Trimming Spaces

It’s not uncommon to receive Excel files with leading spaces:

We could use formulas to tackle this problem, but that would be rather time consuming, especially if this is a recurrent issue.

Download ASAP utilities



Go to the ASAP Utilities tab in Excel Ribbon, then Text and therein select option no. 9 (Delete leading, trailing and excessive spaces). Job done.


Dashes to Ashes

If you can’t stand the sight of those long m dashes (—) and would rather automatically replace them with its littler cousin, the n dash (–), there’s something you can do in MS Word:

  1. Press Ctrl+H  to invoke the Find and Replace Dialog and hit More>>
  2. Tick the Use Wildcards checkbox
  3. In the Find What: box type    ^+    and in Replace With: type     ^=

Hit Replace All. Job done.

The Power of Wildcards

MS Word allows you to do a lot more than literal searches in the Find dialogue (Ctrl+F). Wildcard characters can make search operations much more flexible and powerful.

The two most basic wildcards are ? and *.

They are essentially similar in use.

? is used to represent a single character and * represents any number of characters. On their own, these have limited use.

  • s?t will find sat, set, sit, sot and any other combination of three characters beginning with ‘s’ and ending with ‘t’. It will also find that combination of letters with a word.
  • s*t will find all the above, but will also find secret, serpent, sailing boat and sign over document, etc.

To make use of this feature, ensure you have the Use wildcards feature ticked in the Find dialog.

Shortcut Monday!

MS Word

  • Shift + F5  Returns to the last edit point. Useful if you have to copy some text from other parts of the file and you want to return to where you were in order to paste it.
  • Ctrl + Enter Inserts a page break. Much better alternative than having to type Enter multiple times to get to a new page.
  • Ctrl + Shift + N Removes the formatting of the selected text. Useful when copying text from the web which has different formatting applied.


  • Ctrl + Drag – To copy a file to another folder. If you don’t press Ctrl the file will be moved instead.
  • Ctrl + Double-click – Applying this shortcut on any folder will open that folder in a new explorer window.
  • Windows Key+M – Minimizes all windows 

Change Fonts Globally the Easy Way

When working on a large Word document with at least two different fonts, it’s hard to think of a more tedious exercise than having to manually replace say all instances of lovely Courier New by Arial for whatever reason.

There’s an easy way to swap fonts in one go. Press Ctrl+H  to invoke the Find and Replace Dialog and hit More>>

Insert the cursor in the Find what: box, then navigate to the Format drop-down at the bottom of the dialog, then Font and select the font and/or any attributes you wish to replace. Repeat the procedure on the Replace with: box, hit Replace All and you’re done.

Perfect Fit

When working with text in Excel, it’s not always possible to display the entire contents of a cell even after selecting the Wrap Text option.

When this happens, select all the affected cells, navigate to the Cells group of the Home tab and click AutoFit Row Height from the Format drop-down menu

The content of the affect cells will be displayed in full



Table Magic

Say you have a bilingual Word file where source and target text are separated by paragraphs or some other logical delimiter (a tab for example):

You may wish to have the text displayed in a more user-friendly way for proof-reading or review purposes. Select the text you wish to convert, click the Insert tab on the Ribbon and  choose Convert Text to Table from the Table drop-down menu:

For this particular example, we would choose 2 Columns and Separate Text at: Paragraphs.

You will then have your bilingual text displayed as a table, which you can then repurpose in Excel or even create a TM.