Password Protect Document

This applies to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents in Office 2016. Earlier versions may have different ways to protect documents.

When you want to ensure a document doesn’t get changed without your approval, adding a password provides a first-level defence. (There are ways around this constraint, though.)

Note: Make sure you have a backup copy of the document. Useful if you forget the password.

Click File > Info > Protect Document > Encrypt with Password, and enter the password. Click OK.

Removing the password is as simple as deleting what you previously entered.

Note: Besides Encrypt with Password, there is an option to Restrict Editing. This enables you to prevent new styles being created, for instance, or disallow editing.

Insert Custom Document Property into Word Document

Create or select the property in the Custom tab of the Document Properties dialog box:

Choose where in your document you want to insert the property and press Ctrl-F9. A pair of curly brackets will appear at that spot:

Editor: {  }

Insert ‘DOCPROPERTY property name’ within the curly braces. Remove spaces at start and end. For example:

Editor: {DOCPROPERTY Editor}

Press F9 to insert the property value.

Editor: Perry

If the value changes, you will need to press F9 again for the new value to show.

 

 

GeneratePress

GeneratePress is a free, fast, lightweight theme I work with now instead of other themes I’ve previously bought. I use it in conjunction with the GP Premium plugin, which adds a lot of optional features and control to the theme. (See this post for my review of the plugin.)

With well over a million installations, it’s clear that GeneratePress is a popular theme for WordPress developers. On the WORDPRESS.ORG website, 572 out of 578 reviews awarded it 5 stars. It’s responsive, as all themes should be these days, and can be used as a base for developing your own theme, should you be so inclined, which was Tom Usborne’s original intention.

Tom Usborne is the developer and works full-time on this and related products. He provides excellent support.  His documentation is also comprehensive.

GeneratePress is lightweight because it lacks many features that other themes offer, though it does include Font Awesome. The advantage of this approach is that the theme isn’t laden with features you don’t need. Those you do need can be supplied via plugins.

I’m a big fan of GeneratePress and only wish I’d come across it before shelling out for a variety of paid themes that never quite met my needs.

More Memory Hogs

I mentioned in my Office Memory Hogs post that Outlook’s add-ins were giving the CPU a hard time. A similar problem occurred with Excel, in that it took a while to load. Again I deselected the add-ins I don’t use, and the problem went away.

I did the same with Word and PowerPoint, though neither seemed affected, but why load memory with processes if you don’t need them?

Office Memory Hogs

Three years ago, after building my new system, I noticed the CPU usage was typically approaching 50% while the system was idle. This was a concern because it generates unnecessary heat which in turn affects the CPU’s life span.

It was easy to identify the culprits: Microsoft Outlook 2013 and TrueImage Sync.

I didn’t need Sync, so I disabled that process. Outlook, though, seemed more problematic. I found the answer by Googling.

The problem wasn’t Outlook per se, but its add-ons.

The problem with add-ons has two dimensions. One is they are often installed without your knowledge; the other is they may not be efficient.

You can locate the add-ons by selecting File->Options->Add-Ins. At the bottom of the window is a drop-down menu labelled “Manage:”.

Manage COM-Add-Ins

Click Go…

COM Add-Ins

I deselected them all, as I don’t need them, but if I need one later, I can re-enable it.

My PC is now having a well-earned rest.

Slow Opening of Folders

A problem I’ve had since moving to Windows 8.1 (I skipped 8.0 and have yet to move to 10) is that Explorer can take a while to open the folder I click on. It turns out that the problem goes back to the days of the infamous Vista, when Microsoft decided to optimise folders according to their contents. To get round this issue, you need to select the folder, right-click to choose Properties, and click Customise. You will see a dropdown list headed Optimise this folder for:

Folder Properties


The options for optimising are:

Customise Options

To avoid the delay, select General items and click OK.

Heading 1 Changes in Word

Until and including Microsoft Office 2010, Word enabled you to retain the Spacing before value in a paragraph style that included a Page break before, typically Heading 1. This enabled you to start a chapter, for example, part way down a page, which is how it is presented in many publications. The only requirement was to go to File > Options > Advanced > Layout Options and select Don’t use HTML paragraph autospacing.

In Word 2013, this option was removed, meaning all chapters except the first now start at the top of a page.

The easiest way around this limitation is to save the .docx document as .doc.

Initial Experience

I’ve been using Madcap Flare for the past year or so and even now I feel I still have a way to go before I can claim to be proficient in its use. Fortunately, my client not only paid for the licence, but also forked out for Bronze maintenance. When you consider that this level of support is the lowest offered and costs US$500 each year, I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for it. On the other hand, it has been responsive and very helpful.

Using Flare, I’ve created a large online help system for users of a general insurance broking application.

I’ve been impressed by the power of Flare. It’s well worth spending the time needed to come up to speed.

Unusual Design

At first glance, the user interface (UI) is challenging. Fortunately, there are guides to explain its use. As with most UIs, the average user sticks to a limited subset of the available functions. I have both the Content and Project menus open. These are detachable and I place them them on a separate monitor.

Output Types

Flare works on the principle of “write once, publish anywhere”.

You use a process called “conditioning” to tailor the text to suit an output format instead of having different copies of the same text for different outputs.

The HTML5 output is responsive to the medium on which it is shown (desktop, tablet, and mobile).

Pricing

Madcap offers a perpetual licence for US$1,448.00 (includes 12 months of Bronze maintenance). Renewing Bronze maintenance is US$500.

Scrivener

Over the years I’ve tested various writing programs to find an improvement over Microsoft Word for managing the development of a novel. They’ve included Grammatica, New Novelist, Story Weaver, yWriter5, and others I’ve forgotten the names of.

None appealed to me.Scrivener logo

I had two particular requirements: the ability to export to Word; and a means of locating all scenes in which a character appeared.

When Scrivener for Windows first appeared, I gave it a shot, but it seemed rough around the edges, falling short of the Mac version’s capabilities. It joined the others as not being up to the task.

Later on, I read an article which was not only complimentary of the latest version of Scrivener, but also mentioned the two features I was looking for. I decided to give it another go. I’m pleased I did.

If you’ve not tried it, you might be interested in these reviews:

Jacqueline Ward is a big fan

Maxi Bransdale’s a fan, too

Write Your Own Happy Ending

9 Reasons I’ve Decided to Use Scrivener to Write My Nonfiction Books

Lit Reactor’s Review