Don Edrington's  PC Chat   nct-3.gif
Computer Tutor Don appears twice weekly in San Diego's North County Times & in Riverside County's The Californian.

Return to Don's Home Page        Return to List of 2002 Columns

Sep 1, 2002 Automatic Hyperlink Conversion - Help We May Not Want + Easy Line-Spacing + Playing Music Files
Sep 3, 2002 Unwanted Names in OE - Flat Screen Problem - Changing Desktop Display - Downloading to a 3.5" Disk - Mac-PC Picture Conversion
Sep 8, 2002 Converting a "Regular" Name in an Email's Return Address into the actual "Email Address" + Finding HTML Formatting Tools in Hotmail + Saving Items to a 3 1/2" Floppy Disk
Sep 10, 2002 Sorting "Favorites" - Positioning Graphics in Word - Deleted Files that Appear Not to be Deleted
Sep 15, 2002 How to Copy a Graphic from a PowerPoint File Using Your PrntScrn Key + Launching Programs the Easy Way
Sep 17, 2002 Using Icons & Folders Creatively - Handling "Read Only" Files
Sep 22, 2002 ScreenSaver Desktop Shortcut + Sorting AOL "Favorites" + Finding Downloaded Pictures in AOL + Changing Font Sizes in Emails & on Web Pages
Sep 24, 2002 Using "Wingdings" + Microsoft Works Problems + Printing Out a Calendar
Sep 29, 2002 "AutoText" vs "AutoCorrect" + Custom Dictionary + Finding the "" Symbol
Sep 29
"AutoText" vs "AutoCorrect" + Custom Dictionary + Finding the "" Symbol
   Regarding a recent column on using the Windows Character Map to generate special symbols, John Rannochio wrote that he uses MSWord and would like to have "" appear when he types the word "cents." OK, let's take it one step at a time.
   MSWord and recent versions of MSWorks have their own built-in Character Maps. Click on Insert, Symbol and the font charts (character maps) will appear. Choose the font that corresponds to the one you're currently using and find your special symbol. Click it and then click the Insert button. The symbol will then appear in your document at the cursor location.
   In order to make the "cents sign" appear when the word "cents" is typed in, John would highlight the symbol and do Ctrl+C to COPY it. He'd then go to Tools, AutoCorrect. In the "Replace" box he would type his chosen word (cents) and in the "With" box he would PASTE in with Ctrl+V. After clicking OK, every time the key word is typed it will be immediately turn into .
   However, I'd recommend choosing a different "code" word, such as "cc" or "cs" since it would no longer be easy to generate the word "cents" in case it was needed. Speaking of the "cents" symbol, John says he can't find it on any of the charts. Well, it's normally in the third or fourth row from the top and in between the upside down Spanish exclamation point and the British "Pound" sign.
   While in the AutoCorrect area of Word, check out some of the ready-made "symbol codes" it contains. Typing (c) and (r) will generate the circled C and circled R "Copyright" and "Registered" symbols. The ubiquitous "sideways" happy face symbol :) will turn into a "real" happy face J, as will some other popular e-mail and IM shortcuts.
   However, the main purpose of AutoCorrect is to instantly fix commonly misspelled words, changing "recieve" to "receive" and "alot" to "a lot" for example.

"AutoText" vs "AutoCorrect"
   Besides "AutoCorrect," Word has a handy feature called "AutoText." However, this feature has changed in recent versions of Word. In pre-Word97 versions, you could save keystrokes by creating a short "code" that would be replaced by a long phrase. For example, you could type "nct" and press F3, which would cause "nct" to immediately become "North County Times."
   But here's the way it's done now: Click on Insert, AutoText, AutoText. Type your desired phrase into the text box and click Add. Again using North County Times as an example -- as soon as you type the first four letters of the phrase, nort (capitalization not required) the whole phrase will appear in tiny letters along with a message saying that "pressing Enter will complete the phrase."
   Some "built-in" AutoText words include the days of the week. Typing wedn, for instance will turn into Wednesday when you press Enter.

Using Your Custom Dictionary
   Another Word feature you should be familiar with is its "Custom Dictionary." Sooner or later you're going to type in something that Word's dictionary (spell-checker) doesn't recognize, say, the name of a city. The dictionary might flag "Vista" and suggest that it's a misspelled word. However, you can click on "Add to Dictionary" and the word will never be challenged again.
   But let's say you goofed and typed in "Vissta" and then clicked "Add to Dictionary." If this happens, any subsequent entry of "Vissta" would pass for being correct. So how do you fix this? Go to Tools, Options, Spelling & Grammar and click the "Custom Dictionaries" button. Here you'll see "CUSTOMDIC (default)" with a checkmark. Click on "Modify" and you'll see all the words that have been added at one time or another. (I have hundreds in my list.) Anyway, you can delete any you no longer need, and add new ones to suit yourself.
   Speaking of the Word dictionaries, they are also used by Outlook Express. This means if you don't have Word (or some other MSOffice product, such as Excel or PowerPoint) your Outlook Express has no spell-checker available. Personally, I think this is very short-sighted of Microsoft and that they should fix it.
Sep 24
Using "Wingdings" + Microsoft Works Problems + Printing Out a Calendar
   Sarah Dubin-Vaughn wrote and asked how to display the various fonts on her computer to see what they look like. She is particularly curious to see what all the symbols in Wingdings and Webdings look like. Well, there are different ways to do this - and one of the easiest is to double-click My Computer, Control Panel, Fonts. Double-click any font's name and you'll be shown just what it looks like.
   Unfortunately, however, the characters in Wingdings will not be identified by a corresponding keyboard letter or number. You can overcome this by typing out one of each keyboard character in upper and lower case. Mouse-select the whole thing and do Ctrl+C to Copy it. Press Enter and do Ctrl+V to Paste in a second set of characters. Finally, mouse-select the second set and choose Wingdings from your font list. This will show, for instance, that a capital C is a "Thumbs Up" symbol, while the capital J is a "Happy Face."
   However, there's an even easier way to access the Wingding symbols you want; use the Windows Character Map. Click on Start, Run and type CHARMAP. Click OK and a table of all the characters in a particular font will be displayed. A little down arrow next to the font's name will invite you to see all the other fonts. If you see a Wingding character you like, say, a Mailbox, a Star, or a Sad Face, click on it and then click Select, Copy. Back in your word processing document, spreadsheet, or whatever, do Ctrl+V to paste the symbol in where needed.
   Character Map is a great feature that's useful for other things as well. For instance, each "regular" font's chart will display all kinds of special symbols that you don't see on your keyboard. If you need a "cents" () or a "degrees" () or a "copyright" () symbol, along with those specially accented letters in foreign language, including the Spanish upside-down question mark () you'll find them in CHARMAP.
   Choosing the "Symbol" font will display the entire Greek alphabet (such as WSDY) along with some other goodies, such as , , & .
   If you need to access special symbols frequently, put a CHARMAP shortcut icon on your Desktop. Double-click My Computer, the "C:" drive icon, and look for the Windows folder. If you don't find CHARMAP.EXE there, look inside the System32 folder. Drag the CHARMAP.EXE icon onto your Desktop, where a double-click will immediately bring up all these special options.

Problems with Microsoft Works
   Ed Ferrer wrote that since he upgraded to MSWorks 6.0, a large icon appears on his Desktop every time his computer boots up. He says he can "X" the icon away, but can find no way to remove it permanently.
   Well, this is the dreaded "Works Portfolio" icon, and there is a way to keep it from haunting your Desktop. Click somewhere on the icon to open the Portfolio. Then click on Tasks, Options and UNcheck "Start the Works Portfolio every time I start Windows."
   Speaking of Works, Dave Silvestri (along with several others) asked if there's a way to make its Calendar print a single month on just one sheet of paper. No, sadly, there isn't.

   The Works Calendar has some nice features -- if you plan only to view it on your monitor. However, there are no options for adjusting its size, whether you choose to print a month out vertically or horizontally. There isn't even a Print Preview available to let you see that it only prints on two pages. Personally, I think this program needs an urgent overhaul, with an upgrade made available to Works users.

Another Approach to Printing a Useful Calendar
   Speaking of calendars, I've written in the past that I've always made my own, using the Table function in MSWord or MSWorks. This method has none of the fancy "alarm" or "automatic repeated event" features of the pre-designed calendars in Works and Outlook; however I find it wonderfully easy to create and use. Taking a copy along when I have a speaking engagement or other appointment means I know how to get there and I get there on time. Space here doesn't allow for specifics, but a detailed explanation, complete with illustrations can be found at Page 80.
Sep 22
Another Way of Creating Desktop Shortcuts, Including One to Your Favorite ScreenSaver
   Regarding a recent tip that creating Desktop Shortcuts to favorite files can be done by right-clicking the Desktop, choosing New, Shortcut and browsing to a target file, AL Nienhaus suggested an alternative method: Right-click a favorite file's icon and choose Send To, Desktop (Create Shortcut).
   Speaking of icons, June Shirey asked if there is a way to put one on the Desktop that would activate a favorite screen saver. Yes, there is. Screen savers normally have an extension of .SCR and are stored in the C:\Windows folder or in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. If in doubt, go to Start/Search, Files & Folders and type *.SCR. (The asterisk is a "wild card" search symbol.)
   When you see the screen saver you want, just drag its icon onto your Desktop. You'll be told that this can't be done and asked if you want to create a Desktop Shortcut instead. Well, that was the whole idea.

Sorting AOL "Favorites"
   Regarding a recent column on how to alphabetize one's Favorites in Internet Explorer, Suzanne Fischer asked if AOL has a similar option. Sadly, it doesn't. However, Glodean Gates wrote to say you can place AOL Favorites in alphabetical order as you go, by doing the following: Open the website whose link you want to save; then click on My Favorites and scroll down to the place where it logically belongs. Finally, drag the Web site's little to that space.

Finding Downloaded Pictures in AOL
   Another AOL question I often hear is "How do I find the pictures I just downloaded?" Well, inside AOL's main folder there is always a folder called "DOWNLOAD" and recent versions of AOL pretty much lead you there by the hand. But here are some additional tips; if you downloaded a picture called, say, MOM.JPG, you'll find it listed alphabetically inside "DOWNLOAD."
   However, if you'd been sent three .JPGs, named, say, DAD, MOM, and SIS, you'd very likely be asked to download a file named DAD.ZIP. AOL will then automatically unzip (separate) this file into the three individual pics and place them in a folder named DAD, which will be placed inside AOL's DOWNLOAD folder.
   Another way to find these pictures in AOL would be to click on File, Open Picture Gallery, Open Gallery. This will bring up a miniature "film strip" view of your pictures, any one of which can be enlarged by double-clicking it. You'll then see a toolbar for doing some limited editing of the picture, such as flipping or rotating it, along with being able to make it lighter or darker or larger or smaller.

Changing Font Sizes in Email
   AOL user Stan Spluth asked how to change the size of the font he uses when creating an email. By going to Settings, Preferences, Font/Text, Stan can choose the font, size and style he prefers. Here he'll also find a choice of Small, Medium and Large, for text seen on various AOL Web pages.
   Web page text size preferences can be set in Netscape and Internet Explorer by going to View, Text Size. Users of wheel-equipped mice can change these sizes on the fly by holding down CTRL while moving the wheel.
   One final note on AOL; in earlier versions its main folder was listed just below the C-drive, but now it's listed as America Online under C:\Program Files.
   A final note on e-mail text sizes; Outlook Express users can choose their outgoing text style and size by going to Tools, Options, Compose. They can control the size of incoming e-mail text by going to View, Text Size.

Attempting to Answer Your Questions...
   As you may have noticed, my phone number normally appears at the end of each of my newsletters. I do this because I receive way more email than I could ever hope to answer. Beyond that, much of the mail requires follow-up mail for clarification purposes. However, a phone call can usually be handled in a matter of a few minutes.
   In case you weren't aware of it, I do this on my own time and totally at my own expense, so can't promise to do it forever. But for now, your best chance at having a question answered and answered quickly is calling: (949) 646-8615 or (949) 275-1319.
Sep 17
Using Icons & Folders Creatively - Handling "Read Only" Files
   Tina Verhagen wrote to say her Desktop has filled up with icons and asked if putting them into different folders would affect the way they work. No, moving an icon into a folder will not keep it from doing its job properly. However, this might be a good time to review the whole concept of icons, files and folders, and what they do.
   If you think of your computer's "C" drive (a.k.a. hard drive, hard disk) as a large filing cabinet, it's easy to visualize all its yellow folders as places to organize your various files, each of which is represented by an icon of some kind.
   Let's start with the Desktop, which itself is actually a folder, but which is displayed differently than the others in order to give us an "anchor" folder we can always start from and come back to.
   Two icons always found on the Desktop are My Documents and the Recycle Bin. We all know the latter is a folder that temporarily holds "deleted" files. This folder also gives us a chance to change our mind by right-clicking any file it contains and choosing Restore.
   My Documents is a "catch-all" folder which, by default, is the place where most new files we create will be stored. However, we can create our own special folders anytime we want by simply right-clicking the Desktop, choosing "New Folder" and typing in a name. Beyond that, a new folder can be created inside an existing folder by going to File, New, Folder.
   Other icons found on the Desktop are often "Shortcut" icons, which are miniature "directional signs" that point to another file or folder somewhere on the hard drive. These icons normally have a little arrow in their lower left corner, which identifies them as Shortcuts. Double-clicking one will take you immediately to its target file or folder and open it for you.
   Some of us, like Tina, eventually find ourselves with so many icons on our Desktop, it becomes hard to find the ones we want. For instance, I have several graphic-editing programs, each with a Shortcut icon on my Desktop. By dragging them all into a folder named "Graphic Programs" I've reduced the Desktop clutter somewhat. Another folder holds all these columns I write. Gamers can create a folder for Solitaire and all their other favorites.
   Yes, I realize these items can be reached by going to Start, Programs and dancing through the hand/eye coordination gymnastics required. I find it easier, however, to have my most used files accessible by double-clicking a Desktop Shortcut.

Creating Shortcuts to Often Used Files
   So how does one create a Shortcut? There are several ways, but let's just do it from the Desktop, which you can right-click and choose New, Shortcut. Now "browse" your way to the target file and follow the prompts. Your newly created Shortcut can then be dragged into a folder - or - it can even be placed on your Taskbar, where it can be activated with a single-click and where it will never be hidden by things like "open windows" on your Desktop.
   Right-click a vacant spot on your Taskbar and click Toolbars, Quick Launch. Drag your favorite icons into this area for, well - quick launching. You'll notice that any icon thus dragged onto the Taskbar will leave a copy of itself back on the Desktop, from where it can be deleted without affecting your new Quick Launch Shortcut.

Dealing with "Read-Only" Files
   Judith Kozlowski wrote that she occasionally runs across a "Read-Only" MS-Word document that won't permit any editing, and asked how to overcome this. The easiest way is to go to File, Save As and give the document a new name, which will then allow all the editing you want. To unlock this status from the original document, however, you can find the file via Windows Explorer, right-click it, and UNcheck "Read-Only."
   Conversely, a document can be made "Read-Only" by checking this box. Why would someone do this? Well, if a document is being passed around to get input from others, the original could be thus-protected, so that any such input would have to be placed in a new file. (These procedures, by the way, are not limited to MS-Word files.)
Sep 15
How to Copy a Graphic from a PowerPoint File Using Your PrntScrn Key + Launching Programs the Easy Way
   After my recent mention of Jim Joyce asking how to copy some of the colorful graphics included in a PowerPoint presentation he'd received, several others said they'd also like to know how to do this. Well, PowerPoint offers no "right-click & save-picture-as" option that often works on other computer graphics. Nonetheless, there is a trick you can use to reproduce anything you see on your screen.
   If you press your keyboard's PrntScrn key, everything displayed on the screen will be "copied" to the invisible "Windows clipboard" and wait to be "pasted" somewhere. A good place to paste the copied image is into a Windows PaintBrush file. Go to Start, Run, and type PBRUSH. Click OK and PaintBrush (a.k.a. Paint) will be launched. Go to Edit, Paste, and what you saw on your screen will now appear as an image that can be edited, saved, and/or printed.
   If you just want to do the above with one particular item on your screen (such as one of several open windows) you can click on it and press PrntScrn while holding down youeAlt key.
   Getting back to Jim's question, any PowerPoint slide can be reproduced as described above. However, the colorful floral designs Jim wants to capture each has a message superimposed over it, and the messages can't be removed unless you have PowerPoint on your computer.
   If you do, here's how to separate the text from a slide's background: get into Windows Explorer by right-clicking Start and choosing Explore. Browse your way to the PowerPoint presentation's filename, which will normally have .PPS as an extension. Change the extension to .PPT by right-clicking the filename and choosing "Rename."
   Double-clicking the renamed file will launch PowerPoint and let you edit the individual slides. Double-click one of them and delete any "text boxes" you find on it. The resulting text-free background image can now be reproduced as described above. After editing the image in PaintBrush (such as resizing it, for instance) go to File, Save As and give the picture a name. In the "Save As Type" box, I'd suggest choosing .JPG.
   Having followed the above steps you should now have a file in your My Pictures or My Documents folder named, say, bouquet.jpg, which can be attached to an outgoing e-mail or perhaps used as a graphic in a word processing document.
   If you've never used PaintBrush, here are some beginner's tips that should be helpful: Go to File, Open and browse your way to any picture you want to edit. If, for instance, you want to resize a picture click on Image, Stretch & Skew. To reduce a picture to, say, 3/4 of its size, type 75 into the Horizontal and Vertical "Percentage/Stretch" boxes.
   To crop just a person in a picture and eliminate unnecessary background, draw a box around the person with the rectangular "Select" tool in the upper right corner of the Tool Box. Using the star-shaped "Free-Form Select" tool will let you do your cropping with shapes other than rectangular. Once a selection has been thus made, doing Ctrl+X or Ctrl+C will let you CUT it or COPY it.
   Clicking on File, New will create a blank "canvas" where your cropped image can be placed by doing Ctrl+V. All kinds of other PaintBrush editing tips can be found by clicking on Help.

Launch Programs the Easy Way!
   Notice that I had you launch PaintBrush by going to Start, Run and typing in PBRUSH. The more traditional way of launching the application is to go to Start, Programs ("All Programs" in XP) and clicking Accessories. Here you'll find several other helpful accessories, including Calculator and Notepad, which can also be launched by going to Start, Run.
   If you use any of these tools often, however, you can save steps by putting their icons on your Desktop. These accessory programs are found in the C:\Windows folder, which you can browse your way into via Windows Explorer, which you can get into as described above. Look for CALC.EXE and "drag" it onto your Desktop icon, which will be the very top icon in the left Windows Explorer pane. Look for NOTEPAD.EXE and PAINT.EXE and do the same. Back on your Desktop you'll now have icons for Calculator, Notepad, and Paint, which will launch these handy tools when double-clicked.
   While you're at it, you can drag the EXPLORE.EXE icon onto you Desktop. Using it will mean you'll never again have to right-click Start and then click Explore.

Sep 10

Alphabetizing Internet Explorer Favorites
   When I wrote recently that I knew of no way of alphabetizing Internet Explorer "Favorites" I heard from Ruth Bean and Carol-Lynn Rossiter, who explained that after left-clicking "Favorites" you can right-click any item in the list and choose "Sort By Name."
   Al Nienhaus. Dwight D. Raymond and Lincoln King-Cliby added that this trick also works in certain other Windows lists, such as those found when clicking Start, Programs, Favorites, Documents, etc.

Why Do Deleted Items Still Show Up Under "Recent Documents?"
   Speaking of "Documents," I'm often asked why items deleted from the "My Documents" folder still show up when clicking on Start, Documents ("Recent Documents" in XP). Well, the list of "Documents" found when clicking Start is there to make re-opening a recently-used file easier, and really has nothing to do with items found in the "My Documents" folder (unless something in that folder was, in fact, recently used).
   The Start/Documents list shows the 15 documents most recently used, and the moment another document is accessed or created, it will be added to the list, with the oldest file in the list being dropped off to make room for it. The 15 names on the list are, in fact, just "names" and not the actual files. This means that if a file is deleted, its name will remain on the list until it is cycled off as described above.

Positioning a Picture Inside a Word Document
   Lynn Harper wrote to ask why a picture inserted into a Word document can't be moved around on a page and placed just where she wants it. Well, MS-Word is not truly a DTP (desktop publishing) program like, say, MS-Publisher and Pagemaker. However, graphics in Word can be positioned where one wants them by using something called a "Text Box." Go to Insert, Text Box, and your cursor will turn into a tiny cross. Use this cross to draw a rectangle, with the left mouse-button held down, of the approximate size and shape of the picture you want to use.
   Click inside this Text Box and go to Insert, Picture, From File. Browse your way to the target graphic and double-click it to insert it into the box. By mouse-grabbing an outside edge of the Text Box, you'll find that it can re-positioned on the page. Double-clicking a box edge will bring up a "Format Text Box" window with options for fine-tuning the exact placement of the box, along with choices regarding how text will wrap around, go behind, or even go in front of it.
   Double-clicking the graphic itself will bring up a "Format Picture" window with several photo-editing options, including one for turning the picture into a "watermark" by changing it to grayscale and diminishing its contrast accordingly.
   Getting back to the Text Box, you can also insert things such as a spreadsheet chart, a WordArt graphic or a clipart item. So why is it called a "text" box? Well, in older versions of Word it was called a "frame" and it was normally placed around a graphic after the image had been inserted. Nowadays, the Text Box is inserted first and can also be used to contain -- guess what -- text. Right; text can be typed into the box and formatted independently of the surrounding body text, thus allowing one to place, say, a large yellow box with a red "IMPORTANT" message in the middle of a page.

What are ".PPS" Files?
   I continue to get mail asking what a ".PPS" file is and how to open it. This indicates a PowerPoint file, which is normally a "slide show" of some kind. If PowerPoint is installed on your computer, double-clicking a file will cause the slide show to begin. If you don't have this program, a free PowerPoint "viewer" can be downloaded from by typing "powerpoint viewer" into their Search box.
   Jim Joyce wrote to ask how to extract some of the beautiful graphics that were used in a PowerPoint presentation he recently received via e-mail. Well, the ways of doing this are many and varied, and would easily fill up a whole column here. However, I'm posting some instructions at for the benefit of anyone who might want more information on the subject.

Sep 8
Converting a "Regular" Name in an Email's Return Address into the actual "Email Address" + Finding HTML Formatting Tools in Hotmail + Saving Items to a 3 1/2" Floppy Disk
   Del R. Griffin uses Outlook Express and wrote to ask if there is a way to display the sender's actual e-mail address when his/her "regular" name appears in the "From" box. Yes, just double-click the sender's name, and the e-mail address will be displayed.
   Karen Floyd wrote to say that when she clicks on Compose in Hotmail, the "formatting" toolbar she has always used has disappeared. In other words, the HTML formatting features she previously had have somehow vanished.
   The fix is to click the down arrow next to "Tools" and choose "Rich Text Editor ON." "Rich Text" is another way of saying HTML, which is what allows us to compose fancy, colorful e-mail, rather than using plain black text. Should you prefer plain text, however, do the above and choose "Rich Text Editor OFF."
   Outlook Express users make these choices by going to Format and clicking either "Rich Text (HTML)" or "Plain Text." AOL 7.0 and CompuServe 7.0 users do not have a "Plain Text" option; all outgoing e-mail has HTML coding built in (even if one types in plain, unformatted text). Earlier versions of AOL and CS had a hybrid of HTML and Plain Text, which often makes their e-mail look strange to users of other e-mail programs.
   Netscape Mail lets you make these HTML choices by going to Options, Format.
   Netscape "Web" Mail, however, allows Plain Text composing only.

Alphabetizing "Favorites" in Internet Explorer
   Jim Warren wrote to ask if one's "Favorites" in Internet Explorer can be alphabetized. Well, other than moving the names individually to put them in a particular order, I know of no way to "sort" them automatically.
   When I wrote the next paragraph I had no answer for this. However, shortly after sending out the newsletter I got replies from several people on how to do this. (See the 9-10-02 column that follows this one.)
   I can only assume that the reason for this is that all Web sites normally have two names: the actual URL and the "shortcut" name that is usually applied to it. For instance, my Web site's official URL is However, I often have it listed (using underlying HTML coding) as "Don's Home Page." So should the site be sorted under H or D?

Copying Files to a 3.5" Disk
   Larry Baker wrote to ask if he can copy his Microsoft Office Address Book onto a 3 1/2-inch disk. Yes, any file or folder can always be copied onto a floppy disk, assuming there is enough space available on the disk. Getting the data onto the disk can be done in different ways, however. Perhaps this would be a good time to review them.
   Any file or folder can be "dragged" onto a 3 1/2-inch disk from within Windows Explorer. Right-click Start and choose Explore to open the two-paned Explorer window. In the left pane, the A-Drive (into which a 3 1/2-inch disk will have been inserted) will be shown near the top of the list of yellow folders. In the right pane, browse your way to the target file or folder.
   If either is inside another folder, double-click this folder to get at it.
   Other nested folders, if any, can be double-clicked until you reach your target item. When it's found, simply drag it onto the A-Drive icon in the left pane.
   Files and folders can be copied onto the A-Drive in yet another way. After finding the target file or folder, right-click it and choose Send To. Then click "3-1/2 Floppy (A:)."
   Regarding files only: If one you want to send to a floppy disk that is currently open and being worked on, it can be sent to the A-Drive by clicking File, Save As, and choosing the A-Drive icon in the "Look In" or "Save In" box.

Important Difference Between "Moving" and "Copying"
   Here is something that is important to understand, though: When a file or folder is "dragged and dropped" onto the A-Drive icon, the file/folder is not being physically moved from your hard disk (C-Drive) to the A-Drive; it is being COPIED to the other disk. The original file/folder will remain in place.
   On the other hand, if you're saving a document by choosing File, Save As, the file is only saved to the disk you have chosen while executing this command. If the 3 1/2-inch disk is intended to be a "backup" of a file stored on your C-Drive, you will have to do another Save, choosing the appropriate location.

Sep 3
Unwanted Names in OE - Flat Screen Problem - Changing Desktop Display - Downloading to a 3.5" Disk - Mac-PC Picture Conversion

Why Does New Mail Go Into the Deleted Files Folder?
   Jerry Housman and Ann Marie Lorenzini wrote to ask why this newsletter always goes into their Outlook Express Deleted Files folder. Well, if you go to Tools, Message Rules, Mail, New, you'll find all kinds of options for avoiding spam, including deleting email from specific names. Somehow, my email address was included in this group; but this was easily fixed by removing my name from the list.

Why Are Unwanted Names Added to the Outlook Express Address Book?
   Several people have asked why new names keep getting added to their Outlook Express Address Book without their wanting this to happen. This can be fixed by going to Tools, Options, Send and UNchecking "Automatically Put People I Reply To in My Address Book." Next, click on Addresses and delete all the unwanted names that may have been put there.

Flat Screen Monitor Limitations
   Jane Marcotte wrote to say she bought a flat screen monitor and was surprised to learn that the built-in screen resolution displays very small text and images, and that enlarging the display diminishes the monitor's overall legibility. Yes, this is a definite limitation of flat panel monitors; they only look really good at a pre-determined screen resolution, and before buying one you should make sure it's a display you will be comfortable with.
   Jane said she was told that some free software called "Liquid View" is supposed to alleviate this problem, and that it's available at She asked if I knew if it really helps. Sorry, I've had no experience with this product, but will check it out ASAP.

Changing Desktop Color & Layout Settings
   For those who want to change the screen resolution on their regular CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors, they can right-click the Desktop and choose Properties, Settings, and move the horizontal slide bar under Screen Resolution. A number of other Desktop options, such as background colors, "wallpaper" images, and screen savers can be found under Properties as well.

Downloading Files to a 3.5" Floppy Disk
   Jane also asked if email attachments can be downloaded to a disk, rather than to the C-drive. Yes, anything downloaded from anywhere can be saved to a 3.5" disk, as long as the file will fit on it. Many files, including pictures, are often too big for a floppy. In any case, the rule is the same for downloading files as it is for copying files from one disk to another, as well as for installing a program from a CD:
   At some point you'll see a prompt that lets you choose where the file is to go. Look for a little down arrow next to the line containing the default location chosen for the file. Click it to display an "Explorer" view that allows you to "browse" to a different location. If you don't see this little arrow, you can usually overtype the default location with one of your choice. In Jane's case, she could overtype, say, "C:\Download" with "A:" to put the file on a floppy disk.

Missing Pictures in MS-Word Documents  
Bill Valitus said that a manuscript he prepared with MS-Word somehow loses its inserted graphics when copied to a CD. Well, missing MS-Word images can usually be made to display by going to Tools, Options, View, Print and making sure that "Drawings" is checked.

Copying Mac Pictures to a PC
   Olive Paterson wrote to say she'd received a photo attached to an email received from a relative who uses a Macintosh, but that she could not open it. Well, image compatibility between PCs and Macs can be very problematical. For one thing, PC image filenames normally need a three-letter extension (.JPG, .BMP, etc.) while Mac filenames normally have no extensions at all. Olive's file, however, did have ".HQX" as an extension, which is one I've never even heard of.
   Well, I told Olive if she'd send me the file, I'd see what I could do with it. Guess what -- I was able to open it and convert it to a standard .JPG file, using PaintShopPro. Why am I telling you this? Well, I have several different graphics programs, and I've found PaintShopPro to be the best all-round value of the bunch. For instance, it does things my $300 Corel PhotoPaint can't do, and PSP only costs about $110, with a 30-day free trial. If interested, you can download the evaluation version from

Sep 1
Automatic Hyperlink Conversion - Help We May Not Want + Easy Line-Spacing + Playing Music Files
   Ed Ferrer wrote to say that if he types an e-mail address into a blank cell in MS-Excel it automatically turns into underlined blue text. He went on to say that if he later clicks this cell it launches a new, pre-addressed letter in his e-mail program. What Ed wants is for his text to be left unaltered.
   Well, if you're using Version 2000 or XP of Excel, Word or PowerPoint, you've very likely run into the same situation; any typed-in e-mail or Web address is immediately turned into an underlined blue "hyperlink" which, when clicked, leaps immediately into action. This is another example of Microsoft making it faster and easier for us to do things we may not necessarily want to do.
   The fix for all the above is to go to Tools, AutoCorrect Options, AutoFormat As You Type, Replace As You Type, and UNcheck "Internet and Network Paths with Hyperlinks." While you're in this area, take a look at all the various "helpful" AutoFormat items to see if there are any others you might want to change.
   If you use Outlook Express and you'd rather not have typed-in Web and e-mail addresses turn into clickable links, go to Format, Plain Text. The alternative choice is Format, HTML. Choosing HTML means you can liven up your e-mail with fonts of different colors, sizes, and styles. It also means you can insert graphics and/or special backgrounds into the body of your outgoing mail, including even animated cartoons.
   If you are new to computers, you may have been doing this right along and not even realize there was a time when all e-mail was plain black and white text. You may also be unaware that some folks prefer to receive e-mail as "plain text" with no special effects. This column, for instance, is much easier for my editor to edit when he receives it as plain text. And, since the column appears in the newspaper as plain text, this makes perfect sense.

Change Line-Spacing the Easy Way
   Using a computer to prepare a manuscript has definitely changed the way things are done in the publishing world. There was a time when a manuscript would only be accepted when typed with double line-spacing. Text in a word processing file, however, can easily have its line-spacing ("leading") changed by anyone who is reading it.
   In MS-Word and MS-Works, for instance, leading can be changed by going to Format, Paragraph, Line. Here you'll find options for fine-tuning your line-spacing to an exact number of "points" along with options for pre-setting the exact amount of space between paragraphs. What is much easier, however, is to highlight the text whose leading you want to adjust and then do Ctrl+1 for Single Line-Spacing, Ctrl+2 for Double Line-Spacing, and Ctrl+5 for 1-1/2 Line-Spacing.
   If this doesn't work with text you've copied and pasted into your word processor from, say, an e-mail or a Web page, it will be because each line of text had been individually given a "carriage return" (pressing Enter). After being pasted into Word, WordPerfect or Works, such text often appears in alternating long and short lines. The easiest way to fix this is to use StripMail, which can be freely downloaded from my home page at
   While you're there, you can also print out a helpful list of the most-used "keyboard shortcuts" such as Ctrl+S for Save, Ctrl+C for Copy, Ctrl+F for Find, etc. Other freely downloadable items at are "Yellow Sticky Notes" and "Font-Viewer." There are also lots of "oldie but goodie" WAV and MIDI songs available.

Problems Playing and/or Downloading Music Files
   Speaking of which, I've heard from a number of folks recently who say they've had trouble downloading the songs and/or playing them while connected to the Web. Well, I've discovered that playing and downloading these selections can be affected by which browser you're using, as well as by which version of Windows you have.
   Not being a technician, I don't pretend to understand this, but I have found that Netscape will always let you play the music online while Internet Explorer sometimes won't. In any case, I've recently added additional information to the site.

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