Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life


You can do IT is a regular feature of aimed at trying to help laterlife visitors make the most of Information Technology on or off the web. 

Jackie Sherman who runs the You can do IT Question & Answer section is an IT trainer and author. Jackie has spent her career in education and specialises in teaching IT to adults. Her courses for adults include such topics as MS Office, the Internet, e-mail and basic web page authoring.  

Jackie has also written several books - you can find more details about these by clicking here. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s.

Via Jackie aims to particularly help those new to IT and the web to build up knowledge and confidence, so no question is too basic. At the same time she will cover Q&As for the more experienced user. 

So if you would like to ask a question of Jackie, or if you have discovered something which may be of interest to others in making the most of the web, then she would love to hear about that too. Why not email her


July 2009



Q: I have a problem with something I bought on eBay, but I don't think the seller is actually trying to dupe me. How can I resolve a dispute without escalating things into a serious complaint?

A: eBay have realised that often, the problem is communication, and they will now send you the telephone number of a seller so you can discuss the issue directly. They will, at the same time, send your own contact details to the seller, but if it is just a question of a misunderstanding or postal problems, that shouldn't stop you going ahead.


Q: Can you explain in simple language how to write a nested IF function? I want to use a spreadsheet to display different messages if totals fall into different ranges such as under 20, 20 – 30, 30 – 40, 40 – 50 and over 50 but even though I think I have written it correctly it is never accepted.

A: To write a normal IF function, you need to answer the following questions:

a. What is the condition to be met e.g. the contents of cell X1 is less than 20.
b. What to display if the condition is met e.g. "below 20".

This is written =IF(X1<20,"below 20",

Normally, you would follow this with the message displayed if the condition is NOT met, but you want to add a few extra messages so you must continue as follows:

Add IF(

So the function is now =IF(X1<20,"below 20",IF(

Add the next condition e.g. X1<30 and the message to display

=IF(X1<20,"below 20",IF(X1<30,"below 30",

and continue until you reach the final message where you can add the display if the condition is not met:

=IF(X1<20,"below 20",IF(X1<30,"below 30",IF(X1<40,"below 40",IF(X1<50,"Below 50","Over 50"))))

Don't forget that, as you have opened several brackets, you must end ALL of them with closing brackets.


Q: It is too late for me as I now have serious back problems due to repetitive strain injury (RSI), but shouldn't you make more people aware of how to avoid this?

A: This is an excellent suggestion, and so here is the one remedy that may prevent others having the same difficulties you now experience.

RSI is the result of spending too long in one position, hunched over a computer. So the simple answer is to STOP work regularly.
Take time to get up and move around at least every 30 minutes. Use a timer if necessary, as it is incredibly easy to stay there for hours without realising it.

All the other suggestions you will find such as having a good, supportive backrest on your chair; wrist rests; footstools; avoiding glare etc. are useful but incidental to the real damage caused by sitting too long in one position as you repeatedly click away at the keys/mouse button.


Q: Help – I can never find anything in My Documents. Is there a quick way to locate a file?

A: Apart from dividing up your files into separate folders – instructions for another day – here is a possible way to find that missing file. You must re-order the files.

  • To find a recent file – sort by date modified. Each time you click you can reverse the order from most recent to oldest back to oldest to most recent.
  • To find an image, spreadsheet or word processed file – sort by file type. This at least puts all the same files such as images together for a quick run down by eye.
  • To sort by the name of the file (don't forget to name all files CAREFULLY just to help find them in future) – sort alphabetically by name.

On any recent PC, all you do is open the folder containing the files, such as My Documents, on the desktop. Now go to View – Arrange Icons by – and pick the criterion.

sorting files



View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers

For a wealth of books on the web and IT generally, visit Amazon and under the books section select Computers and Internet.

Don't forget to visit the general laterlife features section called laterlife interest


back to laterlife today

Site map and site search



Advertise on