Tip o’ the Week #151 – dates, leaks, sides

clip_image001First, an update on last week’s ToW. Both Daryl Gywn & Will Thompson pointed out a quicker way of displaying the date & time (past intern-ship in the STU must have developed a keen sense of observation that other roles don’t develop) – simply display the Charms by…

  • swiping from the right if you’re a touchy sort,
  • by throwing your mouse into the bottom right corner then moving it up if you’re more 2-dimensional,
  • pressing WindowsKey+C if you’re such a productivity demon that you can’t even suffer the time to take your hands away from the keyboard. Press the same again to get rid of the Charms so you can get back to cranking out whatever you were doing before you needed to check the time (eg the email 1 minute after the deadline for sending that email).

Now that you’ve tried out each of these, or at least settled on your favourite, you’ll spot that when you display the Charms (regardless of which app you’re in, even if looking at the classic Desktop), you’ll see the day, date & time is displayed in the lower left of the screen, in nice big friendly letters and numbers. Easy!

Another erratum, of sorts – if you installed “The Time” application from last week’s tip, you would be well advised to check for and install any updates, since one or two have been issued for the app (via the Store – see ToW #149 regarding app updates). It turns out the app was originally doing something entirely legitimate (at least the developer says so, and the customer is always right after all) but which was causing the “Runtime Broker” application to leak memory like one of those round things with all the holes in it. If you’re seeing error messages from Windows 8 saying it’s running out of virtual memory, then you’re very likely to be getting hit with this issue/side effect. The Time app is presumably doing its otherwise legitimate things differently now, as it’s all fixed.

clip_image002To check on the status of memory leaks etc, simply fire up Task Manager (press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC, or else you can do all manner of faffing about with the mouse or 3-fingered salute keys if you must), and click on the Memory column to sort. Don’t be alarmed to see Outlook take the lion’s share of your machine’s resource – it does that. You may find other Office apps and Internet Explorer are shortly behind – worry not, they’re just being efficient by using the memory the system has so they can work better. Honest.

Anyway, if Runtime Broker is running at, oh, about 300 times as much as you might see above, then you have a leak. The cure? You could right-click on it and End Task, or you could do the more considered thing and just reboot. After first making sure you have the latest versions of your Windows Store apps installed… Thanks to Louis Lazarus for pointing out the leak.

This week’s tip, if you’re still reading

Assuming you’ve fought through the prologue, this week’s tip comes from a question posed by the Dynamic Phil Newman: when using multiple monitors, Phil wants to be able to have a spreadsheet open on each, so he can copy/massage/paste the data from one to the other – and he found that Excel insisted on opening multiple workbooks up in the same window.

Now it’s possible to tweak the system to change what happens when you just double-click on a file – open it in the same instance of the application if it’s already running, or fire up a new instance just for your file… but it’s a palaver and one default is only as good as the other. Sometime you want different workbooks to be in the same instance of Excel (historically, you could only move sheets between open workbooks if they were opened within the same instance, but that’s no longer the case).

clip_image003There are pros and cons to both approaches of “open in a new instance” / “open in the current one”, but the pros in former case would mean you can park different windows in different places, either on your one screen or across your array of screens should you have them.

There’s a quick way of firing up a separate window, though – if you already have Excel running or if you’ve pinned Excel to your task bar in Windows 8, just right-click on the icon and instead of clicking on the sheet you want to open from the most-recently-used list, just click on Excel 2013 (or maybe if you’re still rooted in the past, on Excel 2010 or earlier). This launches a new window of Excel, in which you can open your favourite sheet and run it alongside whatever else you’re working on.

clip_image005You can, of course, have multiple sheets opened within the same instance of Excel, appear side/side – by using the View -> Arrange All or View Side by Side to show them tiles next to one another, where you can even enable scrolling of the documents at the same time (so as you’re moving down or across through one, the other keeps pace).

As an advert for old Tips o’ the Week, this was also covered a couple of years ago … here.

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