Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Word LifeSaver - never lose a Word document again!

"Never lose a Word document again!" (hopefully)

If the Word LifeSaver saved your life, or at least your Word document, consider making a donation to help with the upkeep of this program. Thanks.

Download v0.3 of the Word LifeSaver here - FREE (compatible with Word 2003 - not tested with other versions, please let me know if you have tried Word 2007 or others)

NOTE ADDED: 22nd July 2008 - there is a "slight" loophole in the program - you COULD still exit Word using File -> Exit, or by clicking on the 'X' at the top right of the window. Thanks to a user for pointing that out. Unfortunately, I have not yet found a way of intercepting Word's Exit 'event' (actually, there seems to be no Exit event in Word Visual Basic - help programmers!) but if I manage to work it out I will post a new version of course. So, yes, this does diminish the functionality of the program a tad, but you could still find it a LifeSaver..!

The background
You know that moment? The moment when you are exiting Microsoft Word and the program asks you Do you want to save? In your haste you automatically press NO, realising a split second later, with horror, that you DID want to save, and that you have just lost 10 minutes's/an hour's/a day's work!

Usually in this situation the document is lost for good! I know you know about this because this is the most popular article on this site!

Word LifeSaver - how it works
To stop this happening, you need the Word LifeSaver! It is a little routine which you install in Word which STOPS you from easily closing a document that you haven't saved. If you try to close a document with unsaved changes in it - and these can represent a few seconds typing, or a whole day's work! - Word will still ask you Are you sure...? If you go ahead and press NO the document will NOT close, losing all your work forever. Rather, you will be presented by this rather wordy but, I hope you will agree, useful dialogue:

This is your chance to say NO! and save your document.

If you should press YES, well - there might just be one more chance, but let's hope you don't need that, eh?

Word LifeSaver - how to install
1) Hopefully you have downloaded LifeSaver v0.3.

2) Unzip it, but DO NOT run it.

3) Open Word 2003. Go into Tools -> Macros -> Security and set the security level to Medium if it is set higher than that. You must do this - LifeSaver is written in Visual Basic and won't work otherwise!

4) Now go to Open and find the file you unzipped - Open it. If you are asked whether you want to enable macros, click Enable.

5) Follow the on-screen instructions and... that's it! The rest is explained in the file, hopefully.

How to uninstall

1) Navigate via the toolbar through: Tools -> Macro -> Macros -> Organizer

2) Choose the Macro Project Items tab and look at the list in the In Normal: box, on the left.

3) You need to choose three macros from that list and delete them with the Delete button. These are:

  • DoubleCheckSave
  • LifeSaver
  • SureCloseDialog
Once these are gone, the macro should no longer work.

Please read the instructions fully, as well as the disclaimer and the license. The program is free to use and distribute, donations are always gratefully received if this program helped you, and most of all I would love to hear if you found this program useful, or if you found any bugs in it (highly likely) - so let me know in the comments below.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Inserting non-standard characters in Word using ALT-number pad

A while back I wrote a couple of articles about inserting non-keyboard symbols in Word using the Insert Symbol function, and also by using some default shortcuts.

Now we get onto the real voodoo - using ALT and the number pad to produce some non-standard characters. You do have a number pad, don't you? That was one of the essential features I insisted on when I got my Toshiba laptop - unless you REALLY need high portability, you ARE going to miss the number pad at times...

How to use ALT and the number pad to produce non-keyboard characters
All the characters you need CAN be inserted into your document using the Insert Symbol function in Word - say the ² (squared) symbol, the µ (Mu or micro) symbol, or the ¼ and other basic fractions. But what if you use them frequently? You don't want to have to go into Insert symbol every time.

Well, this is how you do it: first go into Insert symbol and select one of the above-mentioned symbols (this is by way of example - not all the symbols are inserted this way, so choose one of those for now). Click on the symbol once, say µ . At the bottom it says: Shortcut key: Alt+0181. What's that all about?

It means:

1) Make sure the NUM LOCK light is lit on your keyboard - if not, press it once to activate the number keypad
2) Press the LEFT "ALT" key (it doesn't work with the right!) and hold it down.
3) While still holding the left ALT key, type 0181 in sequence on the number pad (it only works on the keypad too!)
4) Let go of the ALT key and... the µ symbol magically appears!

Other ALT codes
Many other symbols have these codes, and believe it or not, you CAN learn these by heart if you use them fairly regularly - you don't want to have to go back to Insert symbol every time, after all, that would defeat the object somewhat! I have a number of these codes that I use without thinking, such as the „ and ” I need in Serbian - you can't get those via the keyboard.

Here are a few more symbol ALT codes:

½ (half symbol) - ALT+0189
¾ (three-quarters symbol) - ALT+0190
÷ (division sign) - ALT+0247
† (dagger) - ALT+0134
§ (section) - ALT+0167
± (plus-minus) - ALT+0177
¥ (Yen) - ALT+0165

Oh, and I'll let you into a little secret! These shortcuts are not exclusive to Word - in fact they work in all Microsoft and most Windows programs. In fact, I used them to type the symbols here.

Thanks for tuning in to Word Tips World again, and for letting us into your inbox if you are an email subscriber. Stay tuned, for one more bit of symbol-inserting voodoo, coming soon!

You are TOO SLOW in MS Word!

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