Add a black line across a page in Word

Ever wanted to add a simple black line across the page of your Word 2007, 2010 or 2013 document?  Maybe it is to break up some sections, maybe you simply like the look of it?  Either way, adding a line to your document is very easy

  1. Select the paragraph where you want the line to appear (note the line will appear at the end of the paragraph)
  2. On the Home tab, look for the “paragraph” group.  In that group there is a button which is usually in the bottom right hand corner called “borders”.  By default it will have the bottom border option available – simply click on that!

If you want to add lines in other places or directions relative to the paragraph, click on the little drop down arrow beside the “Borders” button.  If you want to remove the line, simply click on that paragraph again and then click on the borders button again – and watch it disappear!

’till next time!

Get rid of the annoying backwards P in Word

Don’t you hate it when you can see all those “backwards Ps” all throughout your Word document.  There are probably lots of other marks in your document too… like arrows, dots and more.

These are what we call paragraph marks and formatting symbols – or what others sometimes call “codes”.  You can show or hide these marks, symbols and codes really quickly.  All you need to do is:

  1. Make sure you are on the “Home” tab in the ribbon
  2. Look for the “Paragraph” group
  3. Click on the icon that looks like the “Backwards P”

Or next time you can use the shortcut key which is CTRL+SHIFT+8.

’till next time!

What is the annoying Yellow Bar in Word, Excel or PowerPoint?

If you have been using Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010 for a while, you might have come across what most people call the “Annoying Yellow Bar”

If you don’t know what I am talking about – open up a word document that someone has send you via email – or a spread sheet that you might find on a website.  Chances are when you open that Word, Excel or PowerPoint file, you will see the “Annoying Yellow Bar” – and you will not be able to edit, print, or save your document.

Well it may be annoying, but it is actually really important.  The yellow bar shows you that Word, Excel or PowerPoint is running in what we call “Protected Mode”.  Any time you open a file that isn’t on your computer, or from somewhere that you can’t trust (like the internet), the document will be opened in protected mode, to (as the name suggests) protect your computer from harm.

It opens up the document so you can take a look at it, and then if you are sure it is what you are looking for, and you trust that it will not do any harm, you can then click on the “Enable Editing” button, which sits on the yellow protected view bar.

Now there are ways to stop Protected View from happening, but trust me, it is worth putting up with because if you accidently open a document that causes damage to your computer, it is a LOT more annoying!

‘till next time!

Quickly Create Business Cards using Word

Do you need to create some simple business cards?  Well it isn’t all that hard using Microsoft Word, and some of the templates available at

In fact, one of the Microsoft team have put together a great video showing you exactly how easy it is.

Watch the video by Doug Thomas over at the Office Casual Blog – and you too can create a simple business card in just 90 seconds!

WOW – that is quick!

‘till next time!

Create your 2011 Calendar in Word 2007

Hi – looking to see how to create a 2011 calendar in Word 2010 – click here.

With 2010 behind us in most parts of the world, now is the time to start creating your own 2011 calendars using Word 2007.

It is a lot simpler than you think!  Here is how you do it.

1) Make sure you are connected to the internet

2) Click on the Office Orb in the top left hand corner of the screen (the old file menu)

3) Click on “New”

4) In the “New Document” dialog box that appears, on the left hand side you will see a long list of different template types you can find on Microsoft Office Online.  click on “Calendars”

5) Click on “2011 calendars”

6) Pick your favourite design from the dozens that appear!  Once you have selected the one you like, just click “Download” in the bottom right hand corner

7) After Word downloads the Calendar, it will appear ready for you to use, edit or print straight away.

It couldn’t be any simpler than that.  Wishing you and your family a wonderful year ahead!

‘till next time!


Building an add-in for Microsoft Office

Soon I will be publishing a series of articles on The New Paperclip which dive a bit deeper into extending the functionality of Microsoft Office.  Probably a scary thought for most of you, but I have found that if we want to extract that extra 10-50% more out of Office there comes a time where you need to start coding.

In particular I am going to focus on building high value add-ins for Microsoft Office.

Now when it comes to writing an add-in, there are a couple of ways to go about it.

1) Roll your own

If you are confident C#  or VB coder there is nothing stopping you from cracking open Visual Studio, downloading Visual Studio Tools for Office and giving it your best shot.  I must admit I tried this at first, and had some success.

But that success was time consuming, and when I wanted to build an add-in that was backwards compatible with Outlook 2007 (which has that horrible combination of ribbon and command bar), Office 2003/XP and beyond it became VERY time consuming.

So I decided to use an alternative.

2) Use Add-in-Express

Before I share my experience with Add-in-Express… here is what the brochure says!

Add-in Express for Office and .NET is the only all-in-one platform that includes all the features you may expect for your Microsoft Office extensions such as Office COM add-ins, smart tags, Excel XLLs, RTD servers and Automation add-ins (UDFs). It fully supports Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, 2008 and 2005 and makes it very comfortable for developing application-level extensions for all available Office versions from 2000 to 2010.”

What that means for people new to Office Development is that Add-in-Express makes it easy to quickly extend the functionality of Microsoft Office, irrespective of what version you are running.  And after spending about a month using the tool to build some add-ins myself, I have to agree.  For someone who is exploring Office Development for the first time, taking the painful parts of COM out of the picture meant that I could focus on the features and functionality I wanted to build, and not spend hours pulling my hair out!

For example, being able to access all the key events in Office without having to write event handlers accelerated development time.  Sure, it may only seem like a small thing, but as any developer knows, anything that saves you time, and takes the pain of troubleshooting away is a good thing!

Anyways – if you are interested in developing your own Office Add-in, make sure you subscribe and check back in the next few weeks for more content about my development experiences – and some examples that will get your Office Development journey started.

‘till next time!
TNP Winking smile

Clear formatting in Word 2007

Have you ever change the font size or the font type or the font colour one too many times and realised that it would be far easier just to start again?

Well instead of deleting your text and having to retype it, you can use a feature of Word 2007 called “Clear Formatting”.

As the name suggests, “Clear Formatting” will remove all the formatting you have applied to your text, and set it back to the default paragraph style.

You can find the “Clear Formatting” button on the “Home” tab of the ribbon, in the “Font” group.  Just select the text you want to clear up, and then click on the button.

‘till next time!

View Gridlines in Word 2007

Gridlines are a great tool to use if you have a number of objects in your Word document, and want to ensure proper alignment between them all.

To turn on gridlines (which appear in the background of your document, and do not get printed):

1) Make sure you are on the “Page Layout” tab of the ribbon

2) Look for the “Arrange” group – on the right hand side of the ribbon

3) Click on “Align”

4) Click on “View Gridlines”


To turn gridlines off again, just repeat the process above.  You will notice that this is another option when you click on “Align”, called “Grid Settings”  Using this feature you can customise how the grid appears and impacts in your document.  For example, you can ensure that objects snap to each other, the spacing of the grid, and whether the grid uses your margins or not.  Very good if you want fine control over the placement of objects in your document.

‘till next time!

Widow/Orphan control in Word 2007

Those of you who have been desktop publishing for a while will know what Widow/Orphan control is. 

For those that don’t… imagine that you are writing a paragraph, and the last line of the paragraph doesn’t quite fit on one page, so it jumps to the next page.  That would look pretty silly right? 

Well Widow/Orphan control is the way that Word makes sure that the exact situation described above does not happen.  By default Widow/Orphan control in Word 2007 will be turned on, but like everything in Word, you can toggle it to meet your needs.

To toggle Widow/Orphan control in Word 2007:

1) Make sure you are on the “Home” tab of the ribbon

2) Look for the “Paragraph” group

3) Click on the little square and arrow icon in the bottom right hand border of the “Paragraph” group

4) Click on the “Line and Page Breaks” tab of the box that appears

5) In the “Pagination” group, uncheck (or check) the “Widow/Orphan control” checkbox


‘till next time!