no-wordWORD inserts an enormous (literally pages and pages) number of unused and sometimes arcane HTML style codes “behind the scenes” into any document. When you do a simple COPY/PASTE from WORD to CommonSpot, all those tags get inserted onto the CommonSpot page. This makes your page 3 to 4 times larger than it needs to be (which will make loading take longer) and it may confuse CommonSpot and cause unexpected formatting and displays. If you then try to re-edit the content, it becomes hopelessly garbled between any relatively straight-forward content inserted by hand into the CommonSpot editor and the content pasted directly from WORD.

There are three ways to avoid this:

  • Upload the WORD file as an attachment
    If you just want folks to be able to read the content of the document, you can upload the file and link to it. Users can then open or download the document.
    This preserves all formatting including pictures.
  • Mail the document to yourself at gmail. (gmail email accounts are free.)
    Once you receive the email, click on the “View as HTML” link beside the attachment.
    Copy and Paste the displayed text into the CommonSpot Editor.
    This preserves about 80% of the formatting. Pictures will not be displayed.
  • Save your document as a TXT file and open it in Notepad or another plain text editor.
    Select all the content and paste it into the CommonSpot Editor.
    This preserves none of the formatting.

cautiongraypdftowordUse the free PDF-to-Word conversion technology found at PDFtoWORD to quickly and easily create editable DOC/RTF files. Then open them in Microsoft Word or Excel to edit them.

The application uses the full range of formatting tools such as paragraphs, columns, tables, and margins, rather than dropping all content into a mash of running text as some converters do. It also converts and positions pictures, photos, vector images, and Excel charts while maintaining editing capabilities.

The Process:



  1. Go to
  2. In  “Step 1”
    1. Browse to find the PDF file on your computer
  3. In “Step 2”
    1. Click on either .DOC or .RTF
      .DOC if you want to edit in WORD
      .RTF if you want to edit in another applications
  4. In “Step 3”
  5. Enter an email address to have the converted file mailed to
  6. Click “Convert”
cautiongray  This post is for informational purposes only. The technologies and services discussed are not officially endorsed or supported by the Colby College Information Technology Services department. Colby account holders should review the College’s Information and Data Security Policy and Best Practices guidelines, especially as they pertain to the handling of sensitive data.

1 Click on the “Review” tab on the Ribbon in Excel 2007
2 The “Changes” group is on the far right hand side of the Ribbon
3 Click on “Track Changes” and “Highlight Changes”
4 Check “Track changes while editing.  This also shares your workbook.”
5 Select what you want highlighted
6 Click OK

(source: The New PaperClip)

PowerPoint automatically compresses images when saving a presentation. This is generally “a good thing” in that it reduces the size of your file. However, if you are using high resolution photos, you may not want to lose that definition. You can prevent PowerPoint from compressing images in a presentation by following these steps:

  1. Select “Save as
    The “Save as” dialog box is displayed
  2. Click on “Tools” at the bottom left of the box
    Save options will be displayed
  3. Select the “Compress Pictures” option
  4. Click on the “Options” button
  5. Uncheck the “Automatucally perform basic compression on save

Click here to see a video clip of this operation.

 Let’s say you have a large workbook of names and addresses and you need to find only those folks listed with area codes of 207 and 613. You could sort the data by area code and copy and paste after each section – or you could use the FILTER function.

Here’s how:

ExtData-1 Select the entire range of data you want to filter for a specific value(s)
SortFilter Click the SORT&FILTER icon on the right side of the Ribbon
Filter Select “Filter
dropdown The selected range should now have drop-down arrows at the head of each column
SelectFilter Click the down-arrow on the column that you want to Filter on.Uncheck the “Select All” box.Check the values you want to filter for.Click OK
NumberFilters Note: If you click on “Number Filters“, a list of options will display. The default is “Equals“.If you wish to use another strategy, select it here.
Outcome The outcome of this action is shown to the left
Clear To clear the filter, click on the down-arrow again and select “Clear Filter…”The range will return to normal
text If you had chosen to sort the text column instead, you would have been presented with text options as shown to the left.

Do you have an Acrobat Tip, Tool or FAQ? Do you have a question that needs an answer. Just type in your content in the COMMENT field below and send it to us. We will answer via email and if it is a tip or a tool that others could use, we will add it to the Adobe Acrobat Application Page (With attribution, of course!).

Q: My professor assigned us a PowerPoint presentation to upload to Moodle, but I cannot upload it – it is too big!

A: There are several reasons this might happen. Most often it is because of very large images or multimedia that have been included in the PowerPoint presentation. This is especially true of pictures added without resizing them from digital cameras. To fix this:

For Images:

  1. The best strategy is to resize your pictures before you put them in the PowerPoint presentation. Load you picture into a graphics editor such as PhotoShop and resize the image something close to 400 – 600 pixels wide and 70 -85 dpi.
  2. If you need the images to retain the higher dpi, you can try just resizing the image and leaving the dpi untouched.
  3. If the file is still too large, try compressing your entire PowerPoint presentation into a zip file. Upload that and people can download and unzip it.
  4. If that file is still too large, try “Saving As” a PDF file

If all of these options still fail to reduce your file to a size that can be uploaded, you have two options:

  • Contact your professor and ask them to request a larger file size limit in whatever onlince application (Moodle, Confluence, WordPress) they are using
  • Divide your file into smaller sections or chapters and upload each one individually

For Video and Audio:

  • Use a multimedia editor to compress your multimedia file before you embed it in PowerPoint
  • Break your presentation into smaller sections and upload them separately
  • More help compressing audio and video can be obtained from the LRC Lab  (fourth floor of Lovejoy)

Q: When I paste content directly from WORD, it comes out all garbled and messed up.

A: “What you see” in Word is not always “what you get” in CommonSpot. This is because Word appends numerous “trash”  HTML tags to text that CommonSpot – and some browsers – do not interpret the same way Word does. When this happens, the browser makes a “best guess” at displaying the content, which almost always is NOT what you wanted.

To prevent this:

Say YES When you are asked if you want to clean it first of all the formatting tags that are specific for Microsoft Word.

You can think of the Paste from Word command as a combination the Paste command and the Clean Word Markup command. If the content you copied from Microsoft Word includes images, when you paste it in the Rich Text Editor area you’ll notice that images are replaced by a generic placeholder so that you will not lose track of them and their position. This way you can easily upload and then insert the needed images in the page.

You may lose some of the specific formatting, but you will get clean, editable formats for your web page.