What the heck is a CSV file and what do I use it for?

A CSV is a comma separated values file, which allows data to be saved in a table structured format. CSVs look like a garden-variety spreadsheet but with a .csv extension (Traditionally they take the form of a text file containing information separated by commas, hence the name).

CSV files can be used with any spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel, Open Office Calc, Libre Office or Google Spreadsheets. They differ from other spreadsheet file types in that you can only have a single sheet in a file, they can not save cell, column, or row styling, and can not save formulas.

Saving a spreadsheet as a CSV file

Note: These instructions are for Excel 2010 but any spreadsheet software will follow a similar process.

  1. Open your file in a spreadsheet programme
  2. Click on SAVE AS and select CSV
  3. Click  SAVE


You may see a message that your file “may contain features that are not compatible with CSV”. Click Yes to continue. This message is to inform you that any formatting you may have (such as colors or bold text) and any formulas will not be preserved in the CSV formatted file.


So what do I use CSV’s for?

CSVs are used primarily for importing and exporting product, customer, and order information. For instance you would use a CSV file to back up and store your email contacts.

Your CSV file should be formatted as a table and must include a header, or first line, that defines the fields in your table.  If you’re updating an existing file, you probably won’t need to change your header field names; if you’re creating a new file an lay your form out as I have here.



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Text to Table and Back Again

Text to Table

Have you ever entered some text in columns separated by tabs and you want to convert it to a table? Word provides a useful feature that allows you to quickly convert text to a table and a table to text.

Your text needs to be separated by a specific character, such as a tab, to convert it into a table. I will show you how to do this and how to convert the table back to text.

For example, say you have some text listing days and hours worked. Firstly you need to check the formatting so you can see how the text is separated. To do that, click the paragraph button in the Paragraph section of the Home tab.


The tabs and paragraph marks display. If you’re converting some text to a two-column table, be sure you only have one tab between the items on each line. Select the lines of text you want to convert to a table.

Click the Insert tab and click Table in the Table section. Select Convert Text to Table from the drop-down menu.


On the Convert Text to Table dialog box, the Number of columns should already be set to 2 if you have only one tab between each item on each line. The Number of rows is automatically calculated.

Specify the width of the columns in the table by selecting an option under AutoFit behaviour. In this example I have decided to make each column just wide enough to fit the contents by selecting AutoFit to contents.

Specify the character you used to separate the text on each line under Separate text at. Here I have selected Tabs. You could also use other characters such as commas or paragraph marks. You can even specify a character not listed by selecting Other and entering the character in the edit box.


Converting Back to Text

Now that you have converted your text to a table, you can easily convert it back to text. To do this, select the table by moving your cursor over the table handle in the upper, left corner of the table and select it. This highlights the whole table.

NOTE: If you didn’t have a consistent number of separator characters on each line, you may end up with more rows and columns than you intended and the text might not be placed correctly.


The Table Tools tabs become available. Click the Layout tab.


In the Data section of the Layout tab, click Convert to Text.


On the Convert Table to Text dialog box, select the character you want to use to separate the columns of text. For this example, we want to separate the text using Tabs. Click OK.


Each row of the table becomes a line of text with tabs separating the items from the columns of the table. Word automatically inserts a tab marker on the ruler to line up the items from the columns of the table.

This feature is handy if you have some text from another document that was not arranged as a table originally, but you want it in table format. Simply make sure the separator characters for each line are set correctly and then convert the text to a table.


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Skip the Recycle Bin

The Windows Recycle Bin is a good safeguard against accidental file deletions. However, when you know you want to permanently delete a file, you can bypass the Recycle Bin and save a step.

helpful tips

Instead of pressing the Delete key to delete a file, press Shift+Del, then Enter to confirm the deletion.

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Use shortcuts to delete one word at a time

Delete one word at a timehelpful tips

This is so much easier than highlighting!

To quickly delete a word to the right or left:

Delete a word to the right  – Position the cursor at the beginning of the word to delete, then press CTRL + DELETE.

Delete a word to the left  – Position the cursor at the end of the word to delete, then press

Continue pressing CTRL + DELETE or
CTRL + BACKSPACE to delete additional words.

On a Mac the shortcut is as follows:

Delete a word to the right –  Position the cursor at the beginning of the word to delete, then press SHIFT +OPTION + DELETE

Delete a word to the left –  Position the cursor at the end of the word to delete, then press OPTION + DELETE

 Note: These shortcut keys can also be used to delete words in PowerPoint.

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Find a Word or Phrase – Keyboard Shorcuts

Searching for a phrase?  Use Find

When I lose things I invariably ask my husband, he’s great at finding things. Now we have the keyboard version.

The Find keyboard shortcut, CTRL + F opens the Find feature in any program including your Internet browser.

For Mac users the shortcut is COMMAND + F

Type the search text in the Find field, then press the ENTER key to display Search results in the open document or current Internet page

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How to “Select All” with Keyboard Shortcuts

Select All

CTRL + A – is the keyboard shortcut to Select All.
Click anywhere inside your file, e.g. Word document, PowerPoint presentation, or Excel spreadsheet.

Press Ctrl +A to select the entire document.

This shortcut works in all MS Office applications and on many webpages.

On a Mac you can use Command-A

For Example: The next time you need to quickly change the font of an entire Word document, press CTRL + A  or Command + A to select the entire document, then apply the desired font.

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How to Set the Default Font in Word


Word is a powerful application, but some of the configuration tools are not very intuitive. It’s easy enough to change the font for text in your current document, but that doesn’t change the default font that’s applied every time you create a new document.

Changing the default font in Word is not obvious. We’ll show you an easy way to do this.

Open an existing document or enter some text in a new document. Select some text and click the “Font” dialog box button in the “Font” section of the “Home” tab.


On the “Font” dialog box, select the font you want to set as the default in the “Font” list box and click the “Set As Default” button.


A dialog box displays asking if you want to set the default font for the current document only or for all documents based on the Normal template. Select the “All documents based on the Normal.dotm template” radio button. Click “OK”.


NOTE: The new default font is saved only to the template currently in use. Existing documents will not be changed the next time they are opened.

If you have a custom template applied to the current document, the default font will be saved in that template and not in the Normal template. The easiest way to change the default font in the Normal template is to create a new document and then follow the steps in this article.




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How to take easy screenshots

There are a couple of reasons you might want to take a screenshot (screen capture or screen grab) of your desktop or an application window. One of the most common is to send the image to tech support to show a problem you’re experiencing.

Look for the Print Screen Key on your keyboard, this might be labelled PrtScn

Print screen






In new versions of Office you need to use the Windows Logo key as well as the PrnScn key

windows key






To take a screenshot and save it as a file

Press the Windows logo key+PrtScn. Or, if you’re using a tablet, press the Windows logo button + the volume down button.

The screen will dim for a moment when the screen is copied and saved as a file in the Screenshots folder (which is in your Pictures folder).

To take a screenshot (without saving it)

Press PrtScn.

A picture of the screen is copied and you can paste it wherever you’d like.

To take a screenshot of only one window

Tap or click the window you want to capture.

Press Alt+PrtScn.

A picture of the window is copied and you can paste it wherever you’d like.

In older versions of Windows, such as Vista and Windows 7 if you press the PrtScn button everything you see on your screen, including all open windows will be copied and placed on your clipboard. You will now need to paste the picture into a picture editing software like Paint and save the file. This will make it easy to attach to an email later if you need to.

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