Microsofty tidbits for work and pleasure

What could be more interesting on a weekend than an article about Microsoft Office? I know...a story about the most common aspects of it that everyone knows about anyway.

Those of you with recentish incarnations such as Office 2003 may be aware that unless you tell it not to, Office monitors (parts of) what you're doing and reports back to big bad Microsoft which collates this information, hopefully to inform their designers and developers rather than another step towards world domination. So guessy guess time: what were the most used commands in Word based on this data (circa 2006 anyway)?

Online file conversion

The Internet is great for sending files around, whether they be documents, pictures, sounds, videos or any other such electro-data. What is sometimes less great is when the proud recipient of your favourite picture of your hilarious office antics, or chain letter that if you don't forward to 7 people immediately you will die a painful death, can’t actually see the file because they don't have the right obscure program needed to open it.

This problem is only exacerbated by the profusion of admittedly cool new technologies where for instance a Nokia phone can bluetooth a sound recording to your Apple Mac via a Palm PC and so on. Who knows what format that will turn up in, or how to open it? If horror-of-horrors you aren't even on your own computer the chances of you finding and installing a program that will let you convert such things is minimal. So luckily you don't have to any more, Media Convert will do it for you via the web.

Word mail merge sometimes doesn't show Access queries

It is common practice to want to perform a mail merge from Microsoft Word, using data from Microsoft Access. Normally, this is extremely easy, especially if you use the Mail Merge Wizard that you can find under the "Tools" menu after selecting "Letters and Mailings" (in Word 2002 anyway). It will lead you to choose first the Access database you want to get the data from, and then the table or query you want to use.

Sometimes however when it asks you what table or query you want to use, the one you carefully handcrafted for this purpose isn't it the list. This happens mostly if it is a parameter query (a query that the user is expected to type something into to generate the data), but sometimes erm...just for fun.

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