Saturday, January 31, 2015

Plain Language

Twaddle free




THE WHITE HOUSE
June 1, 1998

MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

SUBJECT: Plain Language in Government Writing
"The Federal Government's writing must be in plain language. By using plain language, we send a clear message about what the Government is doing, what it requires, and what services it offers. Plain language saves the Government and the private sector time, effort, and money."

The Plain English Network
Plain language can be understood by YOUR reader at first reading. It doesn't mean writing for a certain grade level - it means organizing and writing for your reader. Writing in plain language saves time and money for writers and readers.

Introducing Plain Language

Plain language matches the needs of the reader with your needs as a writer, resulting in effective and efficient communication. It is effective because the reader can understand the message. It is efficient because the reader can read and understand the message the first time.

Also:
LegalWriting.net
Plain language produces clear, concise, and readable documents


And then for no reason ,other than most writing is twaddle, here's a review of:

How Mumbo-jumbo Conquered the World:
A Short History of Modern Delusions
by Francis Wheen.




It's entitled: "Twaddle unswaddled".
Appropriate or not, it is fun to say.



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Friday, January 30, 2015

Accustom Yourself to Excel

Shake hands with a worksheet


Anneliese Wirth has written an article for Office.Microsoft.com about how to get used to the new user interface in Excel 2007-10.

  • Add a Get Started tab to the Ribbon

  • Take advantage of the Quick Access Toolbar

  • Minimize the Ribbon, maximize your workspace

  • Choose your own default font

  • Restore missing worksheet tabs

  • Freeze panes here, there, and everywhere
Surviving the switch to Excel 2007+



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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Crime on the Web

What does it look like?


PC World has an article on e-mail cyber crime, with examples of the notes.

Cyber Crime

FBI and Cyber Crime

Wells Fargo Example



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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

DNS FAQ

Domain Name System


Here's a concise collection of answers about the inner workings of the internet.

For instance:

What is DNS (Domain Name System)?


Websites have both a "friendly" address, called a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and an IP address. People use URLs to find websites, but computers use IP addresses to find websites. DNS translates URLs into IP addresses (and vice versa). For example, if you type http://www.microsoft.com into the address bar in your web browser, your computer sends a request to a DNS server. The DNS server translates the URL into an IP address so that your computer can find the Microsoft web server.


DNS FAQ



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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Folding Tips

Bending cloth


Just to break up a boring dinner setting, learn how to fold napkins.

(things to do while waiting for the news)



Napkin Folding Guide



Napkin Folds

Napkin Folding Tips



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Monday, January 26, 2015

Camera Tool

Smile!


(This is the pre-2007 routine. For 2007+ see the end. )

To create a linked picture of part of a spreadsheet for use elsewhere:
  1. Edit>Copy the Cell or Range
  2. Choose the target cell
  3. Hold down the Shift key and choose Edit>Paste Picture Link
If you're going to do this frequently, go to Tools>Customize. Choose the Commands tab and locate Camera in the Tools category. Drag to place the Camera button on your toolbar.



If the Camera tool is on your toolbar:
  1. Select the Cell/Range
  2. Click the Camera tool
  3. Move the cursor to the target position and click to insert the linked picture
To create a static picture from cells, or a chart to use in another part of your workbook, or another program:
  1. Clear cell gridlines if you do not want them displayed in your picture.
    (Click Options on the Tools menu, click the View tab, and then clear the Gridlines check box")

  2. On the worksheet or chart sheet, select the cells or click the chart you want to copy as a picture
  3. Hold down SHIFT and click Copy Picture on the Edit menu
    (For the best picture quality, make sure As shown on screen and Picture are selected)
  4. Click OK
  5. Select the worksheet or other document where you want to paste the picture
  6. Edit>Paste.
You can use the Picture toolbar to change the image. (to display the toolbar, right-click any toolbar and choose Picture) To paste information you've copied from another program as a picture in Microsoft Excel, hold down SHIFT and click Paste Picture or Paste Picture Link on the Edit menu. You can, also, create a dynamic linked text box by using the tool on the Drawing toolbar to place the object on the worksheet.
Now click to the Formula box. Type = and the click on the cell you wish to link.

Also see:
Copy - Paste Methodology
by Jon Peltier
 
The process is a little different in 2007+. Either add the Camera tool to the Quick access toolbar, or just select the range and drop down the Paste options. Choose copy as Picture. Next pick a location and  choose Paste as picture.



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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Site Maps

Point the way



"As a Web designer and HTML builder, one of the first places I visit on a Web site is the site map. The site map shows an entire overview of the structure of the site, and more importantly, indicates how much effort was put into usability testing during the site's construction."

Learn how to chart a better site map
By Jim Kukral -Builder.com

According to Jakob Nielsen's
Alertbox Usability Study on Site Maps

"27 percent of users turn to site maps when asked to learn about a site's structure. If your site map is poorly designed, you may lose 27 percent of your Web visitors. That could translate into millions of dollars of missed sales for an e-commerce site, or a massive amount of missed leads for a service company."


(A Site Map is a guide to a web site used by visitors. A Sitemap is a file used by search engines to index entries on a site. )



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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Labels by Merging

Demos


As part of their series of demos, Microsoft has information on creating mailing labels from a database, or mailing list.

Create labels with mail merge

Here is another entry concerning some of the fine points.

More label info

Also, if you place a graphic in the first cell, it will be duplicated in each box.



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Friday, January 23, 2015

Beep Codes

An IT low point


You know you're in computer doo-doo when you start looking for beep codes.

These are the sounds your machine starts to make when it cries for help.

Such as
1-2-2-3
BIOS ROM
checksum Repair or replace BIOS

Oh yea! Replace the BIOS. That'll start your week out on a high note.

Casey Tech has put together a list of beep codes for the three largest BIOS manufacturers, AMI, Award, and Phoenix that can be folded and set up as a tent card for your desk or used as a pocket guide

Beep Card

Also:
POST & Beep CodesWhat are those noises when a PC starts up?

And:
Bios Central, PC Guide.com, and PC Hell.com



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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Move that thing

Noise and motion


Microsoft has another of its easy to understand tutorials that deals with making objects move on the screen and also make sounds.

  • Animate text or objects

  • Add sound effects to an animation or hyperlink

  • Use sample animations in your presentation
There is also a link to a tutorial about adding sound effects to a presentation.

Animation



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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Live.com Addresses

Choose your own


Tired of Hotmail, MSN, AOL, Gmail.com domain names for email addresses?

You can pick up a new address; such as MyName@Live.com.

First come etc.


Live.com email



Outlook Settings for Live.com



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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Index Concordance

Order!


Creating a Table of Contents can be easy if you use Styles. Word will automatically insert a TOC when you place the insertion point and then use Insert>Reference Index and Tables and choose Table of Contents.
(2007+  Reference Tab>Table of Contents group)

An Index or Concordance can be more difficult.

In a larger document, you may want the reader to be able to locate key words. You could go through the whole document and mark each word you want included, but there is an easier way.
  1. Make a list of the important words.
  2. Create a two-column table in a new document.
  3. In the first column, enter the word or phrase.
  4. In the second column, enter the index entry
    (If you need a sub-category, type the main entry followed by a colon (:) and then the sub category.)
  5. Save the file.
When it comes time to create the Index, place the insertion point, go to Insert>Reference Index and Tables. Choose Index and then AutoMark. (2007 – Reference Tab>Index group) Browse to the location of your Index file. Word will now automatically use your list to mark the main document and insert an Index.

Also: Word for Word:
An Index or a Concordance for Your Book?

Microsoft KB:
How to create a table of contents and index with field codes in Word



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Monday, January 19, 2015

OLAP Cubes

More dimensions than Star trek


When a company accumulates a great deal of information, it becomes un-wieldy to work with just basic Excel or Access databases.

There is a database concept called on OLAP cube (On-Line Analytical Processing).

This multidimensional collection of data can be thought of as a 3-D pivot table viewed from flat land.

MSDN:
Just What Are Cubes Anyway?
(A Painless Introduction to OLAP Technology)



Wikipedia:
OLAP



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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Search for File Nits

Refine the questions


You can use Windows search to locate metadata information. Such as the date on the file:
date:>2/7/05<2/10/05>

Searches for a date in the Date property between the values 2/7/05 and 2/10/05, excluding the end dates.


Or all of the photos on your machine taken with a Canon:

Camera make

cameramake (cameramake:canon)







Advanced Query terms

HowToGeek - Date Search



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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Publisher Merges

Not just Word


You know that you can send e-mail merges using Word. Try it with Publisher.

Design a newsletter and let it rip.




Merge Publisher



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Friday, January 16, 2015

Srt Field Defaults

Speed up table creation with default field settings



When you add fields to a table, Access assumes you want to use a 50/255-character Text field by default. However, you may typically use a smaller field size or you may personally use Number fields more often than Text ones.

You can avoid having to change the size and data types for new fields by setting defaults that are appropriate to your own design habits. To do so:

  1. Choose Tools> Options from the menu bar and switch to the Tables/Queries sheet.

  2. Select the data type you use most from the Default Field Type dropdown list.

  3. Set the Text and Number sizes you usually want to use in the Default Field Sizes panel and

  4. Click OK.
In Access 2007+ go to Access Options>Object Designers:



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Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Windows in Outlook

How to open Multiple Windows



If you want more than one window open in Outlook (for example the InBox and Calendar), Right-click on an item on the Outlook bar and select "Open in New Window" from the context menu.

Choose Tasks and Calendar or any other combination.

You can now easily cut and paste between Outlook applications
Right click an empty area on the taskbar and select how the windows should be arranged.



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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Troubleshoot

Problem solvers



If you have trouble opening a Word document, or it is not working well, try these suggestions:

FIRST
Delete all of Word's temp files.
  1. Go to Edit>Replace
  2. Make sure to include all of your local drives in the search and that "include subfolders" is checked.
  3. Search for:
    *.tmp
  4. Then delete all these temp files.
Word leaves shards of temp files wherever the document file was stored. Word's temp files start with a tilde (~), so in most cases you can delete: ~*.* SECOND
  1. Use Edit>Find to locate Normal.DOT.
  2. Rename it (Normal.OLD) or delete it. Word will create a new copy when it restarts.
The only caveat here is be careful that you don't have important macros stored in Normal.DOT. If you rename, you can recover them. THIRD
If that does not correct the problem, try this next step:
  1. Go to Start>Run and type:
    winword.exe /a
    (Note that there is a space before the /a)
  2. Then press ENTER. This starts Word without any add-ins, global templates, or Normal.DOT.
    Look in Tools>Templates and Add-ins to see if there are any files that can be un-checked.
If you need even more help, go to: 
Knowledge base: How to troubleshoot problems that occur when you start Word or when you work in Word



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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

VBA, NAmed Arguments

An easier read


Use named arguments for cleaner VBA code.

Most likely, you use positional arguments when working with VBA functions. For instance, to create a message box, you probably use a statement that adheres to the following syntax:

MsgBox(prompt[, buttons] [, title] [, helpfile, context])


When you work the MsgBox function this way, the order of the arguments can't be changed.

Therefore, if you want to skip an optional argument that's between two arguments you're defining, you need to include a blank argument, such as:
MsgBox "Hello World!", , "My Message Box"


Named arguments allow you to create more descriptive code and define arguments in any order you wish. To use named arguments, simply type the argument name, followed by :=, and then the argument value.

For instance, the previous statement can be rewritten as:

MsgBox Title:="My Message Box", _
Prompt:="Hello World!"


(To find out a function's named arguments, select the function in your code and press [F1].)



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Monday, January 12, 2015

Where dat site?

Server locations


YouGetSignal.com provides some tools that let you find out more about a web site. Who else uses that server, for instance, and where to server is located.

Sites on Web server

A reverse IP domain check takes a domain name or IP address pointing to a web server and searches for other sites known to be hosted on that same web server.


Network location

The network location tool is a utility that approximates and displays the geophysical location of your network address on a Google Map.




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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Zero 0

Zero is nothing


If a zero isn't worth anything, why show it?

Here is a Microsoft tutorial about how to deal with zilch:


  • Display or hide all zero values on a worksheet

  • Use a number format to hide zero values in selected cells

  • Use a conditional format to hide zero values returned by a formula

  • Use a formula to display zeros as a blanks or dashes

  • Hide zero values in a PivotTable report
Hide Zeros



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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Calculators on the Web

Figure the vigorish



It's sometimes easier to use a preset calculator than it is to write your own in Excel.
Here's a collection of sites:

  • Auto Calculators

  • Bond Calculators

  • Budget Calculators

  • College Calculators

  • Credit Card Calculators

  • Home Calculators

  • Insurance - Disability Calculators

  • Insurance - Health Calculators

  • Insurance - Life Calculators

  • Life Expectancy Calculators

  • Choose-to-Save - Life Expectancy

  • Mutual Fund Calculators

  • Paycheck Planning Calculators

  • Retiree Health

  • Retirement Calculators

  • Roth IRA Calculators

  • Savings Calculators

  • Social Security Calculators

  • Social Security Administration - Estimate Your Potential Benefit

  • Stock Calculators

  • Tax Calculators
Calculators



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Friday, January 09, 2015

Address Map

Display a map to an Outlook contact's address


If a contact item has an address in the United States, you can use your Internet connection and Outlook to create a map to the address. You must be connected to the Internet for this feature to work.
Open the contact item.
Next to the Address text box, click on the down arrow and select the address you want to map (Business, Home, or Other).
Then choose Actions/Display Map Of Address from the menu bar or click the Display Map Of Address button.
Your default browser opens and the map is created using Microsoft Expedia Maps.

Outlook Maps

In Outlook 2007, the Map button is on the Contact tab on the right side of the Communicate group.

2007 uses Maps.Live.com.

Outlook tips:
Slipstick.com
Customize Outlook's Map link

You can edit the registry to enable another web-based mapping service.



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Thursday, January 08, 2015

Word Math

An Add-in, of course


Microsoft has a downloadable add-in for Word called Microsoft Math.


"To use the add-in, open Word 2007+, type Alt-= to create a RichEdit math object, type an equation or expression, and right-click on the equation to see options for solving and graphing within Word."



Math Add-in



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Wednesday, January 07, 2015

What's New in Excel 2013

Different can be good


Microsoft has a information that explains the highlights of the new features of Excel:

  • Improved ribbon

  • Access workbooks in new ways

  • Make fast, effective comparisons from lists of data

  • Sparklines

  • Create workbooks with more visual impact

  • Collaborate on workbooks in new ways
There are also other links.

What's New in Excel 2013



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Tuesday, January 06, 2015

PPT Font Size

How big should you go?


In the old days of slide shows, presenters would hold their slides out at arm's length. If they could still see the text, then it would be OK when projected.

Dave Paradi has researched the question and offers a PDF document that compares screen size, fonts, and seating distance.

For instance:
"For example, if you're using a 60 inch screen and have 32 point text on your slides, the furthest someone should be is 57 feet from the screen."


Font Size

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Tips



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Monday, January 05, 2015

Merge to More Than One Document

Custom content



In the Data Source, include a field for the type of letter the recipient requires.

In the Main merge document, enter IF fields, such as:

{IF {MERGEFIELD "LetterType"=1} {INCLUDETEXT "C:\\Project\\Letter1" \* MERGEFORMAT} ""}
{IF {MERGEFIELD "LetterType"=2} {INCLUDETEXT "C:\\Project\\Letter2" \* MERGEFORMAT} ""}


  • The curly brackets { } cannot be entered from the key board. Either use Insert>Field, or Ctrl+F9.
  • Word uses spaces in the If..Then..Else statement.
  • The last two quote marks "" are "empty" , so nothing will be entered.
  • Notice the \\ in the path statement. A path is not needed if the Main document is in the same folder as the letters.
  • To see the field codes, use Alt+F9 to toggle the view on and off.
Letters 1 and 2 can have completely different texts, formats and layouts. One can be an invitation to a sale, the other can be a dunning letter. (To carry over different formatting, leave out the \* MERGEFORMAT switch)

After setting up the main document for mail merging, insert all of the fields you want to merge.

Copy the individual fields and paste them in the correct locations in Letter 1 and 2.

Go back to the main document and erase all of the text and fields EXCEPT for the IF statements.

Letters 1 and 2 do not have to be set up a merge docs, or connected to a data source. Their text will be inserted in the Main document depending on the field type.



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Sunday, January 04, 2015

Display the Current Record Number

Without navigation


You may want to remove the navigation buttons from an Access form but still display the current record number. Not the ID or serial number, but the record number that would appear in the navigation box.

To provide this feature, you can use VBA to place the form's CurrentRecord value in an unbound text box, and then update the value during the Current event.

To utilize this property, add an unbound text box to your form in Design view. Then, on the Event tab of the form's Property list, click the ellipsis or Build button. Choose Code Builder.

Add the following code in the Visual Basic Editor:

Private Sub Form_Current()
MyTextBox = Me.CurrentRecord
End Sub

(where MyTextBox is the name of the control that displays the record number.)

Now, when you navigate from record to record, the MyTextBox control will update automatically to reflect the current number.



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Saturday, January 03, 2015

Calendar Blanc

Empty days


Outlook allows you to print out your calendars.
If you just want to print a blank calendar over a specified period, here are the directions:

Blank calendar



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Friday, January 02, 2015

Gun Laws

How trigger happy is your state?


"Most U.S. states have failing scores when it comes to stopping criminals and other dangerous people from obtaining guns.

Two-thirds of all states score less than 20 points out of 100. Almost half of all states score 10 points or less out of 100.

The state with the strongest gun laws is California with 79 points, followed by New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maryland."


Brady Campaign





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Thursday, January 01, 2015

Quick Subforms and Subreports

Drag 'em on over


When you need to create a subform or subreport, you probably use the Subform/Subreport tool from the Toolbox to draw where you want to add the control.

You can also create subform and subreports using drag and drop.

Simply open the main form or report in Design view, then drag the appropriate form or report from the Database window to where you want the control created.

Note that you'll still need to set Link Child Fields and Link Master Fields properties on the new control.



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