Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

SAVE yourself daily FRUSTRATION – Start Task Manager with one click!

Quickly Launch Task Manager with one keyboard shortcut

I have been helping people fix computers that aren’t behaving and moving from an old computer to a new one. It seems like I am spending half my time launching the Task Manager to fix issues. Eventually it dawned on me that I can save myself a lot of messing around with pressing Control + Alt + Delete and selecting Start Task Manager by quickly going direct to the Task Manager. It’s simply a case of learning a new shortcut. Imagine that? One keystroke shortcut to get direct to the Task Manager.
So, here it is – remember and use it!

Launch Task Manager with a single keystroke
Simply press Control + Shift + Esc
Why not try it out now, practice it and you’ll seldom need to use Control + Alt + Delete ever again.

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Print a List of Files in a Windows Folder

Learn how to quickly make a printable list of files in a folder (and how to import it into Excel)

Sometimes I need to get a list of files or folders inside another folder in Windows. I like to either print the results or take them to Excel to work on them. However, it isn’t self evident how to do this – there’s no print command in Windows Explorer that can do it for you. However, once you know how to do it, it’s easy to do.

Start by navigating to the folder whose contents you want to print. You want to have this folder visible in the right hand pane in Windows Explorer. Hold the Shift key as you right click this folder. A shortcut menu will appear, from it choose the Open Command Window here option.

This opens a MSDOS window inside the folder.

Now type this DOS command at the prompt and press Enter:

dir > filelist.txt

The name filelist.txt can really be any file name of your choice, I just like to use the .txt extension since its contents are plain text.

When the prompt reappears close the window.

If you now look inside this folder you will see a text file called filelist.txt. You can now print it by right clicking it and choose Print or double click to open it in Notepad and print it from there.


You can also open it in Excel and convert it to columns of text using the Text Import Wizard. The file is a fixed width file so it converts pretty easily into columns of text – you simply need to drag the lines in the preview to mark out how the text will convert to columns.

Then, when you are done, click Finish and you have the data in Excel – save it as an .xlsx file and you’re good to go.


Sunday, October 5th, 2014

What to do when Kuler won’t update in Illustrator

Notice the refresh icon is greyed out!

Help! Kuler won’t sync with Illustrator!

Unfortunately when Adobe changed how Kuler works with Illustrator CC they broke a great tool. Instead of being able to search for color schemes from inside Illustrator you now have to do this on the web and favorite a color scheme if you want it to appear in Illustrator. At least that’s the theory – in practice Kuler is very slow to update in Illustrator making it nearly impossible to use it in a meaningful way – unless you know how to force it to update.

While you should be able to click the Refresh button at the foot of the Kuler panel most of the time this is greyed out – so you can’t force a refresh. The only solution that reliably works for me is to sign out of your Creative Cloud account inside Illustrator then sign in again.

So, to force the update, go to Help and click to sign out – in practical terms you are deregistering your Adobe account on this computer for now. Now close Illustrator and restart it – when prompted to do so, log in to your Adobe account and voila! Kuler will update.


Seriously Adobe really should be more proactive in fixing this stuff when it breaks like this. It shouldn’t be too hard to do – just make the Refresh button do what it is supposed to do!

For what it is worth, the problems with Kuler occur with both the Windows and Mac version of Illustrator.


Monday, June 9th, 2014

Find the Recycle bin in Windows

how to display recycle bin in windows

Help! My Recycle Bin just disappeared!

This is a major annoyance – your Recycle bin just ups and disappears from your Desktop. Well it’s easy to get back – when you know how.

Click the Start button and type Desktop Icons – wait as the search results appear. Click Show or hide common icons on the desktop to open the Desktop Icon Settings dialog.

Here you will find icons for common tools including the Recycle Bin. Click its checkbox to select it and click Ok to return it to the desktop. Notice too that you can add icons for My Computer, Your User Account files, Network and the Control Panel to your desktop  by simply clicking the appropriate checkboxes.


Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Quickly Create New Folders in Windows

Photo Credit: Kriss Szkurlatowski

Creating multiple new folders in windows can be a pain, since it forces you to click through multiple context windows every time. It can, however, be bypassed with a nifty set of keyboard commands that navigate those windows for you.

While in the Windows Explorer view, simply hold Alt and press F+W+F. This opens the File menu, selects New, and chooses Folder almost instantly. This is extremely useful because it allows you to create and rename multiple new folders without taking your hands off of the keyboard.

You can use these commands to open other menus as well. While holding Alt you will notice certain letters of menu selections become underlined. Pressing these letters on your keyboard will select that menu option. For example, Holding Alt and pressing F+W+S will create a new shortcut. This functionality extends to Microsoft Office as well. The next time you’re in Word, press Alt and see what you can start controlling with a few key strokes.

Helen Bradley

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Replace Windows Calculator

When I use a calculator I like to see the tape – that way I can see what I have done so I can check that the result is based on correctly input data and operators.

Frustratingly the Windows calculator does not include a tape function – seriously it’s not like it would be wasting trees to include one!

My solution is to use Moffsoft FreeCalc which you can find here: http://www.moffsoft.com/downloads.htm. This is a simple calculator you can enter values into using the buttons or the keyboard and it includes a tape that lets you check your entries.

Unbeatable value and a smart replacement for the Windows Calculator app.

Helen Bradley

Monday, March 1st, 2010

How to install fonts in Windows 7


Ok. It should be dead easy to install fonts into Windows if you have been doing it since Windows 3.1. Until Windows 7 you went to the Control Panel, chose Fonts then installed them using the handy dandy dialog. Ok. Not so simple but it worked and it has done so for years.

Fast forward to Windows 7. No Font dialog as I remember it and no font install option. Ok, step backward, think, investigate, light bulb moment encountered.

In Windows 7 there are multiple ways to install fonts but seriously only one I’d bother using. Open the folder containing the font file, unzip it to see the TTF file if it is zipped then double click the font’s ttf file name. A dialog opens showing you what the font looks like and, at the top, you will find an Install button. Click it and seconds later the font is installed. Really? It’s how it always should have been done.

You can drag and drop the .ttf file into the fonts list via the Control Panel but seriously – why bother going to the effort. You can also right click on a font’s .ttf file and choose Install from the menu too but I like to check the font before installing so it is method #1 for me.

Helen Bradley

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Multiple Outlook 2007 windows

Often it is easier to work with multiple windows in Outlook 2007 rather than having to switch between modules to show just one at a time.

You can open each different Outlook tool in its own window if you right click the icon (eg. Calendar) in Folder view and choose Open in New Window.

Each window will display on the task bar as its appropriate icon so it’s easy to switch between tools.

To ensure that each tool always opens in separate windows leave them open when you select File > Exit to close Outlook 2007. When you open the program again, all the windows will open automatically.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Better Travel Photography #2 – Glass and puddles are your friend

Do your travel photographs look just like everyone else’s?

If you wonder why you bothered lugging your digital SLR half way around the world and didn’t just settle for buying postcards, it’s time to revisit the way you photograph your travels. Here is part 2 in my new series of Better Travel Photography – a guide to getting great travel photos that don’t look like everyone else’s..

Today’s tip: Glass is your friend (not the lens type of glass either!)

If what you are photographing is in a busy location you can capture unusual detail by turning your back on it and find ways to capture it reflected in surrounding windows.

While the object’s details might be less well defined when reflected and while you’ll get a combination of the window detail and the object itself, the collage effect can make for a unique image.

If it rains as you travel, celebrate the opportunities available in shooting reflections in puddles. Capturing a popular tourist destination reflected in water is a way of seeing things that are there all the time but which few people ever really “see”.

When you shoot reflections, in windows or in puddles take care to make sure your camera is focusing on what it is that you want it to focus on.

You’ll want the detail in the reflection to be visible and in sharp focus with the surrounding area out of focus.

If you’re used to using a polarizing lens on your camera – which you should when shooting in sunlight conditions – remove it when you’re shooting reflections.

One of the roles of a polarizing filter is to cut out a lot of reflected light from entering your camera and, when you’re shooting reflections that’s exactly what you want to capture.

Helen Bradley

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Falling in love with Rome

I have been surprised at how easy Rome is to walk. On the map it looks so much bigger than it really is. You need to walk it too or you miss so much of the tiny details that, together, go to make the city.

As you look at these photos, insert backing sounds of church bells ringing, traffic and the sirens of the local carbineri and politzia as they whizz around this wonderful city.

Here are some images from the themes I’ve been shooting. One is roof tops and the wonderful chimney pots and layers in the roofs of the city:

Close ups from statues, churches and fountains is another of my themes. The first is detail from the Trevi fountain and the second is from one of the three fountains in the Piazza Navona:

OMG, there’s a pigeon on my nose!

From a church in Orvieto:

Same church, here are the colours of Italy in the door detail:

Another theme is windows, here is one through which you can see to the building behind. It is from the Forum area in Rome:

This window harbours a reflection of a nearby building:

Mirror, Mirror on the wall…

I find that domes are much more interesting in the context of their surrounds, like this one:

Another of my themes this trip is light fittings. I have a huge collection of wonderful street lights and shop lights. This is a set from near the Colosseo in Rome:

As luck would have it, United Colors of Beneton is right opposite the Trevi Fountain. So, with your back to the fountain you can see it reflected in the shop window. Here’s the result:

Another morning, I found a map and paper shop with a street light in front. This photo is more reminiscent of a multi shot taken using film and has a collage feel to it – gotta love reflections:

Everywhere throughout Italy you can find religious icons above houses and at nearly every street corner. I have a grab bag of photos of them, this is one of the more elaborate I’ve found:

Finally, who can resist a market such as the one at the Campo de Fiori, and the wonderful variety of fruit on display:

Or this streetside tie display:

And what is a day without some wonderful graffiti?

Helen Bradley

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