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4 tips and tricks for Microsoft Office 2010

You may still be using Office 2010 – after all, not everyone has hopped keenly on board with the latest version of Office, and not everyone likes all its cloudy bits – and if that's the case, then we've got a small collection of tips for you here. We've got one general tip for the whole suite, and a few that apply to Word and Outlook.

So read on and dig in...

Open recently-used files with two keystrokes

In older versions of Office, the File menu always displayed your recently-used documents, which you could open by typing Alt-F1, then the number of the document on the list (1 for the most recent, 2 for next most recent, etc).

This feature isn't turned on by default in Office 2010, but you can activate it by entering the Back Stage view, selecting Recent, and adding a checkbox next to "Quickly access this number of recent documents." Change the number to whatever number of documents you want to see on the list. In the Recent Documents list, you can pin a document to the list so that it will always appear, even if you haven't opened it recently. You can also pin entire folders to the list of Recent Places in the right-hand column on the menu.

Add a Redaction Tool to Word

Word 2010 doesn't come with a built-in redaction tool, which means that you can't permanently hide text in a Word document. Still, you can add that functionality to Word 2010's Review tab by installing the Word 2007 Redaction Tool. It's the work of a Microsoft engineer, but isn't officially supported by Microsoft (which means there's no guarantee it works). Be careful when you use this tool – when text is replaced by a black box, you can't press Ctrl-Z to reverse the redaction.

Other Office apps let you print the current page (or one or more numbered pages) directly from the Print menu in Back Stage view by clicking the down arrow next to the Print All Pages button to see the Page Range options. Outlook doesn't offer those options on its Print menu; instead, you must click the tiny Print Options button on the Print menu, then select a Page Range option.

Make your own quick steps in Outlook

Outlook's Quick Steps feature lets you create one-click (or one-keystroke) email actions – for example, moving a message to a folder you use for archiving messages. You create a new Quick Step by going to Outlook's Home tab, then clicking Quick Steps, Create New. There you'll assign a name, shortcut key, and tooltip for your Quick Step, then use the drop down menus to select one or more actions. When you're done, your new Quick Step will be available from the gallery of Quick Steps in the Home tab, or via a shortcut key.