Admin Pro Forum

Share best-practices with your administrative peers. Pose a question, offer advice, or just be a fly on the wall.

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Question: I use Excel to post and track updates on an action-item log that I maintain for our weekly meetings. It has seven columns and is laid out in landscape format. Lately, I've run into a problem with the text not wrapping.

It starts out OK, but if the verbiage gets too long, it stops wrapping inside the cell. It sometimes looks OK in the spreadsheet, but cuts off the text on the right-hand side of the cell.

I tried expanding the cell horizontally -- and vertically -- but nothing helps. It was suggested that I post the updated notes in the row directly below, but if I do a filter on all closed action items, the second cell directly below the original doesn't show up.

I'm considering posting my action-item log in another program, i.e. Word, but I'm wondering if I should consider another software program. Excel and Word are the only two software programs I have; anything else would need to be purchased.

I need something that will allow me to add very lengthy verbiage in one cell and still print out, so all can be seen.

Thanks.  -- Susan

Question: What do you do when department heads do not communicate major changes in the department to the administrative assistant? It's frustrating to not ever know what people are thinking and talking about behind closed doors until the very last minute.  -- Carolyn

Question: When reviewing appointments or meetings scheduled by others on the Microsoft Outlook calendar, is there a way to identify who scheduled the event and when?  -- Anonymous in Los Angeles

Question: I am one of two admins in a small department. We cover for each other on days off, lunch hours, etc.

I am considerably busier than she is--both professionally and personally--and try to make good use of any downtime at work. I'm involved in a fundraiser, have elderly parents, have a busy household and work out.

As she is seldom busy, she chatters constantly throughout the day about anything and everything, which I find a total distraction and completely irritating. Two other co-workers feel the same way I do.

I'm not sure what to do about this. I've tried not looking up from my work much while she's speaking, but she doesn't get the hint. She's also very nosy and gossipy. If she hears something I say on the phone, she'll ask about it.  She occasionally looks at my computer screen over my shoulder and makes comments.

I just don't know what to do. I don't want to alienate her, as I need her cooperation in this department. I just want her to cut down the chatter and mind her own business.

Any suggestions? Thank you.  -- Anonymous, Boston

Question: In attempting to use a Board minutes template, I bold certain agenda items and the text following cannot be bold. How do I permanently delete the bold?  -- Athena

Question: I have had MS Access software training in the past but until now had no need to create a database. Now, I need a quick refresher course on it.

I was sent an Access database already created with the information that I need. All I need to do is remove the information that I don’t need and put it into a format that is more conducive to my needs. And of course, I have a very short period of time to do this.

Any suggestions?  -- Lori

Question: I happen to be a young manager in an office of around 70 employees. We try to keep a family-type atmosphere, in which we encourage "open" working relationships with managers and staff, but keep away from managers and employees becoming buddies.

I find that most employees respond to a manager who is more of a leader; who listens and responds to valid concerns.

I have great working relationships with the majority of staff, except for two 50-year-old women. These two staff, I have "heard" through the grapevine, have an issue because I am younger than them.

The thing I am confused about is that their behavior is more immature than that of other, much younger employees. They gossip, pout when they're talked to about valid concerns of mine, have lazy work habits, are nice as pie when I am around, etc.

I was wondering if there's a way to work it out in which I can change their behavior. Or, are they never going to respond to my direction and discipline merely because of my age?

The owner of the company is tired of their behavior and agrees that they aren't going to work out here. So, do I give up? I hate to throw in the towel without trying, but I am tired, and they should know how to behave.  -- Jocelyn

Question: We work in health care as executive assistants to support VPs and their directors and are looking for sources of pay-scale information.

We have researched our state's Department of Work and Economic Development, IAAP, the U.S. Dept. of Labor and Statistics, a local hospital within our region, jobsearch.com, salary.com and payscale.com.

We realize that health care salary scales are usually pretty rigid and, in many cases, well below those of other businesses. Are there any other sources that anyone would recommend?  -- Anonymous in Missouri

Question: I don't have much exposure to Adobe Acrobat, but occasionally, a form will appear (such as an application) and I would like to know:

How can I type directly onto one of these forms without having to print it and then complete it by hand?

Many thanks in advance!  -- Anonymous in Burbank, Calif.

Question: We use Lotus Notes in our office, but we can't use it to print out a monthly calendar. It prints each day on several pages and is very difficult to read.

We've tried every way we know how, but it still comes out the same.

Any suggestions?  -- Sandra Rudolph, Miami

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