Posted on | February 17, 2009 | No Comments
Let me propose three guerrilla tools/tactics which help me when working with our internet marketing software — see if you can suggest a few more in comments below:
(1) Excel for quick list manipulation;
(2) Word for quick text assessment;
(3) Notepad or TextEdit for text conversion.
First, Excel. I’m using Excel 2003 so this may be the same or different for you, but recently a colleague had several email lists in which the corporate database that churned out the names had put First Name, MI and Last Name all in one field or column. You can either laboriously re-type or copy/paste those second or third words over to a newly blank column to split up the names up, or create a formula on the fly to split out the various name parts. But Excel gives you a quickie wizard to do this for you called “Text to Columns”. Text-to-Columns will step you through splitting the names — or other types of data, based on a variety of delimiters — and suddenly you’ll have several columns where before you had one. Don’t forget to insert a few blank columns to the right of the original before you begin – otherwise, you overwrite other important text.
Second, Word. Sometimes I need an exact word or character count for text I’m dealing with. For example, certain fields of the EnnectEvent product that we support clients in the use of can hold just a set number of characters. I could use my arrow keys to count letter by letter to see how much space I have…but if I know that the field is 255 characters long, it might be quicker to open an instance of Word, use Edit|Paste Special|Unformatted Text to pop the text in, use File|Properties|Statistics to get the character (with spaces) count, and off you go. The previous paragraph above was 158 words, 704 characters and 866 characters if you include spaces — way too long for the example EnnectEvent field – I’d then have to trim for brevity.
Third, Notepad/TextEdit. Often through the day I want to copy and paste text from one program to another, but not deal with managing an invisible paste buffer. I’ll open a small Notepad window and copy/paste into it, rearrange the text as needed, and then copy/paste to the new destination. I’ll specifically choose to use Notepad, or TextEdit on my Mac, if copying from an HTML-rich environment and pasting into Google’s Gmail without pulling in the formatting and image(s) from the previous location.
What are some of the guerrilla tactics you use to steer around the obstacles that your primary software tools place before you? Leave a comment – let us and the other readers know. Thank you!