November 25, 2014
by Shawn J. Burke, Director, LoanSphere Sales Engineering
ServiceLink, A Black Knight Financial Services Company – USFN Associate Member
Chair, USFN Technology Committee
We all have shortcuts we use throughout the day, almost done without conscious thought, to aid in handling such things as e-mail. In this article, let’s take a moment to discuss some of them.
When to put someone on the “CC:” line of an e-mail? Taken from a college class, I offer this to my new employees or to someone who needs coaching: If you want someone to take action, put them on the “TO:” line; if you want them to be aware, then put them on the “CC:” line.
Want a shortcut to reformatting Word documents? Between RFPs, training materials, and other demonstration collateral, I find myself authoring lots of documents. I tend to add formatting to a document (such as highlighting instructions with italics). It is a nuisance when I have to format, or reformat, various pieces of the document in the same way. Here’s what I’ve learned to do: select the “format painter,” an icon that looks like a paint brush (Word 2013: Home tab, left-hand side of ribbon near the copy, cut, and paste commands). Begin by highlighting the text with the formatting that you want to copy. Click the icon. Then, highlight more of the text that you want formatted in the same way. If you want to format several sections, click the format painter twice to “lock” it on (and once to turn it off when finished). Easy!
When I “reply all” to an e-mail, I get nervous that I’ll click send before I’m ready. However, I don’t want to have to delete and then re-add the names when ready. Therefore, I put a fake name in the “CC:” line. Specifically, I type the words “donotsendyet.” If I accidentally try to send the message, a window will pop up, stating that “donotsendyet” isn’t a valid email. Once it is removed, the message sends normally, and an embarrassing blunder is avoided.
I like fillable PDF forms — the kind where you can type in all of the information in the form and then print. However, that means that the person preparing the PDF document has to have done so in a special way. Recently, someone pointed out to me that when the form isn’t “fillable,” you can go to Tools, select the Typewriter menu and then the “typewriter” option. To be able to type, first click in the desired area, then click “typewriter.” (You must repeat this step each time you want to fill in another section). This allows you to fill in information anywhere on the form. Even if the box isn’t fillable, you can click on it, and complete it as if it were.
With Office Applications, do you highlight text, right-click, and choose copy? Or, do you highlight the text, go to the menu bar, and click the “copy” icon? Did you know that simultaneously depressing the keyboard keys Ctrl (Control) and C (the letter c, either case) is the equivalent? Ctrl+C will act as if you chose the copy icon or the option from the right-click. Furthermore, you can then use Ctrl+V to paste. Best part yet, anything that can be copied and pasted (not just text) will respond to these keyboard shortcuts.
Sending the same basic e-mail to lots of people? Maybe only changing one thing like an invoice number? While a mail merge provides a sophisticated solution, try the following for a quick alternative: Author the first email. Place your cursor on the “TO:” line. Then, click Ctrl+F simultaneously. The system will forward the message, which basically creates a copy of the first email. Change the pertinent details and send out the next email in a snap.
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