Recovering Unsaved Office Documents

Have you ever forgotten to save a document you were working on? Maybe you accidentally clicked the No button when prompted to save your spreadsheet on closing it? Lost power in the middle of working on an important presentation? Of course, we’ve all had something like this happen at some point….and most likely lost a lot of blood, sweat and tears recreating the work we had already done. (Man I HATE that!)

Well, the next time that happens you should know this handy trick for recovering unsaved Office documents. (Note that it’s not perfect but it has saved me hours of rework a few times.)

How It Works

Once you’ve realized you might have lost some unsaved work. Reopen Word, Excel, or Powerpoint and go to  File » Open then look for the Recent tab.


Scroll down to the bottom or the files list and click the Recover Unsaved Presentations button.

If you’ve got any unsaved documents you’ll see them and get a 2nd chance at saving them before they’re gone forever!

If the document has never been saved, it might have some weird name so don’t ignore it without opening it to see if it is what you’re looking for.


This little trick is based on the AutoRecover function so  don’t be surprised if  your recovered document doesn’t have everything you’ve already done.  Nothing you can do about that –other than remembering to save it in the first place! 😎



Intergrating Microsoft Office with Google Chrome

If your preferred web browser is Google Chrome, you probably already know that it integrates pretty seamlessly with other Google tools like Google Docs. But what if you are more of a Microsoft Office user than Google Docs?

Here is a Chrome extension from Microsoft that brings some nice integration with your Office documents.

As you can see, you’ll get one-click access to your Office files, whether they’re on your hard drive or in the cloud.

You can be up and running in now time. Here’s how:

  1.  Grab the Office Online extension from the Chrome Web Store.
  2. Next type chrome://extensions into the address bar and scroll down until you see the listing for Office Online.
    NOTE: You can tie this to your Office 365 account, or if you don’t already have a Office Online/OneDrive account you can create one for free.
  3. If you want to upload documents to OneDrive from your hard drive using drag-and-drop, click the box that says “Allow access to file URLs.”


With this set up, dragging & dropping files into your Chrome browser will automatically upload them to Office Online for easy sharing & collaboration.

Also, when you run across Office document formats on a web page, such as Word documents or Powerpoint presentations, they will automatically open in Office Online instead of requiring you to download them, open the right Office app and then viewing them. PDF files will continue to open in Chrome’s native viewer.

Using Excel’s AutoFill for Fast & Easy Formatting

The AutoFill feature in Excel can do so many things. One really handy job it can make quick work or is copying formats from one cell to another.

How to copy formatting via Autofill

1. Format the content in your first cell.

2. Hover your cursor over the bottom right of the cell so you can see the Fill handle (it is a black crosshair or plus sign)

3. Click and drag to copy – this will copy content to and may overwrite your existing data – no worries, we’ll fix that.

4. When you let go, look for the Smart Tag and click it to select Fill Formatting Only.

5. Voila! Your original data is back with the new formatting applied.

Excel Fill Formatting

Why Write Excel Formulas When You Can Flash Fill?

A lot of times the data you have to work with in Excel isn’t quite the way you need it to be, and going through a giant set of data to manually correct it is monotonous and time-consuming. Sure you can do a lot of things with a few crafty formulas but once you see what the Flash Fill function can do you’ll be totally amazed.

Excel 2013’s Flash Fill feature allows you to take a part of the data entered into one column of a worksheet table and enter just that data in a new table column using only a few keystrokes.

As soon as Excel detects a pattern in your initial data entry it ‘smartly’ figures out the data you want to copy offers a way to type the rest of the data for you. Accept it and the rest of the cells are automagically transformed!

And the cool thing about it is that you never need fuss with building any kind of formula. It just works!

Flash fill is great for so many things beyond basic number and date series – especially, when it comes to cleaning data.

Extracting Cell Data

Sometimes your data is combined in ways you don’t want. Flash fill can easily handle pulling your data apart just the way you want it.

Flash Fill Extract Name

Combining Cell Data

Of course, there are also times when you want just the opposite and you need to combine multiple cells into one. No problem!

Flash Fill Combine Cell Data

Converting Data Formats

Often you get data like phone numbers, dates, social security numbers, etc that are not formatted the way you want them. Flash fill makes the job of fixing them a snap.

Flash Fill Format Numbers

By default, Flash Fill will be always listening and offers suggestions whenever it can. If you want to turn it off go to File » Options » Advanced and uncheck “Automatically Flash Fill”.

To give flash fill a nudge and trigger it into action press CTRL+E or to ignore it press ESC.

Do You Know What’s Hiding in Your Documents?

Most people who share electronic versions of their Microsoft Office documents don’t realize that there is often much more in those files than they think. There is a whole host of metadata that can be embedded in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files beyond just the words, numbers and images you normally see.  What kinds of things?

Office files can have hidden data and personal information such as:

  • Comments, revision marks from tracked changes, versions, and ink annotations
    This information can enable other people to see the names of people who worked on your document, comments from reviewers, and changes that were made to your document.
  • Document properties and personal information
    Document properties often include details about your document like author, subject, and title. Document properties also include information that is automatically maintained by Office programs, such as the name of the person who most recently saved a document and the date when a document was created. If you used specific features, your document might also contain additional kinds of personally identifiable information (PII), such as e-mail headers, send-for-review information, routing slips, and template names.
  • Hidden text Word documents can contain text that is formatted as hidden text.

So know that you know what might be in your documents, you’re probably wondering how you can get rid of it all. That’s where the Document Inspector comes in.

Document Inspector

If you plan to share an electronic copy of a Microsoft Office document with clients or colleagues, it is a good idea to review the document for hidden data or personal information that might be stored in the document itself which can reveal details about your organization or about the document itself that you might not want to share publicly.


How to clean hidden information from your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files

  1. Open the document that you want to inspect for hidden data and personal information.
  2. Click the File tab, click Save As, and then type a name in the File name box to save a copy of your original document.

    IMPORTANT   It is a good idea to use the Document Inspector on a copy of your original document, because it is not always possible to restore the data that the Document Inspector removes.

  3. In the copy of your original document, click the File tab, and then click Info.
  4. Under Prepare for Sharing, click Check for Issues, and then click Inspect Document.
  5. In the Document Inspector dialog box, select the check boxes to choose the types of hidden content that you want to be inspected.
  6. Click Inspect.
  7. Review the results of the inspection in the Document Inspector dialog box.
  8. Click Remove All next to the inspection results for the types of hidden content that you want to remove from your document.

For more details check out this support article from Microsoft.

Use Excel Data Bars To Show Your Data Visually

When you are presenting data, what’s important isn’t the data itself but what the data is saying. To help you clearly illustrate the point your data needs to make, it is usually best to represent it visually. There are a lot of ways you can do this including a variety of charts and graphs.

Excel makes a lot of this quick and easy, including the tip I’d like to share this week – data bars. Take a look at the three examples below. Which one would you rather see if you need to quickly and clearly “get it”? I think the choice is clear.


This type of visual formatting is easy to apply. Just select your data and look under the Conditional Formatting button for the formatting you like under Data Bars.


It couldn’t be any easier than that! If you’re looking for other options for presenting your data visually check out these previous posts:

Visualizing Your Data With Heat Maps

If you subscribe to these tips, you should already know that people can interpret visual information faster and more easily than text and numbers. Even if you’re dealing with a table of numbers there are ways to present them visually. Depending on your context, charts are often a great option. For those times when seeing all the data and actual numbers is important you might want to consider a heat map.

A heat map is a graphical representation of data where the individual values contained in a matrix are represented as colors.

Fortunately, Excel’s conditional formatting feature makes this super quick and easy. (We love that!)

Let’s take a look at how easy this is by starting with a typical table of Excel data:


To turn this into a heat map, select the range of data and go to the Conditional Formatting button on the Home Ribbon. From there, find the Color Scales option and select the type of coloring you want to use.

Conditional Formatting

Voila! You now have a nice visual representation of your data. In this example, green signifies the highest values, red the lowest, and yellow is in the middle.


Not bad for two-seconds of work is it? Of course, you can always customize these defaults and change the colors, value ranges, etc. Just go to the Manage Rules option under the Conditional Formatting button. From there you can experiment and find what works best for you and your data.


You can learn more about conditional formatting here. Or you can check out how to use other conditional formatting options such as data bars and icon sets to highlight data.

Have a great holiday weekend!


Automatically Print Excel Column Headings on Every Page

It’s pretty common that your Excel worksheets print out over multiple pages and when that happens it’s almost impossible to remember which columns contain which data when you’re looking at anything beyond the first page.

Fortunately, it is SUPER easy to automatically print your column headings at the top of ever printed page. Here’s how:

Automatically Print Excel Column Headings on Every Page

1. On the Page Layout tab, click the Print Titles button

PrintTitles2. In the Page Setup dialog, you’ll see the “Rows to repeat at top” box–click the button to the right of that box, then select the row you want to print at the top of every printed page (In this case row 1)


3. Click OK and you’re all set! Now you can print away and know that everyone will appreciate you making their life a little bit easier by adding your titles to the top of every page.

Polish Off Your Spreadsheet Work In a Jiffy with Excel’s Quick Analysis Tools

If you’ve been following these weekly tips, you already know about a lot of the cool stuff you can do with your data in Excel including:
This week I’d like to add an awesome Excel right-click trick to the list of others we’ve already covered.  I just discovered this one myself and it’s already one of my favorites. It is called Quick Analysis and with a simple right-click it gives you direct access to some of Excel’s most useful functions. 
Now instead of wasting time hunting for these functions, you’ll have them at your fingertips. With this Quick Analysis feature you can do some lightning fast work with your data including formatting, charts, tables and cool in-cell sparklines. 
Note that the options available depend on the type of data you’re working with. 


The formatting options let you add things like data bars, icons and colors to illustrate high and low values, etc.Formatting tab


The charts section will suggest the best charts for you based on the type of data you have, and you can get even more if you click More Charts.

Charts tab


This section makes quick work of  common calculations. Click the arrows to the right and left to see more options.

Totals tab


Tables are a must in Excel for a lot of things including easier filtering and sorting your data. Click More to see more options.

Tables tab


Sparklines are a great way to visually display your data right in the cells of your worksheet.

Sparklines tab

Tip of the Week #434

Keep Your Own Custom Templates in the PowerPoint Template Gallery

When you create a new presentation in PowerPoint 2013 you’re presented with a selection of featured design templates you can use. There are some decent options there but over time you may have found a few “go to” favorites or even come up with your own personal templates.


Wouldn’t it be nice if you could put the templates that you actually use in this convenient start-up gallery? Well, you can! And it is super easy.

How to Add Any Template to the PowerPoint New Presentation Gallery

1. Save your PowerPoint template file (.potx) to this folder on your hard drive:

C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\Custom Office Templates

[ Replace the  part with whatever your user name is on your PC ]

And that’s all there is to it…now any template files you save in this folder will appear on the Personal tab of that start-up gallery screen.


And the other cool thing about this is that it works the same way for Word and Excel templates.

 Tip of the Week #433