Change a Comment's Shape

Add some punch to a worksheet by changing a comment's shape from its default rectangle.

  1. Right-click the cell which contains the comment.
  2. Click on Edit Comment
  3. Click on the border of the comment, to select it.
  4. On the Drawing toolbar, click the Draw button
  5. Click on Change AutoShape, and click on a category.
  6. Click on a shape to select it.
  7. When finished, click outside the comment.

In this example, the Cube shape was selected from Basic Shapes.

Clean Up Your Dictionaries

While rushing through a spell check in Excel, you accidentally added an incorrect word to your custom dictionary. Now that it's in there, how do you get it out?
If you're adventurous, you can use a text editor, such as NotePad, to modify the dictionaries, which are found in:
 C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR_NAME\Application Data\Microsoft\Proof
Or, you can modify the list in Microsoft Word, which I find easier:

  1. In Word, choose Tools ► Options
  2. On the Spelling & Grammar tab, click Custom Dictionaries
  3. Select a dictionary in the list, and click Modify
  4. Scroll through the list, and click on the word you want to remove
    (to select multiple words, press Ctrl and click)
  5. Click the Delete button
  6. When finished, click OK
  7. Close the dialog boxes

Free Consumer Publications

The Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) web site offers a wide variety of consumer and business publications that you can order for a nominal fee, or view many of the publications online. You can find tips on everything from computers to tree pruning to international travel. The web site also lists scams and recalls, and has links to other consumer and business resources.
It's a good place to start if you're researching a new topic. For example, here's the page on small business publications. 

Free Backup Software

From June 2-8, the full version of NTI Shadow 3 backup software is available free. Regularly $29.99, this software makes backups as you work, so you can save important documents onto a removable drive, such as a thumb drive, for safekeeping.
The program has received fairly good reviews, with some complaints of slow copying, and it may need to be started manually if you restart your computer. However, at this price you can afford to test it for yourself, and see if it meets your needs. You can download it here, for Windows, Mac or U3:
 http://www.ntius.com/shadow_promotion.asp

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.