Tag Archives: Office

Drop-down Gamification

Office has so many features that there is no place to show all of them on screen. That is why, Microsoft has to use drop-downs and More… buttons. Unfortunately, most of us never even notice these buttons, leave alone clicking on them to find out what more is available. Due to this, thousands of brilliant features are never noticed. Here is the solution: Drop-down Gamification. This concept applies to More buttons and sub-menus as well. The objective is to make this self-discovery of feature gems as much fun as possible.


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MRU Remove From List

MRU is a list of Most Recently Used files. We see that list in File – Open –Recent documents. As you know, this list shows the latest documents opened by you. Documents opened earlier move down in the list and eventually get removed when more files are opened. However, Office allows you to explicitly remove a particular item from the MRU list. Right click on any item and choose Remove from List.


The question is, why would you want to do that? Anyway the file will get flushed from the list soon. The answer is not so obvious. There are  many practical scenarios where this is very useful.  I am not going to explain each scenario. Just a list.

  1. You opened a local file and stored it on OneDrive. Now to files are seen in MRU. I want to remove the local file to avoid editing it accidentally.
  2. I am presenting to customer X. I also presented to the competitor Y just yesterday. I want to remove files related to customer Y.
  3. I opened XLS file, saved it as XLSX. This way Compatibility Mode is removed and I can use all the new features. Now, I do not want to accidentally open the XLS file and confuse myself.
  4. I am editing a complex file. I keep saving versions. When I save the latest version, I want to remove the entry of the older version from MRU to avoid confusion

If you can think of more usage scenarios, do post it as comments.

How to Create Time using Office

Here is another way to look at using Office. We want to do so many things. But time is always in short supply. There are thousands of methods of saving time – ranging from behavioral changes, getting up early to sophisticated methodologies. But all of them suffer from one problem… the solution itself requires more time!  Now consider this. You can Create Time using Office – because you are already spending three to four hours on it on every working day.

The time you spend on Microsoft Office is considered as the part of the game, part of life, mandatory and non-negotiable. Why? Because you have work to do and it requires you to use Office. So you just use it. In the process, you spend half of your work-life using Office. We have never looked at those 4 hours as a source of extra time.

If you know how to use Microsoft Office efficiently, you will save lots of time. It is like CREATING time because it just did not exist for you earlier. It is a reward you get by being more efficient.

One you have extra time, you are smart enough to invest it in whatever you think is important: Work, Family, Sports, Health…

Once you know the approach towards working efficiently, you should invest part of the time CREATED into learning a little more. That way you will continue to create time throughout your life.

Empowering! is it not?

Read the Efficiency Knowledge Pack on more ideas and concepts related to
Inefficiency Management.

How to work on Excel when it is busy

This is a common requirement. We have started some time consuming operation like adding a field to a large pivot table, or fetching data from a database, or refreshing some complex calculations. In such cases Excel seems to be unresponsive. Not only the current file is unusable, other files opened are also not editable. Things just freeze till the time and resource consuming activity finishes.

Of course, that is a total waste of time. You want to do something else on another Excel file during this time. The solution is to create another instance of Excel.

  • When you are about to start a time consuming operation, make sure no other Excel files are open. Start the operation on the file and leave it alone.
  • Now right click on the Excel icon in the Taskbar and choose Excel (whichever version) again. This way you open an independent copy of Excel. This copy is not busy at all.Open an independent copy of Excel when it is busy processing another copy
  • Now you open other Excel files here and continue working while the other copy is executing the time consuming job. That’s it.

This concept is not applicable just to Excel. The same logic applies to any application which can get busy and block you from working on other files.