How to create custom Input & Error Messages In Excel

In Excel, custom input or error messages explain the rules for each field to prevent data-entry errors. Imagine, for instance, that it's your job to create, maintain, and assign user IDs and passwords for your company employees. You create a spreadsheet to perform this task. Then you get transferred. So now you have to delegate this task to someone else. The best way to ensure the job is done right is to create input and error messages. 

For the User IDs, first create an Error Alert that says, "No duplicates allowed." Then create an Input Message that, when displayed, explains what kind of data can be entered. And last, a backup Error Message for column E that says: "Only 7 digits allowed."

Create an Error Alert in Excel

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How to customize Excel Conditional Formatting

Excel Conditional Formatting already lets you format cells based on the value of those cells or the value of the formulas in those cells (see our conditional formatting tutorial for more details). Now we'll show how you can customize these features so you (and others) can quickly scan your spreadsheet and determine at a glance what the data means based on the way each column, row, cell, or range is formatted.

Here's how to find the customization options. In any spreadsheet, choose Home > Conditional Formatting > New Rule. The New Formatting Rule dialog window opens.

Notice the first panel: Select a Rule Type. We'll go through the options in turn:

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Photoshop Text Effects: Adding Styles to fonts

Photoshop Text Effects, also called Styles, let you add color schemes, textures, and other variations to fonts. Text Effects take a font much further than we've shown you in tutorials on creating swirls and flourishes with text, or Text Type and Text Editing.

Text Effects or Styles should not be confused with Special Effects, which include features such as Shadow, 3D Effects, Lighting, and Depth, and apply to both Text and Shapes. They are also not the same thing as Microsoft or HTML Stylesheets or Style Sets, which define how fonts and paragraphs are displayed in documents. Text Effects in Photoshop are also much more elaborate and decorative than Styles in other software programs. If you want your text to look tie-dyed or beveled or shaded, this is the place to go.

Styles are accessed through the Window tab and, when checked, appear as a floating palette menu on your Photoshop desktop. Photoshop comes with many pre-designed (Default) Styles, 16 of which are preloaded. You can load the additional Default Styles like this: 

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How to use Word to create holiday cards and other projects

Microsoft Word may not be a full-fledged graphics program, but you can use its layout, font, text box, and other features to make, surprisingly, exceptional custom holiday cards with a little clever manipulation and some creativity. You can use images or clipart from your own collection, download royalty-free images from the web, or use Shapes and Special Effects in Word to draw your own custom images. 

Note: If you’re planning to use envelopes (as opposed to a postcard-type design), note that the paper size may be determined by the size of the envelope. So, choose your envelopes first, then create your project.

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Excel Spreadsheets: Navigation, shortcut keys, data sort and filter, formulas and functions

Excel spreadsheets do so much, from making lists to crunching numbers to acting as sophisticated flat-file databases. We’re creating this guide to make sure you master all the essentials and more. We’ll add to this guide over time, so bookmark it and come back to keep learning.

How Excel spreadsheets work: The basics

Think of an Excel spreadsheet as an electronic flat-file database modeled after a bookkeeper’s ledger. Excel’s “spreadsheet” is like the ledger’s page, and Excel’s “workbook” grouping of spreadsheets is akin to an entire ledger. The best use of a spreadsheet is to provide users with groups of records that are available on one screen for easier management.

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Word 2016: A guide to its desktop publishing tools

Microsoft Word has come a long way since the “pre-Windows, non-mouse” versions used between 1983 to 1990. Back then, there were NO graphics, not even a graphical user interface. The Word 1.0 for Windows 3.0 version was a notable improvement, but then it took two decades for Microsoft to figure out how to integrate quality graphics successfully.

01b insert your own images from hard drive or other source JD Sartain / PC World

Insert images from a hard drive or other source.

Now, with Word’s many amazing graphical improvements, our jobs are much easier, plus you don’t need a separate desktop publishing program anymore. Word 2016 can now adequately fulfill that task. 

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Photoshop fonts: Creating swashes, swirls and flourishes

In our first story on Photoshop fonts, we covered font and paragraph attributes, plus how to alter the shapes of a word, phrase, or sentence, which (obviously) affects the shapes of the fonts. The instructions targeted Creative Suite users, which means the path to altering a string of text is Edit > Transform > Warp. If you’re using Photoshop version 6.x or 7.x (pre-Creative Suite), the Warp feature is under Layer > Type > Warp Text.

This follow-up article explains how to add swashes, swirls, and flourishes that turn words into a visual feast. Nothing makes typefaces pop more than a few well-placed calligraphic swirls. Even though some fonts already fall into the script or calligraphy categories, they can be difficult to read and are often too decorative for a full word or phrase.

01 overdone typefaces with too much or too little JD Sartain / PC World

Overdone typefaces

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