Friday, March 27th, 2015

Help! Excel Shows Columns as Numbers not Letters


What to do when Excel shows Column 1 not Column A

My Excel has been behaving stupidly lately. Instead of Column letters – A, B & C etc, the columns are numbered 1, 2, 3 and so on.

While I haven’t solved the fundamental problem I do have a short term solution. It all has to do with the Excel options. To change the column numbers back to letters chose File (the Office Button in Excel 2007) and choose Options > Formulas and disable the checkbox for R1C1 Reference Style.

On the Mac click Excel > Preferences > General and deselect the Use R1C1 Reference Style checkbox.

This setting kicks Excel back into the correct mode – much more to my taste!

Of course, if you prefer seeing numbers and not letters all you need to do is to click the checkbox and you are good to go!

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

5 Gotchas in the Lightroom Print Module

When you’re setting up single or multiple image printing in the Lightroom Print module here are some things to be aware of:

Nonexistent Drag and drop

You can drag and drop pictures onto a print template in Lightroom in some circumstances but not in others. This can be confusing but there is some logic behind it.

When you select a Lightroom template from the Template Browser, make sure to open the Layout Style panel on the right at the same time. Templates can be one of three layout styles and each operates differently. Knowing what style a template is will help you understand its behavior.

If it is a Single Image/Contact Sheet template then you must select images on the filmstrip to add them to the contact sheet and they appear in the layout in the order they appear in the filmstrip. You can’t drag and drop images from the filmstrip into a Single Image/Contact Sheet layout.

If the template is a Custom Package then you can drag and drop an image into any of the containers on the screen. You can also drag and drop an image into any position in the layout and it will sit on the screen even overlapping other images.

If a template is a Picture Package, then you can fill it by clicking an image in the filmstrip. A picture package prints multiple images on a single sheet of paper. If you select two images in the filmstrip, you’ll then have two pages in your picture package – one for each of the selected images. You can drag and drop an image into a Picture Package but when you do, you’ll create all sorts of issues. Not only will you add a new image to the layout page you are seeing on the screen but you’ll do the same for all the pages in the current layout. It’s generally best not to drag and drop images into an already tightly designed picture package layout.

Understand Border behavior

If you have a Photo Border enabled for a either a Custom Package or a Picture Package then the width of the border will make the image smaller. The color of the border is the color of the page background if you have a page background selected. If not, it will be white. If you set an Inner Stroke then it too will reduce the size of the image but it can be set to your choice of color.

So, for example, if you want a black page background but a white border around your images, set the page background color to black and use the Inner Stroke rather than the Photo Border to apply the white border to the image.

Identity Plate Behavior

When you add an Identity Plate to a Custom Package it appears once on the page and you resize it to suit and place it where you want it to go. However, it only appears once in the layout so, if you add a second page to the print layout, the identity plate will appear only on the first page.

Alternatively you can add the identity plate to every image by selecting Render On Every Image. Now the identity plate will appear on each image rather than on each page but it will appear in the very middle of the image and  you can’t move it.

So, if what you want is your name on each printout as an Identity Plate, create a Custom Package design with an Identity Plate but not set to render on every image. Make sure the identity plate is in the correct position and fill the page with images and print or save it. Then fill it again with a new set of images and output the result and repeat as required.

On the other hand, an Identity Plate added to a Single Image/Contact Sheet prints on every page of the document in the place you position it in.

Any size JPG output

You can print your layout to a JPG file that you can then upload to the web or send out for printing. To do this, from the Print Job panel, click the Print To: dropdown list and choose JPEG File.

Set the File Resolution and then the Custom File Dimensions for the page. Then, when you’re done assembling the images, click Print to File to print the layout to an image file rather than to a printer.

Crop your images

When you’re working with a Single Image/Contact Sheet, if the image is set to Zoom To Fill it will be made large enough to fill the container on the page. If the image height and width does not match the size of the container then part of the image will be removed. You can adjust the positioning of the image within the container by dragging on it with the mouse.

If you have a Picture Package or Custom Package selected you can move an image within its container also, but to do so you must hold the Ctrl key (Command) on the Mac.

The different behaviors of images within what appear to be similar layouts in Lightroom can be confusing but once you understand that different layout styles bring with them different key combinations and behaviors you’ll be on your way to creating great looking prints in Lightroom.

Helen Bradley

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Drives not recognized in Vista


Having just purchased two brand new backup USB drives, unboxed them and plugged them into my computer, imagine my horror when neither appeared as drives in Windows Explorer, effectively rendering them useless. They were recognized easily by an older XP machine proving that it wasn’t the fault of the drives but it was a Vista issue. Drives these days are typically plug and play devices so they should install and run automatically without needing to be set up.

Running Control Panel > System > Device Manager and selecting disk drives from the list showed the drives in the list, so Vista knew the drives were there. It just wasn’t giving me access to them.

The problem was that neither drive had been allocated a drive letter so they weren’t showing up as being accessible. To fix this you have to do the work yourself. Start by selecting Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management – if necessary, you’ll need administrator access to run this.

When the Computer Management Console opens, from the Storage Options group, select Disk Management and wait as the computer loads information about your disks.

Somewhere in that list will be the drive or drives that you are looking for. Select any volume in the list at the top of the dialog that has no drive letter associated with it and then check the disk specifications below until you locate the drive you want access to.

You should note that there are possibly partitions on your hard drive that also do not have drive letters for varying reasons – don’t touch these – you’re here looking for external hard drives without drive letters.

When you locate the drive in question, right click the entry in the top portion of the dialog and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths. Click Add and then from the Assign The Following Drive Letter dropdown list, select a drive letter that is not currently in use to assign that drive to and click Ok.

When you do, the volume should now appear in the list with some sort of drive name in front of it and the appropriate drive letter. If you now restart My Computer or Windows Explorer the drive will appear ready for use.

Helen Bradley