About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

April 2, 2013

Office 2013–Word, Part 2

Thanks for the emails showing your interest in the new Microsoft Office.  We will look into it some more today.  Last week we looked at the “Read Mode” and PDF conversion as well as editing options in Word 2013.  Today we will look at some other features which are new to Word.

Another new feature I would not have thought of is collapsing headings.  Think about this, you are reading a rather long document and you have finished a section.  Now, with the new feature you can collapse or expand that section in the Word document.  You create a section heading just as in the past by clicking a “Style” such as “Heading 1”, etc.  However, now when you hover over that created section a small triangle appears to the left of the text.  When you click the triangle the text under that header will “fold” up under it and show the next header.  If it is already “folded up” or collapsed, click it again and it will expand to full size.

You could create a document with short summary lines for each area, collapse them, save the document and email it to someone else.  When they receive it they could just click the section they are interested in and read that section.  This is a very efficient tool.

Spelling or GrammarAt the bottom left corner of the window where earlier versions of Word indicated the page numbers and word count of the document you now have an additional icon which looks like a book.  The book has either a check mark or an “x” on it depending on whether there are any grammar or spelling errors. If you click the icon a column opens up on the right side of the page.  It has spelling or grammar errors listed with possible corrections.  In the case of spelling it also lists synonyms, pronunciation and a speaker icon you can use to listen to the pronunciation.  You can also find a link to download various dictionaries.

Where you wereAnother first-rate addition to Word 2013 is a bookmark like feature.  If you are reading a multi-page document, close it down to reopen it.   Later you will have another surprise.  When you reopen the document a small box shows up on the right side of the document.  It says, “Welcome back!  Pick up where you left off,” and it shows you where you stopped reading.  If you click on any of those words it jumps you to that location in the document and you can start reading where you left off.  Word remembers where you were, even when you reopen an online document from a different computer.

Microsoft has built teamwork and sharing features into Office 2013 which includes Word and most of the other applications in Office 2013.  It is similar to the cloud storage and sharing options found with Google Docs.  The cloud storage area is called SkyDrive and has been available for a while.  Although it has had several identity crises it has also been known as “Microsoft SkyDrive”, “Windows Live” and “Windows Live Folders”.

When you create a document in Word and go to save it you get the old “Save As” screen. It is indistinguishable from the previous version but instead of defaulting to your “Documents” folders, it defaults to the online/cloud SkyDrive folder.  You can change this in Word’s options very easily but this is the new location for files.  It is very convenient if you are using a different computer since you can pull the files from SkyDrive from anywhere you have an internet connection.image

Next time we will take a look at a couple of Excel’s new 2013 features.

January 22, 2013

Select Text…Maybe

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:02 am

Demo of selecting text

I recently received an email from Bev which at first seemed very strange.  She said, "Recently, when I select a portion of text to change it such as bold it, delete it, etc. — the selection won’t hold."  At first I thought it was just in Word and figured that possibly her Word documents were opening in "Read Only" mode.  When you have a file that is "Read Only" it basically means you can read the file fine but you cannot edit it.  This was not her issue since she said that it also happened in email, Word and just about anywhere on her computer when trying to select text.  The problem was intermittent; sometimes she could select text, sometimes not, and other times it was a fight to get it to work at all. 

I believe it all came down to the mouse, but why could a mouse cause this weird issue?  First, it depends on the type of mouse you have.

The older wired mouse with a ball built into the bottom, which is used to track the cursor around the screen, has always caused issues.  Think about it, the little weighted ball rolls around the whole time you use your mouse.  It touches whatever surface you are "mousing" on.  Regardless of whether the surface is very clean or very dirty the mouse ball will get grubby over time.  If a dirty surface, the ball picks up dried up coffee spills, grit, toast crumbs, Disassembled mouseetc.  Even if it is a clean surface you are still going to pick up dust and lint over time.  This collection of grime gets pulled up into the mouse and wraps around the little rolling bars which make the cursor move on your screen.  It is fairly easy to clean by turning the mouse over, turning the ring with arrows in a counterclockwise direction, pulling it off, shaking the ball out and with tweezers or a toothpick removing any junk you can see.  I do not recommend using a q-tip swab since they can add a few more particles to the mechanics.

What if you have a wireless mouse and there is no ball?  Dirt can still get on the little window on the bottom of the mouse, which replaced the ball.  Clean it with a lint free cloth or maybe a slightly damp cloth. 

Sometimes, depending on which type of wireless mouse you have, the surface you are mousing on could cause a problem.  If it is a very shiny or glass surface, try putting a piece of paper under it to see if that improves the action.  Sometimes, though not often, it could also be caused by a heavily patterned surface, so check that also.

However, the biggest issue with the wireless mouse and it not working properly is usually the battery.  Batteries in the newer wireless mice last a long time.  I have a couple that have lasted over a year.  Since they are so dependable we sometimes forget about the batteries.  So when you have a "tracking" problem like sometimes being able to select text and sometimes not…check the battery.  I am pretty sure that will be your problem.

June 26, 2012

Multiple Monitors

I had a question come in from Kelly this week about using more than one monitor on their computer.  So what about more than one monitor on your computer is it possible?

It is very possible starting with Windows XP Microsoft made it fairly simple to have two monitors, IF you have the available ports for monitors on your computer.  There is some hardware out there that I have read about allowing you to add up to 64 monitors but it is costly.  Windows 7 is the same if not better as it has a couple of additional settings.  Once again your computer (mother board and video card) has to be able to handle multiple monitors.

I have three monitors connected to my work system and it has been a huge improvement to many of the things I work on during the day.  Since I am usually working in the least with Microsoft Word Document, using Outlook for my email and at least one other program I am working with, I can have each open on the computer in tandem.  I know that is not such a big deal because anyone can do that.  However, with the three monitors I can see all of them in full screen at the same time, no "alt + tab" is required to move between them. 

Also your system will remember where each program was when it last ran.  That means that if you closed your game program in the left monitor it will there when it next starts.  Also, it knows where it was if you restart your computer, so it is always in the same place.

That last paragraph reminds me of something else.  You don’t have to set up two monitors as left and right, Windows will allow you to set them that way or as a top and bottom monitor.  I have never been, or seen, a situation where you would want to set one over the other, but I am sure somewhere out there someone has.  I have seen people use a 3 x 3 pattern before but that is a little too much for even a geek like me.

You can also drag files from one window to the other without the edges of the monitors getting in the way.  When you drag them from one to the other they just slide on over, no boundaries.  You have to experience it to see just how productive this can be.

For those of you who love gazillions of icons visible on your desktop, you could now double-load them.  Think of it, a gazillion on the right monitor and another gazillion on the left! 

To set them up, shut your computer off, disconnect the power and plug in the new monitor into your video card and the wall.  Then start up the computer and monitors.  Your computer should find both monitors but the first time on only one may work.  You will have to right-click on the desktop and go the display window to get to the settings.  Then play with the settings to finish up the setup.

Try it out if your system will handle the additional monitor I guarantee you will like it.

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