Microsoft Office has been around for some time now and, as I have used it on a regular basis, I have got to know a fair bit about the various applications that make it up. No matter how much I have learned, however, Office still has a habit of throwing up something new that I hadn't heard of before. Here are a few of my recent discoveries from various Office applications.

I've been using Word longer than any other Office application and I consider myself to be fairly adept in its use. What I have only recently discovered, however, is that it is possible to show the boundaries of the text on the page. This simple action will create a box consisting of a tightly dotted line to mark the boundaries of the text on that document.

To see these boundaries, select Tools/Options and click on the View tab. In the Show menu, under the Print and Web Layout Options, check the Text Boundaries box and click OK. You will now be able to see exactly how much of the page area your text will take up.

I mentioned recently that I have created a monthly spreadsheet to keep track of my finances. After I set up January's worksheet I created a few simple formulas that would tell me how much I had left after certain bills were paid and so on. I then wanted to copy and paste the same spreadsheet into each of the following months. I wanted to delete all of the numbers I had entered in January's sheet, but I also wanted to keep the formulas. I knew there would be a way to do this and I found it.

After pasting January's spreadsheet into February's worksheet, I clicked on Edit/GoTo (Ctrl +G), and then on the Special button. In the dialog box I clicked on the Constants radio button and unchecked all of the boxes except the Numbers one. When I clicked OK, Excel had highlighted all of the values in the spreadsheet that had no formula attached. I clicked Delete and the spreadsheet was devoid of numbers, but the formulas were intact and ready to take the new values.

I recently came across a neat little trick in PowerPoint that places a picture inside a shape. Open up any shape from the AutoShapes menu, although obviously something with a spacious inside area works best; a heart shape or a five sided star for example.

Pull out the shape to the required size and then right click and select Format AutoShape. From the dialog box select the Colours and Lines tab and in the Fill section, click on the down arrow to open up the colour palette. Select Fill Effects and then the Picture tab. Click on Select Picture and browse for the picture you want as in any other application.

When you have found the picture you want to use, select it and click OK. Then back in the Format AutoShape dialog box click OK again and the picture will appear inside the shape. Going back to the Format AutoShape dialog box, you can adjust the colour and weight of the line around the shape for extra effect.

In a previous article I did on planning an office layout with Visio, I expressed surprise that among the usual office equipment that could be dragged onto the page, computers, telephones, printers etc, there was even a selection of plants that could be positioned around the office. I have since discovered that these plants can actually be ungrouped and different colours applied to the pot, plant and soil to match whatever you have in your office.

What this means is that if you go away on holiday and you forget to have someone water your office plant, when you return you can update your office plan by changing the leaves on the plant from green to yellow to reflect the colour of the actual plant.

I think it is safe to say that these will not be the last of my Office discoveries.