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Senior Computer Tutor Don Edrington

Senior Computer Tutor Don Edrington PC Columnist for The Californian & San Diego's North County Times
Se Habla Español

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  • Shy Guy from Hollywood High
  • Contact Info on Don
  • Brief Bio

  • Digital Camera Icon
      Digital Photo Basics
    1. Getting Pictures from Camera into Computer
    2. Getting Acquainted with Irfanview
    3. Basic Terms: View Size vs Print Size, etc.
    4. Virtually Free Photography - Naming Pics, Albums
    5. When Digital Camera Photos Can't Be Found
    6. Digital Photography for Not So Digital Seniors

    7. Crop, Resize, Align, Colors
    8. How to Crop and/or Resize a Photo
    9. Problem Enlarging Digital Pictures
    10. Understanding CYMK & RGB Colors
    11. How to Straighten (Rotate, Align) a Photo
    12. Darkrooms Replaced by Computers
    13. Be Your Own Photo Processing Studio

    14. Adding Text to Pictures
    15. Adding Text to a Photo
    16. Text & Picture In a Word Text Box

    17. Displaying Your Pictures
    18. Printing Multiple Photos on a Single Page
    19. Displaying Your Photos as a Slideshow
    20. Merging Two Graphics Into One
    21. When Multiple Photos Don't All Fit on a Print-Out
    22. Print Yourself or Have Pics Processed Elsewhere?

    23. Online Images - Emailing Pics
    24. Reducing a Digital Photo's File Size
    25. Red X Instead of a Picture
    26. Reducing the File Size of a Video
    27. Print Yourself or Have Pics Processed Elsewhere?
    28. Copying Images from a Web Site or an Email

    29. Pic Formats - File Extensions
    30. Digital Picture Formats (JPG, BMP, GIF, TIF, etc)
    31. Difference Between "Drawing" & "Painting" Programs
    32. Digital Cameras & Megapixelss
    33. Choosing File Associations for Picture Files
    34. Understanding "Animated GIFs"
    35. Comparison of JPG and GIF Image Files
    More PC Help &
    Free Programs
    Can Be Found Here.

    Cupid Hearts
    Filling Out Forms on a PC
    + a Few Words about OCR

    A reader wrote to ask if there is a way to fill out forms on one's computer that have been downloaded or scanned. Well, let's start with downloaded forms, which are normally one of two types: those meant to be printed on paper and filled in manually, or those designed to have blank fields filled in on your computer, such as an online purchase order.

    As for scanned forms, they can be output as OCR (optical character recognition) documents, which can be edited; but there is no easy way to fill in the blanks via your keyboard on a form that was designed to be printed out and filled in by hand.

    Speaking of scanners, I get lots of calls from users who are confused about what scanners can and can't do. Here's a brief overview:

    A scanner recreates what it sees on paper by "digitizing" everything into tiny dots, which — from a distance — appear to be an exact copy of what was scanned. Scanned items which are output to paper are likewise printed with tiny dots, which end up looking very much like the original document or image.

    The sharpness of such output depends on the DPI (dots per inch) resolution used when scanning, as well as DPI chosen for the output of one's inkjet or laser printer. The scanning resolution is normally determined by what you tell the machine you intend to scan, such as a color photo or a shades-of-gray drawing or a page of black and white text.

    You can choose the DPI for your print-outs, where 300 DPI is usually adequate for family snapshots, while a "draft" printout of a document intended for subsequent editing and printouts can be as little as 100 DPI. Printouts on high gloss paper for professional use are usually 600 DPI or higher. A scanned image that will only be shown online needn't be more than 96 DPI, since that's as high as the average monitor can display it anyway.

    If you plan on scanning text you want to subsequently edit, you need OCR software, such as OmniPage or TextBridge. Some scanners come with an OCR program, and there are shareware programs that can be found online.

    A scanner basically just "takes a picture" of a printed page, while an OCR program looks at the bitmap image and tries to convert the little dots into legible text that can be fed into a word processing or spreadsheet program (such as MSWord or Excel). The cleaner the original page, the better chance of its accurate reproduction. Otherwise your software can confuse characters such as, say, 3, 8, and S. Having the original document aligned properly to the edges of the scanner bed also helps to ensure accuracy, as does using a page that is free of coffee stains, fingerprints or penciled notes.

    In any case, a spellchecker is almost always required before you are done editing OCR-scanned text.

    Re: Filling In Forms via Your Computer

    Regarding the above article on filling out forms, Richard Allen wrote to say, "I have been using a program called Form Pilot for a number of years and am very happy with it. A number of types of documents can be used with it if converted to .bmp, .jpg, etc.or scanned in. The version I use is a free version, which I don't believe is available now, but can be purchased for about $30.00. I used it for filling out and saving 1040 and CA540 forms before they changed the PDF format, which allowed the forms to be saved."

    More About Filling In Forms via Your Computer

    Bob Fulton wrote to say, "I found a free Advanced Health Care Directive on the California Healthcare Association. website in PDF form. As you might guess, I could not fill in the blanks on the computer as there was only a hand there - no active cursor. I tried a select all, then copy, then paste into a blank MSWord doc page. It copied without the PDF format, but slightly changed in format - "fill-in lines" missing. However, it was relatively easy to edit into a very useable form and fill in names, dates, wishes, etc. The final forms looked very "professional" and we had them notarized! After I did all this, I found out that they also furnish it in MSWord form! But I learned a lesson, hopefully! I've tried it on another PDF form, and it worked.

    Thank you, Richard and Bob, for your helpful feedback. It is appreciated!

    © - Donald Ray Edrington - All Rights Reserved

    Contact Information on Don Can Be Found Here.

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    downloading, creating & editing music files
    1. Various Computer Audio Formats, such as MP3, WMA, WAV, MIDI, etc.
    2. Finding Free Downloadable Music Online
    3. Recover Songs from your Temporary Internet Files
    4. Converting Music Formats (WAV to MP3, etc.)
    5. Converting Vinyl LPs & Audio Tapes to MP3s
    6. More on Converting Musical Collections to MP3s
    7. Using a Digital Voice Recorder
    Patsy Cline Dinah Shore
    Downloadable Music by:
  • The Andrews Sisters
  • Teresa Brewer
  • Karen Carpenter
  • Patsy Cline
  • Rosemary Clooney
  • Doris Day
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Connie Francis
  • Lena Horne
  • Brenda Lee
  • Julie London
  • Loretta Lynn
  • Vera Lynn
  • Dinah Shore
  • Patti Page
  • Jo Stafford
  • Kitty Wells
  • Tammy Wynette

  • Jim Reeves   Dean Martin
  • Ames Brothers
  • Eddie Arnold
  • Tony Bennett
  • Brothers Four
  • Johnny Cash
  • Ray Charles
  • Buddy Clark
  • Nat King Cole
  • Russ Columbo, Bing Crosby
  • Floyd Cramer
  • Billy Eckstine
  • Julio Iglesias
  • Ink Spots
  • Wayne King, Guy Lombardo
  • Frankie Laine
  • Dean Martin
  • Mills Brothers
  • Singalong with Mitch Miller
  • Elvis Presley
  • Ray Price
  • Jim Reeves
  • Hank Snow, Hank Thompson
  • Statler Brothers
  • Billy Vaughn
  • Slim Whitman

  • Eydie Gorme, Trio Los Panchos
  • Ana Gabriel, Rocío Dúrcal, Juan Gabriel
  • CeliaCruz, Ernesto Lecuona, Bienvenido Granda

  • Teach Me Tonight

  • Microsoft Word Logo
    1. Free Trials of MSWord 2007 and of WordPerfect Office X3
    2. Creating Labels & Envelopes with Word, Excel, & MSWorks
    3. Replacing NORMAL.DOC when Word Becomes Unstable
    4. Password Protecting Word & Excel Documents

    5. Pictures & Text Boxes
    6. Picture in a Text Box
    7. Placing Both Text & a Pic in a Text Box

    8. Other Document Types
    9. MSWord, Wordpad, Notepad, Google's Writely/Docs
    10. Converting Data between MSWord & PDF Files
    11. Show a Spreadsheet in PowerPoint (using Paint)
    12. Less Complicated Word Processing Programs

    13. Working with Columns
    14. Dividing a Page into Columns
    15. Lining Up Numbers in a Column

    16. Bullets & Page Numbering
    17. Using AutoCorrect for Bullets & Numbering
    18. Add Page Numbering to a Word Processing Document

    19. Telling a Story with Your PC
    20. Writing a Personal Memoir
    21. Creating a Newsletter
    22. MSWord Paragraph Formatting
    23. Convert CAPS to lower case (& vice versa)
    24. Sending a Family/Holiday Newsletter

    25. Backing Up Word Files
    26. Automatic Backup of MSWord Documents
      Computer Commentary
    1. Signing Up with MySpace
    2. More about MySpace + Some Info on Skype
    3. Internet Explorer 6 vs Internet Explorer 7
    4. More on Using Internet Explorer 7
    Don's Home Page      Brief Bio      Shy Guy from Hollywood High      PC Tips & Free Programs
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