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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life

  Getting the most from your computer    

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 the four books shown here - you can find more details about these by clicking on the cover images above. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s.  

Everyday Computer Activities 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, why not email her


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

View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers


October 2010

Copying and Pasting in Spreadsheets


Q: I have been sent a spreadsheet containing lots of details such as names, addresses and phone numbers. How can I copy parts of it to a letter I want to send out? For example, I only want to send some people a list of names and phone numbers, not the address or email details. I use Excel and Word.

A: Copy and paste works perfectly well with spreadsheets, but you will need to do something about the columns of data you don't want to copy across. There are two different methods you can use for this:

1. Hide selected columns temporarily – you can then drag your mouse across all the data in the columns that are left and select them in one go before clicking Copy.

a. Click the letter at the top of any columns you want to hide and go to Format – Column – Hide. You will know it has been done as the heading letters (A, B, C etc) will now be missing.

Hide column

b. To get back to normal after carrying out your copying task, select all the columns related to your data, including those with missing letters, and go to Format – Column – Unhide.


2. As an alternative method, select the data in individual columns one at a time. To do this, select the first as usual by dragging your mouse down the column. Now hold down a Ctrl key. As you select other cells on the spreadsheet with your mouse, they will stay selected. (The first cell at the top of the last block of cells you drag will be white, rather than coloured, but it will still be selected.)

When all your chosen details are highlighted, let go the Ctrl key and right click the mouse on any selected column. Select Copy and you will now be able to move to your word processed letter, click in place and select Paste.

Copy selected data

When the data appears, it will be in the form of a table. You can change entries or widen columns just as you do with any table in Word. Click the square in the top, left hand corner if you want to select the whole table e.g. to add borders.


Using Date Series in Excel


Q: I look after a holiday booking system and have to set up a spreadsheet offering all the weeks in the year. As we check-in on Fridays, I want each column to start with the Friday date. How is this done?

A: If you use Excel, you will find that it has an excellent "Date series" facility. You can set the steps for each entry (e.g. 7-day weeks, 2-day weekends or months etc) and then copy across the row to enter the correct date for every column.

1. If 7th January is the first Friday in 2011, enter that in the first cell on your sheet.
2. Now select ALL the cells across the same row to cover the 12 months of the year, including that first cell containing the typed date.
3. Go to Edit – Fill – Series.

Date series 1

4. You can now make sure the date is recognised by selecting Date as the Type, and as you want Fridays you select Day as the Date unit.
5. Every Friday is 7 days after the last, so your Step value is 7.
6. If you have selected the entire row, you can add a Stop value e.g. 31st December so only the chosen year details will be included.

Date series 2

7. Click OK and you will find all your dates in place. If you see #### it simply means the columns are too narrow – widen them to reveal the dates.

Date series 3

View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers

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