Clean Up Your Browser Bookmarks

The free utility AM-Deadlink can find dead links and duplicates in your list of browser bookmarks. I run it on my machine every couple of months, to clean things up and save me from wasting time in following dead links. You can download the utility here: AM-Deadlink 
It's easy to install and use, and takes only a couple of minutes to check my 1600 bookmarks. Then I sort the list by error number, and delete any 404 pages.

Effective Financial Reports

Although the book is out of print, the advice from the 3M Meeting Management Team, in How to Run Better Business Meetings, is still pertinent.
"The controller is the diagnostician who determines when and where the company is ill. The manager is the surgeon who operates on that ailment.
The surgeons need a diagnosis, and not a course in anatomy. The simpler and more focused the [financial] presentation, the better.
The most creative job the financial presenter can do is select the meaningful data and present them in sharp focus. This makes for shorter, more lively presentation, and does a better job of preparing the managers for their work as surgeons."

Compare Shipping Costs

Don't waste time comparing shipping rates at individual carrier sites. Enter your starting point and destination, and let ShipGooder calculate the rates for you. This free service compares major courier and postal services, and local carriers. You can also find US or Canadian postal codes, by address or city.
For example, if I want to ship one of my books to a client in Chicago, here are some of the rates available.

Move and Resize Windows With FreeSnap

As you work on your computer, you probably have several windows open most of the time. Even with multiple monitors, it can be difficult to arrange the windows so you can see the ones you need, and get the others out of the road temporarily. FreeSnap is a free utility that lets you use keyboard shortcuts to control the windows' size and position.
You can read about FreeSnap and download it at the Blue Onion Software site. It works with the Window key on the keyboard, and the number keypad and navigation keys.
One feature that I like is the shortcut to resize windows to a specific dimension, such as 800x600. This helps when I'm creating forms in Access or Excel, and want them to fit my client's screen.

Open Folders Quickly

When saving or opening a file in Excel or Word, you might have to navigate through several layers of folders to find the one that you need. To make it easier to open folders that you use frequently, add them to the My Places bar. To do this in Excel:

  1. Click the File menu, and click Save As
  2. Locate and select the folder that you want to add to My Places
  3. At the top right of the dialog box, click Tools
  4. Click Add to "My Places"

 My Places

The folder will appear at the bottom of the My Places bar. To reposition it, right-click on the folder icon, and click Move Up.
For Excel 2000, you can download the Places COM add-in from the Microsoft web site, to customize the My Places bar. There's information and a download link in the following Knowledge Base article:

List Your Project's Next Steps

While working on a project, such as creating a database, or programming an Excel file, I make notes about the changes I'm making. Before quitting for the day, I add a few notes on what steps should be taken next. For example, "Create a data entry form" or "Add project codes list".

This makes it easier to get up and running the next time I resume work on the project. If you use this technique, you won't have to spend several minutes reviewing your work to figure out where you left off -- your "Next Steps" notes will jog your memory. Well, most of the time!

Close All Excel Files

While working in Excel 2003 (or earlier versions), you might open several files, to compare them, or copy and paste from one to another. When you're finished with those files, you can quickly close all of them, and leave Excel open. (Note: This tip also works in Word)

  1. On the keyboard, press the Shift key.
  2. In Excel, click on the File menu
  3. Click on the Close All command

In Excel 2007 you can add the Close All command to the Quick Access Toolbar. There are instructions for adding a command on the Microsoft web site, or look in Excel 2007's Help: