Grid Lines Missing in Excel Spreadsheet [Tutorial]

I came across an interesting problem with one of my end users the other day. They said they couldn’t see the lines on their spreadsheet anymore. This is usually a pretty easy problem to solve. In the image below, you will notice that by going to the “View” tab and clicking the check box beside “Gridlines”, you can toggle the lines on and off. Unfortunately, this was not the problem in this case.

Grid Lines

When I got to the users PC, I saw a screen similar to what is pictured below. I did the step above only to find that she did have “Gridlines” toggled on.


Why weren’t the grid lines showing up? It didn’t make any sense. As is almost always the case, it’s the little things that people forget to tell you they were doing that will point you in the right direction. I discovered that the user had filled the cells with the color white. When you put a fill color in a cell, the gridlines disappear unless you have applied a border to that cell. Once I figured out what they did, the fix was pretty easy. In the picture below, you will see the “Fill Color” button selected from the “Home” tab on the ribbon toolbar. With the cells you want to fix selected, click the “Fill Color” button and choose “No Fill” from the menu. Like magic your gridlines will reappear.

No Fill

I hope you found this quick tutorial helpful. If you have any feedback or would like a question answered, please feel free to write. We love hearing from our readers.

For more tutorials, check out!

Create Rich and Interactive Data Mashups with Excel

Microsoft has launched a new service that allows developers to quickly create rich and interactive data mashups for their sites.

Microsoft Excel

Follow three easy steps to develop mashups with Microsoft Excel web App on SkyDrive using JavaScript:

  • Upload your workbook on SkyDrive
  • Embed it on your web site
  • Mash it up with our JavaScript API

Before you can embed your Excel workbook on a web page, you need to upload it a folder on SkyDrive and then set permissions on the workbook. Once   you have your workbook uploaded to SkyDrive, you can use the SkyDrive Embed dialog box to get the HTML and JavaScript code that will embed the workbook on a Web page. Now, you can use the Excel Services JavaScript library to make rich data mashups using data from your embedded workbook.

While the iframe code only displays the spreadsheet on a Web page, Microsoft Excel Web App also generates a JavaScript snippet that you can paste into the HTML of your web page alternatively. This JavaScript snippet consists of an HTML div element that displays the spreadsheet and a script element that sets options for appearance and interactivity. You can add your own code to programmatically manipulate the embedded spreadsheet.

Excel Mashup

An Outlook Add-In that Prevents ‘Reply All’

Gavin Smyth at Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK, has created a neat utility for Microsoft Outlook that prevents people from replying to all the recipients of a message or forwarding it. The add-in uses a facility built into Outlook and Exchange that is more lightweight than information-rights management but is not exposed as a feature in the existing UI.

Interestingly, the email recipient does not need to have this add-in installed to have Reply All disabled. The application uses the flags that are handled by Outlook and Exchange, as long as the sender and recipient are on the same Exchange Server. This lightweight utility is designed for accidental replies or forwarding, and is not a robust security solution. The recipient could of course, use the add-in to re-enable Reply All. If you are looking for security, you’ll have to go with IRM.

The add-in also includes a couple of other features to check for common email errors. It warns you if you send an email with a blank subject line. Although this feature is built into Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007 users would like it. It also includes a detector for missing attachments when you send an email. Apart from looking for keywords like attached’ or attachment’ in the body of the email, the add-in has another list intended to be contexts in which the keywords should be ignored (such as legalese in an email signature). The add-in also attempts to distinguish between embedded images and other attachments so an email signature with an image shouldn’t trick the tool into thinking an attachment is already present.

The setup is just 0.63 MB in size and the application works well with Outlook 2007 and 2010. When you launch setup.exe to install, the following components are also installed, if they are not already present, before the  NoReplyAll add-in is installed:

  • Windows Installer 3.1
  • Microsoft.NET Framework 3.5 SP1
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Tools for Office Runtime


Microsoft India Indulges in a Bollywood Chase

Yes, Techie-Buzz is still a technology blog. We still couldn’t help having Shahrukh Khan feature twice here in the last couple of months. In October, I wrote about Shahrukh Khan’s aggressive digital marketing for his film RA.One. Now, for his upcoming release, Don 2, Microsoft India in partnership with Excel Entertainment, the producers of the film, has launched a unique contest which gives winners a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet SRK and travel to Berlin.


To enter the Meet the Don2: Mission Berlin contest, you need to buy one of the Microsoft products Windows 7 PC, Windows Phone, Microsoft Office 2010, or Xbox 360 from a retail store in the contest period and then answer five simple questions and write a catchy slogan at The contest runs from November 25th to December 20th, 2011. If your entry is shortlisted, you will be asked to send a copy of the invoice as a proof of purchase.

The first 1000 correct and complete entries will win 4 tickets to the first day first show of Don 2 to watch it with family and friends. Top five winning families with best slogan will get a chance to meet Shahrukh Khan in person. And one of the luckiest family amongst these will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the beautiful, historic city of Berlin. Don 2 is shot in Berlin and the sightseeing arrangements include trips to shooting spots!

Well, Microsoft India just made the futile chase to Don possible!

Finding the “Select All” Command in Office 2010

As an IT Manager, I have supported desktop applications in some form or fashion for nearly 13 years. One thing I have learned in all of these years is that people get used to doing tasks a certain way. When software developers make sweeping changes to their applications, it often creates havoc for those who use them – not to mention the fact that it creates quite a bit of trouble for those of us supporting those applications. When Microsoft introduced the Office 2007 and 2010 suites, a lot of things changed for end users. I am a big fan of the new Office. However, I believe that there were changes made to Office 2010 that confused a lot of loyal users.

Today, I encountered a scenario where a very frustrated user was trying to find the “Select All” option in Outlook 2010. Unfortunately, when Microsoft introduced the Ribbon toolbar, the common menus like “Edit” went the way of the dinosaur. Of course, some experienced users will say, “just hit ctrl + A”. I am right there with you. However, remember my earlier statement about people doing tasks a certain way? Well, if you’re one of those and you need help getting the “Select All” option back, you’re in luck! There is a way to get to a lot of the old commands that you were used to in Office 2010.

In Office 2010, you will find a Quick Access Toolbar similar to the one pictured below. Click the black downward pointing arrow on the toolbar.

Quick Access Toolbar

Once you click the arrow, you will see the menu pictured below. Notice that there are several popular commands on the menu. However, “Select All” is not. We need to click “More Commands” on the menu.


A “customize” dialog box appears. Under the heading “Choose commands from:”, you will see a list of commands under the heading “Popular Commands”. Click the arrow to the right and choose “All Commands”. This will show us all of the commands available in Office 2010.

All Commands

Now we can pick “Select All” from the list and click the “Add” button. This will add that command to the Quick Access Toolbar, which is easily accessible at the top of every Office 2010 window.

Add Command

There you have it! It is pretty much that simple. I hope that you find this little tip useful.

If you find little annoyances that you would like some help with, please drop us a line. We love hearing from our readers and would like to help in any way that we can. Thanks for reading Techie Buzz!

Create A Cool Photo Album With PowerPoint 2010

Have you ever gone on vacation and wanted an easy way to share photos with your family and friends? Maybe you’re an art teacher that teaches an online class and you would like to share slides with everyone in the class. There is a super easy way to create a photo album slide show in PowerPoint 2010. It is also extremely easy to share this photo album with anybody in the world using a free service built into PowerPoint 2010. Let’s get started!

We’ll begin by opening PowerPoint. By default, you should see a blank PowerPoint show. Click the “Insert” tab on the ribbon toolbar and then find a button that says “Photo Album”. Click “Photo Album” and choose “New Photo Album” from the menu. See the image below for an example.

Insert Photo Album

A dialog box will pop up, as pictured below. Click the button that says “File/Disk” to bring up a file selection window.

File Button

In the file selection window, navigate to the folder that contains the pictures you would like to have in your album. In the picture below, you will see that I have selected multiple pictures. I did this by holding the ctrl key down and clicking each picture that I wanted to select. Once you have all of the pictures that you want to include selected, click the “Insert” button.

File Selection Window

You will be taken back to the “Edit Photo Album” dialog box. There are several options in this dialog, as you can see in the picture below. You can rearrange the order of the pictures. On the far right side, there is a small toolbar for quick photo edits, such as brightness and contrast. You can also change the layout of the slide to hold multiple photos. The “Theme” dropdown lets you pick one of PowerPoint’s built in color schemes.

Edit Photo Album

Below, you can see what a photo album slide show looks like.

Finished Album

Now that we have our photo album designed, we have to figure out how we want to distribute it. There are two ways I would like to show you how to do this. The first way is to save it as a PowerPoint show. A PowerPoint show can be emailed and the person on the receiving end can see the slides without having to see them in edit mode. One thing you might want to do, if you set it up as a show, is configure the slides to automatically change. To do this you click on the “Slide Show” tab and click the button that says “Set Up Slide Show”, as pictured below.

Set Up Show

Below, you can see a picture of the “Set Up Show” dialog box. Here you can configure the slide show to open full screen and to advance either manually or automatically. This is also the place you go if you want a presentation to loop over and over until you stop it.

Use Timings

Now that we have the settings in place, let’s save the show. In the save window pictured below, you will notice a “Save As Type” dropdown. In this instance, we want to choose “PowerPoint Show (*.ppsx)”. This puts it in a format we can email to people for viewing.

Save As

The second way you can share your PowerPoint show is via a new feature in 2010 called “Broadcast”. The broadcast will allow you to present your show online for free. A link is generated that you can send to people. When they click the link, they will be taken to a web page where they view the show in real time as you present it to them. In the picture below, you can see how this is done. Click “File”, “Broadcast Slide Show”, then click the “Broadcast Slide Show” button.


A “Broadcast Slide Show” dialog box appears, where you click the button that says “Start Broadcast”.

Start Broadcast

A link is created that you can send to the people you want to view the show. Now you can get everyone in a conference call and click the “Start Slide Show” button. As you click through the slides, the people you invited will see the slide advance on the web page they are viewing. It’s as simple as that, and it’s free!

Share Link

I hope you have enjoyed today’s tutorial. I think that this is a great way to cross geographical boundaries and share photos and presentations. What about you? Have you used this service? Do you have any ideas that you would suggest for its use?

As always, we appreciate your feedback. Thanks for reading Techie Buzz!

How To Activate Office 2010

Recently, we were asked by a user on how to activate on their PC. Office 2010 activation is a simple process and you can get it done automatically when you enter your Office 2010 product key, however, if you missed out on that, you can also activate Office 2010 separately.

Also Read: How To Extract Microsoft Office 2010 Product Key

Users can activate their Office 2010 installation using various methods as per their convenience. The most easiest way is to Activate Office 2010 over the Internet. Using the internet method is basically very fast and almost immediate.

Microsoft help states that:

The Activation Wizard automatically contacts the Microsoft licensing servers through your Internet connection. If you are using a valid Product Key that has not already been used for the allowed number of installations, your product is activated immediately

When you activate through the Internet, your product ID (derived from the installation Product Key) is sent to Microsoft. A response (the confirmation ID) is sent back to your computer to activate your product. If you choose to activate your product through the Internet and you are not already connected, the wizard alerts you that there is no connection.

You can also activate Microsoft Office using telephone. In this case you will have to go through a series of steps on the phone and follow them to activate your product.

You can telephone an Activation Center and activate your product with the help of a customer service representative.

However, the numbers you have to call will be given to you by the Activate by telephone wizard on your computer because there are several service centers across the world and you will be shown a local number which can be used to activate your product.

You will find some valuable information on activating your Office 2010 product over the phone at this link.

Don’t Forget to Check Out Some Free Alternatives for Microsoft Office And Tips and Tricks for Office

Now is the Time to Switch to Microsoft Office 2010 [Editorial]

If you are one of those people who err on the side of caution, and avoid jumping on the Microsoft bandwagon with every update, you’re not alone. Fact is, I am right there with you. For a number of reasons, I have found myself to be a late adopter when it comes to new software versions. The most pressing reason for my delay is cost. The second is the issue of training. In this article, I would like to tell you how I overcame some of my reservations and why I think now is the time to switch to Office 2010.

My first reservation with upgrading to any new version of software is cost. Office 2010 offers real bang for your buck, though! I love the fact that Microsoft offers different combinations of products in this set of Office suites. It’s not just one size fits all anymore. Below, you will see a chart that shows which products come with the different suites. For example, if you don’t use Access or Publisher, you will be better off going with the cheaper Home and Business Edition. This gives much needed flexibility for your budget.

Office 2010 Versions

In addition to the flexibility in the purchasing decision, Office 2010’s features really are great. The big feature that sold me on Office 2010 is the ability to collaborate  using Web Apps. If you have a Windows Live account (which can be set up for free) or a Windows  SharePoint  server, you can publish your Office documents straight to the web. You can literally work on your documents anywhere where you have web access. With Windows Live SkyDrive you have 25GB of FREE storage for your documents. But wait, there’s more! The graphics capabilities have improved dramatically. The addition of Sparklines in Excel is a great addition, too. I count these features as a good return on investment.

The next hurdle to upgrading that I had to overcome was the thought of having to retrain everyone in the office on how to use this new version. If you are in the same boat, allow me to put your fears to rest; this is one of the most intuitive versions of Office to date. There are also tons of resources available to help you familiarize yourself and your trainees with the new features in Office 2010. Microsoft Office’s website has an entire section dedicated to training, not to mention some great tutorials here on Techie Buzz!

Why is now the time to make the switch, though? Office 2003 is getting old. It will be 8 years old in November! Yep, I could hardly believe it myself. In fact, Microsoft ended mainstream support for Office 2003 back in April of 2009. See the chart below to learn more about Office 2003’s support schedule.

Microsoft Mainstream Support

When mainstream support ends, a lot of software developers stop making software compatible with the aging version. This is mostly because it raises their cost of development if they needed support from Microsoft for some reason.

I believe Microsoft did a lot of things right with Office 2010. Offering different versions to suit the budget, and needs, of different users was a great start. They added some really nice and useful features, key word here being useful. I hope this gives you a little more confidence if you were on the fence about making the switch to Office 2010. I am as skeptical a guy as you’ll ever meet, but I believe that this is a switch worth making. As always, I would love to hear your feedback. Feel free to comment at the bottom of this post.

Windows and Desktop Software Aren’t Dead

The debacle’ of Windows Vista and the proliferation of quality Web applications had Microsoft on a sticky wicket couple of years back. Critics, and even a section of fans, wondered if Microsoft could pull off a winner in Windows 7 against the negative sentiments and the overt Apple hype and if Microsoft was doing a wise thing investing in desktop applications in the age of online productivity suites.Windows 7

Well the obituary writers were clearly wrong if the numbers are any testimony. Great reviews by both consumers and businesses followed the launch of Windows 7 in October 2009, and today at the annual Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles, Steve Ballmer announced that more than 400 million Windows 7 licenses have been sold in less than two years. During the keynote, Ballmer also announced that Office 2010, shipped in June 2010, has sold over 100 million copies.

Microsoft Corp.’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) is a four-day event that celebrates the accomplishments of the company’s global partners. Steve Ballmer delivered the keynote on the first day of the event today before nearly 15,000 partners from around the globe. You can find the recording of the keynote here.

Windows is arguably the heart of the Redmond company and   Windows and Office together have traditionally been major revenue-grossers for Microsoft in the consumer as well as enterprise market. A dent in this space would’ve hurt Microsoft’s overall ecosystem. In a rough sense, an enterprise not on Windows is most likely not a customer of any of the Microsoft’s slew of server and enterprise products.

The latest numbers reveal that Microsoft is still going strong with the old workhorses – in sales, if not in the mindshare. Windows 7 is the fastest-selling operating system in history and according to a previous statement by Microsoft, 7 copies of Windows 7 sold every second. According to Net Applications, Windows 7 is now running on 27.13% of all PCs worldwide as of June 2011. Office 2010 is also the fastest-selling version of Office in history.

Microsoft Office 2010 Service Pack 1 Now Available

Microsoft is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the release of Office 2010 this month. Also, Microsoft has now released Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Office 2010 which provides the latest updates for Office 2010.

Office 2010

This service pack includes:

  • Previously unreleased fixes that were made specifically for this service pack
  • All the public updates that were released through June 2011
  • All the cumulative updates that were released through April 2011

In addition to general product fixes, these fixes include improvements in stability, performance, and in security. There is Office 365 integration all over, and enhanced integration with Windows Live SkyDrive in OneNote. Office 365 was launched globally a couple of days back.

Access 2010 SP1

Access 2010 SP1 adds a new feature to integrate community content in the Application Parts gallery.   It also fixes an issue that occurs when you try to export an Access file to an Excel workbook and improves the performance when publishing client forms that contains embedded images.

Excel 2010 SP1

Excel SP1 improves the overall stability, performance, and backward compatibility with earlier versions of Excel for the Czech, Dutch, Danish, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish languages.

OneNote 2010 SP1

OneNote 2010 SP1 has a tighter integration and improved synchronization with OneNote notebooks on Windows Live SkyDrive. OneNote 2010 SP1 now uses Windows Live Essentials to log on to Windows Live SkyDrive. It also adds several performance improvements when a shared notebook is used by lots of users with section groups or when you create a new page by using a template. OneNote 2010 SP1 now highlights items within the search results.

Outlook 2010 SP1

Outlook 2010 SP1 includes Office 365 support and can be set to always use the default sending account.

PowerPoint 2010 SP1

The default behavior for the Use Presenter View option is changed to display the slide show on the secondary monitor, and display the notes on the primary monitor. Also, PowerPoint Viewer is now included with the Package for CD option.

Word 2010 SP1

Word 2010 SP1 includes a dialog box that warns users that the custom XML will be lost when files that use custom XML markups are saved in XML-based file formats. Now, certain fields are available when you use the APA 6th and MLA 7th edition styles in the Bibliography feature. Word 2010 SP1 now displays the map correctly when you use the Display Map function and paragraph indents are no longer lost when you edit other paragraph properties.


You can obtain and install the service pack via Microsoft Update or download the SP1 package from Microsoft Download Center. Download the Microsoft Office 2010 Service Pack 1: 32-bit | 64-bit