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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life - 2

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

Frozen Mice

Q: I must be doing something wrong as my mouse pointer often stops working and I can't open the menu or close down the program properly. Can you tell me what has happened and what to do about it?

A: We all get a 'frozen' mouse at some time and it's often hard to know what went wrong. I think it's usually because we ask the poor old computer to do too many things at once. When it happens, you should try this first of all:

Hold down the Ctrl and Alt keys with one hand and press the Delete key with the other. A small window should appear listing the programs on your computer with your frozen one highlighted. If you click the End Task button, and then do it again when a second button appears, you should find yourself back at the desktop and may even recover your work if you re-open the program you were running.

Sometimes this method doesn't work. Instead, try pressing the Reset button on your main computer unit and, as a last resort, turn off the machine, wait a few minutes and then turn the power back on.


Q: Often when I'm on the Web I come across a really interesting page that I will want to return to in the future. Is there a quick way to get back there another day?

A: If you look at the menus listed in an Internet Explorer browser window, you'll see one of them is labelled Favorites. If you open this menu next time you find a useful page, you can click Add to Favorites to add the page address to others already listed. Amend the wording in the Name box if it would be a better reminder of what the page is about, and click Create In to place the address with similar pages in an existing or new folder. For example, train and ferry Web sites could all be grouped together in a new folder you create called Travel.

Next time you want to go to the page, open the Favorites menu and then the Travel folder, click the name and the page will be downloaded. (Netscape has a Bookmarks menu that works in a similar way.)

Changing Sizes

Q: Please help with a very frustrating problem. When I try to reduce the size of letters in a word processed document I am typing, it jumps back to a larger size whenever I start a new paragraph. How can I stop this happening?

A: When you start a new document, the size and type of font is laid down - e.g. Times New Roman size 10 - and is called the 'default'. You can change many aspects by selecting and reformatting text, but as you work down the page the default reasserts itself.

There are two different ways of dealing with this:

a. Before you start typing, open the font dialog box via the Format - Font menu and set all the font features you will want e.g. style, size, type etc. Then click the Default button. Say "Yes" when asked if you want this formatting to apply to future documents and then open a new, blank document. You will find that your new settings are now the norm.

b. Type your document without applying any formatting. Then select a section, or press Ctrl plus A to select the whole document, set your preferred font type and size and press Enter. The selected text will now be in your chosen size and style of font and you will have had to make changes to it only the once.

Reducing Columns

Q: I have started to use Excel spreadsheets and find that some of the headings for columns are so wide they make the spreadsheet look rather silly, especially as the contents of the columns are only a few numbers. How can I display a large heading but keep the column width narrow?

A: The answer is to wrap the text 'down' the column. To do this, type the full heading in one cell as normal, click the tick in the Formula Bar and then go to Format - Cells - Alignment and check the Wrap Text box. All words will now be displayed fully. The heightof the header row will have increased to accommodate the heading, and you can make the column as wide or narrow as you want.

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



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

For a wealth of books on the web and IT generally, visit Amazon and under the books section select Computers and Internet.


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