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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life

November 2007


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



November 2007


Changing printer settings


Q: I have a printer that I occasionally use to produce coloured images. However, most of the time I use it for quick text documents. It is set by default for fine, colour printing and every time I change the settings, it goes back to these for the next print run. This means I can never click the Print button to print but always have to go through the menu. How can I adjust the default settings?


A: The answer is to open the Control Panel on your computer and then Printer and Faxes. When you see the list of printers installed, click the printer you want to change. In Windows XP machines, there will be a list of Tasks displayed, and you need to select "Select Printing Preferences." Otherwise, find this option on the short menu that appears after right-clicking.

Change any settings in the normal way and then click Apply before clicking OK. You should find that these settings have now become the default.

Greetings Card Layout


Q: I would like to make my own greetings cards using Office XP. Which is the best package to use, and why? I have tried in Word but find it very difficult to sort out the layout.

A: In fact, you can use any of the three basic Office programs for cards if you do not have a dedicated graphics package: Word, Publisher or PowerPoint. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, so here is a brief overview for producing a card printed onto A4 paper (folded down and across) or A5 card (half of A4, folded once):


1. A4 paper will go into the printer with long sides left and right, and your contents must be set out to print into 2 quarters – bottom, right is the front and top, left is the inside.


a. In PowerPoint, you can type the inside card text in a text box and flip it vertically to print upside down. Make sure you show the guidelines (from the Arrange menu) so you can see all four quarters and centre contents within them.
b. In Word you will not be able to flip a text box, so words will not print out correctly for the fold-down portion.
c. In Publisher, you will seem to be creating a 4-page card, so that each page can have the correct contents set up easily. When it prints out, it will still print onto one page which must then be folded.



2. If you go to Page Setup and set paper or slide size to A5 (customised, it will be width14.8 cm x height21 cm), move the paper-holders to take the smaller card but still have the short side edge going into the printer first. For a side fold card, change to landscape orientation.

Unless you have a special printer, you will not be able to print back and front at the same time, so will have to set up the inside pages separately and pass the card through twice, or write on the inside instead of printing it out.

a. In Word, you can make sure each half of the card is positioned correctly by setting up the page into two columns. The first column will be the back of the card, and the second will be the front.
b. In PowerPoint, once again use the guidelines to set up the page layout.
c. In Publisher, you will need to select half page side fold, and two pages per sheet.



Checking Suspicious Emails



Q: I have just started using Outlook Express. Do you have any advice about avoiding catching viruses from emails?


A: You are advised NOT to open emails that look suspicious. You should therefore make sure you are not viewing any emails in the preview pane. This is a small window that opens showing the text of first email you receive, and means it has actually been opened. Instead, turn off the pane by going to View – layout and taking off the tick in the box that says "show preview pane."

When you click the Inbox and see your list of recent emails in the main window, check out odd-looking ones by right clicking and selecting Properties. Click the Details tab and then the Message Source button. This will reveal the pathway of the email you have been sent, whether it appears to be spam and, often, the actual contents of the message without it actually being opened. If it all seems suspicious, delete it without taking any further action.




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


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