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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life - 10

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. Getting the most from your computer.jpg (5543 bytes)

Jackie has also written the two 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.


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

Q:  Can you explain how you would use the Master slide in PowerPoint?

A:   After creating a major presentation made up of, lets say 20 slides, you may suddenly decide that you don’t like the basic font type or bullets, or need to add a date or logo to each slide.  Instead of doing this 20 times, you can make changes once to the master slide and the changes will then be translated throughout the presentation.  

Go to the View menu, select Master – Slide Master and select and re-format the title or main text , or insert a picture or WordArt object in the normal way. To see the effect, return to the Slide, Normal or Slide Sorter view and, if necessary, go back to the Slide Master if you need to make adjustments or delete any additions.


Q:   Since buying my computer, I have saved everything into something labelled My Documents.  Is this the right thing to do?  It is now so full of my work that it takes me ages to find some important letters and reports.  I feel there must be a better way to organise my work.

A:   On new computers running Windows 95 or later, an area of the hard disk labelled My Documents has been set aside for saving work.   If you think of My Documents as a large box holding your various pieces of work, it has clearly become time to subdivide it into separate compartments or folders.  This is just what most of us do at home with correspondence and certificates.  You probably have drop-files in a filing cabinet labelled Holidays, Car, Insurance etc. etc. and you can have exactly the same system on your computer.

Although there is a special file management program, Windows Explorer, on your computer that you can use, a quick way is to double-click My Computer – the icon/little picture of a computer on your desktop – and then open the folder you will see inside the window labelled My Documents (or you may first have to double click the C:\ folder to look at the contents of the hard disk).  Go to the File  menu showing at the top of the window and select New – Folder.  A yellow folder will appear labelled New Folder that you can rename by typing directly into the label box.   Now click and drag any relevant files you want to store into this new folder. (Alternatively, right-mouse click files and select the Move option, or Cut and then locate the new folder and Paste them in.)

Don’t forget that, like a drop-file or box, you will have to open the new folders to find your work in future as file names will no longer be visible in the My Documents window when you go to File – Open.  You will also need to make sure the correct folder is displayed in the Save In box when you come to save new work.

Q:  I am always looking for shortcuts as I spend far too long at the computer.  Can you suggest a useful tip?

A:  This is something I keep forgetting to do but that is really useful – use your Right mouse button more often.  Whenever you do so, a short menu appears that is relevant to the particular part of the screen you are over, or action you have just performed.  For example, over an Excel chart you will get a shortcut to formatting the colours, axes or labels; in text you will have cut, copy, paste or formatting options; and over incorrect spellings you get alternatives to select.  Over e-mail messages you get all the replying, printing, moving etc. options and on your desktop it’s a quick way to change the background or screensaver (select Properties).  


Q:  I have started producing charts with Excel but have one problem.  Sometimes I want to use information in columns that are not next to one other, but if I select one range of cells, the highlight comes off as soon as I click somewhere else on the spreadsheet.

A:  Select the first column of cells as normal and then hold the Control key down as you click further cells.  The highlight will remain and you will be able to select non-adjacent columns on which to base your chart. 



Jackie Sherman`s new book:

Basic Computer Skills Made Simple' provides all necessary computer skills an individual may need and presents them in a straightforward and intelligent way. It demystifies computers and is ideal for those wishing to develop their skills and confidence in the subject whilst working at their own pace.
By using the text the reader will be able to produce a wide range of word-processed documents, prepare illustrated slides to aid talks, store and search for information systematically, and gain confidence handling simple numbers or charts. They will also learn how to connect to the Internet, surf the Web, and send and receive emails.


      Written from a UK perspective, the Guardian Guide to the Internet covers all the stock ground, including browser operation, FTP, Usenet, IRC and putting together a simple Web page


      This book will help you when you've got the machine into your home and you need to know what to do next. Starting with the process of unpacking the box and plugging in all the cables, this book shows you what to do with your new machine.



View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers


Click on a book or magazine image above or below to see full details.

Aimed at first-time Internet users, the guide, co-written by TV personality Carol Vorderman and Internet expert Rob Young, offers a thorough and non-intimidating introduction to the Internet.


HTML 4 features clear and concise instructions   with well-captioned illustrations and screenshots that show both the source code and the resulting effect on the Web page

Specifically written for UK Web users, this book will give you everything you'll need to know to put the Internet to work for you




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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