As stated above, Word is not the only Office program with the Fast Save feature. Both Excel and PowerPoint contain Fast Save and should be monitored for hidden data. Even with the releases of Office 2007 and 2010, Office documents continue to track personal information. To decrease the likelihood of unintentionally disclosing information in Microsoft Office documents, use the  Document Inspector feature.   
Categories: Tech Tips

Early Reviews of Windows 8

by Justin Nescott 23. April 2012 09:55
  In late February, Windows launched the consumer preview of Windows 8. The major redesign was to move the popular operating system that is available for Windows’ tablets and mobile devices to the desktop and laptop. This will feature and continue the growth of touch screen desktops and laptops. The “Metro design” will replace the traditional “start” button and the applications and programs will be contained on the desktop as colorful blocks. With the growth of applications for computers, Windows 8 focused on incorporating the ease of use into the new OS. Windows recently launched a Windows Application Store to make downloading new apps as easy as possible. The convenience of complete customization for the start screen of Windows 8 allows the user to decide which apps and common contacts appear. The initial reviews, although mostly positive, vary greatly. PCMag questions whether Windows 8 will fail, comparing it to a Windows 95 failed add-on, Bob. It points out that the touch screen works great, but the user will encounter problems if they have to use a mouse or trackpad. This will put pressure on manufacturers to include touch screens to new laptops and desktops, which will add between $100-$150 to the price of the unit, which would be passed to the consumer. Microsoft did release a recommended specification for new trackpads that would work better with the Metro Touch; however, because of the late release, many laptops will not include this new design that may be released with Windows 8. Also, by removing the Start button, the user has to click on more options to find similar functions in the new Metro layout. Hopefully, when Windows does roll out Windows 8, these problems will be resolved and the initial beta testing will help them develop Metro Touch for laptops and desktops that is on par with mobile devices and tablets. Make sure that if you are, or will be in the market for a computer in the next few months, you are aware of the OS that you will be purchasing and if you will run into any problems with the computer designs. 
Categories: Tech Tips

How Much Longer Will You Use Microsoft Office?

by Justin Nescott 23. March 2012 13:10
  In an article in late 2011, PCMag columnist John Dvorak predicted the end of Microsoft Office. With updates including minor changes, such as a new user interface with the ribbon tab in 2007, few new elements have been added to the Microsoft Office Suite, allowing competitors create successful suites, in both power and functionality compared the MS Office.   There have been ten Office Suite versions in the twenty years that Microsoft has produced Office. However, in those twenty years, MS's only major breakthroughs to the suite were the additions of Spelling and Grammar Check. In addition, Microsoft is branching into the smart phone and tablet market and seems to be less concerned with improving the Office suite.   Google and IBM have also introduced cloud-based suites to the market. While Google Docs has gained enough traction in the market to prompt Microsoft to develop Office 365, IBM released IBM Docs, based on the failed Lotus office suite. Google and IBM have been able to beat Microsoft to the punch in the cloud-based suites marketing, allowing them to get access to corporate accounts.   Computer giants, HP and Dell will continue to monitor the development of these alternatives to Microsoft Office. As John Dvorak pointed out his recent column, The Imminent Word Processing Bloodbath, “Competition in the office suite environment is long overdue. Twenty years ago, there were dozens of competitive word processors. It was a lot more interesting then than it is now.” It will be interesting to see how Microsoft develops their newly announced Microsoft Office 15 considering the competition forming in the market of suite and cloud-based suite products. The real question, however, is when Office 15 becomes available, will companies and individuals be using Google Docs or IBM Docs instead of Microsoft Office?
Categories: Productivity