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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life - 18

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

This month, I am going to introduce a few of the less well-known options available on some of the menus. The reason for this is that, even if you are working perfectly adequately as an occasional computer user, you may not have realised how many useful features are provided that can help make your life even easier.


The View Menu

1.  This is where you can re-arrange the layout and display of your screen, files and folders. 

a.  In an application such as Word, select different views to check the page layout before printing or how it would appear on the Web, see outlines of the document or work with the more normal view of the screen.

b.  In Windows Explorer or a Desktop window e.g. My Documents, change the contents displayed from a list to large or small icons, see the date and source by choosing Details, and click Arrange to re-order your contents by date, size, name or type.

c.  When browsing, increase the text size displayed in a Web page.

d.  If using your e-mail package, go to  Layout to add or remove parts of the screen such as the preview pane or folders list.

2.  From view buttons in the Save As or Open window, you can also display the contents of your computer folders as lists or icons; show their properties; and sometimes preview files before they are opened.

3.  The menu allows you to find or remove toolbars displayed on screen, and locate missing items such as rulers or the formula bar in Excel. 

4.  Click Toolbars - Customise to add or remove toolbar buttons permanently.

5.  Check the menu in different applications e.g. in PowerPoint it is used to work with the Master Slide.



The Edit Menu

1.      After using a search engine to locate relevant Websites and clicking a hyperlink, you may find yourself confronted by a large or confused screen and be unable to spot your key words.  Go to Edit - Find (on this page) and type in one or more key words.  Click Find Next and your words should be highlighted on the page.

2.      In a long word processed document, use the Find or Replace dialog box to locate words or replace any that were originally misspelt or abbreviated.

3.      Use the Go To option to quickly open e.g. page 143 of a long document.

The Window Menu

1.      When working with applications older than 2000, you can’t park all open windows on the taskbar.  To activate open windows, locate them from this menu and click their name.

2.      Select Arrange All to display several open windows on screen at the same time.

3.      In Excel, make working with a large spreadsheet easier by selecting a cell to the right of row labels (e.g. B1)  or below column headings (e.g. A2) and then selecting Freeze Panes.  Now as you scroll across to columns E and F, earlier columns will disappear underneath column A (or scroll down and rows will disappear under row 1).  Return to normal by selecting Unfreeze Panes.


The Insert Menu

1        If  you lose the shortcut link to the ClipArt Gallery, or want to add a chart, drawing or other item, select Object.  You now have two choices:

a)      Select Create New and you can open Clipart (via Microsoft Clip Gallery) or a blank screen within one of the other applications, ready for you to design your object.  Save and close and the object will appear in your original document, spreadsheet or slide.

b)      If you want to include an object previously created and saved, select Create from File.  Browse to locate the file and then insert it by pressing Enter or clicking the Insert button.  If you want to be able to view the object at some stage but not display it fully (e.g. if it is a large spreadsheet or drawing) check the Display as Icon box.  Double click the icon to open the object in its original application.  If you want to see the object as well as keep a link to the original application, so that updating e.g. the spreadsheet data will update the object in your document, click Link to file.

2        You have rather different choices if you insert a Picture - From File as you can now add pictures, drawings, and WordArt in this way  - as well as charts and Paint pictures also available from the Object list.

3        To add a whole document or spreadsheet but NOT picture,  you can also select to insert a File.  

The inserts work slightly differently, so experiment with which method is most suitable for your purposes.    



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.




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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