Tuesday, 25 June 2013

How to adjust Table of Contents (TOC) Page Margin in MS Word

A table of contents (TOC) in MS Word is a useful tool that helps to easily navigate a document. It is especially useful when writing books and ebooks. However, if you have ever tried to adjust the page margin, then you know how problematic it can be; I am referring to the specific situation where you want to adjust the page margins of your table of contents but you don't want to change the margins in the rest of the document. This may become necessary if you find that your TOC page numbers are too far aligned to the right such that when the document is printed, the page numbers appear too close to the ebook/book margin.

One way to remedy this is to adjust the margins on the entire document as the Word 2010 example below shows. 

However, this may end up increasing the page count significantly, which may end up as a disadvantage especially when you intend to publish the book. A higher page count translates to higher printing costs, thus, the above fix may not work for you.
The best solution is to adjust the margins of the table of contents without affecting the rest of the document. This is how to do it.

Step 1 - Navigate to the "View" tab and select "Outline" view.
Step 2 - Create section breaks at the top and bottom of your table of contents. In essence, you want to confine your TOC to a different section so that you can adjust the page margins in this section without affecting the rest of the document. Navigate to the "Page Layout" tab. Place your cursor at the point just above the table of contents title. In the "Breaks" drop down menu, click on "Next Page" as shown below.

Again, place your cursor at the end of your table of contents in Outline View and create a section break as described above. You should end up with section breaks above and below your TOC as shown below.

Step 3 - Close the Outline view and return to Print Layout view. Click anywhere on the table of contents page then navigate to the "Page Layout" tab. Adjust your page margins normally. If the TOC page numbers were too far aligned to the right, adjust the "Right" margin to your satisfaction. Ensure that the "Apply to" field is set to "This Section". This is very important because failure to do so will effect changes to the entire document. See below.

Click "OK" and check to confirm that the page margin changes have only been effected on the table of contents...and that's it!

Also learn how to create a clickable table of contents.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

How to use the MS Word (2007 and 2010) Styles Feature

Microsoft Word has a couple of nifty tools that save you lots of time when writing and editing documents. One of these features is the Styles feature.  This article details how to use styles in Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. The simplest way to format your MS Word documents is by making use of the inbuilt predefined styles. On your Home tab there are a number of styles listed. You should have something similar to the image below:

Below is some sample text for the purposes of this tutorial. We want to format this text and as you can see, the default style is the Normal style.

The first thing that you would want to do is to change the headings so that they stand out from the rest of the text.  Select each of the headings on your document and click on ‘Heading 1’ option on the tab. You should then end up with text as shown below:

As you can see the heading ‘Post’ stands out from the rest of the text in the document.
Let’s say for some reason you need to change the color of your heading to red. Right click on the tab you used to set the Heading styles as shown below:

Click on the ‘Modify’ option and change the settings to your preferences and then click ‘OK’.

You should then end up with text as shown below:

As you can see, we have changed the color of the heading from blue to red. It really is that simple!
Now that you know how to format your headings, let’s look at how to format the main text in your document. Let’s say you want to italicize the main body text and change the font color to blue. Here is how to do it:
On the ‘Styles’ tab, click on the ‘Modify’ option as shown in the earlier example. Right click on the option ‘Normal’ and select your preferred formatting you will end up with something like this:

As you can see it’s all quite easy to do and saves you a lot of time having to go back and format every small detail in your word document.

What is the importance of the styles feature?

MS Word Styles improve the appearance of your document and make it more appealing to your readers in the following ways:

  • Headings in a different font from the rest of the text
  • Indented bulleted lists
  • Adequate white space separating paragraphs
  • Emphasized text in a contrasting color.
  • Styles also save you lots of time.
  • It is easy to identify important aspects of a document that has been formatted using styles; a reader is able to quickly navigate a document.
  • Styles also give your documents a professional look.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Drop Cap in Word 2010 doesn't Work

This post will teach you how to correct the error where drop cap in Word 2010 doesn't work. For some strange reason you may find that you are completely unable to make a letter at the beginning of a paragraph drop cap. This may be despite the fact that you have been editing a document and everything has been moving along smoothly. In most cases, its quite a simple problem with a fast remedy as outlined below.

This is how your document probably looks when you try to drop cap

Step 1 - In your 'paragraph' ribbon, click on the icon that show/hides hidden symbols and paragraph formatting as shown below. 

Step 2 - Delete the little "arrow" as shown above so that your document now looks like the document below.

Step 3 - Voila! that's it. Highlight the first letter in your paragraph and you will notice the drop cap option is now available in your 'text' ribbon within the 'insert' tab as shown below. 

Its as simple as that ... glad to help.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

PowerPoint Won’t Open – Recover File

PowerPoint is one of the most useful of the Office suite of software offerings. Versatile and accessible, it is responsible for great presentations, and some excellent management of information flow. However, like all software titles, it does suffer from the odd problem. One of the biggest issues literally freezes the work that is being done. This is when PowerPoint simply does not open. Unfortunately, for many people this creates a bit of a brick wall, as they don’t have the technical knowledge to help them deal with such an issue. One of the biggest issues is with older PowerPoint files. When working with PowerPoint 2010, for example, sometimes older files simply refuse to open, leaving you in trouble if you are about to start your presentation. If this is the case, and an older file is not working in PowerPoint 2010, then there is a simple solution that should solve it quite easily.

 Open the problem file in the original version of PowerPoint that the file was first created on (PowerPoint 2007 for example). Then rename that file in the 2007 version. Then, all you have to do is convert them to the kind of file that you need (in this case PowerPoint 2010). If the files are even older, perhaps even stretching back to version 3.0, there is still hope there. These will not open readily by any means, but there are solutions at hand. The reason for these older files failing to open is something else. Microsoft is justifiably proud of PowerPoint because nearly everyone uses it. In fact, it is estimated that over 1 billion people currently have it installed on their computer. But when it released a service pack in 2003 it disabled older versions of PowerPoint, making the files created on any version older than 2003. This was an incredibly strange thing to do, and it lost Microsoft a number of fans. Thankfully, some enterprising developers have brought out PowerPoint convertor software that makes it easy to take the old files and convert them into something that can be used on PowerPoint 2003 upwards. There are a number of companies that provide this kind of software.

The old PowerPoint Error Code 108

 This error message has been routinely frustrating PowerPoint users for years. This error message sometimes flashes up when you find yourself unable to open a presentation. It generally means that the file has some kind of protection attached to it that prevents it from being opened. It is easily fixable. We will take a look at how you can fix it if you are using PowerPoint 2010. Generally speaking, this error message occurs because the file you are trying to open has some kind of password protection attached to it. You can solve this by:

1.      Opening up the presentation in the version of the software it was first created in, and then typing the password.
2.      Click the File tab, then the Info tab, and then click Protect Presentation. Once you have done this, you can then click on Encrypt with Password.
3.      In the Encrypt Document dialog box that appears, delete any password text and then click on OK.

This will solve the problem if you get that dreaded 108-error message. 

The dreaded email attachment 

You may find that you get the following error message when you try to open up PowerPoint: PowerPoint cannot open the type of file represented by filename.ppt.’ One reason for this may be that you were sent the file as an email attachment. While email is incredibly convenient and quick, it doesn’t take too kindly to PowerPoint sometimes. The email may have been corrupted as it made it’s way to you through cyberspace. This does happen more often than you think. To combat this problem, you just need to talk to the sender. Ask them to re-send the file as a zipped file. You can do this through Microsoft’s own zip utility or you can use a piece of software like WinZip. Once they have zipped the file all they have to do then is resend it to you. 

Problems with fonts

 This happens more often than not, and it often happens to people who have put together presentations time and time again. They load up their computer, ensure that the cables are in place, and the people are in the room and then they check out the screen. The fonts are different to what you originally had; this is a real problem because having different fonts makes it much harder to get your point across. The fonts were part of the point and helped with the message. What do you do? Well, you need to think about the fact that you are probably not using your own laptop to make the presentation. This happens when you have a job interview, for example. If this is the case, the solution is easy. You need to make sure that your presentation has the fonts embedded. Otherwise, the new laptop will override your fonts in favor of its own. Open up the dialog options box and get to work. Click on PowerPoint options and then click Embed Fonts.

The screen goes black 

This is a simple one. The usual reason for the screen going black is the fact that the screensaver setting is not appropriate for your level of usage. So you may have a presentation that runs for ten minutes with a screensaver setting that means your screen goes black at five minutes. Simple, yes, but it happens to a lot of people, and is the reason for many presentations falling rather flat.  So, there we have some PowerPoint problems and how to solve them. As you can see, most of them are very simple and don’t require anything other than a rational approach to problem solving and good basic knowledge as to how PowerPoint works. It is always worth consulting the instruction manual before you make any major changes to the way the software works. If you feel that you have hit a wall with problems like these, Microsoft has an outstanding support system, which you can access by hitting the F1 key on your keyboard. 

If you are having much more serious problems with your PowerPoint, then you should consider getting Free Powerpoint Recovery Software.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


In my previous post titled "Outlook Keeps Shutting Down", I explained how to locate the outlook.pst file by obtaining the path to the file (checking the personal older under 'data management' which is found in the 'file' drop down menu of Microsoft Outlook). However, an anonymous commenter asked, "How do I locate PST file if Outlook won't open?". I was quick to provide an answer only to later realize that some important detail had escaped my attention. I therefore decided to write this blog post to address this issue in more detail and clarity.


Unless you have previously tinkered with your Outlook.pst file, the default path to this file is  C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.pst. Therefore, under normal circumstances you should be able to simple navigate to this file using Windows Explorer. However, Windows XP hides this file and many other from view by default. This is done for security issues. To confirm this, go to the Administrator folder and click on 'Select All' from the 'Edit' drop down menu. You will get a pop up informing you that some files cannot be selected because they are hidden and you need to change the settings using the Folder Options Control Panel.


  • To get to the Folder Options Control Panel go to the Start menu and click on Control Panel
  • Next, click on Appearance and Themes
  • Now click on Folder Options as shown below
  • Next, select the 'View' tab as shown below
  • Now click on the radio button "Show hidden files and folders" as shown below.

  • Finally, click on 'Apply' then 'OK'


Once you have changed the settings in your Folder Options Control Panel as demonstrated above, you can now easily navigate to the Outlook folder and locate the Outlook.pst file. Go to 'My computer--local disk C:--Documents and Settings--Administrator(or your user ID)--Local Settings-Application Data--Microsoft--Outlook.' The screen shots below demonstrate the path.

I hope that with this blog post I have adequately addressed the bothersome issue of locating the Outlook.pst file especially in cases where Outlook will not open. 

If your outlook PST file needs to be repaired, then consider getting a free Outlook PST repair tool

Leave a comment if you find this useful.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Outlook Keeps Shutting Down - 'Microsoft Outlook 2007 has Encountered a Problem and Needs to Close'

Have you recently suffered the excruciating annoyance of your Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 email program suddenly displaying the message "Microsoft Office Outlook has encountered a problem and needs to shut down"? This problem can happen over and over, greatly interfering with your ability to get any work done. Many of the solutions on the Internet refer users to PST (personal store) folders and PST files. But, what if you have no idea what a PST file or a PST folder is, does this mean you have to call in a professional IT support geek? Thankfully, after looking around for a fix, I found a fix that any non-techie can use to fix this problem without having to learn how to repair a PST file. Incidentally, PST files are the local data stores used by Outlook and they have a nasty tendency to become corrupted.

So here is the fix,

Step One - Run Office Diagnostics

Begin by running 'Office Diagnostics' from within Outlook 2007 as shown in the screen cap below:

In the screen that pops up, click 'continue' and Office Diagnostics will begin running checks to see if there are any problems with your email program as shown below:

If diagnostics finds any problems, follow the instructions provided to get a solution. However, in most cases, diagnostics may not find a problem and when you run Outlook you encounter the same problem. If this is the case, move on to step two.

Step Two - Run SCANPST.exe

SCANPST is an executable file (ending with the extension .exe i.e. the file name is scanpst.exe) and a utility repair tool that comes pre-installed by Microsoft to fix these PST file issues. You need to manually locate the file in your computer's program files and double click on it. The program files are normally found in this directory C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office. In Windows XP, go to "My Computer" then, 'Local Disk' and then open the 'Program Files' folder. Look for the SCANPST file under the 'Office 12' folder as shown below:
Before you run this repair tool, you need to locate your PST file. The easiest and fastest way to locate your personal folders (PST files are complex databases that store your contact information, emails etc) is to use Outlook 2007 to locate the files. In the file menu, go to 'Data File Management'. Click on 'Personal Folders' as shown below then 'Open Folder'.

Windows explorer opens the folder showing the location of the Outlook PST file as seen below:

You need to take note of the path to the PST file. In this example, the path is C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.pst. This is very important because you will need this information to run the SCANPST tool. If you cannot locate the Outlook.pst file because Outlook shuts down before you can get the path, read this post on how to locate outlook.pst file in XP.

Next, go back to your SCANPST tool and double click on it. You will get a pop up requesting the name of the file you want to scan. Enter the file name by specifying the full path to the file, for this example, C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.pst. See below:

Close Outlook before you click on 'Start'. The tool will then begin checking your personal folder for problems.

If a problem is found, it will request to perform a backup of the file before effecting repairs. Click on 'repair' and the tool commences to effect the repairs to your personal folder file. Once the scan is complete, you will get a pop up similar to the one below:

Click on 'OK' and restart Outlook 2007 and check if the problem repeats itself. To be completely sure, repeat the same process with the archive.pst file which is located in the same folder as the outlook.pst file.
This fix should solve most problems that report cause Outlook to shut down and report that 'Microsoft Office Outlook has encountered a problem and needs to close'.

Leave a comment if this fix worked for you or if you know of a better fix non-techie fix let me know about it.

If this fix does not work for you, try this free Advanced Outlook Repair Tool.

Suggested Reading
How to Recover a Lost Word Document

Monday, 28 March 2011

The File (.docx) Cannot be Opened because there are Problems with the Contents - Unspecified Error

There are a number of errors you receive from MS Word (.docx). However, the above error can be particularly annoying since none of the recommended fixes on the Microsoft site and in many of the help forums seems to work. The error "The file cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents" is easy to resolve. The error is an "Unspecified error" and a screen prompt usually provides information on where the error is located in the Word XML file (the exact line and column). Personally, when I tried to fix the document using the "open and repair" feature it did not work. I then got some information from the Microsoft site with some very complicated instructions about unzipping the Word file to get the XML document, editing it  and then zipping it back. I found all of this very confusing and cumbersome.

However, I stumbled upon a quick and easy work around and this is how it works (You will need to use Internet Explorer browser for this fix to work):

Step one - Open a Microsoft live or Hotmail account if you don't already have one. If you do log in.

Step two - On the top menu, hover your mouse on "Office" and then click on "your documents" as shown in the screen capture below.

Step three - Next, navigate to "Add files" as shown below. Select the corrupted .docx file from the location on your computer and upload it to Office docs.

Step four - Go to "My Documents" and click on "Edit in Browser" as shown in the screen capture below.

Step five - The .docx file will open in the browser. Kindly note that this is the reason you need to use Internet Explorer. This feature does not work in Mozilla or Chrome.

Note: from the screen shot you have the option of opening the document in Word. However, you need to fix the document before opening it word. This error is found in documents with a "table of contents". Normally, the document gets corrupted while you are in the process of saving it and Word is no longer able to read the table of contents. The solution is to delete the table of contents, click "save" and then open the document in word by clicking on the "open in word" icon. This launches MS Word 2007 on your computer and voila! the document opens but without the table of contents. All you now need to do is to rebuild your table of contents and save the document again.

This fix has worked wonderfully for me on two occasions when large documents which both had a table of contents got corrupted. I was able to recover them using this method in less than five minutes. For some reason, the documents can be opened online but cannot open locally on your computer. There appears to be a bug in MS Word 2007 (.docx) which the guys at Microsoft do not want to admit to. All other fixes recommended on their website DO NOT work. I am not sure if the same fix works with Google Docs, I suspect it might though there is the limitation that you can only upload documents up to 1mb which is quite limiting if you work with large documents. Microsoft Office Live Workspace is one of the best online backup service and allows you to upload a document as large as 25MB.
I will post an update once I test this fix on Google Docs for small documents of less than 1MB ... or you can try it out yourself and post a comment back here letting us know if it works.

See Part II of this fix or try Free Word Recovery Software.

Suggested Reading
How to Recover a Lost Word Document