Tech – for Everyone

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

How To Make Word Open A Normal Blank Page*

I apologize for so many re-posts lately, but…

Today’s “quick tip” is in response to a reader question, and I think it is one of those that can be helpful to ‘everyone’.

Q: I created a newsletter using Word. I used Segoe Script sized to 16. Now whenever I want to write a new Word document, it is stuck on that setting, and I have to tell it to use Times New Roman, and change the size each time. MS Word document icon
It never used to do that. How do I make it like it was before?

A: The answer lies in the fact that when you create a new Word document (File > New > Blank document), Word uses its default “style template”– which is known as Normal.dot (note the “t”, for “template”.)
This “normal” template has the predefined settings we’ve all come to know and love: Times New Roman (font), 12 (pts), Left (Align), Borders, etc.

Somehow, the reader has “Saved” the style they used in the newsletter to the Normal.dot (maybe they selected “Save As”, and then “Template” ? ), or Normal.dot has just gotten corrupted.

There’s two ways (at least) to repair this behavior– the manual way and the automatic way.
1) Create a new default template:
* Open a new blank document.
* Change each setting to how you want your Word docs to look each time (such as Times, 12, Left, etc.).
* Now click “Save As”. Select “Document Template” in the File type box, and type “Normal” (no quotes) in the File name box.
* If warned that Normal already exists, do you want to overwrite the file?, answer “Yes”.
Now, whatever options you’ve selected will be what Word uses when creating a new blank document.
[note: this is how you get rid of Times New Roman for keeps, if you’re a sans serif type.]

2) Automatic replace Normal.dot:
* Use the Search tool to find the Normal.dot file on your hard drive C:\. (Start >Search >Files and Folders)
* In the Results pane, right-click on Normal.dot and select “Rename”. Rename it to anything other than Normal.
* Close, and then restart Word (in some cases, a computer reboot was required)

Word will discover that there is now no Normal.dot, and it will create a new “factory fresh” one for you automatically.

Today’s free download: Foxit Reader (Ditch Adobe Reader)
” Incredibly small:  Breezing-fast: Annotation tool: Foxit Reader allows you to draw graphics, highlight text, type text and make notes and then print out or save the annotated document. Text converter: You may convert the whole PDF document into a simple text file.

* Orig post: 12/02/08

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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January 5, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, MS Word, software, tech, troubleshooting, word processors | , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Add Festivity to Your Holiday Letters

Word Trick Makes Letters Merrier

It is the Holiday time of year. (Is it just me, or did 2009 pass-by rather quickly?) Today I’m going to demonstrate some tricks to make your Season’s Greetings letters more joyous, and your documents more visually interesting.

Tip of the day: Add some festivity to your documents with fonts and color. MS Word has a lot of features and options built into it that allows for some very creative elements to be added to your correspondence, and is not at all limited to cold, “professional” documents. I’ll use Word for this demo, but you can do this in most text editors, and e-mail programs.

Today I’m going to use a hypothetical holiday greeting letter to show how to add some fun. By default, Word sets the font to Times New Roman at 12 “points” in height. I have typed in my text, to get things started, and will demonstrate using this letter’s “opener”. As it is a header, I have “centered” the text. 1.jpg

As you can see, this font and text does not quite convey the joy and cheer and “best wishes” I am hoping to express. In fact, this may as well say, “Memo from Giganti Corp.” Yawn! So first thing I’m going to do is ‘tweak’ the font style, and make some word bigger (louder), to express a less formal tone. 2.jpg

I “highlighted” Season’s Greetings, and used the Font drop-down arrow and selected a cursive font– Lucida Handwriting (explore Words various fonts, and find the one you like best). I set the point size to 36. I repeated the process on the second sentence, but set the type smaller.. only 18. I think you’ll agree, this is much more “friendly” than the default’s look. But this is just not Festive enough! Let’s use some color and improve things some more. 3.jpg

I have again “highlighted” season’s greetings to select this font, and then clicked the Font Color button on the Formatting toolbar (If this is not showing, click here to read how to customize your toolbars). I then clicked on the little red box in the color-picker. Now season’s greetings is red. I want to alternate letters in green, so I hold down the Ctrl key and use my mouse to “select” every other letter. 4.jpg I didn’t really like the greens available on the color-picker, so I clicked on “More Colors”…. 5.jpg
… and selected a green that contrasted nicely with the red– as the box in the lower right corner shows. This is the result of these steps. 6.jpg

Much more jolly! But, something’s missing… 9.jpg

Let’s add one more thing– a picture of a candy cane. I went on the Internet and found a Royalty-free graphic (though a piece of Clip Art would do just as nicely) and…10.jpg

Voila!I could ‘go crazy’, and get carried away with adding things here… but I hope you will be able to see by this little demonstration — using only two of Word’s functions — that you are limited only by your own creativity, and that it’s easy to personalize and ’spice up’ your documents.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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December 1, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, how to | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Remember WordPerfect?*

I have mentioned to my readers before that I have been using Windows since the days when we looked forward to the release of Windows 95 (think “Jurassic period”). Recently I was reminiscing with a fellow tech enthusiast, who has been using computers since the very beginning of the PC, and who survived the early days of DOS (think “Triassic  period”), and the name WordPerfect came up.logo_wordperfect

Wow. I haven’t heard that name in… a really long time.

Folks, I know this may be hard to believe, but there was a time before Microsoft Word and MS Office. Back then you composed your documents with WordStar, or more likely, the premier app — WordPerfect.

WordPerfect could do it all. If you had WP, you could actually do fantastic things like use italics and bold and (this was super neat) you could see a preview of what your document would actually print out like.
Before WordPerfect, you kind of had to guesstimate, as your screen used a generic font. (At least, that’s how I remember it…)

But eventually, Microsoft bundled its upstart new word processor – called simply “Word” – with Windows, and so new machines came with Word already installed — spelling doom for WordPerfect. Us techy-types then spent lots of time training people on Word and converting old WordPerfect documents into the Word format.
Sigh. Those were the ‘good old days’…

Anyway.. after our conversation, I decided to look up WordPerfect on Wikipedia to see what year it went extinct, and I was guessing it would be somewhere about 1992… I confess I was stunned by what I learned -WordPerfect is not dead.
What?

Yes, Corel’s office suite – featuring WordPerfect – is not only still around, but I read it has a loyal following. It’s current version is called WordPerfect Office X4, and it comes in a “Home and Student”, “Standard”, and “Professional” versions. I looked at their website and I must say I’m intrigued.

Surely it must have something “going on” for it to still be in the game, and I think it does, so I’m going to download the trial and play with it some. I’m curious about its PDF features and Open document formats…

Today’s free link: WordPerfect Universe calls itself the “first stop for WordPerfect Office users”, and I must say you can find pretty much anything WP-related here.

Today’s free download: To fit with my theme today, I’m going to break my rule about no “trialware” in this section. If you are like me, and would like to see what today’s WordPerfect can do, there’s a 30 day trial that is full-featured (everything’s enabled) here, WordPerfect Office X4

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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November 15, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, PC, software, tech, word processors | , , , , | 4 Comments

Word Trick Makes Letters Merrier

It is the Holiday time of year. (Is it just me, or did 2008 pass-by rather quickly?) Today I’m going to demonstrate some tricks to make your Season’s Greetings letters more joyous, and your docs more visually interesting.

Tip of the day: Add some festivity to your documents with fonts and color. MS Word has a lot of features and options built into it that allows for some very creative elements to be added to your correspondence, and is not at all limited to cold, “professional” documents. I’ll use Word for this demo, but you can do this in most text editors, and e-mail composers.

Today I’m going to use a hypothetical holiday greeting letter to show how to add some fun. By default, Word sets the font to Times New Roman at 12 “points” in height. I have typed in my text, to get things started, and will demonstrate using this letter’s “opener”. As it is a header, I have “centered” the text. 1.jpg As you can see, this font and text does not quite convey the joy and cheer and “best wishes” I am hoping to express. In fact, this may as well say, “Memo from Giganti Corp.” Yawn! So first thing I’m going to do is ‘tweak’ the font style, and make some word bigger (louder), to express a less formal tone. 2.jpg I “highlighted” Season’s Greetings, and used the Font drop-down arrow and selected a cursive font– Lucida Handwriting (explore Words various fonts, and find the one you like best). I set the point size to 36. I repeated the process on the second sentence, but set the type smaller.. only 18. I think you’ll agree, this is much more “friendly” than the default’s look. But this is just not Festive enough! Let’s use some color and improve things some more. 3.jpg I have again “highlighted” season’s greetings to select this font, and then clicked the Font Color button on the Formatting toolbar (If this is not showing, click here to read how to customize your toolbars). I then clicked on the little red box in the color-picker. Now season’s greetings is red. I want to alternate letters in green, so I hold down the Ctrl key and use my mouse to “select” every other letter. 4.jpg I didn’t really like the greens available on the color-picker, so I clicked on “More Colors”…. 5.jpg … and selected a green that contrasted nicely with the red– as the box in the lower right corner shows. This is the result of these steps. 6.jpg Much more jolly! But, something’s missing… dpress.com/files/2007/11/9.jpg”>9.jpg Let’s add one more thing– a picture of a candy cane. I went on the Internet and found a Royalty-free graphic (though a piece of Clip Art would do just as nicely) and…10.jpgVoila!I could ‘go crazy’, and get carried away with adding things here… but I hope you will be able to see by this little demonstration — using only two of Word’s functions — that you are limited only by your own creativity, and that it’s easy to personalize and ‘spice up’ your documents.

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

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December 21, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, MS Word, tech, tweaks, word processors | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Word on your thumb drive*

One of my more popular articles discussed using a thumb drive to run applications (to read it, click here), and my two previous articles discussed Microsoft Word (click on “MS Word” in the Tag Cloud), which led to two reader questions which I think are worth posting — in the Q’s and their A’s format.

Q: Is there a version of Word I can run on my U3 thumb drive?
A: There are tremendous advantages to running programs from a thumb drive (particularly when using someone-elses’ computer), and there are many programs already developed that are designed to do this, which are called “portable”.
The answer to this question is: no… and yes. Microsoft has not released a portable version of any of the programs in the Office suite, and I have not read of any plans to do so in the future. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot find warez and hacks out there. Loyal friends and true of this blog know that I would never advocate advocate the use of this kind of software; aside from the question of legality, the security risks are simply too great.

That is not to say you cannot run a word processor from your thumb drive. If you have loaded your thumb drive with the Portable Apps suite, palogo.jpg(wildly popular, and previously recommended here) you already have the free Open Source suite of programs called Open Office which includes a “clone” of Word called Write. This works so much like Word that there’s practically a zero learning-curve.
Users of the U3 system of thumb drives u3logo1.jpgneed to download Open Office to add it to the installed programs. To do this manually, visit http://software.u3.com/, which will show you all of the U3 programs available– listed by category. But the easiest way is to plug in your thumb drive and launch the U3 “Launchpad” from the System Tray, and click on the “Add programs>>” link.

You might also want to consider using MS Works, which is Word compatible. For more on that, click here.

Q: Can I use portable Write to read Word documents?
A: The two main portable word processors (and there are others, if you’re the experimental sort) — Open Office’s Write, and the platform-independent AbiWord— allow you to open, and edit MS Word documents. They also allow you to save to HTML, PDF, and Word formats (this step is taken in the Save As menu) which allows you to send your documents to anyone.

Today’s free link(s): You needn’t put these word processors on a thumb drive to use them (and get to know and love them). Click the links in the paragraph above to get free word processing power.

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

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June 27, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, MS Word, PC, Portable Computing, software, tech, thumb drives, USB storage devices, word processors | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment