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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life - 16

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:  One visitor writes to say that when trying to upgrade a program on the Internet, he was told that his 128Mb of memory was not enough.  Should he remove items such as his scanner or DVD player from the Start menu to free up some memory?

A:  If you add items to the list of programs that start up automatically when you start your machine, you will  use up memory; but for frequently-used items it can be a useful shortcut.  The normal items you may want in the Startup folder include the Microsoft  Office Shortcut Bar and a virus checker, but you can add others yourself. Do this by going to Start - Settings - Taskbar and Start Menu then clicking the Start Menu Programs tab.  Click the Add button and browse until you find the target program in your computer.  Click Open, rename if necessary and then click OK.

Once extra items have been added, they can be removed just as easily.  Click Remove on the Start Menu Programs tab and browse through the Start menu folders until you come to Startup.  Open the folder and, for any item you want to remove, select it and press Delete.  

Q:  It seems a good idea to use the computer’s facilities to produce columns of numbers in my work, rather than keep pressing the space bar, as numbers with decimal places don’t line up neatly.  What is the best method to use?

A:  There are two different ways to produce columns:  using decimal tabs or inserting a table. For some reason, people often get into a mess with tabs - usually when they change their minds in the middle of typing and want to move the tab stop positions, and so a table can be easier as it gives you a little more flexibility.

To line up numbers containing decimals in a table, set up a two-column table and, in the second square (cell), right-align the numbers.  Make sure you enter the same number of places after the decimal point in every row e.g. 2.00 or 157.45.  To remove any borders showing on the table, select the entire table and then go to Format - Borders and Shading.  In the Borders - Settings section, click the box labelled None.


If you want to use tabs, here are my tips for trouble-free typing:

a.      get ready with the cursor on the left of the page before setting the tabs.

b.      click the L button on the left of the ruler until it shows the decimal tab and then click in place on the ruler, near the bottom edge, exactly where you want the decimal point in the numbers to line up.

c.      Type the entry for the first column and then press the tab key (next to the Q, it displays two arrows facing in opposite directions).  The cursor will line up with the tab symbol and you can type your first number.  Press Enter and start the second line.

d.      If you want to move tab stops at any time, select the entire block of text and numbers you have entered since setting up the tab stops.  You can then drag the tab along the ruler with the mouse, and the column of entries will move with it.  Click to remove the highlight and carry on typing as normal.

e.      To remove tab stops, click on the tab symbol showing on the ruler and drag it just below the ruler.  Let go the mouse and the tab will disappear.

Q:  I have started surfing the World Wide Web, but feel confused about addresses.  How can I find out the address to type whenever I want to visit a particular site?

A:  As most Web page addresses (known as URLs, standing for Uniform Resource Locator) use the same set of rules, you can very often “guess the address” which will save lots of time.  

This is what you need to know:

a.  The likely registered name of the company or organisation e.g. BBC, ITV, Woolworth, Guardian, Waitrose, Oxfam etc. etc. 

b.  Is it a British company - then it will probably end with

c.  Is it an international company - try .com

d.  A British academic institution such as a school or college - add (American - try .edu)

e.  A charity or non-profit-making organisation - it will be

f.   A government department (national or local) - add 

To put this all together, type www. followed by, or or or and then press Enter.  It doesn’t always work, but 9 times out of 10 you will open the relevant page.


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.


      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

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.




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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