Monthly Archives: September 2010

Create A Random Number In Excel 2010

Microsoft Excel provides the facility to generate random numbers. There are two functions that can do this for you:

  • RAND

The RAND Function

The RAND function returns a random number between 0 and 1 and requires no arguments. It is possible to create a number in a different range than 0 – 1, but that requires some extra bits adding to the formula. For example, to just get a random number between 0 and 1, you would type into a cell the following:


To get a random number between 150 and 200, you would use:

=RAND()*50 + 150

That is,


The random number is returned every time the worksheet is calculated. If you want the random number to be constant, and not change every time the worksheet is calculated, enter the RAND() formula in the formula bar, and then press F9 to change the formula to a random number.


The RANDBETWEEN Function returns a random integer number between the numbers you specify. A new random integer number is returned every time the worksheet is calculated.

For example, to get a random integer between 20 and 50, you would type into a cell the following:


Generating Lots Of Random Numbers

To quickly generate random numbers in many cells, all you have to do is generate the first random number in a particular cell, say with =RAND(). Next, make that cell active and position the cursor over the bottom right corner of the cell until the cursor changes to a ‘+‘. When you see the ‘+‘, drag downwards. When you release the mouse, the selected cells will be populated with random numbers.

Random Numbers In Excel

You can take this one step further: while that column of cells is selected, again, drag the bottom right corner of the bottom cell over to the right. When you release the mouse, all selected cells will be populated with random numbers.

Generate Lots Of Random Numbers In Excel

PowerPoint 2010 – Text Boxes

In Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, the easiest way to add text is to use the content placeholders that appear by default on the slides you add to your presentation. For example, if you add a Title and Content slide there are two placeholders for text: the title placeholder and the content placeholder. To add text in either of these places, simply click in the box and start typing.

Text Boxes In PowerPoint

If you need to add text to a slide outside of the normal text placeholders, you can add a text box. To do this, click Insert > Text > Text Box.

Insert A Text Box In PowerPoint 2010
Now that we have the Text Box tool active, we can click once anywhere on the slide and start typing. The text appears where you clicked. The width of the text will grow as you keep typing (it won’t wrap automatically). Instead of clicking once when the Text Box tool is active, you can drag out a box. This time when you type, the text will only be as wide as the text box you just drew.

Resizing And Rotating A Text Box

Text Boxes in PowerPoint display convenient handles that you can use to resize and rotate them. To resize a text box, click and drag on any of the handles that appear at corners and halfway along each edge.

To rotate a text box, clcik on the green rotate handle at the top of the box and drag left or right. Dragging left rotates the text box in an anti clockwise direction, whereas dragging right rotates the text box in a clockwise direction.

Rotate A Text Box In PowerPoint 2010

You can also move your text box around the slide. If you hover over any of the text box edges, you should see the cursor change to a crosshair. When you see the crosshair, you can start dragging to reposition the text box.

Formatting A Text Box

If you are familiar with formatting text in other programs like Word 2010, then you’ll find formatting a text box in PowerPoint a breeze. In addition to being able to apply standard text formatting that using the Font group on the Home tab, you can also apply text box specific formatting using the Format tab Format tab in the Drawing Tools tab.

If you liked this tutorials, maybe you’d like the one where we teach you how to format a text box in more detail.

Word 2010 – Shrink To Fit

Suppose you are writing a document in Word 2010 and you are aiming to get the whole thing on one page. Often, you’ll end up with a lone sentence or two on an extra page. What a waste of good space. Wouldn’t it be good if you could reduce the document in size just enough for it to fit on one page? This is precisely what the Shrink To Fit command does. Shrink To Fit will reduce the font size to the point where the document fits on one less page than it used to. Be careful that the font size doesn’t become too small to read, though.

The only problem is that Word 2010 has hidden this command!

To use this command, you will have to add it to either the Quick Access Toolbar or the Ribbon itself. Personally, for something like this I would prefer to add it to the Ribbon. It’s very easy to clutter up the Quick Access Toolbar if you are not careful.

Add Shrink To Fit To The Ribbon

To add the Shrink To Fit command to the ribbon, you first need to create a new group for it to be placed in. Click the File Tab > Options > Customize Ribbon.

Add Shrink To Fit On The Ribbon

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Let’s work backwards: to the right of the window you can see a list of tabs that already exist in the ribbon. Within each tab is a selection of groups and within each group is a set of commands. You can expand and collapse tabs and groups by clicking on the ‘+’ or ‘-‘ signs.What you see in this list is the current setup of the ribbon.

We’re going to create a new group to put the Shrink To Fit command in, so first of all look over on the right and select a tab for the group to appear in. I’m going to select the Page Layout tab but you can choose a different one if you prefer. Click the New Group button and a new group will be created at the end of the selected tab. The new group is called New Group (Custom), but we can rename it by clicking the Rename button. Call it something like “Printing”. If you decide that you no longer need this group, you can always get rid of it by selecting it and clicking Remove (between the list of commands on the left and the tabs/groups on the right).

Over on the left is a list of all the commands that you can add to the ribbon. You’ll need to change the drop down list selection at the top to be All Commands to see the Shrink To Fit command. Click anywhere in the list and then press ‘S’ to get a bit further down the list quickly. Scroll down to find Shrink One Page (it’s not called Shrink To Fit) and then select it. When you click the Add button, the command will be added to the new Printing group you just created.

Shrink To Fit In Word 2010

Click OK. The new group will now appear in the Page Layout tab.

Shrink One Page In Word 2010

Now when you need to shrink to fit, you can simply click this button.

What’s New In Outlook 2010

Microsoft would have you believe that Outlook 2010 saves you time, is easier to use and gives you extra functionality. Is this true? Let’s find out.

Outlook Ribbon

Let’s summarise what’s new in Outlook 2010:

  • Look and feel – Outlook 2010 sports a new look and feel that is consistent with other programs in Office 2010. Whereas the ribbon in Outlook 2007 was a cut down version that integrated with command bars, in 2010 the ribbon is fully fledged. In case you don’t already know, the ribbon is Microsoft’s replacement to the old menu and toolbar system of navigating the program.
  • Backstage View – this is completely new and replaces the file menu of previous versions. Here you find commands that affect the whole application.
  • Conversation Management – this is a big change that pulls all messages related to a conversation into a single “thread”.
  • Calendar Preview – a new feature that shows a preview of a meeting in your inbox so that you can see conflicting appointments without having to open up the calendar.
  • Quick Steps – these are sequences of commands that are grouped together so that they can be initiated with one click of a mouse. For example, you might create a quick step that defines a set of criteria and actions to perform on any message that meets those criteria. These actions might include moving a message to a folder and setting the importance level (there are other actions that can be performed, too).
  • People Pane – the people pane is the visible part of the Outlook Social Connector that connects Outlook with social networking sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. It allows you to keep track of your social contacts from your inbox.
  • Mailtips – mailtips inform the user that they are about to send emails to groups or individuals outside of their organisation. These alerts are designed to help you avoid common, sometimes embarrassing, mistakes.

The problem with a What’s New In Outlook 2010 article is that if the author includes everything that’s changed, it becomes a gargantuan piece of wriring. There are many, many changes to this program but none are big enough to merit their own bullet point above. Only the more significant changes are listed there. However, there are also additional improvements in the areas of:

  • scheduling meetings
  • instant search
  • cleaning up conversations
  • auto-complete list suggestions
  • roaming signatures
  • attached picture resizing
  • spellchecking in more places
  • many more!

It’s all very well to list everything new in Outlook 2010, but the best way to discover the changes is to use the program. Why not work through the Outlook 2010 tutorials and see the changes for yourself?

Setting Up OneNote 2010

When you run Microsoft OneNote 2010 for the first time, you will need to perform some setup tasks. The very first screen that is displayed asks you whether you will be using OneNote from other computers (via the internet) or just the computer you’re using at the moment. The recommended option is the first one, so unless you have a good reason not to, select that.

Opening First Notebook

Click Continue.

The next screen asks you to sign in with your Windows Live ID log on details. If you haven’t yet created a Live ID account, click on sign up for Windows Live SkyDrive. If you already have a Windows Live account, click Sign In.

Notebooke Synced To Web

After you click Sign In, OneNote will try to connect to the server.

Contacting The Server In OneNote

Once a connection has been established, you will be asked to type in your Windows Live ID log on details.

Connecting To Docs.Live

Type in your log on details and click OK.

Now that OneNote has your log on details, it tries to connect to the web service that it needs. Once your account details have been verified to be correct and connection with the web service has been established… you’re in! You should then see the following screen where you can begin using OneNote 2010.

Start Using OneNote 2010

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You can view the setup process as one that involves you giving your Windows Live ID details to OneNote so that it knows how to connect to your SkyDrive account.

Add A Signature To Outlook Emails

In Outlook 2010 you can add digital signatures and also standard signatures. This tutorial will focus on adding standard signatures. Outlook allows you to add standard signatures either manually or automatically. If you’re going to be adding the same signature to every email, then it makes sense to set up your signature so that it gets added automatically. This will save you time, cut down on typing errors and it will be one less thing to have to think about!

There is much flexibility too, as you can specify different signatures for new emails, replies and forwards. Also, your signature can include text and even images.

To create a signature click the File tab > Options > Mail > Signatures (it should be the third button down).

Add A Signature In Outlook 2010

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When the Signatures and Stationery window opens, make sure the Email Signature tab is active and then click New.

New Signature Window In Outlook 2010

In the New Signature window, type in the name of your new signature. Click OK. In the lower half of the window, you’ll see an editor that you can use to construct your signature. Position the cursor in the large text box and start typing the text you want to be added to every email you send.

Create A Signature In Outlook

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If you want to add an image, click on the Insert Image button to the right of the toolbar. You can then navigate to the location of your image and insert it. You can also insert a hyperlink in your signature. To do this, select the portion of text you want to become the link and then click on the Hyperlink button (next to the Insert Image button).

Insert An Image In Outlook

Insert A Hyperlink In Outlook

Type in the URL and click OK. What most people do is navigate to the URL they want to use as the link, highlight the URL in their browser’s address bar, copy it and then paste it here.

Many of the formatting options that are available when typing out the email message itself are available here for use in the signature.

When you’ve finished creating your signature, click OK. The new signature will appear in the list. You can create new signatures by repeating this process, and you can also edit existing signatures by selecting them and changing their details in the editor.

Assigning Signatures To Replies And Forwards

When creating your signature, you may have seen two drop down lists for:

  • New messages
  • Replies/forwards

If you have only one signature, don’t worry about these settings. However, you can create multiple signatures and then use these drop down lists to specify which signature should be used for new messages and which one should be used for replies and forwards.

Setting Up Microsoft Outlook 2010

Many people balk at the task of setting up Microsoft Outlook 2010 because it seems such a daunting task. It’s not really, so fear not! This tutorial will take you through the basics of setting up Outlook 2010, and you’ll discover just how easy it is.

After you’ve installed Office 2010, as soon as you start Outlook, you’ll getthe startup window that let’s you know that you’re in the process of setting the application up.

Microsoft Outlook 2010 Setup

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Click Next.

Microsoft Outlook 2010 Setup 2

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At this screen, you must decide whether you want to tell Outlook about an existing email account that you are currently using. You would normally select “yes” here, and that’s what we’re going to do.

Click Next.

Microsoft Outlook 2010 Setup 3

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On this screen, things start getting interesting. Here, we add details about our email account. You need to type in the following:

  • Your name
  • Email address
  • Password

Once you’ve typed in those details, click Next.

Microsoft Outlook 2010 Setup 4

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The next screen tells us that Outlook is configuring the email server settings. This involves trying to establish a connection with the email server and attempting to log on using the email account you specified on the previous screen. It should take only a few minutes.

Microsoft Outlook 2010 Setup

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The next screen, although it highlights an error of sorts, is usually nothing to worry about. It tells us that a network connection was successfully established and that Outlook was able to log on to the email server, but it also tells us that an encrypted connection to the mail server wasn’t available. You don’t even need to know what this means! Just click Next.

Microsoft Outlook 2010 Setup 6

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This time Outlook tries to log on using an unencrypted connection. Again, don’t worry about what that means, just keep your fingers crossed!

If all goes well, you should get the following screen:

Microsoft Outlook 2010 Setup 7

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The final window tells us that Outlook was able to connect, log on and send a test email to the account you specified.