MS-Excel / Excel 2003

Saving New Files with Summary Information

Even if you never mess up and save a new workbook in the wrong folder, you might as well admit that eventually you'll end up forgetting where you intentionally put some of them. This next procedure can go a long way in helping you quickly find and open any workbook that you've temporarily misplaced, regardless of the reason.

Microsoft programs such as Word and Excel 2003 enable you to save summary information on every document you create as part of the document's file properties. (You can display the properties by choosing File → Properties.) This summary information can include data such as the document's title, subject, author, company, category, keywords, and comments. The great thing about this summary information is that it's searchable from the Excel File Search task pane (File → File Search), so you can use whatever summary data you know about a lost workbook to find and open it.

The bad thing is that Excel doesn't automatically prompt you to enter this summary information when you first save the file, so more likely than not, you don't end up entering the facts and keywords that may some day prove vital to your being able to locate and reopen the file. Fortunately, you can change this situation so that Excel automatically displays the Properties dialog box and selects its Summary tab every time you save a new workbook file. (This dialog box appears after you designate the folder and filename and click the Save button in the Save As dialog box.)

To get this going, you follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose Tools → Options to open the Option dialog box.
  2. Select the General tab and then select the Prompt for Workbook Properties check box.
  3. Click OK to close the Options dialog box.
    When entering summary data for new workbooks, get in the habit of assigning standard general data to the Subject or Category fields (such as Invoice or Expense Report) along with information specific to the spreadsheet in the Title and Keywords fields. That way, you can narrow down the field to files of a certain type even if you don't have specifics on the file.
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