Category Archives: How to…..

..empty the waste bin, defrag the disk, etc

Add a check box in a document

The easiest way to add a check box to a document in Word, is to go to Insert, Symbol, and then More Symbols.  Find the square box shaped symbol, click on it, and click Insert.  (Close the Symbols window now.) To change the size of the box, select (highlight) it, then return to the Home tab, and increase the font size until the box is the size you want.

Print a list of all the files in a folder

To print a list of all the files in a folder,  hold down the SHIFT key and Right Click on the folder.  Select Open Command Window here.  When the window opens, type dir > printit.txt, then press Enter.  There will be a new file, printit.txt, in the folder.  You can Right Click on this to print it, or double click on it to open in Notepad.

Venn diagrams in Word

To add a Venn diagram to a Word document:

Click on the Insert tab on the top ribbon, then click on SmartArt.  In the window that opens, choose Relationship, and then from the pictures available, choose the sort of Venn diagram you want, and click OK.

The dialogue box that opens allows you to type in text for each of the main circle shapes:

Venn diagram

It doesn’t let you add text to the overlap though.  If you want to add text to the overlap areas, go back to the Insert tab, and choose Shapes.  Choose a shape that resembles the overlapping portion  (probably an oval), and draw it and rotate it so that it sits on top of the overlap.  Then right click on the oval, click Edit Text, and type the text you want.
Then right click the oval and click Format Shape; on the Fill tab click No Fill; on the Line Colour tab click No Line and then click Close.

Collapsing or Expanding the top ribbon in Word

If you are editing a Word document, and you would like the top ribbon to take up less space on your screen, you can collapse it.  Either type CTRL and F1 , or click on the tiny arrow at the top right of the screen next to the question mark.  Do the same again to expand the ribbon back up.

CTRL and F1 will toggle between the two states.

gmail – How to move emails to a folder

If you use gmail, you can save messages in folders.  The folders you have are shown down the left hand side of the page; you will have at least: Inbox, Sent Mail, Spam.

When you are reading an email, you see the icons across the top of the page, like this:

google folder


If you click on the 5th icon from the right, which looks like a folder, a window opens with a list of available folders that you can move the email into.   Google, rather confusingly, refers to them as “labels”.  Click on the folder you want, and the emails will be filed there.

If you want to create a new folder, at the bottom of the window it says Create New.  Click on that, give the folder a name, in the box under where it ways Please Enter a New Label Name, and then click Create.  The new folder will be created, and your email moved into it.

If you are looking at your inbox, and you can see several emails that could be saved into a folder, click into the box to the left of each email you want to move (the box will get a tick in it).  You can then move them to a folder all at the same time, by clicking on the folder icon as above.


Change your Google Chrome spelling dictionary to UK English

It drives me crazy that Google Chrome keeps trying to correct my spelling to American.  Here’s what to do if it annoys you too!

Click on the 3 bars at the top right of the browser window, and then choose Settings, then at the bottom click on Show Advanced Settings.  Under Languages choose Languages and spell checker settings.  Now, English will probably be on the list already, but ignore this, and click the Add button, and then select English (UK) from the drop down menu and click OK,  You then go back to the previous window, where you must click on Display Google Chrome in this Language, and Use this Language for spell checking.  Finally, click Done (or OK) then close and re-start Chrome.  Hopefully from now on, your emails will be checked for English UK spelling, not American!

Change the sensitivity of the trackpad on your laptop

I have a HP laptop running Windows 8, and this worked for me.  Your laptop may vary slightly, but the steps should be similar.

Open the Control Panel.  (Using the screen charms, choose Settings, then Control Panel).

Choose Hardware and Sound.

Your touchpad should be listed, click on Settings.

A new window opens, click on the arrow left of Pointing.

Click on Sensitivity.  On mine, I then get a “cog wheel” next to Sensitivity; I click on that, and I get a slider to adjust the sensitivity from Light Touch to Heavy Touch.  Move the slider, click Close, then OK, then close the Control Panel.

In Excel, subtract or add time values

If you want to add or subtract times, as in hours and minutes, in Excel, you do it in exactly the same way as you manipulate other numbers, but you must tell Excel you are working in hours and minutes by formatting the cells as hh:mm (or one of the other time formats).

To do this, select the cells you are going to use, right click, format, and choose hh:mm (or one of the other time formats).

Then, subtracting 9:02 from 16:30 will give you 7:28.


To find which programs run at Startup

To find out which programs run when you start up your PC:

Click on Start, and type msconfig into the search box.  Then click on msconfig.exe.

The window which opens lists all the programs which run at start up; you can choose to disable individual programs, which may make startup quicker.

On Windows 8, open the Task Manager by holding down the Ctrl key, and the Alt key, and press the delete key.  Choose Task Manager. Choose the Start-up tab.

On a Mac, saving emails from Outlook to a folder

If you use Outlook on a windows PC you can export a folder of emails to a spreadsheet.  So, for instance, if you have correspondence that you want to keep but don’t need to refer to much, you can export to a spreadsheet and delete the files from Outlook.

If you are running Outlook on a Mac, you don’t have that option – the only thing you can do is export all your emails to a file.

On a Mac, the best, and easiest thing to do is:
Create a new folder (on the desktop, or wherever you like)
Drag and drop emails from Outlook to the folder (you can do this one at a time, or you can select multiple messages), then delete the emails from Outlook.

When you look at the emails saved in the folder, they will have lost some of their formatting, but all the important information is intact, so you have a record of the correspondence.

By the way – this will also work on Windows.