Extract images and other content from Office documents with this simple trick

Here is a quick tip to extract images and other content from Microsoft Office, LibreOffice, or OpenOffice documents among others. While it is possible to save images embedded in Office documents in Office, e.g. by right-clicking on an image and selecting the save option from the context menu, it becomes a burden if you need to save multiple images from a document or extract images or other content regularly.

I reviewed a software program in 2011 called Office Image Extraction Wizard which automated the process but it has not been updated for a while.

The main idea behind the trick is simple: the default document formats of Office suites, e.g. docx, xlsx, or odt, are zipped XML-based files and that means that they can be extracted using archive software such as Bandizip, 7-Zip and other programs.

Most extraction programs don’t support the default Office file formats by default on the other hand which makes it necessary to rename the file extension of the files to zip before running the extraction.

Office software does not need to be installed on the system for this to work and it is also supported on all platforms and not just Windows. All you need is the document in question and an archive software.

explorer show file extensions

Here is how that is done in Windows:

  1. If you see all file extensions in Explorer already skip to step 3. The default file explorer hides the file extension for known file types by default which interferes with the renaming of files.
  2. Open Explorer and select View  and make sure that “file name extensions” is checked under Show/hide there. You should see file extensions, e.g. .odt, .zip and others in Explorer.
  3. Right-click on the document that you want to extract and select rename from the context menu.
  4. Leave the file name but replace the file extension with .zip. The file test.odt would show up as test.zip afterward.
  5. Right-click again on the file (now with zip extension) and select the extract option. Most archive programs add context menu options.
  6. Wait for the extraction to complete.

You may now open the extracted zip archive and explore its content. The folder structure may differ depending on the document that you have extracted.

extracted office document

Extracted ODT Office documents may have a Pictures folder in which all embedded images are stored in; Word documents a word folder with media and fonts subfolders.

One of the advantages of the method is that you get access to all embedded media files and fonts right away which speeds up the process significantly. The process may also be useful if the document is corrupt and won’t open anymore in the Office program. You may still be able to extract content from it.

Now You: What is your preferred Office suite and format, and why? (via Genbeta)

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How long will Microsoft continue to support desktop versions of Office?

The latest version of Microsoft Office for the desktop is Office 2019; the company released Office 2019 in September 2018 and made it a Windows 10 exclusive which means that it supports it only on devices running Windows 10 and latest Windows Server releases).

Four versions of Microsoft Office that are supported by Microsoft are currently available on Windows. These are Office 2010, Office 2013, Office 2016 and Office 2019.

Microsoft uses the terms mainstream support and extended support when it references the lifecycle of its products. The company uses the same terminology for its Windows operating system.

Mainstream support starts right after product release. It lasts five years, usually, and means that a product will receive security and non-security updates, and that product design and feature changes may be released.

Extended support starts right after mainstream support ends. A product won’t receive any new features or changes anymore, and updates will focus on fixing security issues and major stability issues only.

Office support end

The following table lists recent desktop Office products and end of mainstream and extended support for each of the products.

Mainstream Support Extended Support
Office 2010 no longer supported October 13, 2020
Office 2013 no longer supported April 11, 2023
Office 2016 October 13, 2020 October 14, 2025
Office 2019 October 10, 2023 October 14, 2025

As you can see, Office 2010 support ends next year; nine months after support for Windows 7 ends. 2020 will be a major year for many users and organizations as support for two core Microsoft products runs out.

The products won’t just stop working though but Microsoft won’t release security updates for them anymore. Microsoft did make a few exceptions in the past when it released security updates for products that it did not support anymore officially.

Support for the three remaining Office desktop products runs out in 2023 or 2025. Windows 8.1 support ends in 2023 and so does support for Office 2013. That leaves Office 2016 and 2019, and Windows 10 as the only desktop products provided that Microsoft does not release a new version of Windows (which it said it would not do claiming that Windows 10 was the last version).

What happens after October 2025? We don’t know. It is possible that Microsoft won’t release another desktop version of Office after Office 2019 to focus solely on the subscription-based service Office 365 instead.

Microsoft favors Office 365 openly over Office 2019; the company does not want customers to buy Office 2019 but subscribe to Office 365 instead.  Office 2019 won’t change over time; Microsoft won’t release new features or changes other than security and bug fix updates for the desktop version; Office 365 evolves continuously on the other hand.

Microsoft did not have to make the deliberate decision to ignore Office 2019 development after release (except for security and stability updates), but it has done so; this highlights the company’s focus clearly.

Microsoft renamed Office Online to Office recently as well.

As for Windows, the company launched the subscription service Microsoft 365 in 2017 for businesses which combined an Office 365 and Windows 10 license. Microsoft revealed in December 2018 that it would make the service available to consumers as well.

Third-party Office suites such as LibreOffice or FreeOffice remain available for Windows, and they might be the best option for Windows users and organizations who don’t want to subscribe to an Office plan.

Now You: What is your take on the development? What is going to happen in 2025?

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How to use the first page as the icon for Microsoft Office documents

Microsoft Office documents that you save on your computer or device use the same generic icon by default. The only distinguishing factors are the filename and the location of the document because of that, the latter only if save Office documents to different folders.

Core Microsoft Office applications support a handy feature to add another distinguishing factor to the documents that you save: to change the generic icon to a thumbnail preview of the first page.

The feature does not require the installation of third-party applications or special file handlers as it is a feature of Microsoft Office 2016 and older versions.

word document preview no preview file icon

The feature is not enabled by default and you have the option to enable it for individual Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents only, or globally so that all Office documents are saved with a thumbnail that depicts the first page of the document.

Save preview images for individual Microsoft Office documents

word save thumbnail file icon

The feature works in all supported versions of Microsoft Office including Office 2013, 2016 and 2019 except for Office 365. Microsoft calls the feature “thumbnail” and not preview image or Word file icon; this makes it a bit difficult to understand when you encounter the option.

Do the following to save individual Word, Excel, or PowerPoing documents with thumbnails:

  1. Open the Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document that you want to add a thumbnail to.
  2. Select File > Save As or use the keyboard shortcut F12 to save the document.
  3. Select a save location.
  4. In the Save As dialog, check “Save Thumbnail” at the bottom to make the first page the file icon on the system.
  5. Click Save to complete the process.

The saved document, regardless of whether it is a new document or one that you have created in the past, shows up with the preview image as its file icon on the system after the operation.

Save all Microsoft Office files with the thumbnail image

save thumbnails all office documents

If you like the thumbnail feature of Microsoft Word, you may want to configure Word to always save the thumbnail image so that you don’t have to make sure that the box is checked whenever you save a file.

This should work in Office 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019 but not in Office 365.

Here is how that is done:

  1. Open any Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document on the system or create a blank one.
  2. Select File > Info.
  3. Click on the small arrow icon next to Properties and select Advanced Properties.
  4. In the Window that opens, check the “Save Thumbnails for all [..] Documents”.
  5. Click ok.
  6. Repeat the process for the other document formats as the dialog makes the change for the Office application that you have used to make it only.

All Office documents that you save from that point on are saved with the preview image.

Now You: do you make use of the thumbnail feature in Office?

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Microsoft renames Office Online to Office

Microsoft announced yesterday that it decided to rename Office Online, a suite of Office applications on the Web, to just Office. Applications such as Word Online or Excel Online will be called Word or Excel going forward.

Microsoft is moving away from using platform-specific sub-brands for products that are available for more than one platform. The company plans to change the name of Windows Defender to Microsoft Defender going forward and the rebranding of Office Online to “just” Office follows the same line of thought.

In line with this approach, the official product name for what was previously referred to as “Office Online” is now simply “Office.” We have also discontinued use of the “Online” branding with each of the apps so “Word Online” is now “Word,” “Excel Online” is now “Excel,” etc.

office online name change

Microsoft is aware that the terms Word, Excel, or Office can refer to multiple products. To avoid confusion, it revealed that it plans to use descriptors when it refers to a specific version of Office such as Office Online.

It may use the term “Office for the web” or similar terms similarly to its use of Office for Windows or Office for Android. Office for the web is not a “new brand or strict naming convention” however, and Microsoft may also use other terms such as “on Office.com” or “in a browser” to refer to the online version of Office or online Office applications.

Microsoft expects to complete the branding change soon. Office on the web applications have not been modified at the time of writing as they make use of the old name, e.g. Word Online.

Server products that use “Online” in the name are not affected by the change. The names of products such as Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Project Online, or Office Online Server won’t change.

Closing Words

Generally speaking: the term Office refers to the entire Office family of products, e.g. Office for the web as well as desktop and mobiles going forward and it should be read as such.

The name change could make things more confusing for users and customers if Microsoft, its partners, or third-parties fail to make proper distinctions between products.

Even if the distinction is made, it does not take into account references made in the past. If an article was published before the name change, it might use Office or Word to describe the desktop version of the product only.

Now you: What is your take on the name change?

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Microsoft releases buggy Office 2016 Patch KB4462238

Microsoft released non-security updates for Microsoft installed-based versions of Microsoft’s Office suite on May 7, 2019. These updates address and fix issues in supported versions of Office but sometimes, they introduce issues of their own.

Turns out, KB4462238 for Microsoft Office 2016 falls in that category of updates. Released to fix synchronization issues in OneNote 2016, the update introduces a bug of its own that affects any installed Office application.

office kb4462238 2016 issue

It appears that it breaks hyperlinks in any Office application. Microsoft notes that clicking on hyperlinks may cause the Office application to stop working altogether.

After this update is installed, clicking a hyperlink in an Office application, such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, or Outlook, may cause the application to stop working.

Microsoft suggests that the update is uninstalled from the system to resolve the issue.

If you experience this issue, you can uninstall the update by following the instructions in the “More information” section.

The company provides removal instructions for the update. You may want to check out our in-depth tutorial on uninstalling Windows updates (including Office updates).

One has to wonder how a major bug like this one slipped through the testing cracks. It is certainly possible that the bug is affecting only a tiny number of machines; Microsoft would have pulled the update, probably, if it would affect all Office installations it is installed on or the majority of them.

Then again, Microsoft has a track record of releasing buggy updates. Windows 10 version 1809 is a prime example of this; the whole Windows community, at least those on Windows 10, hopes that Microsoft gets Windows 10 version 1903 right the first time it is released later this month.

Closing Words

A bug that stops any Office application dead in its track is quite serious; Office administrators and users who have not installed the patch yet may want to consider skipping it until the issue is resolved. OneNote 2016 users who require Sync may want to try installing the patch. Those who don’t click on hyperlinks or can avoid clicking on them may do so as well.

Now You: What is your take on Microsoft and update testing? Should the company invest more in this area? (via Woody)

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Use F8 in Microsoft Word to select text quickly

Most Microsoft Word users use the mouse when it comes to text selection, probably. It is easy enough to make fine-grained text selections or quick selections using the mouse only.

A double-click on any word selects it right away, and a triple-click selects an entire paragraph instead. Another option that Word users have is to use the keyboard to select text.

Just hold down the Shift-key on the keyboard and use the arrow keys to start selecting text. You may also use Ctrl-A to select all at once.

Extend Mode in Word

f8 microsoft word copy

What many users of Microsoft Word don’t know is that it is also possible to use the F8 key on the keyboard for text selection.

The F8 key is mapped to what Microsoft’s Office team calls Extend Mode.

The entire process works similarly to using mouse clicks to select text. Double-tap on the F8-key on the keyboard to select a word, triple-tap on the F8-key to select a sentence, activate the F8-key four times to select the paragraph, and a fifth time to select the entire document.

  • F8: enter Extend Mode
  • 2x F8: highlight word
  • 3x F8: highlight sentence
  • 4x F8: highlight paragraph
  • 5x F8: highlight entire document
  • Esc: exit Extend Mode
  • Adding Shift: reverses the operation

One difference to using the mouse to highlight text in Microsoft Word is that Word remembers how many times you tapped on F8. It is no longer necessary to perform the operation in a limited period for it to register with the program.

You can tap three times first, and five seconds later once more to select an entire paragraph.

Other Extend Mode features

Extend Mode supports additional text related shortcuts that you may find useful. Take the following example:

  • With the cursor positioned somewhere in a document, press F8 to enter Extend Mode.
  • Now press another character or multiple characters quickly to extend the text selection to the first matching instance.

Another option that you have is to combine Extend Mode with mouse clicks. Enter Extend Mode and click anywhere to highlight anything between the initial cursor position and the mouse selection.

Last but not least, use Ctrl-Shift-F8 and mouse or keyboard to select text blocks.

Remember the press the Esc-key to exit Extend Mode once you are done.

Now You: Which Office applications do you use?

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