Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.

 

 

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Open Recent Office 2008 Docs by Date

Office 2008 applications like Word and Excel now list recently opened documents on a File > Open Recent submenu. Choose More from that menu, and you'll get a multifunction Project Gallery dialog. Click the Recent button at the top and then select a date range in the Dates list to find files that were last opened today, yesterday, earlier in the week, last week, and so forth. (The Settings pane in the Project Gallery dialog lets you set how many recently opened files show in the File > Open Recent submenu.)

 
 

Database and Mail Merge

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The database document type/tool, although not fully integrated into the other modules, is a real treat. It's another seeming retread - basically FileMaker Plus. But what a retread! FileMaker Plus was a terrific flat file database that went through several generations to become FileMaker Pro. It had easy field design and flexible layouts, allowed inclusion of graphics, and was easily modifiable at any point. ClarisWorks updates only a few menus and incorporates the common ClarisWorks features - text and spreadsheet frames - within the overall graphical-object ClarisWorks framework. You'd be hard-pressed to find a much better low-end database.

There's not much integration of the database to the other document types, however. Data copied from the database pastes directly into spreadsheet and word processing frames as tab delimited text, but fields and layouts can't be integrated with charting and graphics.

Claris did integrate the database into the word processing document type in the most important way, or at least in the way in which most people will use it: the mail merge. When a database document is opened, any word processing document or frame can be used as a "model" letter for a mail merge. Selecting Mail Merge from the File menu automatically brings up a dialog box with all possible databases listed. Double-clicking a database brings up all the fields in the database. Double-clicking a field name inserts the field marker at the insertion point. The whole database can then be merged with a click of the OK button. I have yet to see a less painful way of doing a mail merge.

 

New for iOS 8: TextExpander 3 with custom keyboard.
Set up short abbreviations which expand to larger bits of text,
such as "Tx" for "TextExpander". With the new custom keyboard,
you can expand abbreviations in any app, including Safari and
Mail. <http://smle.us/tetouch3-tb>