Have you given up on the premise of April Fool's Day because it is too hard to come up with something that will throw people for a loop? The information age brings you so many possibilities for embracing the spirit of the day with renewed passion.
If you can distract others from their computers while they are still logged in, you can enjoy a day of fun.
First, discover AutoCorrect Options. In Office 2007, click the Office button, go to the Word Options button at the bottom (or whatever program they are in followed by options). Choose Proofing on the left and you will see the AutoCorrect Options button. Here you can replace one word with another. Replace “the” with “April Fool,” or whatever word you choose. Repeat this with other choice words like their name or the company name (in Office 2003 or below, click Tools then AutoCorrect Options to get the same dialog box).
The View menu (Tools, Options, View in version2003) lets you change the way things look. You can turn on and off gridlines in both Word and Excel, change background color, and show and hide things like the ruler or row and column headers.
In version 2003 or below, you can right-click on any toolbar and choose Customize. From there you can right click any button like Print or Save and choose Change Button Image. You can also right click again to change the new icon's name to “April Fool.”
PowerPoint allows you to edit all the slides in a presentation by going to the View menu and choosing “Slide Master.” Change the font to a symbol font or another language. You can also add a footer here that appears on all slides, “April Fool” might be a good option You can also select all slides (Control A) from the Slide Sorter view (the one where all the slides are in the window at once) and go to the Animations tab. Click “Advance Slide… Automatically after [a specified number of] seconds.” This will automate the presentation even as they try to control it with the mouse.
A quick, easy trick in Excel is to hide all the sheet tabs in a workbook. To do this, just grab the vertical bar to the right of the sheet tabs and drag left as far as you can. No worksheets will be visible; there will just be a long scroll bar. You can even go to the Window menu and hide an entire workbook. While in the Window menu, click about halfway down the worksheet then Freeze Panes. Now the rows above where you clicked will not move; they will only be able to scroll below the frozen row.
Another hilarious Excel trick is to turn on the Speak on Enter feature. From the Office button, choose Excel Options, Customize; from the drop-down menu on top, choose All Commands. Scroll down until you find Speak on Enter and click Add it to put it in the Quick Access Toolbar. Click the new button once, and every time they hit Enter from a cell, Excel will speak its contents aloud. This is accessed in Office 2003 through Tools, Speech. All fooling aside, the Speech feature in Excel is helpful for proofreading, and customizing your toolbar to accommodate your personal work style is a good idea.
Enjoy these easy, quick pranks, but use discretion. Oh, and keep track of what you did – you will need to reverse the steps in order to undo them; there is a fine line between foolery and frustration.
Access a more extensive article with step-by-step instructions, more complicated pranks, detailed explanations on how to undo and a comprehensive, printable cheat sheet of valuable and useful Office shortcuts at the New Voice Training Web site.