I had an odd question come up the other day: Who still uses Wordperfect? It’s a fair question. Wordperfect, as you may know, is still very much in production. Corel releases new versions every year or two. It’s the #2 word processor in the market, still. Someone is still using it, then.
Why is Publisher hyphenating my words? That’s probably one of the most common questions I hear about Microsoft Publisher. There’s a good reason for it, but I understand if you want to disable it. So I’ll answer both questions.
Sometimes it’s helpful to be able to find words in all caps in Word. Microsoft Word, that is. This helps you find all the acronyms so you can make sure you spelled them out or explained them properly.
Double-checking acronyms is especially important when writing government proposals, which require you to spell out acronyms on first usage. If you’ve never written a proposal, be glad, smile, and nod. Many acronyms make good index material, so this trick helps when you’re writing an index. Also, acronyms are frequently jargon, so making sure you explain them adequately is just part of good writing. Or, if you’re a fan of high quality typography, you might want to find them all so you can set them in small caps for improved aesthetics and readability.
Here’s how you do it.
I got e-mail the other day from Turbotax saying someone had filed my taxes for me. Obviously a cause for concern, right? Here’s how I determined the message was fake in about three minutes. You can spot phishing e-mails with Outlook the same way.
Some people will tell you not to even open a message like this, but if you’re a computer professional, at some point someone is going to want you to prove the message was fake. I think this is something every e-mail administrator, desktop support professional, security professional, and frankly, every helpdesk professional ought to be able to do.
So here’s how you can get the proof. And generally speaking, Outlook 2010’s default configuration is paranoid enough that this procedure will be safe to do. If you want an extra layer of protection, make sure you have EMET installed and protecting Outlook.
I spent some time exploring HP Compaq 6910p upgrades because used HP Compaq 6910p laptops are dirt cheap these days. I picked one up for $75 as an alternative to a Black Friday cheapie.
If you look for one yourself, either look for one with a valid Windows 7 or Windows 10 license on it, or get one at a deep enough discount to make it worth your while.
Here’s what I did to turn an outmoded laptop from 2008 into something better than what I could have bought on Black Friday.
It probably was just a matter of time, but one of my sons dropped his Asus Memopad HD 7 and cracked the digitizer assembly. What we usually call the screen actually sits behind the breakable piece of glass, and more often than not, it’s the glass digitizer that breaks. I left it that way for a while, but once the screen cracks, the cracks tend to spread, and eventually the tablet will get to a point where it’s unresponsive.
Replacement digitizers are available on Ebay. Note the exact model number of your tablet (my kids have ME173Xs, so here’s an ME173X screen) because they aren’t all interchangeable. The part costs around $20. It took me about three hours to replace because it was my first one. If I did this every day I could probably do it in 30 minutes, and I’m guessing if I have to do another–ideally I won’t–it will take an hour or so.
I couldn’t figure out how to justify text in Publisher 2013, but I finally found the way. Here’s how.
I did some layout in Publisher 2013 after having not done page layout in a decade or more, and Publisher 2013’s interface confused me a bit. I finally found two ways to justify text.
The fast, easy way: Highlight the paragraph you want and press CTRL-J. Done. I love keyboard shortcuts. Justify starts with “j,” so that makes the keyboard shortcut pretty easy to remember.
The harder, slower way: In the paragraph tab, click the down arrow in the lower right corner. In the “Indents and Spacing” tab, there’s a dropdown box called “Alignment.” Select “Justified,” then click “OK.” Scout’s honor, I looked past that option at least 17 times.
Oddly enough, once I used full justification, then I got a little icon in the paragraph section of the ribbon for that, but I’m 100% certain that option wasn’t there before.
Pro tip: If you’re going to justify text, make sure you enable hyphenation. Click inside the text box, then click “Format” under “Text Box Tools” under the ribbon. Justified text looks much better when hyphenation is on. Hyphens reduce the number of spaces the computer has to insert. Fewer spaces mean fewer “rivers” in the text, and that makes for a better-looking page. Here’s more on hyphenation if you’re curious.
When I heard Radio Shack was going to be open on Thanksgiving day, I wondered why they would bother. The few Radio Shack stores near me are deserted on normal days, so I didn’t know why anyone would take time out of Thanksgiving Day to go to Radio Shack.
Based on this sad account from an employee who spent hard time working at Radio Shack, I was probably even more right than I thought. The first story, from Black Friday 2004, tells the tale of a store that, when all was said and done, probably lost money on Black Friday. And this was in an era when tech blogs would say, “Believe it or not, there are worse places to be at 6am on Black Friday than Radio Shack.”
I’m not sure anybody believes it now. Read more
With the end-of-life of Office 2003 rapidly approaching, I’m having to look at alternatives. Even after five years, I find the Office ribbon demeaning and productivity-killing, so Microsoft’s newer products are out. With Libre Office, the price is right ($0), so I’m giving it a long look.
I have a monster Excel spreadsheet with tens of thousands of rows, correlated. Its gigabytes of data taught me a lot. Including things it wasn’t supposed to, like what to do when Excel won’t scroll.
This thing is pretty fragile. Among other things, the largest of the sheets will stop scrolling. The scrollbar on the right scrolls, but the display doesn’t move. I can’t scroll down, I can’t scroll right, or do anything useful with the data.
But I stumbled on a quick solution.
For some reason, Excel randomly freezes the panes on these worksheets from time to time. So, when I click on a tab and the screen won’t scroll, the solution is to click on View, select Freeze Panes, and select Unfreeze Panes. Now you’ll be able to scroll in Excel again, like magic.
Then, since I want the top row frozen, I scroll to the top, click on the top row, click Freeze Panes again, and select Freeze Top Row.
For the record, I don’t think avoiding use of freeze panes really prevents this problem. It’s a useful feature; it’s just that sometimes it gets enabled with goofy settings that cause a problem. Once you know the workaround, it’s still annoying but not a terribly big deal.
If you have the same problem, hopefully this solves it for you.
If this tip helped you, I have a collection of a few dozen more Office tips and fixes I’ve collected over the years here.