Tame your computer: a formatting favourite


In her weekly series for Cambridge Network members, software training expert Karen Roem offers handy tips to help you 'Tame your computer'.

This week she explains how to copy all formatting from one object to another in Microsoft Office* ...

One of the questions I ask on my evaluation forms (aka happy sheets) after training sessions is: 'What is your favourite tip you picked up today?'

Without fail people will say 'format painter' if it was brought up during the session. Hardly anybody seems to use this feature (apart from by accident, in search of the Paste function), yet it deserves recognition! So what is the Format Painter and what can we use it for?

Well, let's say you've formatted a cell in Excel to be red, bold, date formatted with a border around it. Ten clicks. (I've just counted!) If you want to copy this formatting to another cell it's only three clicks (not that I'm obsessed) by using the Format Painter.

Or take Word. Ever found that automatic numbering can be an out-of-control beast? If you're still using Word 2000 (and I know many of you are!) you cannot just simply right-click on your numbered list and choose 'Continue Numbering'. However,

Did you know ...?

The Format Painter allows you to quickly copy character and paragraph formatting or continue numbering your list.

Here's how:

1. Simply click anywhere in the cell or text that includes the formatting to be copied (or has the correct number in case of that out-of-control numbered list).

2. Click on the Format Painter button on the Standard toolbar. (The one that looks like a paint brush.)

3. Drag the mouse pointer over the cell or text or numbered list item you want to apply the formatting to.

The formatting is copied and the Format Painter will be disabled automatically. But perhaps you want to copy the formatting to more than one item? Well, this week's bonus tip (for those of you who already knew the previous bit) ... simply double-click on the Format Painter button and drag the mouse pointer over each item in each location.

When you're finished, click the Format Painter button again or press the ESC(cape) key.

* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2000. Most of what is covered however will also apply to earlier and later versions.

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16 June 2005

Karen Roem offers software training and support through her company Roem Ltd. Contact her by email Karen@roem.co.uk or visit her website at www.roem.co.uk.


Karen Roem
Microsoft Office-ionado

Roem Ltd – software training and support