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

Nov 3, 2002 Getting Rid of "Temporary Internet Files" & "Cookies" +
Doing Mailing Labels & Envelopes with MSWord & with MSWorks
Nov 5, 2002 Sending & Receiving Faxes with your PC + Finding Lost Files
Nov 10, 2002 Faxing "Services" + Faxing with Your PC Using a DSL Connection + Word's Built-In Drawing Tools + Free Clipart from Microsoft
Nov 12, 2002 Using Your "WinKey" + "Thumbnails" on the WinXP Desktop + Printing Web Pages Too Wide for Your Paper + Page Numbering in MSWord
Nov 17, 2002 Checking a Web Page in Different Browsers + More on Bulleted Lists in MSWord + Outlook Express Protecting Too Well? + Animations in Email + Email with an EML Extension + Reinstalling Outlook Express
Nov 19, 2002 Downloading Pictures & Inserting Them into Outgoing Email
Nov 24, 2002 Using WordArt + Creating a Desktop Icon to Your Favorite Programs + Difficulty with Double-Clicking?
Nov 26, 2002 Eliminating Modem Noise + Possible Fixes for Hardware Problems + Retrieving Email When Awauy from Your ISP's Service Area + Using PowerPoint for Holiday Greetings
Sunday
Nov 26
Eliminating Modem Noise
     Frank Marsh wrote to ask how eliminate the annoying beeps generated by his modem when he logs on to his ISP. This can usually be fixed by going to Control Panel, System, Hardware, Device Manager, Modems, and setting the Volume Control to zero. On most computers a shortcut to Device Manager is available by pressing the Windows and Pause/Delete keys simultaneously.

More Info on Eliminating Modem Noise
     Nicholas Roberti wrote to say that his Win98 system displays a modem Volume Control in three different places, and that all three need to be adjusted to get rid of the noise. In addition to the Device Manager location described above, he finds a Volume Control by double-clicking My Computer and going to Control Panel, Modem, Properties.
     The third location is found by double-clicking My Computer and choosing Dialup Networking. Right-click the specific connection and choose Properties. The modem with a Configure button will also have a Volume Control.

Possible Solutions for Malfunctioning Hardware
     Device Manager is also where you go in case a peripheral such as a modem or CD drive stops working. Right-click the target hardware item and choose “Uninstall.” Rebooting your computer (in Win98 or later) will reinstall the nonfunctioning device, and, in many cases, this will be all that’s necessary to restore the item to service.
     Another frequent question concerns printers that have stopped working. In many cases, reinstalling a printer’s drivers, from the CD that came with it, will do the job. If the CD can’t be found, or if the printer worked with Win98 but not with WinXP, an updated driver can normally be downloaded from the printer manufacturer’s Web site.
     Another printer problem I often see is that of having multiple printer drivers installed on one computer. For instance, a user will try to print something with his new HP printer, only to be told that a Canon printer can’t be found. This can result when a new printer is installed, but the drivers to the old printer have been left on the computer’s hard drive. The fix is to go to Control Panel, Printers, and delete the old drivers.
     If, however, you actually do use multiple printers with your computer, then the one used most should be set as “Default” while any other can be selected by clicking on File, Print (rather than just clicking your toolbar Printer icon).

Retrieving Email When Away from Your ISP's Service Area
     Judith Kgrierson asked how she can retrieve her e-mail when she’s out of the area of the ISP she normally uses. Well, different ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have different policies, but most have an e-mail retrieval area on their Web sites. If, for instance, your ISP is NCTimes go to www.nctimes.net and click on Web Services to find unread e-mail.
     AOL e-mail is accessible from any computer that has AOL installed on it. Simply log on as a “Guest.” From any other computer AOL users can go to www.aol.com and click on “AOL Anywhere.” Be aware, however, that once e-mail has been read it will usually be deleted from the ISP site, except for certain services like AOL, MSN, and Compuserve, where accessed mail may be kept on hand for a period of days, depending on one’s preferences.
     Beyond all this, many users choose to use a free Web-based e-mail client such as Hotmail, Yahoo, or Netscape, where read e-mail may be kept on the servers indefinitely, as long as one’s account is kept active and if storage size limitations are not exceeded.

Using PowerPoint for Holiday Greetings
     I wrote recently about creating holiday greeting cards with WordArt and/or by downloading clipart from my Web site at www.pcdon.com. Another way to create colorful greetings is by using PowerPoint, which most users of MSOffice have available.
     PowerPoint was designed primarily for business use, in that its main purpose is to create "slide shows" of the type a salesperson would show to a prospective customer. These slide show presentations can be as simple as some plain photos or drawings, or they can be jazzed up with lively animations and sound that can rival colorful commercials seen on TV.
     Creating and e-mailing PowerPoint presentations can be fun, easy and very rewarding. However, the person on the receiving end must also have the program, which comes with most versions of MSOffice. For those who don't have the program, a free PowerPoint "player" can be downloaded from www.microsoft.com. This free program can be used to play PowerPoint presentations, but not to create them.
     Also, PowerPoint can be purchased as a free-standing program, independent of MSOffice. A beautiful Holiday Presentation that can be downloaded from www.pcdon.com and played on your computer.
Sunday
Nov 24
Using WordArt wordart3.gif 95540 bytes
     Now that the holidays are approaching, how about dressing up your printed correspondence with a colorful "headline" or two? If you're a user of MSWord or MSWorks, you have access to a very useful utility called "WordArt." Its name pretty much describes what the program does; it takes words and displays them in all kinds of creative and imaginative ways.
     If you're designing a greeting card, a holiday newsletter, or a descriptive brochure of some kind, WordArt can give you an eye-catching headline that's sure to get attention; and it can also be activated from within Excel, PowerPoint, and MSPublisher.
     To access this utility from within MSWord, PowerPoint, or Excel, go to View, Toolbars, WordArt. In earlier versions of MSWorks (4.0, 4.5) go to Insert, WordArt. In MSWorks 2000, or later, go to Insert, Picture, WordArt. In MSPublisher the WordArt icon (a red and blue WA) will be found on the Objects Toolbar.
     The best way to learn about WordArt is to jump in and experiment with it. But here are a few pointers to get you started. Once you have the WordArt toolbar on your screen, you'll see a number of icons on it. The first is a tilted blue "A." Click on it and a dazzling display of 30 sample layouts will appear. Click on any one of them and a window will appear, into which you'll type your phrase and choose the font size, style and color you prefer.
     Actually, the font "size" doesn't matter, because the finished product will be a "graphic" and, like all graphics, it can be resized by grabbing any of its "handles" and adjusting them accordingly.
     An additional "handle" is a little yellow diamond, which will let you change the "pitch" of the finished graphic from, say, a rectangular shape to a parallelogram.
     Other icons on the toolbar include one for rotating the graphic, while another lets you adjust the spacing between the letters in the phrase. Still another will let you "mold" the phrase into any one of 40 different shapes, including one that goes in a complete circle, similar to a campaign button.
     Other designs are waving banners, triangles, and a variety of geometric shapes. Some designs even have the letters of the phrase stacked, reading from top to bottom.
     Color choices will be found under Format, Borders & Shading. The "fill" colors are under Shading, which includes some beautiful multi-color gradient effects. Outline colors are under Borders, where different line styles and thicknesses can be chosen. MSWord users can also use Word's "Draw" toolbar to choose the lettering's fill and outline colors.
     Word's "Draw" toolbar can be accessed by going to View, Toolbars, Drawing. In addition to all the "art" tools, you can choose to position the finished WordArt graphic so that surrounding text flows around it, behind it, or in front of it.
     Users of WordPerfect have a similar utility called TextArt, whose functions are very similar to WordArt. Try them - you'll like them.

Creating a Desktop Icon to Your Favorite Programs
     Lionel Lizarraga wrote to ask if there is a faster way to open Outlook Express than by clicking the Start button and then navigating the list of files found in the Start Menu or those listed under Programs.
     Yes, a shortcut to any favorite program can be easily placed on one's Desktop.
     Simply navigate to the program's icon, as you would normally, but right-click it this time. Choose "Create Shortcut" and then drag the newly-created "shortcut icon" onto your Desktop.

Difficulty in Double-Clicking?
     Speaking of single-clicking - for those who have trouble doing a double-click fast enough to open a file, a single-click followed by pressing Enter will always do the job. However, all "double-click" icons can be converted to single-clicks. Win98 users can right-click Start and choose Explore. Go to View, Folder Options, General, Custom, and click Settings. Finally, choose "Single-Click." XP users will find this option under Tools, Folder Options.
Tuesday
Nov 19
Downloading Graphics
     Since mentioning that I've placed a collection of holiday clipart on this Website, a number of people have written to ask how to download the graphics and insert them into their email or other documents. Well, Internet Explorer users need to right-click a target graphic and choose Save Picture As, while Netscape users will right-click and choose Save Image.
     Make a note of what folder the graphics will be saved into so they can be easily found when needed. IE normally stores them in My Pictures or My Documents, while Netscape seems to prefer the Desktop. However, you can click the down-arrow to the right of the Save In box and choose any folder you like. You can also rename any graphic as you download it; however the ones on my site have short, easy-to-remember names, so there's seldom a need for this.

Inserting Graphics into Email
     As for inserting the graphics into your email or documents, this varies among different programs, but here are some of the most commonly used steps. Outlook Express users will click inside the body of an outgoing email and then go to Insert, Picture, while Netscape Mail users will go to Insert, Image.
     AOL and CompuServe users can either click on the "Camera" icon or right-click inside an outgoing email and choose Insert Picture.
     Hotmail users will click on Attachments/Add/Edit. Even though you're told that the graphic will be "attached" (as opposed to "inserted") the graphic may still appear inside the received email, depending on the email program used by a recipient. Similar peculiarities may be found when using web-based email clients such as Yahoo and Netscape Web Mail.
     Beyond all this, various options for changing the size and/or alignment of a picture inside an email can be found in different programs. I can't list them all here, but you can always press F1 to bring up most programs' Help files.
     Many of the downloadable graphics found on the Internet are animated GIF files, which will move when seen on the Web. But the downloaded pictures will appear motionless when double-clicked and displayed within "Windows Paint" or most any other graphics program you may have.
     Windows XP users can see these graphics in action because XP has a built-in "Picture & Fax Viewer" that does the job when a GIF animation file is double-clicked. However, non-XP-users can download a free program at www.irfanview.com that will display the files in action.
     As for inserting an animation in your email, you probably won't see it move when you place it, but your recipients will. If in doubt, send a copy of the email to yourself and take a look.
     All the above assumes you are using "HTML" email, which most of us do nowadays. If you have a contact who is set up only for "Plain Text" email the graphic won't appear, animated or otherwise. Some earlier versions of various programs, such as AOL 4.0, are a hybrid of HTML and Plain Text; and their users may see all kinds of weird stuff inside incoming HTML-based letters, including numerous lines of cryptic coding.
     Speaking of AOL, a number of users who have downloaded version 8.0 told me they've had lots of problems with it, and that AOL Tech Support told them to uninstall it and wait for it to come out on a CD.
     Getting back to downloaded graphics, animated files will always have the extension GIF. Other extensions may be found on various image filenames, such as BMP, JPG, JPEG, or JPE. The latter three are simply filename variations of the same graphic format, and bitmap editors such as Windows Paint will display them all the same way.
     If you run across an Internet graphic with the extension ART, however, your bitmap editor probably won't open it. Nonetheless, any ART file will give you the option of changing it to BMP while downloading it. Look for the down-arrow on the "Type of File" box. If you do download a file with its ART extension, you can display it by right-clicking the filename and choosing Open With. Next click on Internet Explorer. When the picture appears you can then click on File, Save As and choose BMP.
Sunday
Nov 17
Web Pages in Different Browsers + Bulleted Lists in MSWord + OE Protecting Too Well? + Email Animations + EML Extension + Reinstalling OE
     Traci Estabrook wrote to say she's taking a class in Web Page Creation and asked how to be sure her pages will be legible in both Internet Explorer and Netscape. Well, first let's discuss why checking out one's Web-creation efforts in both browsers would even be necessary.
     Since IE is already installed on most new computers, it's the browser most folks use to access the Internet. However, there are others, including Netscape, Opera, and Mozilla, all of which can be freely downloaded from www.download.com. But why would anyone want more than one browser on his or her computer?
     Well, not all browsers are created equal. I could fill this column describing their differences, but suffice it to say certain browsers are preferred by different users and that some elements may not be displayed the same in all of them. For instance, a photo that displays beautifully in IE may disappear altogether from Netscape if a single HTML coding tag is omitted.
     Regarding Traci's question, the short answer is: launch the preferred browser and type the target URL into the Web address line, press Enter, and take a look at the end result.

More on Bulleted Lists in MSWord
     Regarding a recent question about creating multi-level bulleted lists in MSWord, Kathleen McKeen sent me some wonderfully comprehensive step-by-step instructions. Her e-mail is too long to reprint here, but can also be found on my Web site.

Outlook Express Protecting Too Well
     Concerning my recent mention of Outlook Express automatically deleting suspicious attachments, Jodi Wojcik wrote to say the feature works too well (by deleting items she actually wants to receive) and asked how to disable it. I suggested going to Tools, Options, Security and UNchecking: "Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could potentially be a virus." However, it's axiomatic that one should still have a separate anti-virus program installed and operational at all times.

Animations in AOL Email
     An AOL user named Joyce wrote to ask why animated drawings she inserts in her outgoing e-mail don't move. (AOL and CS users can right-click inside an outgoing letter and choose Insert Picture. Then browse your way to the target graphic and double-click it.)
     Well, this is a peculiarity of AOL and CompuServe e-mail. Outlook Express users, conversely, can see an animated GIF file in action the minute they go to Insert, Picture and make their choice. Nonetheless, the recipient of an AOL or CS animation-bearing e-mail will see the picture in action; and Joyce can see this by simply sending herself a copy of her letter.
     Speaking of animations, I have recently placed a large collection of animated Holiday clipart on www.pcdon.com.

Email with an EML Extension
     CompuServe user Don Dalphin Jr. wrote to ask why certain e-mail he receives is converted to an EML format, which makes it totally illegible to him.
     Well, the myriad of today's various e-mail client incompatibilities are too numerous to be fully explained here, but most of us are using either Outlook Express or AOL/Compuserve for our letter-writing.
     Furthermore, most of us are doing it in an "HTML" format, meaning that our e-mails are basically miniature Web pages that allow us to use colorful font styles and include pictures in our letters if we want to. This means that HTML-based AOL/CS e-mail can normally be read by HTML-based OE users, and vice-versa.
     Beyond that, nearly all PC users have Outlook Express available because it is part of Internet Explorer, which comes packaged with all versions of Windows. However, those who sign up with AOL/CS normally use the built-in AOL/CS e-mail programs and are often unaware that they even have OE on their computers.
     Well, e-mail created with OE always has the extension EML, and incoming e-mail with this extension can be read by anyone with OE on his/her machine (which includes just about everybody). All one has to do is double-click any file with an EML extension to activate OE and make the e-mail legible.

Reinstalling Outlook Express
     If this doesn't work for Don, he may need to reinstall OE, which can be found at www.microsoft.com/windows/ie.
     If there's one question I receive more than any other, it's "How can I stop all the spam that arrives in my inbox?" Well, OE users can go to Tools, Message Rules, while Hotmail users can look for spam-avoidance features under Options, and AOL/CS users can type SPAM into their Keyword box. But don't expect miracles. The spammers are creating ways around these protections even as we speak. Expecting a totally SPAM-free Inbox is kind of like hoping our mail-carriers will be nice enough to stop and weed out all the junk mail before depositing anything in our mailboxes.
Tuesday
Nov 12
Using Your "WinKey" + "Thumbnails" on the WinXP Desktop + Printing Web Pages Too Wide for Your Paper + Page Numbering in MSWord
     Regarding a recent column where I mentioned that Ctrl+F can be used to FIND things on Web Pages as well as in files and folders on one's computer, Bob Crabtree wrote to say that WinKey+F will launch the Windows Find/Search utility for searching your computer's various drives. This is the key with the "wavy Windows logo," and it can also be used as a shortcut in other combinations. WinKey+R will activate the Windows RUN command, while WinKey+D will toggle between your Desktop and wherever else you happen to be.
     Finally, WinKey+E will open Windows Explorer, the "file management" utility of your computer that everyone should be familiar with.
     Speaking of WinKey+F's Find/Search capabilities, let's look at some of its various possibilities. If you're looking for a picture named, say, MOM.JPG, and the filename appears more than once, it could mean you have unneeded duplicates. Clicking any filename and pressing DEL will send it to the Recycle Bin.

Finding and/or Renaming Files
     But it's also possible to have different pictures with the same name. Double-click each file to see what it looks like. Better yet; if you have WinXP, put your View setting on Thumbnails, and the pictures will display automatically.
     OK, let's say you find two different photos named MOM.JPG and you want to put them in the same folder. Well, you can drag them from your "found" list onto your Desktop. However, if you try to place more than one file with the same name into a given folder, you'll be warned a newer file will replace an existing one. Solution: give one of the files a new name by right-clicking it and choosing Rename.

Seeing "Thumbnails" on the WinXP Desktop
     Speaking of WinXP's "Thumbnail" view, have you noticed that it doesn't work on your Desktop? Any JPG or GIF file will just be shown as a generic graphic icon on your Desktop. Well, the Desktop actually is a "folder" and can be made to display itself as such if you have a special "Desktop Icon" to click.
     Double-click My Computer, double-click the "C:" icon and then double-click Documents & Settings. Now double-click the folder called "Administrator" or the one with your name on it. Finally, right-click "Desktop" and choose "Create Shortcut." Drag this shortcut onto your Desktop, where double-clicking it will let you have a "Thumbnails" view of all its icons. You can also choose "Details" or any of the "View" options available in other folders.

Printing a Web Page That's Too Wide for Your Paper
     Earl Johnson wrote to ask how to print out the full width of a Web page, since part of the right side often gets cut off. Well, I overcome this by clicking the Web page and selecting ALL of it with Ctrl+A. I use Ctrl+C to COPY the page and then I use Ctrl+V to PASTE it into a blank MSWord document. First, however, I reduce the width of Word's vertical margins by going to File, Page Setup, Margins.
     If the Web page is still too wide, it will normally rearrange its various text and graphic elements to fit. Then I use Word's editing tools to turn the Web page into an easily printable format.
     For instance, a color photo will use up a lot of ink, so I normally reduce its size by grabbing one of its corner "handles" and adjusting accordingly. I may also go to Format, Picture, and convert it to GrayScale - or just delete it altogether.

Page Numbering in MSWord
     Marron McDowell asked how to add page numbering to MSWord documents. Well, the easiest way is to click on Insert, Page Numbering and follow the prompts. A more comprehensive method is to go to View, Header & Footer, to set aside space at the top and/or bottom of a page for things like Chapter Titles, Footnotes, and Page Numbering.

Multi-Level List Numbering in MSWord
     Elvera Steimle asked how to create pages in MSWord that have numbered lists, along with sub-lists and sub-sub-lists.
     I suggested she go to Format, Bullets & Numbering, click on the "Outline Numbered" tab, and follow the prompts. Doing basic one-level lists is fairly easy when using the Bullet & Numbering icons found on Word's toolbar. Doing multi-level lists, however, can be pretty tricky; so I told Elvera to click on Help and look for information on Bullets & Numbering, where comprehensive illustrated instructions can be found.
Sunday
Nov 10
Faxing "Services" + Faxing with Your PC Using a DSL Connection + Word's Built-In Drawing Tools + Free Clipart from Microsoft
     When I recently asked if anyone knew of any free "faxing" programs, Ken Perkins wrote to suggest www.freefax.com www.freefax.com, while Alisa Guralnick said she's been using www.efax.com for about three years. Both of these are "fax services" that send and receive "Web-based faxes" for you, as opposed to having software like WinFax on your own PC. Freefax, as its name implies, is free, but places ads on the faxes it handles. Alisa said that Efax lets you receive faxes for free, but charges to send them. Check their Web sites for more information.

Sending & Receiving Faxes with Your PC Using a DSL Connection
     When I asked if anyone knew how to do "faxing" on a DSL phone line, Carol Cummings called to say that using "WinFax Pro version 10" lets her send and receive faxes on her DSL phone line easily and efficiently. She went on to say that a "hard" modem is required for this and that a "soft" modem (i.e. a "winmodem" that needs part of Windows' software to function) will not work. Carol uses a US Robotics model.

Interesting Question re: Placing Multiple Graphics on a Word Page
     Rich Ames called to ask a question for which I had no answer; but his question contained a valuable tip for combining text and graphics in MSWord. Let me explain.
     As most Word users know, a graphic can be placed on a page by using the Insert, Picture command; but the graphic will shift around as surrounding text is added or removed.
     However, if you first go to Insert, Text Box, and draw a frame into which a graphic will be inserted, the framed image can be made to stay where you want it. This is done by clicking the Text Box frame and going to Format, Text Box, where you'll find options for having text go behind, around, or in front of the framed image.
     If a page contains only one graphic this works fine. However, multiple framed graphics tend to shift around as text is edited, often ending up in places where you don't want them. Rich explained how to overcome this.
     Once you have your images where you want them, hold down Shift while you click on each graphic's frame. This will temporarily group them together. Next, go to View, Toolbars, and choose Drawing.
     On the Drawing Toolbar, click Draw, Group. This will make the grouping of your images permanent (unless you later go to Draw, Ungroup).
     Having multiple images thus grouped keeps them from drifting in different directions as surrounding text is edited. However, this works best when the images are arranged in a more or less straight line.
     As for Rich's phone call; he said that whenever he does this kind of grouping, the Text Wrap Layout options he had chosen always default back to Text in Front of Image and that he then has to go to Format, Object (the grouped images become an object) and redo his choices.
     Rich's question: Is there a way of keeping his Word Wrap options in place when he groups the images?
     I had to confess that the concept of grouping text boxes was new to me, and that I knew of no fix for his problem. If anyone has a solution, Rich and I would love to hear it.

Using Word's Built-In Drawing Tools
     Speaking of Word's Drawing Toolbar, it offers an easy way to create simple drawings on the fly. You'll find tools for creating all kinds of geometric shapes, such as rectangles, ellipses, stars, arrows, and hearts. These shapes can be drawn with outline and fill colors of your choice, while shadows and 3D effects can be easily added. Clicking on More AutoShapes will let you access a wide variety of clipart drawings on the Internet.

Free Clipart for All Computer Users
     Speaking of which, you don't have to be a Word user to access Microsoft's extensive library of free clipart. Go to www.microsoft.com www.microsoft.com and type CLIPART into the Search box. Choosing Special Occasions will bring up all kinds of Thanksgiving and Christmas artwork, along with typical Birthday, Anniversary and other special event assortments.

Tuesday
Nov 5
Sending & Receiving Faxes with your PC + Finding Lost Files
     A number of people have asked recently about using their PCs to send and receive faxes. Well, when Win95 was first introduced it had a built-in program called Microsoft FAX. It worked, but was so awkward and cumbersome that it was scrapped by the time Win98 arrived.
     Well, any Windows user can buy WinFax Pro for about $100; but I've been happy with 32bit Fax, which can be downloaded from www.electrasoft.com. The program sells for about $60 but they give you a 30-day free trial. However, it might pay to go to a search engine and type in "free fax software." If you get lucky, let me know.
     Better yet, WinXP has a workable built-in fax program. Go to Start, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs. Click Add/Remove Windows Components, choose Fax Services and click Next. The Windows Component Wizard will then help with the rest of the installation.
     Next the fax program must be configured. Go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, Communications, Fax, and click Fax Console. On the Tools menu, clicking "Configure Fax" starts the a wizard that prompts you through the rest of the job.
     Of course, "faxing" means using a telephone line, so cable users need to connect their dialup modem to a phone jack.
     As for DSL (digital subscriber line) users, their phone connections allow Internet and voice communications simultaneously, but I had heard that faxing is not possible.
     However, Carol (of Carol Cummings Construction) called to say that using WinFax Pro 10 with a US Robotics modem lets her send and receive faxes on her DSL phone line easily and efficiently. Carol went on to say that a "hard" modem is required for this and that a "soft" modem (i.e. a "winmodem" that uses part of the computer's electronics to function) will not work.
     If anyone else has additional DSL/FAX information, I'd appreciate hearing about it.

Finding Lost Files
     Finding a lost file is something I get asked about almost daily. Well, if you know the file's name, or even part of its name, then go to Start, Find (or Search), Files & Folders. Type in the name and click Find Now. If this fails, it might be because the "Look In:" box shows something like "Document Folders." It should say "C:" or "All Drives" if you have more than one hard drive.
     Another reason for failure can be uncertainty about the spelling. If you can't remember whether your file was named MyStory.doc or MyStories.doc, type in MyStor*.doc. The asterisk acts as a "wild card" which would find either name, along with names like MyStorage.doc or MyStore.doc. Typing *.doc would find all the Word documents on your hard drive, unless you specified something like the My Documents folder in the "Look In:" box.
     MSWorks users who are unsure if a lost file named MyList had a .WDB or a .WKS extension could type in MyList.W*. Typing in *List.W* would expand the search to include filenames like Bob'sList.WDB, Mom'sList.WKS or NewList.WPS.
     Actually, leaving out the asterisk in many of the above examples could also achieve the same results. However, using an asterisk between strings of letters can help considerably. For instance, typing s*rd would find words like sword, surfboard, skateboard, snowboard, and scabbard.
     Something that can speed up the search is designating a time when the file was last modified, such as "Within The Last Week," or by typing in specific date parameters.
     When all else fails, you can type a word or phrase into "Contains Text" box. Try to choose something unique that would not likely be found anywhere else. However, be prepared for this search to take a long time, since it looks at every word in nearly every file on your computer.
     If you think a missing file is in a particular folder, open the folder with a double-click and look for Search or Find in the menu options. Otherwise do Ctrl+F to bring up these options, and type in whatever you can remember of the file's name.
     If you can't remember the file's name at all, but think you'd recognize it if you saw it, and if it was modified recently, and you think it's in a certain folder, go to View, Details and click Date Modified to bring the most recent dates to the top. You might get lucky.
     It's also good to know that Ctrl+F works on any Web page, as well as on most any open window on your Desktop. Anyone looking for back issues of these columns at www.pcdon.com can go to any month and use Ctrl+F to find a word or phrase that might help track down a particular article. Beyond this, I'm currently working on a page that will let you do Ctrl+F through a whole year.
     I'll let you know when it's ready.
Sunday
Nov 3
Doing Mailing Labels & Envelopes with MSWord & with MSWorks (Illustrated Instructions Here)
+ Eliminating "Temporary Internet Files" & "Cookies"
     Dorothy Lamberth wrote to ask how to clear out her "Temporary Internet Files." These are items that are placed on our computers each time we access the Internet. They accumulate in a folder that holds only a certain number of files, meaning they are eventually removed as new files are added.
     Beyond that, a variety of "cookies" are often placed on our hard drives whenever we're on the Internet. Cookies contain information about the various things we may have done at a particular Web site, which ostensibly makes it easier for a site owner to help us during future visits.
     There are different ways of clearing out these items. You can double-click My Computer, Control Panel, Internet Options or you can click on your Desktop Internet Explorer icon and do the following:
     Next click on the General tab and then choose Delete Cookies and/or Delete Files.
     However, other cookies may also be stored in a separate folder named "Cookies." To empty this folder, go to Start, Find (or Search), Files & Folders and type in COOKIES.
     What I recommend, after finding this folder, is that you right-click it and choose Create Shortcut. This will place an icon on your Desktop that can be used to instantly access the "Cookies" folder in the future. Double-click this icon to open the folder and do Ctrl+A to select all the cookies. Go to File, Delete to remove them.
     A Windows-recommended way of deleting "Temporary Internet Files" is to double-click My Computer and then right-click the "C:" icon. Choose Properties and then click "Disk Cleanup," where you'll find a number of options, including the deletion of the Recycle Bin's contents, Downloaded Program Files, and ".TMP" files stored in folders named "Temp." However, I have personally found "Disk Cleanup" to be unreliable and prefer to empty these folders on my own.

     I wrote recently about using MSWorks to create mailing labels and envelopes. This can also be done with MSWord but it tends to be much more complicated than doing it with Works.
     In Word XP you can go to Tools, Letters & Mailings, Mail Merge Wizard, choose Envelopes or Labels, and follow the "wizard" prompts.

     For earlier versions of Word you can do the following... (...better yet, click to see instructions for both Word and Works, complete with helpful illustrations...).

     Use MSExcel to create a database of Names and Addresses. Use File, Save As to name the file say, "Holiday Name List.xls" and then use the first row to type in "headers" such as FirstName, LastName, StreetAddr, City, State, and Zip. You can alphabetize your records by clicking on Data, Sort, Last Name, Ascending.
     After filling in all the recipient information, open a blank, new Word document. Name the file, and then click on Tools, where you'll see a choice called Envelopes & Labels. Don't go there - it's for creating INDIVIDUAL labels and envelopes. Instead, click on Mail Merge, Create. Choose Envelopes & Labels.
     We'll start with labels. Click on Active Window and then click Get Data, Open Data Source. This will normally take you to the My Documents folder; but you probably won't see your Excel file there.
     This is because Word looks for files with a .DOC extension. Click on Files of Type and Choose MSExcel Worksheet (*.xls). Double-click your "address list" icon. You'll get some prompts about "using the entire spreadsheet" and "setting up your main document." You'll finally arrive at choosing the kind of label you want. The Avery Standard 5160/laser or 8160/inkjet are the most popular.
     Next you'll see an enlarged, blank label, where you'll be asked to insert the "Merge Fields." Click FirstName, press the spacebar and click LastName. Press Enter to start the next line and fill in the other fields accordingly.
     Merge the data with the document by clicking "Merge to New Document, All Records." Click "Merge." Finally, go to Edit, Select All and choose the font, style, and color you want. There will be other "fine-tuning" options along the way, but these are main ones.
     Going to File, Print Preview will show how the first page of completed labels will look. Pressing your PageDown key will show subsequent pages. Formatting envelopes is similar to the above, but you'll also be given the opportunity to type in a return address.
     All the above Labels & Envelope Instructions (with illustrated examples) can be found: HERE.

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