Saturday, January 23, 2016

Date an Octothorpe

Some more of those things I'm sure I used to know

The keyboard combination of Alt+Shift+D inserts the current date in MS Word and PowerPoint. Ctrl+; (semicolon) does it in Excel and Access.

If you do not like the date's format, select a different one with Insert>Date and Time and, if you would like to make that permanent, click on the Default button in the lower left corner of the dialog box (in PowerPoint it's in the lower right corner).

In Excel, Ctrl+Shift +# formats the entry as day-month-year. Ctrl+1 will display the "Format cells" dialog box.

BTW, the "hash, pound or number" sign # is also called an "octothorpe".

The person who named it combined Octo for the eight points and Thorpe for James Thorpe.

"Bell Labs engineer, Don Macpherson, went to instruct their first client, the Mayo Clinic, in the use of the new touch tone phone system. He felt the need for a fresh and unambiguous name for the # symbol. His reasoning that led to the new word was roughly that it had eight points, so ought to start with octo-. He was apparently at that time active in a group that was trying to get the Olympic medals of the athlete Jim Thorpe returned from Sweden, so he decided to add thorpe to the end."

While we're at it, the "backwards P, Enter mark" is actually named a "pilcrow".

The pilcrow was used in medieval times to mark a new train of thought, before the convention of using paragraphs was commonplace.

Also see:
Geek-speak names for punctuation marks


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Sunday, January 17, 2016


Sized and numbered

Word has the built-in ability to print booklets with automatically numbered pages.

"If you don't want to spend money on an add-in, or use VBA; and are willing to do a bit more work yourself, here is the method I use. I've produced booklets up to 100 pages long this way, and it works quite satisfactorily for me."
Booklet printing

How-to Geek:
Create Booklet
Microsoft Word Booklet Templates
"The file contains Microsoft Word templates for 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, and 32 page booklets, with and without page numbers (16 templates in all). I think I developed these with Microsoft Word 97 and I've never made any changes to them. They use a series of text boxes that flow from one to the other to get the text where it is supposed to be in the booklet."

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Add Captions Programatically

When the project seems overwhelming

Faced with a repetitive task, I often have to make the decision, do I do it by hand again and again? Or do I write or find a macro to do the heavy lifting?
"Have you ever had a document with ten, twenty, or even 100 images, and then as an afterthought decided you wanted to add a caption to each of those images? This is an easy task through the user interface (UI). All you have to do is select each image, one at a time, and choose Insert, then Reference, then Caption. Unfortunately doing this through an image-heavy document is a boring chore and takes up a lot of time.

Fortunately, the Word object model lets you to apply a caption to a selected object. An add-in that does this for you is only a small chunk of code away. The sample add-in accompanying this article demonstrates how to do this. It also demonstrates many other details about working with shapes and images in Word programmatically that are useful to know about."

Working with Word Images Programmatically

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Saturday, January 02, 2016

Readability Evaluation

What grade are you?

Word has a built in tool to determine the level of reading difficulty of a document.

To see the statistics:
  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Spelling & Grammar tab
  2. Select the Check grammar with spelling check box
  3. Select the Show readability statistics check box, and then click OK
  4. On the Standard toolbar, click Spelling and Grammar
  5. In 2007, click the Office button in the upper left corner. Click Word Options. Choose Proofing and When correcting spelling and grammar in Word.
When Microsoft Word finishes checking spelling and grammar, it displays information about the reading level of the document.

Each readability score bases its rating on the average number of syllables per word and words per sentence.
Flesch Reading Ease score Rates text on a 100-point scale; the higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document. For most standard documents, aim for a score of approximately 60 to 70. The formula for the Flesch Reading Ease score is: 206.835 - (1.015 x ASL) - (84.6 x ASW) where: ASL = average sentence length (the number of words divided by the number of sentences) ASW = average number of syllables per word (the number of syllables divided by the number of words)
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score
Rates text on a U.S. school grade level. For example, a score of 8.0 means that an eighth grader can understand the document. For most documents, aim for a score of approximately 7.0 to 8.0.
The formula for the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score is:
(.39 x ASL) + (11.8 x ASW) - 15.59
Measuring the reading age of books and other reading matter.
 Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test
Frequently Asked Questions About Proofing Grammar

I am working on a law review article dealing with readability. We have found a problem with Microsoft Word's Flesch-Kincaid formula - it does not appear to be accurate. We took a sample text of slightly over 100 words, and ran the check. We then changed the word "report" to statement" (with everything else unchanged) and Word indicated a higher grade level. However, the grade level should not have been affected, since "report" and "statement" are both two-syllable words. It looks like Word is somehow incorporating number of characters in each word into it's Flesch-Kincaid score, which it should not. Any idea what the problem might be?

You're right, Word handles the formula a little differently.
BTW, they say the sample s/b 200+ words for reliability.


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