Find emails with Outlook’s search folders

Outlook’s search folders help find emails

Can’t find that email?
Don’t give up – read on

Outlook’s search folders are useful for finding emails. They keep your unread mail and your emails from selected addresses in separate folders for quick and easy consultation, no matter where you might have filed them. The emails are not moved there, just displayed.

Unread emails

Right-click on the Search folders folder and left-click on the New Search Folder button that pops up.

The New Search Folder dialog box pops up. Select the option you want, in this case Unread Mail, as shown below:

The New Search Folder dialog box - Reading Mail - Unread mail
New Search Folder – Reading Mail – Unread mail

That may be enough for you, but I prefer my unread mail to be even more prominent so I added the folder to my Favourites.

Add to Favourites

Display the folder amongst your Favourites by right-clicking on it and choosing the Add to Favorites option from the drop-down menu shown below:

The right-click options for Outlook folders
The Add to Favorites option is third from the bottom of the drop-down menu

The Unread Mail folder is added to the Favourites folder at the top left of the screen in the Folder Pane, as shown below.

Outlook's Favorites folder at the top of the Folder Pane
The Favorites folder at the top of the Folder Pane

You can go even further and make Outlook open in the Unread Items folder.

Open in the Unread Items folder

To make sure you do not forget any of your unread emails, you can make Outlook open in the in the Unread Items folder instead of your Inbox.

Go to File > Options > Advanced. In the right-hand pane of the Outlook Options pop-up, the second group from the top is called Outlook start and exit. Click the Browse button and select the Unread Mail folder, as shown below. 

The Outlook Options dialog box: File > Options > Advanced > Outlook start and exit
File > Options > Advanced > Outlook start and exit

Emails from certain people or organisations

Right-click on the Search folders folder at the bottom of your email folders and left-click on the New Search Folder button that appears.

The New Search Folder dialog box pops up. Select the option you want, as shown below (drag a corner diagonally to enlarge the image):

New Search Folder - Mail from People and Lists - Mail from and to specific people
New Search Folder – Mail from People and Lists – Mail from and to specific people

If you select one of the Mail from People and Lists options, click the Choose button to tell Outlook the address you want. The Select Names: Contacts dialog box pops up.  If you don’t have the email address amongst your contacts, you can type or paste it into the From or Sent To textbox, as shown below:

The Select Names: Contacts dialog box
The Select Names: Contacts dialog box

Now you will be able to see all the mail to and/or from that address under the name highlighted in the Search Folder. You can right-click on the name to change it or customise its contents, as shown in 1.c.

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MSWord – Remove colour from paragraphs

Remove unwanted shading from paragraphs

Sometimes a paragraph has white or coloured shading behind the text, even though, when you go to Borders and Shading > Shading > Fill, Word tells you there is “No color”.  It usually happens when text has been copied and pasted from the Internet.

Try the simplest solutions first.  Maybe you can simply restore the default font.

Restore default font

Select the paragraph (by triple-clicking in the margin beside it) and press Ctrl+spacebar

If that does not remove the coloured fill (shading), see if the colour is a highlight.

Remove highlighting

Select the paragraph (by triple-clicking in the margin beside it).  Go to the Home tab > Font group > Text Highlight Color dropdown arrowhead > No color.  (The Text Highlight Color icon has “ab” to the left of a highlighter pen over a bar the colour of the highlighting.)

If that does not remove the colour, you need to fix the shading.

If the shaded paragraphs are consecutive, select them all.

If you have many intermittent paragraphs with shading, make sure your Borders and Shading button is on the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) to save yourself extra mouse clicks.

Put Borders and Shading on the QAT

Go to the Insert tab (which used to be called a menu). Select the Table  down-arrowhead.  The Insert Table dropdown menu appears.  Select the top-left cell.  A one-cell table is inserted with your cursor in it and the Table Tools tab in your toolbar.  Go to the Design tab > Table Styles group > Borders down-arrowhead.  The Borders and Shading option is at the bottom of the dropdown menu. Right-click it to see a dropdown submenu with “Add to Quick Access Toolbar” as the first option.  Select it.  The Borders and Shading button is added to your QAT.

Remove Shading

Triple-click in the margin beside the paragraph with shading to select it.  Hold down the Shift key and press the Left Arrow key once so that only the text is selected.  Click on the Borders and Shading button in the QAT > Shading > Fill > No color.

Repeat as often as necessary, using the F4 key.

Use F4 to redo.

The F4 function key allows you, with one key press, to repeat the last action you did that was not a move or a selection, i.e., in this case, apply No color.

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Change Name and Colour in Track Changes

Track Changes with Different Colour and Different User Name

My colleague had to re-edit a document and asked if it was possible to have a different colour for the new tracked changes in the same draft by the same author.  I could not find a way to use the same user name with a different colours in Office 365.  All the marked changes I had made, new and old, just changed to that colour.  I did find that I could change the user name slightly so that Word allocated a new colour to that user, as shown in the screenprint below (click on the screenprint and drag the diagonal handle to enlarge it).

Change the user name

  1. Click on File > Options. The Word Options dialog box pops up.
  2. In the right-hand pane, under the second heading from the top, “Personalise your copy of Microsoft Office”, change your user name and initials (I just added a “2” to the end of mine).
  • Now Word thinks you are a new user and changes the colour it assigns to you, as you can see in the “Sly fox” text below.

Change the Track Changes colour

Go to the Review tab > Tracking group and click the dialog box launcher at the bottom right ().

The Track Changes Options dialog box pops up. Click the Advanced Options… button.

The Advanced Track Changes Options dialog box pops up.

Click the dropdown for both Color buttons at the top right and choose a colour for Insertions and Deletions. All the marked changes you have made change to that colour.

If you would like to find out about having a document edited, click here.
If you would like to find out about having a document formatted, click here.

Reveal Formatting

A very useful feature in Word is the Reveal Formatting pane. The keyboard shortcut is Shift-F1. Click on different paragraphs to give try it out.

Thanks to Bruce Conradie for telling me about it. I love learning new things like this.

The Reveal Formatting pane is also mentioned in instructions about how to format a business letter. They are part of a manual about how to format a document manually in Word 2019. Go to the Manual contents

Feeling overwhelmed? Tidy a cupboard

Feeling Overwhelmed? Tidy a Cupboard

It really makes you feel better – but it must be a small cupboard!

Take control in one small way

Taking control in one area makes you feel able to cope in other areas.

Karen Rasmussen told us that years ago in a NewDAY Ladies Meeting and I have never forgotten it. I don’t know why it made such an impression om me because I don’t often feel overwhelmed – so maybe it is for all you people out there – especially women. Apparently it works more for women than for men – but try it and see if it works for you. It can’t hurt and it might make a world of difference. At least you will have one tidy cupboard out of it.

Don’t take on an enormous cupboard. It must be a project you can handle in the state you’re in. It doesn’t even have to be a cupboard. Maybe for you it can be to weed a garden bed, paint a box, stick cards in a scrapbook, clean out a sewing box, polish all your shoes… I tidied my kitchen cutlery tray.

I hope you feel better soon.

Microsoft Word’s Tables of Figures

You can have separate lists or tables of the figures, pictures, or tables in your Word document, similar to a table of contents. The default is a table of figures. But MS-Word can only generate a table of figures if you have previously inserted MS-Word’s captions to mark the figures. Click here to find out how to handle captions. This blog post tells you how to insert a table of figures and how to update it.

Inserting a Table of Figures

Put your cursor where you want your table of figures to be.

  1. Go to the References tab, run your eye along the bottom of the ribbon to the Captions block, and click the Insert Table of Figures button. (Note: If your Word document is not maximized, the Insert Table of Figures option might not be visible. Some minimized views show only the Insert Table of Figures icon.)
  2. The Table of Figures dialog box pops up.
  3. You can change the font and paragraph format by unticking the boxes on the face of the dialog box – but you do not usually need to untick any of them.
  4. The Options… button. If you did not use the caption style for your figure captions, you can tell Word what style you did use by clicking on the Options… button.  The Table of Figures Options dialog box pops up.
  5. The Modify… button. Word uses the Table of Figures style for the entries in your list of figures. You can change the styles format by clicking on the Modify… button. The Style dialog box pops up, and asks you to select the appropriate style for your index or table entry. It has another Modify… button and, if you click on it, the usual Modify Style dialog box pops up.
  6. Make the changes you want. I advise setting a left tab of about 2,5 cm.
  7. Click the OK button or press the Enter key as many times as necessary to get out of the dialog boxes.

Word then searches the document for your captions and automatically adds a list of figures, sorted by figure number and page number.

Updating a table of figures

If you add, delete, change, or move captions, you need to update the table of figures to reflect your changes:

  1. Click in the table of figures in your document. The entire table will be highlighted.
  2. Press F9 or click References > Update Table. (Note: Update Table only becomes an option when you have your cursor in the table of figures.)
  3. The Update Table of Figures dialog box pops up.
  4. Select Update page numbers if you need to adjust the page numbers.
  5. Select Update entire table if you have moved figures or altered captions.
  6. Click the OK button or press the Enter key.

Tip: Do not try to type changes in the table of figures. Make changes to the captions and then put your cursor in the table of figures and press F9 to make them reflect there.

Microsoft Word’s Captions

Captions in documents

Figure 1. Captions are important

A caption accompanies a figure, table, equation or other object, such as a box or a photograph. Figure captions are the default.

A caption usually has three components: a customisable label (like “Figure”, “Table”, “Equation”) plus an ordered number or letter that Word inserts for you (e.g., “1, 2, 3…” or “a, b, c…”), followed by a description.

The advantages to using MS-Word’s caption fields are that, if you add, delete, or move captions, you can easily update the caption numbers all at once; and that you can list the captioned items; for example, in a table of figures or a table of equations.

Click here to open a PDF of the instructions below – with illustrations.

Changing a caption

There are different ways of inserting captions and formatting them, which you get by selecting buttons in the dialog boxes. I suggest you explore them to see what suits you. You can:

Manually positioning the figure and its caption

If you have your cursor in the paragraph above or below the figure when you click on Insert Caption, the Position textbox is greyed out, and it is up to you to keep the figure and its caption on the same page.

(To keep the figure and its caption on the same page, put your cursor in the first paragraph, go to the Home tab > Paragraph group > dialog box launcher > Line and Page Breaks tab > tick the box labelled Keep With Next.)

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Automatically positioning the figure and its caption

If you select the figure before you click on Insert Caption, the Position textbox is not greyed out, you can specify whether the caption is inserted above or below the figure.

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Excluding the word “Figure” from the label

If you just want the number to show in the caption, tick the box labelled Exclude label from caption.

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Changing the number format

To change the 1-2-3 numbers in figure labels to a-b-c or i-ii-iii, click on the Numbering button. The Caption Numbering dialog box pops up with the Format text box selected. Change the number by selecting from the Format drop-down list.

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Including the heading number with the figure number

You can include the chapter, section or heading number with the figure number (e.g., Figure II-1, Table 1-A). To do this, tick the box labelled Include chapter number. The greyed-out items below it are activated:

  • Click the down-arrow on the right of the Chapter starts with style label to see a drop-down list of styles. Select the style of the heading whose number you want to include; and
  • Click the down-arrow on the right of the Use separator label to see a drop-down list of punctuation. Select the punctuation you want between the chapter number and the figure number

Click on the OK button or press the Enter key.

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Formatting captions

After you have added a caption to your document, there will be a Caption style in the style gallery.

To change the formatting of all the captions in your document, right-click the Caption style and choose Modify.

The Modify Style dialog box pops up, as shown below. Many modifications to the font and paragraph are available in the Formatting group, and the effect of a change is shown in the Sample text. More modifications can be made by clicking on the Format button at the bottom left of the dialog box.

Click here to find out how to list your figures in a table of figures.

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Microsoft Word’s Tables of Figures from Captions

Tables of Figures and Figure Captions

MS-Word can add an automatic, updatable table of figures to your document.

But how? As my fellow editor said, “‘The last List of Figures I generated hyperlinked only one item on the list – the rest were not linked.”

This happened because MS-Word can only add a table of figures if you have previously inserted MS-Word’s captions to mark the figures. MS-Word can only ‘see’ its own captions; it does not detect manually inserted figure labels and so does not include them in the list of figures.

I have explained them in separate blog posts. One explains figure captions and the other explains how to list them in a table of figures. Click on the underlined words to go there.

Click here if you want to open a PDF that explains everything in one document- with illustrations.

Styles in the Ribbon

MS-Word Styles in the Ribbon

The Styles Gallery and the Styles Pane

A fellow editor asked, “Styles vary in order and appearance with some documents – I know how to modify their attributes, but how do I customise the ribbon?”

The appearance of the styles in Microsoft Word’s Styles Gallery is governed by the template in your current document. The order of the styles is governed by the priroty Word assigned to them.

It is possible to customise the order of the styles in the Styles Gallery and Styles Pane – but it is complicated, time-consuming and not worth the trouble.  Tony Jollans wrote a very detailed article that explains why.