Hidden Leopard Feature: Office Drudgery Made Easy
I run a lot of bad software in this job (including some that my employer makes me use!) and so I'll admit to getting jaded about what can seem to be a prevailing culture of mediocrity in the computer business. But then I discover the occasional new feature that makes a dull chore dramatically easier or eliminates it entirely.
Often, these additions are items that I didn't even even think to mention in my first review -- for example, the way Windows Vista allows you to type a program's name in the search field at the bottom of the Start menu instead of browsing to whatever sub-folder it was installed into.
The chore in question was the monthly ritual in which I itemize the calls I made for work on my cell phone, so The Post can cover that part of the bill.
Traditionally, this has involved going through a printout of the bill with a highlighter in hand. When I don't recognize a number as a personal or a business call, I have to look it up in a few separate places: my address book, my e-mail and my calendar. In some cases, I also have to Google for it.
Between all the different programs I have to switch between to complete all these searches, the whole thing takes at least half an hour. You can imagine how thrilling it gets! One of my co-workers confessed on Friday that she's never bothered to expense her work calls because of all the hassle involved.
Then I realized that Leopard's Preview application can annotate and mark up PDF files. I also remembered that if you select any text in it, the first two items on its right-click menu are "Search in Spotlight" and "Search in Google."
So instead of downloading the bill to the Dell at work like usual, I saved it to a review machine running Leopard. There, I right-clicked each number and almost instantly searched for it throughout every document on my computer--my address book, my calendar, my e-mail and everything else. With another right-click, I Googled for the same number. To highlight the work calls, I selected Preview's "Mark Up" menu command. Finally, I saved the newly marked-up PDF to print out and send on to the accounting types here.
I had the November bill done in about 5 minutes.
What's your most pleasant surprise been among the software you've installed this year?
Posted by: Bart | December 10, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse
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