Monday, 16 June 2008

More keyboard shortcuts

I might have mentioned before that I'm a bit of a collector of obscure Microsoft Office shorctuts. has some really great tips, #3 and #8 had managed to pass me by until now, so I'll be using them today!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

PowerPoint macro to rename drawing objects

This week I created a slide to show a process flow.  I decided the best way to explain how our process works was with lots of animation, showing how incident tickets pass from one group to another.  When all the drawing objects on the slide have un-helpful names like Group 53 or Callout 12 it can be pretty confusing working out the custom animation sequence.  I've known for a while it's possible to rename drawing objects pretty easily with VBA, but it strikes me as a glaring omission from the User Interface that we have to drop into code to achieve it.


Anyway, I was getting into enough of a mess with this particular animation sequence that it was worth spending the time writing the following bit of VBA and using it to give my drawing objects more meaningful names like Stickman 1 and Flying ticket 1.


This works for me in PowerPoint 2007.  As usual, I didn't do much testing, and I have no idea if/how it will work on other versions.  I'd suggest trying this out on a copy of your slides rather than risk wrecking the real thing if the code doesn't behave as expected (which I realised would have been a good idea just after I told it to rename a series of about 15 objects on my insanely complicated slide... but this time I got away with it).

Sub RenameShape()


Dim n As Integer, NewName As String


With ActiveWindow.Selection


    If .Type = ppSelectionShapes Then


        NewName = InputBox("New name for shape:", "Rename Shape", .ShapeRange(1).Name)


        With .ShapeRange

            If .Count > 1 Then

                For n = 1 To .Count

                    .Item(n).Name = NewName & " " & n

                Next n


                    .Name = NewName

            End If

        End With



        MsgBox "Selection is not a Shape", vbOKOnly, "Rename Shape"

    End If

End With


End Sub

If you have one or more drawing objects selected, you'll get a popup dialog asking for the new name for the shape(s).  If you only have one object selected, it will be renamed with that name.  If you have more than one object selected, they'll be renamed NewName 1, NewName 2, etc. in the order you selected them.  (If your selection isn't drawing objects you'll just get an error.)


In case you're wondering, renaming the objects doesn't require you to recreate the custom animations.  You'll see the new names appear in the Custom Animation pane as soon as you've renamed the objects.  When I tried it, my animations (including entrance, exit and motion path) all carried on working just as before.



Wednesday, 11 June 2008

gMail, IMAP and Vista (Windows Mail)

I've finally got round to setting up my gMail to sync with Windows Mail over IMAP. I had some problems at first, kept getting this error message:

Your IMAP command could not be sent to the server due to non-network errors.

(There was also an error code of 0x800cccdf which apparently translates to IMAP_AUTH_NOT_POSSIBLE, which isn't hugely helpful.)

After reading a few posts on the Microsoft forums I thought it might be my Antivirus so wasted a load of time messing about with that, but then I found this:

Permanent Link- Setting up Gmail IMAP Support for Windows Vista Mail

The settings in there are identical to what I had, but it seems that the order you do things is very important because starting from scratch and following their step-by-step instructions worked first time for me!

This is also the same place I found this excellent article:

Permanent Link- Prevent Outlook with Gmail IMAP from Showing Duplicate Tasks in the To-Do Bar.

Thanks folks!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Cool PowerPoint shortcuts

I'm playing catch-up on the PowerPoint team blog. I'm a huge fan of keyboard shortcuts and keyboard-mouse combinations (CTRL+Scroll wheel to zoom in/out, that kind of thing), so this post from way back in December (I've no idea how it dropped off my feed reader for so long) about views shortcuts is right up my street. I've known for a long time that there's similar undocumented goodness in Word, but had only got as far as double-clicking screen elements. (Try double-clicking around the edges of the ruler and see what you get...) I might have to have a play later and see what I can uncover with keyboard modifiers like CTRL and SHIFT.

Monday, 9 June 2008

How presentations should be

So from the PowerPoint team blog, I found a link to Nancy Duarte. Her company worked with Al Gore on the slides for An Inconvenient Truth, so her keynote presentation to an audience of people who write presentations for a living had to be worth looking at. Where I work the usual style for slide decks is to cram as much information onto the screen at once as possible. I believe in a much more minimalist approach, and it was great to see a presentation from a design professional that gives me and idea of just how far that can be taken! Even if you only have time to check out the first couple of minutes, it's worth it. This is how presentations should be.

At long last! Producer for PowerPoint 2007 in beta...

I was reading Mike Tholfsen's new OneNote and Education blog, and he included a link to this post from Nick MacKechnie. PowerPoint Producer (for 2003) was a great product and it's something I've missed since upgrading, so I'm looking forward to getting time to have a play!
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