June 2008, V7#6: Computer Saturday, Jan 3 2009 

MS Office – Format Paint

A good thing (in my book) is when you can get away with setting variables once and not having to do it again. To that end, I bring up the “format paint” option.
 
If you have a paragraph (or several) that are formatted just right and one (or more) that are not. Try using format paint:
Format Paint Illustration
Place your cursor in a paragraph that is formatted great.
Go up and click the button, just right of “paste”.
Next, highlight all the text you want formatted properly. This should make the highlighted text format correctly as you have “painted” it with the great format.
This doesn’t work with all formatting items, especially the advanced ones, but it does most everything found on the formatting tool bar – font size, type, underline, etc.
 
The paint only works for the next cursor placement. If you want to repeat the format paint – such as changing the person headline on each page, double click the format paint button. Everywhere your cursor highlights will reflect the new format until you either hit your Esc key, or double click the paint button again.

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August 2006, V5#8: Computer Saturday, Dec 27 2008 

Does it seem like every document or web page you open has smaller text then the last? If your mouse of choice has a wheel (“wheel mouse”), you may be in luck. In at least Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer, this trick works like a dream (most of the time): When you want to see the text larger on a page or document you are viewing, be sure your mouse pointer is somewhere on the “page” in question, hold down your control key and move your wheel away from you (while holding the mouse still). This should zoom the text in direct relation to how far you move the wheel. The reverse is true if moving the wheel toward you. Try this in your favorite program – it might work there too!

December 2003, V2#12: Computer Thursday, Dec 25 2008 

Microsoft Programs

Ever spent a few minutes getting a passage of text just the right format only to realize that you now need to change other passages – some of which are in other files? Many of the Microsoft programs have this format painter feature to help.  Look in the button toolbar for a button that looks like an actual paint brush – usually near the paste button.  This is your format painter.  To use, place your cursor on text that carries the format you want to duplicate.  For single use, click the format painter once and then drag (holding down your left mouse button) over the area you want to carry the new format.  If you have a lot to do, double click the format painter button (remember the format “picked up” will be where your cursor is).  The double click will keep the format painter feature on – changing the format everywhere you click until you hit the escape button.  If you reformat something you didn’t mean to, hit the undo button – this will also cancel the format painter feature.  Note: Different programs have different limits to exactly what format features are “copied” in this feature.

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