The Format Painter button is a handy little tool that can quickly copy formats for text and shapes, to other text or objects. It’s located on the Home tab, in the Clipboard group on the left side of the ribbon.
In Excel, click on the cell where the text is formatted the way you want it. Click on the Format Painter button. (Your cursor turns into a plus sign with a paintbrush next to it). Then click on the cell that has the text that you want to change. It should instantly change to match the formatting that was in the first cell. If you want to change the text in multiple cells, see the Quick Tip down below.
In MS Word, have you ever had a section of text suddenly look different from the rest? The cause might be that the section of text has been switched back to the default settings that are MS Word’s default settings, or it could be a computer glitch. You might also want to change text that you’ve pasted in your document from somewhere else. To fix this, select some text that has the proper formatting, by dragging your cursor over it. (Don’t worry about selecting entire words or phrases – ANY text will do). Click on the Format Painter button. (Your cursor turns into an I bar with a paintbrush next to it.) Then drag over the text that you want formatted the same way (note – if you drag over additional text that already has the correct formatting on it, that text will not change, so don’t worry about being precise).
This works in PowerPoint the same way, too.
Quick Tip: If you double-click on the Format Painter button, it will keep the selected formatting on, so you can change multiple selections of text or objects. Just click once again on it when you are finished, to turn it off.
There’s a little trick you can use to save some time when you’re going to save a file that you’re working on. If you’ve already typed the name that you want to use somewhere in your document, you can copy and then paste it in.
Select the text first by dragging over it or using another selection method. For this example, we’re selecting the text Mad Dog’s Party Ideas.
Right-click the selected text and select Copy from the context menu that appears.
Choose File, Save or File, Save As (the first time that you are saving a file, it doesn’t matter which one you use).
Click on the location that you want to save it in, if it isn’t the default location (the one that the computer gives you).
If the default name that your program shows in the File name text box is NOT highlighted, you need to select it. Click in the white area of your File name text box to the right of the default name, then hold down your left mouse button and drag back over the name so that it is selected. If you start your dragging to the far right side of the text, you will never end up with just part of your text selected.
You will not need to delete the selected text, because pasting over it will replace it.
Right-click the text box and select Paste from the menu that appears, and the name that you selected to use will be pasted to the File name text box. Click on the Save button or tap your Enter key to save.
(Note: Clicking your right mouse button and selecting Paste from the menu that appears only works some of the time, but this method works every time).
Note: If you’re used to letting the program that you’re using create a name, you may have noticed that it will generally stop wherever there is punctuation. This method fixes that problem, easily including commas, apostrophes, hyphens, etc. Do be aware, however that there are certain symbols that cannot be used in a file name, like colons, question marks, diagonal slashes, and others.
Note: Remember to save often, to prevent your work being lost unexpectedly through unexpected problems like power outages, toddlers you find the power on/off button on your power supply attractive, or gremlins.
Quickly Change the Zoom in Web pages, Word, Excel and PowerPoint
This tip is short, but sweet. You already know that scrolling your mouse wheel up and down will move your document, worksheet, or presentation up and down.
If you hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard while you do it, you will change the magnification of your screen. Hold down the Ctrl key and scroll up to enlarge your screen and scroll down to reduce its size.
Windows 7, and Windows 8 Desktop Windows Task Manager has Performance and Networking dynamic graphs, that show you your computer’s CPU and network activity. They also show your CPU history and the amount of network traffic. (You can see this in Windows XP, too.)
You can get to these graphs by pointing your mouse cursor at a blank area of your taskbar at the bottom of your screen. You will see a menu appear. Click your right mouse button and select Task Manager. Then click on the Performance tab. You will see the performance graphs appear. As you watch, you’ll see your computer’s activity being charted.
The main use of these is to help you troubleshoot problems for your computer
To return the graph to normal size, double-click it again.
Clicking on the Resource Monitor button will give you even more information. Click on the CPU, Disk, Network, and Memory bars to expand them to see what is affecting any of these areas. You can also click on any of the help areas at the bottom to get help to create reports on your computer’s performance.
The Excel cursor is moving in the wrong direction …
It’s April Fool’s Day! There are a LOT of jokes that you can play with a computer. Here is one of my favorites that works with MS Word 2003 (not version 2007). Before you play your prank, however, be certain that your intended target has a good sense of humor and is not working under any critical deadlines.
Wait until your target has left their computer unattended for a few minutes. Open Excel on their computer. Select File, Options. When the Excel options appear, click on the Advanced category on the left. In the Editing options, under ‘After pressing Enter, move selection’ click the down arrow and select ‘Up’.
When your target returns, wait until they pull up an Excel workbook and start to work with it. When they express their surprise that the cursor is moving up instead of down, as them to show you and then insist on trying it yourself. Type something into a cell, and lean the edge of your thumb onto their Shift key. That will cause the cursor to move in the opposite direction. Tap the Enter key, and your target will see the information is entered, and the cursor has moved down instead of up. Tell them, “It’s not doing that for me.” After they struggle, trying to do this for a few minutes longer, confess the trick, and reset their cursor to move down again.
Here’s a little Windows XP trick for when you’re copying files from one place into a folder that may have duplicate files to those that you are copying. If that happens, you will be asked if you want to replace the files that are duplicates. The message that asks this has these choices: Yes, Yes to all, No. Notice that there isn’t a ‘No to all’ button. That could mean that you would keep being asked the same thing over and over again if there are a lot of files that you don’t want to copy over. If you would like it to be ‘No to all’, just hold down your Shift key when you click on the No button. It will act as though you had indicated ‘No to all’ and won’t bother asking you about it again.
If you’re trying to really reach out there and connect to others in ways to develop your business career, I highly recommend using LinkedIn. Whether you are trying to get the word out when you’re looking for a new position, or you are trying to develop your business contacts, LinkedIn lets you connect to a lot of other people. While places like Facebook are fun for extending social contacts, LinkedIn is a social media tool that you shouldn’t pass up.
After signing up, you can start checking where other professionals in your company are connected and issue an invitation to them to connect with you. You can also check to see if contacts outside your company also have contacts that you would like to meet. This helps you connect to them (kind of like the ‘Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon’ idea). Write recommendations for the people that you are connected to that you admire. This can help them with their career. People may also write recommendationa for you, too. That won’t do your career any harm either.
LinkedIn also has other career tools like letting you develop professional groups. Check it out! Over 50 million professionals already have.
Would you like to have a tool that will let you Associate information and Collaborate on Ideas? Would you also like it to be easy to use and FREE? You don’t have to download it, either. Just go to the website and login whenever you want to create them.
There’s a great brainstorming tool that you can use at www.bubbl.us and all you have to do to get it is register. Once you register, you’ll have access to the bubbles. They’re a lot like organizational charts, only
much more flexible.
You start with a single bubble. Click in the middle and type a label for it. After typing the label, if you tap your Enter key on the keyboard, you’ll get a sub-level bubble, known as a child. Type a label for that bubble. If you want another at the same level, known as sibling, tap your Tab key instead of your Enter key. You can move all of your bubbles around by grabbing them at the top of a bubble and dragging, or just one bubble by dragging it from its top left corner. Delete them by clicking on their top right corner (they explode nicely), make another sub-level bubble (child) by dragging down from the bottom middle, and change the colors of your bubbles when you tap their lower left corners. You can also set up connections between all kinds of bubbles by dragging from the bottom right corner (free connect) of a bubble to another bubble. Don’t worry that you won’t remember where these areas in your bubble are, because when you point at a bubble, these different areas light up.
If you want to split your text to another line, hold down the Shift key as you tap your Enter key.
Play around with your bubbles. Break connections by double-clicking on lines. Zoom in and zoom out with the scroll wheel of your mouse.
Want to collaborate? You can invite others to work on your bubbles with you. Click on the Friends tab at the top of the page. If your Friend has an account with Bubbl.us, you can use the Find tool to find them after you’ve typed in their name. If they don’t, you can send them an invitation by email (click on their link to invite them).
After you have finished creating your project, you can save it. They save as Bubble Sheets. You can come back to use them any time. (Just remember to login).
Play with them. Have fun. I even use mine to create To Do lists. You’ll find yourself using these to organize all kinds of things. Practical, fun, easy and free. This is a great tool to add to your collection.
Audacity is a free audio program that lets you create, edit and convert audio (vocal and instrumental) files. It can be used to create podcasts, multi-track instrumental songs, record lectures, tell stories, archive family histories, capture audio from videos and games, do karaoke, podcast, record step by step instructions, create audio to do lists, sing lullabies, slow down music tracks to hear exact notes, take lecture notes, practice your singing, clean up digital audio files from records, add sound effects to music and many other uses.
To top it all off, it isn’t hard to use, either. Here is an embedded video I created on how to install Audacity on your computer. Have fun with it!
Photoshop Elements: Make Your Own Photo Composite Background
I was asked to do a software tip lesson for Photoshop Elements, so here it is. It’s an intermediate level lesson, assuming that you already know how to do a little basic editing.
First, you take open up Photoshop Elements and open the file of a photo that has distracting background elements in it.Then duplicate your photo. A quick way of doing this in some Photoshop Element versions is to use a Ctrl – J key combination. Or you can drag the thumbnail of your layer on top of the first icon underneath the Layer Palette. (Duplicating the original layer is a step you should always take. It lets you have an original to compare against your finished results, it serves as a backup in case you really mess up the editing of your photo, and the original photo layer is locked, preventing you from applying many editing changes to your photo.) Get a good view of your subject by selecting View, Fit on screen.
Now you can select your subject by completely painting it with your Selection Brush tool (you can select it by typing the letter a) or by encircling your subject with the Lasso tool (you can select the lasso tool by typing the letter l). After you have finished selecting your subject, put them on another layer by selecting Layer, New, Layer via Copy or use the Ctrl – J key combination.Find a photo with a nice background and open it with the File, Open command. (The resolution of the photo should be similar, or part of your combined photo might look grainy.) If that happens, choose a different photo that has a closer resolution.
If your photo is maximized, you will need to cascade it because you will be dragging the subject from one photo to the other. (You can tell that it is maximized if you can’t see the edges of your photo). In the picture to the left, the Cascade Windows button is highlighted in yellow. You will find it in the top right corner of your window.
Now hold down your Ctrl key and tap the thumbnail of your subject (on its own layer). That will select your subject. Click on the move button or type m to select the Move button arrow. Put your cursor on the thumbnail of your subject and drag it on top of the photo that has a nice background. (This wouldn’t work if your photo was maximized). Drag it to where you want it. If it is too large, drag it downwards until you can see the top left corner of your subject’s bounding box. Put your cursor on it and when the double-headed arrow appears, drag down and right until your subject is the right size. Repeat if necessary.
Press Enter or click on the check mark on the Options Toolbar to finalize your changes. If you need to adjust the lighting on your subject so that it matches the background better, select your subject by holding down your Ctrl key and tapping the thumbnail of your subject (on its layer). Then select Enhance, Adjust Lighting, and using Brightness and Contrast or Shadows / Highlights or Levels until the lighting looks correct.Your photo should now be ready to print. You can also save it as a JPG (File, Save As, select JPG as the file type).
These steps can also be used any time you want to combine element(s) from one photo with another photo.
I'm posting small lessons on a variety of software on this educational website, along with other information that you might find helpful in learning about your computer and the Internet. I'll keep posting, so keep checking in for the latest information, and don't be afraid to leave comments. Please let me know if you find this site helpful to you. You can contact me at [email protected]