Monday, March 10th, 2014
Learn these quick techniques to format your Sticky Notes
by Helen Bradley
I love using sticky notes to stick things to my desktop. Using these on my digital desktop is helping keep my real desktop clean and tidy. However, sometimes I need to format my notes and help for doing this is not easy to find. So, here, in a nutshell, are the super secret shortcut keys you can use to format your text on your sticky notes :
Bold Ctrl+B Italic Ctrl+I Underlined Ctrl+U Strikethrough Ctrl+T Bullet list Ctrl+Shift+L (press this twice for a numbered list) Subscript Ctrl+= Superscript Ctrl+Shift++ Increase/Decrease font size Ctrl+Shift+> and Ctrl+Shift+< (or Ctrl+Scroll wheel)
Single space lines Ctrl+1 Double space Ctrl+2 1.5 Line spacing Ctrl+5 Captialize Text Ctrl+Shift+A Right Align Ctrl+R Left Align Ctrl+L Center Align Ctrl+E
You can also use fancy effects in sticky notes if you create them in another application such as Word and then copy and paste them into the Sticky Note.
Other handy Sticky Notes keyboard shortcuts:
Undo Ctrl+Z Redo Ctrl+Y Cut Ctrl+X Copy Ctrl+C Paste Ctrl+V
New Note Ctrl+N
To change the color of a note, right click it and choose a color.
To Backup your Sticky Notes:
You will find your Sticky notes file at
To make a backup, copy the stickynotes.snt file you find there.
To launch Sticky Notes if you haven’t yet discovered them:
Start > All Programs > Accessories > Sticky Notes
Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Enhance your Charts with Visuals
by Helen Bradley
Why have boring old column and bar charts when you can have picture charts instead?
Learn how to replace bars and columns in Excel charts with small images stacked up to show the values being compared.
Image charts like this are one of Excel’s secrets so let me show you how to make them.
In the video you will learn how to replace columns and bars in Excel charts with images. You will see how to find images to use and how to stack and resize the images to fit the chart’s columns and bars.
Friday, January 31st, 2014
Memo to my Mac – Don’t go to sleep on me!
Hmmm me and my MacBook Air are getting along pretty well but some things still bug me from time to time.
One is the display dim time. You see it seems like I just look away and all of a sudden the Mac has gone elsewhere – the screen turns off and I have to wake it back up and enter my password.
Right now I am trying to download some software so this is getting pretty annoying. I want to be able to see the progress without having to the Mac up all the time. This constant jiggling the touchpad and entering a password is becoming frustrating.
Seems like there are a couple of settings needing changing. One is in Settings > Security & Privacy. If I set the Require Password value to something more than Immediately I will get some leeway in having to enter my password all the time. I set this to 1 hour. But, the screen is still dimmed after only a minute or so. That setting is in Settings > Energy Saver – there you can set the Display Sleep – mine was set to 1.5 minutes – I ramped that up to 1 hour.
So now my Mac doesn’t go to sleep when I am downloading stuff on it and working on another computer and I don’t have to enter my password like every few minutes. In short, life is a lot simpler.
Hope this helps you and your Mac to be friends again?
Saturday, January 11th, 2014
How to display your desktop – hiding all open programs on the Mac
I am in ‘traveling with my Mac mode’ – I have a MacBook Air and it is so light and thin that it makes a great traveling companion – sort of like having an oversize iPad that runs Illustrator, Photoshop and Lightroom.
BUT, and there are some big buts! I use a desktop PC so little things on the Mac bite me because I simply don’t have the knowledge at my fingertips. In the last couple of days the issue has been the desktop – I need to get to some files saved there but there is all this stuff in the way. Turns out there is a shortcut key you can use – F11 – if you’re on a notebook you’ll need to use the Fn function key with this so it is Fn + F11 but that’s all you need to hide everything and show your desktop.
Now I can take my screenshots Command + Shift + 3 then hide the junk so I can see the image to drag and drop it into a Word document or into Photoshop.
Yeah! Me and my Mac are friends again.
Sunday, December 1st, 2013
This is the old map gadget from Google – it doesn’t exist any more and the maps created using it won’t exist soon either.
If you’re asking yourself: What happened to Google Docs Gadgets? – the answer isn’t anything you want to hear
I loved Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) gadgets. These were advanced options you could use with Google spreadsheets.
There was a Motion Chart gadget which helped you to create a great looking motion chart. You could set it up the way you wanted it to look and save those settings to the defaults. Click Publish and you’d get the code for the chart and you could embed it into a blog or website. Now it’s gone and the alternative is pretty awful by comparison. You can’t preset the motion chart settings – well you can try – but they aren’t saved with the worksheet and you can’t configure it and then put it on your website or blog. The chart keeps reverting to the default settings making it a whole lot less useful than it used to be.
This and other old Gadgets either don’t exist in Google Drive or they have a really reduced functionality.
Don’t get me started on the Map Gadget
Please don’t ask me about this one. This is so totally totally sad! The map gadget let you type a series of addresses into a Google Drive spreadsheet and you could select them and add the map gadget and it would plot the locations on a map.
It was A W E S O M E. And you know what? Google killed it – D E A D.
There is no map gadget – not even one which works horribly(like the other charts that replace deprecated gadgets) – it’s all gone. The only saving grace is that some folks have created apps to fill the gap and MapAList.com does a good job of taking the data from a Google Drive spreadsheet and plotting it on a map. Only I wish I didn’t have to use it – the old Google Gadget was a heap easier to use. To help you get started with MapAList I created a Youtube video that goes through the process.
This is why I hate the cloud
Yep.. there are things I hate about the cloud. Before the cloud took over our lives we bought software and it worked. If a developer made a new version of the software with new features – of if they removed old ones, we could decide to upgrade or not.
The cloud changed all that. Now Google makes changes and not only can we not do what we want to do but things we made don’t work anymore. The map gadget is being deprecated – for that read folks who used it in the past will find their published maps won’t work in the future. Don’t you hate that?
So what other bad news is there?
Sadly there is a lot. Google not only killed gadgets but it made a half hearted attempt at mollifying us with some new charts. Problem is that they suck – really, in contrast to what we had, they are pretty awful. They don’t have headings – so you can’t add a heading to charts like the motion chart, table chart, organization chart etc. So, if you post a chart to your blog you’ll have to find another way to title it – really! Table charts used to be able to filter data – now they can’t – the list goes on.
So, what can you do?
Bellyache about them – like I am.
Realize that all those blog posts out there that talk about Google Docs Gadgets are now wildly out of date – they are mostly useless as the charts don’t work like they use to.
Hope someone creates better solutions. The folks at MapAList.com have done a good job of simplifying map creation. Hopefully other developers will create solutions that give us the functionality that Google saw fit to remove.
Stop talking about the cloud as being the panacea of all ills – it too often sucks and it disadvantages users when companies like Google take away functionality from their products.
OK.. rant over..
… for now ;)
Thursday, November 28th, 2013
Learn to insert a table in a Word document with a single click
When you need to repeatedly create the same type of table in a Word document you can do so using the new Word Quick Part feature.
This technique works well when you use the same table layout repeatedly. Your inserted table will be the same size, have the same number of columns and rows and contain any preset formatting that it had when you created it as a Quick Part entry. Once created, you can insert it quickly whenever you need it.
To do this:
- Create a new table with the number of rows and columns you want all your tables to have.
- Include any text in the table that needs to always be in this type of table – if there is none, leave the cells blank.
- Format the cells in the way you wan them to be formatted every time – including text formats and cell background colors and borders.
When you are done, select the table by clicking in it and choose Table Tools > Layout > Select > Select Table.
Choose Insert > Quick Parts > AutoText > Save Selection to AutoText Gallery.
In the Create New Building block dialog set the Gallery to Tables and type a description of the table and click Ok.
In future, to create a table to these exact specifications choose Insert > Tables > Quick Tables, locate the table in the list and click it to insert it into the document.
This feature is the successor to the AutoText feature in earlier versions of Word. It looks a little more cumbersome but it is more easily discovered so you don’t have to remember where the table was saved as it appears automatically on the Insert Table menu.
Monday, November 25th, 2013
Learn how to convert files directly from Dropbox and Google Drive
Needing to converted a document from one file type into another is very common today, which is why online file conversion services have become so popular. One service that has made a name for itself by offering free high-quality file conversion capabilities is Cometdocs. Cometdocs is a document management service that also offers cloud storage and file transfer options, the website is still primarily used by people who need fast and accurate file conversion online.
The service has unveiled a bunch of updates recently, one of them being integration with popular cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive. Even though Cometdocs offers free storage to its users (2GB worth), there is no denying that there are many much more popular cloud storage competitors out there.
Thanks to this new update, Cometdocs users can convert files directly from their Google Drive or Dropbox accounts in two different ways – via their browser or using Cometdocs’ new desktop app.
Of course, in both instances you need to sign up for a free Cometdocs account first. Once you have signed up and logged in, here’s how to integrate Google Drive and Dropbox with the online service.
Right at the top of Cometdocs’ online interface, you will see a button that says “Import file from.” Click on that button and choose to synch either Dropbox or Google Drive with Cometdocs.
Once the synch has been completed, a window will open up listing all of your Dropbox or Drive files. Click on the file you want converted and then click “Choose.”
The file is now sent to your Cometdocs clipboard from where you can drag it to the Convert tab and choose your conversion option. Cometdocs allows users to convert PDFs into a large number of different file formats including MS Excel, Word, PowerPoint, HTML, Text, AutoCAD formats and more. You can also convert these files types and more into PDF with Cometdocs. It’s safe to say that the conversion options are plentiful.
Integrating Cometdocs with your favorite cloud storage service is even easier when using the desktop app. Once you have downloaded and installed the app and you have signed in to your Cometdocs account through it, the conversion process can be completed in just one step.
Simple open your cloud storage folder of choice. When using the desktop app, you are no longer limited to Google Drive and Dropbox integration. You can open up the folder of any cloud service you prefer to use.
Now simply right-click on the file that you want to convert. Find the Cometdocs logo in the menu and select your conversion type.
And that’s all there is to it. The app sends the file off to Cometdocs’ server for conversion, and once the process is complete, the newly converted file is downloaded automatically into your cloud storage folder and synched.
If you are looking for a faster and easier way to convert files from within your cloud storage conveniently, Cometdocs’ integration features are hard to beat.
Friday, November 15th, 2013
Google Drive’s spreadsheets are liable to be shared and edited by many people.
This can potentially compromise the integrity of their data, so it’s a good idea to keep track of the changes made. Fortunately, Google provides a notifications service so the spreadsheet’s owner can do just that.
To access the notification rules, open the spreadsheet you want to track and select Tools > Notification Rules…. The resulting dialogue allows you to choose what changes to track. If only some data is critical, you can choose to only track a specific sheet or cell range. If you’ve set up a form to feed its result into your spreadsheet, you can choose to be notified whenever somebody submits the form. Choosing email – daily digest will add the notification to a daily email that contains all of your notifications that have this rule selected. Email - right away immediately sends the specific notification to you.
Click Save when you are done. Your new notification rule will be the first on a list of all the notification rules for that spreadsheet. From the list you can add new rules, or edit or delete an existing one.
Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
Learn to quickly add extra spacing above and below the contents of a Word table cell
When you enter text in a Word 2013 table you may want more space above and below your text than appears by default.
While you can make the table cells larger and vertically centre the text in the cells this is a cumbersome solution and there is better and faster way.
To add extra spacing you can change the table’s cell spacing values.
To do this, first select the table, right click choose Table Properties.
Click the Table tab and click Options.
Here you can set the Top, Bottom, Left and Right cell margins for all cells in the table. Set the Top and Bottom values to 0.25″ to add a little extra space above and below the text in the cells.
Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
So you’ve decided of your documents is better of in somebody else’s hands. Maybe you prepared the document for a colleague with the intention of handing it off to them later, or maybe you’re just offloading some of your work. Whatever the case, Google makes transferring ownership of your files extremely simple.
To begin, you must first share the file with its new owner. Either click the blue share button in the top right corner of the document, or select File > Share…. When the share menu appears, enter the new owner’s email address and press Share & Save to share the file with them.
Their address should now be listed in the share menu. Click the can edit box next to their name, select is owner, then click Save Changes. The new owner will be notified by email about the ownership change, and you will still have editing privileges as long as the new owner allows it.
Thursday, November 7th, 2013
Quickly turn text into a Microsoft Word table
It is possible to convert text from a Word document into a table.
However, to do so requires the text to be correctly laid out – if it is not, it is worth a few minutes work to reformat the text so it can be easily converted to a table.
To convert the text each column’s content needs to be separated by a single tab and you need to have a paragraph marker at the end of each line. To check your text is correctly formatted, click the Home tab and click the Show/Hide¶ button to see the tab marks in the document (they are small right pointing arrows).
Make sure there is only one tab marker between each item in the list. If you don’t have data for a particular column add two tab marks to indicate that one column is empty.
Click the Show/Hide¶ button again when you are done.
Select the list and choose Insert > Table > Convert Text To Table.
Word should automatically suggest the correct number of columns. From the Separate text at options select Tabs, set the AutoFit behavior to AutoFit to contents if the items are short like ours are and click Ok.
The text will be automatically placed in a new table ready for you to continue to work on it.