Using Actions in Office 2010

If you're an old pro at Office, you may be wondering what happened to Smart Tags when you upgraded to Office 2010. They have been renamed Actions, and you have a lot of flexibility in how you use them.

Actions are also less obtrusive. There's no longer an icon that pops up when Office detects a word or phrase that meets the criteria for an action. But they're still there, lurking quietly and waiting for you to put them to work.

The first thing you should do is make sure they're turned on. In Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, go to File, Options, Proofing and click AutoCorrect Options:

AutoCorrect Options

Now click on the Actions tab and make sure that Enable additional actions in the right-click menu is checked:

Word Actions

One of the most useful actions is the ability to select and right-click a date and either open a calendar or schedule a meeting:

Schedule a Meeting

Right-click a name to view that person's contact info, if available:

Open Contact

If the document contains financial symbols, you can quickly summon a report or stock quote:

Company report

The measurement converter will change miles to kilometers, centimeters to inches or feet, yards to meters, grams to ounces, and Fahrenheit to Celsius (or vice versa):

Measurement conversion

In Outlook, there's an extra step after File, Menu, Options. Go to Mail, Editor Options to find AutoCorrect Options. The available Actions in Outlook are the same as Word.

In Excel, the Actions are Date and Financial Symbol, while PowerPoint has those two and measurement converter too:

PowerPoint Actions

And if these Actions aren't enough, you can always make your own.