Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Word Art for documents*

Happy Labor Day Weekend to you all.

In a prior article I lamented the fact that with each new version of a software release, the program bloats with new code and new features. The other side of that coin happens when a feature you’ve come to value and rely on doesn’t make it from CoolProgram 4.3 to CoolProgram 5.0. You wait, and hope and pray that the makers of CoolProgram will re-add your feature in Version 6.0… but they don’t– and you’re stuck using a ten year-old program just for that one feature.

Sometimes, though, those old features aren’t gone; they’re just forgotten. Like Word’s (6.0, I believe it was.. tho it may have been 5.3) revolutionary (for its time) graphic text tool, WordArt.
People loved WordArt like the new toy it was. Colorful, twisty (or “ballooned”) words showed up in the most unlikely documents. The brand-new technology — color printers — occurred at roughly this same time, and then we really had something. We went crazy with color and WordArt, and eventually Management had to make it Company Policy: No WordArt. Period. Ever.
And like any fad, or new toy, WordArt faded into memory and lore.

A question I received from a fella who got himself volunteered into working on a church newsletter reminded me of that old feature, and I went and did some digging and I’m pleased to report that, yes, WordArt still is a feature in Microsoft Word. It hasn’t changed much over the years.. if it’s changed at all. It’s just sorta hard to find.

So take a trip with me down memory lane with me (or, if you’re too young to remember this little tool, just play along) and open Word and click on the “Insert” menu on your toolbar. Then select and click “Picture”. And then, click “WordArt”.
insert.jpg

Word 2007 users will find WordArt on the “Insert” ribbon.
insert2007.jpg

And you will be presented with the WordArt Gallery, which (some of you will remember) is where the fun begins.
wagallery.jpg

While some of these representations may strike you as rather too-whimsical for any practical use, the elements are adjustable (color, ie.) and a little experimentation will bring you some very professional-looking results, and may provide just the “oomph” needed to spice up your document.
Select a style of WordArt — I have selected the lowest/left-est corner — and click on “OK”.
editwa.jpg
Select a font (I have chosen “Stencil”), a size, and you have the option to set for bold or italic, though I wouldn’t.. at least, not right away, and enter your text where it says, “your text here”.
Since I am thinking to create only a banner headline for my document, I have limited myself to three words– “tried and true”. Here is what the top of my new document looks like, with those options selected:

sampletext.jpg

But I want it bigger and… snazzier. So I double-clicked on the three-words (which is the WordArt “object”) and an “Edit” menu opened which allows me to make those adjustments I mentioned earlier. I left the color alone, but changed the size.. and the shape. Experiment until you are satisfied.

If WordArt is something you want to use often, I suggest adding it to a Word toolbar. Doing so allows to to have the full-featured WordArt editor at a touchbutton. To do this, right-click on a toolbar, or better yet, a blank area next to a toolbar, and select the bottom choice from the context menu– “Customize”.
custtoolbr.jpg

Place a check in the checkbox next to WordArt (shown highlighted, but not checked).
Now one of two things will happen; either your existing toolbar will have new WordArt buttons (Insert, Shape, Font, Font Color, etc.), or a small WordArt toolbar will appear which is “floating”. In this latter case, move your cursor to the upper-left corner of the new toolbar and drag it to an open toolbar area, and “drop” it there. You have your choice of the upper (main toolbar) area, or on the bottom area where your word count is. That choice is up to you.

So whether you want to be whimsical and just add some color to your correspondence, or are trying to make a newsletter look like you’ve spent some money at the printers, dig into that “Insert” menu and do some WordArt. Experiment with the 3D effects, or shadows. Have some fun.

Today’s free link: Those of you with an eagle-eye noticed that I have Acrobat linked into my Word 2003. This is so that I can use Word to create PDF formats (which, frankly, I can’t remember ever doing…) as MS Word didn’t have this ability prior to the release of Office 2007. For those of you looking for this ability and you’re using an older Office version, you don’t have to pay for Acrobat. Download the free PrimoPDF.
Word 2007 users can download the Write to PDF plug-in

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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August 30, 2008 Posted by | computers | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More security for Gmail

Your email account contains a lot of personal information, from private, personal letters to business documents. Email that you (probably) don’t want other people to see.

If you are anything like me, you probably sign in to your Inboxes from multiple computers. I, for example, occasionally sign into my e-mail accounts from a friend’s computer, or when traveling, a public computer. As a security paranoid kind of guy, I am sure to sign out before I leave… but every once in a while I wonder if I really did.

Thanks to a new feature in Gmail, I no longer have to wonder about that particular account; with this, I can now track my recent sessions and sign myself out remotely if I somehow forgot to do so.

At the bottom of your inbox page, you’ll see information about the time of the last activity on your account and whether it’s still open in another location.
Gmail_details

By glancing at this from time to time, I can see if something “doesn’t jibe”; like, my account was accessed 15 minutes ago, and I haven’t logged on yet today (that would be a pretty good indication that someone has gotten hold of my logon, and is reading my mail!).

To really see what’s going on, I click on the “Details” link.
activ_rprt

And here I can see my activity history, the IP Addresses that accessed my account (a “*” indicates a match to my current IP), and what type of connection was made. This info can help determine if (and who) unauthorized access is occurring.

But what I like best is the “Sign out all other sessions” button. Clicking this will disconnect any other machines which are logged on by remote control… say, if I did walk away from a session without logging off.

This feature, and the “always use https” setting featured in yesterday’s article, may make security-conscience Hotmail and Yahoo Mail users consider the switch to Gmail. (It has more storage, too.)

Today’s free link: 5-Star rated DriverMax is a powerful free utility which helps you download, backup and restore the drivers installed on your Windows Vista or Windows XP computer and check if newer versions are available. This tool can save you a lot of time when reinstalling Windows, especially on older computers for which the original CDs containing the drivers have been lost. You no longer have to track down old driver installation CDs, or spend hours searching for drivers on the Internet. DriverMax is also able to display a detailed report about all drivers (versions, release dates) installed on your system. And will help identify “unknown” devices in your computer.

Copyright 2007-8 &copy Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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August 5, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, device drivers, e-mail, how to, privacy, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments