Displaying Function Keys

Remember WordPerfect, with its cardboard template that showed which function keys did what? I liked it; you can tell because I created similar templates for my Editor’s ToolKit and DEXter programs:



But if you just want to see the function-key assignments in regular old Microsoft Word (2000 and above), there is a secret way:

1. Click Tools > Customize.

2. Click the Toolbars tab.

3. Put a check in the box labelled “Function Key Display.”

4. Click the Close button.

At the bottom of your screen, you should now see a toolbar that displays Word’s function-key assignments. You can move or float it just like any other toolbar. If you like, you can click the “keys” on the toolbar with your mouse while holding down the SHIFT key, the CTRL key, key combinations, and so on to reveal the various functions of the keys. But why not just use the keyboard?

As you type or edit, the toolbar will change. Different functions will become grayed out or even hidden, depending on what you are doing. It’s a handy tool to see what functions are available on those keys.

If you want to *print* a list of the function-key assignments, do this:

1. Click File > Print.

2. In the “Print what” dropdown list, select “Key assignments.”

3. Click the OK button.

You can also see a list on-screen:

1. Click Help > Microsoft Office Word Help.

2. Click the Answer Wizard tab.

3. Type “function keys” in the “Search for” box.

4. Press ENTER.

5. Click “Keyboard shortcuts for Word” in the Task Pane.

6. Click the items in which you are interested. A list of functions and their associated keys will be displayed. You can also click “Show All” at the top of the window to display *all* of the keys and their functions. Note that you can print this information by clicking the printer icon at the top of the window.

I highly recommend learning all of Word’s keyboard shortcuts. No more reaching for the mouse!



After reading the September 1 article, “Managing Projects and Tasks in Microsoft Outlook,” Brad Hurley wrote:

I also use Outlook for managing projects and tasks, and like you I work on many projects simultaneously, but my system is very pared-down and simple.

I don’t bother assigning categories to tasks or organizing them in any way; I just focus on creating a deadline for each task and then setting a reminder for that deadline far enough in advance so I can meet it.

My project deadlines are usually determined by my clients. When I put together a “creative brief” or description of the project for a client, I also set up a schedule of due dates for milestones along the way. In Outlook, I create a new task for each of those milestones and assign it a due date. Outlook automatically uses the due date as the reminder date, but I change the reminder date manually so I get reminded well in advance of the date something is due. For example, if I have a Web article due on September 14 and know I need a week to write it, I’ll set the due date for September 14 and the reminder date to September 7. No need to put anything on my calendar; at 8:00 a.m. on September 7, Outlook will pop up a reminder that I need to start working on that article. I start working on it, and I hit the “snooze” button to remind me again in a day or two in case I get distracted by another task. Once the task is done, I mark it as complete in Outlook.

In older versions of Outlook, each task reminder would pop up in its own window, which got to be annoying when lots of reminders came up at once. One of the great features of Outlook 2003 is that it puts all the reminders in one window, which to me was worth the price of the upgrade. When the reminder window pops up, I can see at a glance all the things that are on my plate; I snooze them if I don’t have time to work on them right away, and then I’m reminded again in a few hours or days, depending on the snooze time.

One more thing: when an e-mail comes in that requires me to take some sort of action, I just drag it to my task button to create a task for it, assign a due date and a reminder date, and then move the e-mail out of my in-box. The only things I ever put on my Outlook calendar are meetings and appointments.

It’s true that with this approach I can’t sort my tasks by project or client, but to me that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I get reminded when I have to start work on something and that I know when it’s due. I’ve been using this simple system for about four years now, and it works well for me.

Many thanks to Brad!



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