10 Useful Features in Office 2019

By Wallace Wang

Microsoft Office is famous for burying tons of useful features that most people never know about. Here, you discover some Office 2019 features so you can take advantage of them and make Office 2019 more convenient (and safer) for you to use.

Saving Office 2019 files

Most people dump their documents inside a folder in the Documents folder. Store too many documents in this folder, however, and you’ll find it’s nearly impossible to find anything. To make retrieving files easier, it’s a good idea to store different data in its own folders, such as storing tax-related information in a special Tax Returns folder or invoices in a special 2021 Invoices folder.

Left to its own devices, of course, Office 2019 will cheerfully save all your files in the Documents folder, so you’ll need to tell the program where you want it to save files.

In addition to defining a default folder to store files, you can also define a default file format for your Office 2019 programs. This can be especially useful if you need to share files with others, such as people still stuck using an older version of Microsoft Office (97/2000/XP/2003).

Microsoft Office 2007 and up use a more modern file format in which the file extension consists of more than three letters, such as .docx or .xlsx. This new file format offers additional features not available in the older file format, which has a three-letter file extension, such as .doc or .xls.

Finally, to protect your data (as much as possible) from inevitable computer crashes and hard drive failures, Office 2019 programs include a special AutoRecover feature, which saves a temporary copy of your file at fixed intervals, such as every ten minutes. That way, if the power goes out, you lose only those changes you made in the last ten minutes and not all your changes.

Access doesn’t offer an AutoRecover feature because it automatically saves any changes to your data anyway.

To customize the location, format, and AutoRecover feature of an Office 2019 program, follow these steps:

  1. Load the Office 2019 program you want to customize (such as Excel or PowerPoint).
  2. Click the File tab.
  3. Click Options.

    An Options dialog box appears.

  4. Click Save in the left pane.

    The Options dialog box displays various Save options.

  5. (Optional) To save files that are compatible with previous versions of Office, click in the Save Files in This Format list box and choose a file format, such as the 97–2003 format.
  6. (Optional) To define a default folder, click in the Default Local File Location text box and type the drive and folder.

    Or click the Browse button and then choose a folder.

  7. (Optional) To define how often you want Office 2019 to automatically save your files, select the Save AutoRecover Information Every check box, click in the Minutes text box, and type a value or click the up or down arrow to define a value, such as 7 minutes.
  8. Click OK.

Password-protecting your Office files

To prevent prying eyes from peeking at your Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files, you can password-protect them. That way, if someone wants to open, view, or edit your files, she must use your password. If someone doesn’t know your password, she won’t be able to view — let alone edit — your files.

You (or anyone) can buy programs on the Internet that can crack an Office 2019 password-protected file. For real security, don’t rely on Office 2019’s password-protection feature.

To password-protect a file, follow these steps:

  1. Load Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.
  2. Click the File tab.
  3. Choose Save As.

    The Save As window appears.

  4. Click the Browse button.

    The Save As dialog box appears.

  5. Click the Tools button.

    A pull-down menu appears.

    Office 2019 tools
    The Tools button appears in the bottom-right corner of the Save As dialog box.
  6. Choose General Options.

    The General Options dialog box appears.

  7. To password-protect a file, click in the Password to Open text box and type a password.

    Another dialog box appears and asks you to confirm the password by typing it again.

  8. Type the password again and then click OK.
  9. To define a separate password for modifying a file, click in the Password to Modify text box and type a password.

    This password can be different from the password you typed in Step 6. Another dialog box appears and asks you to confirm the password by typing it again.

  10. Type the password again and then click OK.
  11. Click Save.

You can create a password or remove passwords by repeating the preceding steps and retyping a new password or deleting the password.

Guarding against macro viruses in Office 2019

Macro viruses are malicious programs designed to attach themselves to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. When an unsuspecting victim opens an infected file, the virus can spread and do something nasty, such as deleting your files or deleting the entire contents of your hard drive.

To stop these pests from wrecking your files, get an antivirus program, avoid downloading or accepting any files from unknown people, and turn on Office 2019’s built-in macro-protection feature, which can disable macros or restrict what macro viruses and worms can do even if they infect your computer.

To turn on macro protection in Office 2019, follow these steps:

  1. Load Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.
  2. Click the File tab.
  3. Click Options.

    The Options dialog box appears.

  4. Click Trust Center.

    The Trust Center options appear in the right pane.

  5. Click the Trust Center Settings button.

    The Trust Center dialog box appears.

  6. In the left pane, click Macro Settings.

    The Macro Settings options are displayed.

    Office 2019 Trust Center
    The Trust Center dialog box.
  7. Select one of the following radio buttons:
    • Disable All Macros without Notification: The safest but most restrictive setting, this prevents any macros (valid or viruses) from running when you open the file.
    • Disable All Macros with Notification: This is the default setting; it displays a dialog box that lets you turn on macros if you trust that the file isn’t infected.
    • Disable All Macros Except Digitally Signed Macros: Blocks all macros except for the ones authenticated (previously defined as trusted) by the user.
    • Enable All Macros: This setting runs all macros, which is the most dangerous setting.
  8. Keep clicking OK until you return to the Save As dialog box.
  9. Click Save.

Changing the size of the Office 2019 window

When you load any Office 2019 program, it may expand to fill the entire screen. Although this can give you the most space to work, you may want to see parts of other program windows as well. To toggle between displaying an Office 2019 program at full screen or as a window, click the Restore Down/Maximize icon, which appears in the upper-right corner of the Office 2019 program window.

To expand or shrink an Office 2019 program window, follow these steps:

  1. Load an Office 2019 program, such as Word or Excel.
  2. Click the Restore Down icon.

    The Restore Down icon appears to the left of the Close (X) icon. When you click the Restore Down icon, the window shrinks and the Restore Down icon changes into the Maximize icon. With the Office 2019 window appearing smaller, you can drag or resize it.

    Restore Down Maximize icons Office 2019
    The Restore Down and Maximize icons let you shrink or expand, respectively, an Office 2019 program window.
  3. Click the Maximize icon.

    The Office 2019 program window expands to fill the entire screen again.

Right-clicking the mouse in Office 2019

As a shortcut to giving commands to Office 2019, remember this simple guideline: First select, and then right-click.

So if you want to change text or a picture, first select it to tell Office 2019 what you want to modify. Then right-click the mouse to display a pop-up menu of the commands. These pop-up menus display a list of relevant commands for the item you just selected.

Freezing row and column headings in Excel 2019

One problem with creating large spreadsheets in Excel is that your identifying row and column headings may scroll out of sight if you scroll down or to the right of your worksheet.

To prevent this from happening, you can freeze a row or column that contains identifying labels. That way, when you scroll through your worksheet, your frozen row or column always remains visible.

To freeze a row or column in an Excel worksheet, follow these steps:

  1. Click the View tab.
  2. In the Window group, click the Freeze Panes icon.
  3. Click one of the following:
    • Freeze Panes: Divides a worksheet into multiple panes
    • Freeze Top Row: Always displays the top row, no matter how far down you scroll
    • Freeze First Column: Always displays the first column, no matter how far to the right you scroll

To unfreeze a row or column, repeat Steps 1 through 3 but click Unfreeze Panes in Step 2.

Displaying slides out of order in PowerPoint 2019

When you display a PowerPoint presentation, your slides typically appear in the order in which you arranged them, starting with the first slide. If you want to display your slides in a different order in the middle of a presentation, follow these steps:

  1. Press F5.

    The first slide of your presentation appears.

  2. Type the number of the slide you want to view and press Enter.

    If you want to jump to the fifth slide in your presentation, type 5 and press Enter. If you jump to the fifth slide, clicking the mouse or pressing the spacebar next displays the sixth slide, and then the seventh, and so on.

Print a list of your slide titles and slide numbers on a sheet of paper so that you know which slide number to type to view a particular slide.

Reducing spam in Outlook 2019

If you have an email account, you will get spam, that unwanted email that clogs millions of inboxes every day with obnoxious offers for mortgage refinancing, low-cost prescription drugs, or celebrity pornography. Unless you enjoy deleting these messages manually, you can use Outlook to filter your email for you.

Setting up Outlook’s junk email filter

Outlook can move suspected spam to a special Junk email folder automatically. Because Outlook looks for keywords in spam, be aware that it will never be 100-percent effective in identifying spam. However, it can identify the more blatant spam and save you the time and effort of deleting the messages yourself.

To define Outlook’s spam filter, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Mail icon, in the bottom left corner of the Outlook window.
  2. Click the Home tab.
  3. In the Delete group, click the Junk icon.

    A menu appears.

    Junk menu Office 2019
    The Junk menu.
  4. Click Junk E-mail Options.

    The Junk Email Options dialog box appears.

    Junk email options Outlook 2019
    The Junk Email Options dialog box lets you define how aggressively you want Outlook’s spam filter to work.
  5. Select one of the following radio buttons:
    • No Automatic Filtering: Turns off the Outlook spam filter
    • Low: Identifies and moves most obvious spam to the Junk email folder
    • High: Identifies and moves nearly all spam into the Junk email folder along with some regular email messages, too, so check the Junk email folder periodically to look for valid messages
    • Safe Lists Only: Identifies and moves email messages to the Junk email folder, except for messages sent from addresses listed in your Safe Senders List or Safe Recipients List
  6. Click OK.

    The Options dialog box appears again.

  7. Click OK.

Creating a Safe Senders list in Outlook 2019

A Safe Senders list lets you define all the email addresses from which you want to accept messages. Outlook routes all email from other email addresses directly to your Junk email folder.

The advantage of a Safe Senders list is that it guarantees you will never receive spam. On the downside, it also guarantees that if someone tries to contact you whose email address doesn’t appear on your Safe Senders list, you won’t get that valid message, either.

To create a Safe Senders list, follow Steps 1 through 4 in the section above to display the Junk Email Options dialog box. Then follow these steps:

  1. In the Junk Email Options dialog box, click the Safe Senders tab.

    The Safe Senders tab of the Junk Email Options dialog box appears.

  2. (Optional) Select (or clear) the Also Trust Email from My Contacts check box.

    Selecting this check box tells Outlook that if you store someone’s email address in your Contacts list, you will also accept email from that person.

  3. (Optional) Select (or clear) the Automatically Add People I Email to the Safe Senders List check box.

    Selecting this check box tells Outlook that if you send email to someone, you’ll accept his or her messages in return.

  4. (Optional) Click the Add button.

    The Add Address or Domain dialog box appears.

  5. Type a complete email address.

    Or type a domain name — for example, if you trust everyone from Microsoft.com to send you valid email, type @microsoft.com in this dialog box.

  6. Click OK.
  7. Repeat Steps 4 through 6 for each additional email address or domain you want to add.
  8. Keep clicking OK until all the dialog boxes disappear.

If you click the Safe Recipients tab, you can repeat these steps to define another list of email addresses that you’ll accept as valid.

Creating a Blocked Senders list in Outlook 2019

If a particular email address persists in sending you spam, you can selectively block that single email address or domain. To create a Blocked Senders list, follow Steps 1 through 4 to set up Outlook’s junk email filter to display the Junk Email Options dialog box. Then follow these steps:

  1. In the Junk Email Options dialog box, click the Blocked Senders tab.

    The Blocked Senders tab of the Junk Email Options dialog box appears.

  2. Click the Add button.

    The Add Address or Domain dialog box appears.

  3. Type an email address or domain name, and then click OK.

    The Options dialog box appears again.

  4. Keep clicking OK until all the dialog boxes disappear.

Using Office 365 and Office 2019 on Android and iOS

Office 2019 gobbles up a huge chunk of hard-drive space and bombards you with waves of features that you’ll probably never need (or use) in a million years. In case you want to use Microsoft Office but don’t want to pay its hefty upfront cost, you might like Office 365 instead.

Office 365 provides versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint that you can access over the Internet. As long as you have an Internet connection and a browser, you can use Office 365 to create, edit, and share files with others.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of Office 365 is that you can use it on any computer that has an Internet connection. This means you can use a Macintosh or Linux PC to create Office documents.

Office 365 is basically Microsoft’s answer to Google Docs, so if the idea of using a word processor, spreadsheet, or presentation program over the Internet appeals to you, give Office 365 a try.

In case you don’t like the idea of accessing Office 2019 through the Internet, grab a tablet running Android or iOS. By using Office for Android or iOS, you can create and edit Office files when you’re away from your computer.

Now you can still be productive with your favorite Microsoft Office programs without lugging around a heavy and bulky laptop computer running the full version of Windows 10.