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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life - 4

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

Easier on the eye

Q: My eyesight is not very good. Is there any way to make the screen easier to use?

A: For seriously impaired sight, there may be a need for the special purchase of a magnifier to make the text on screen several inches high, or a synthesiser which reads what is being typed. However, you may find that all you need do is increase the size of the screen text and/or toolbar buttons so the little pictures (icons) are easy to view.

To increase the text size when browsing on the Web, select View – Text size – Largest, and when in other applications, set your default font size to a number much larger than the standard 10 or 12. (If other people will be reading your work, you can always re-apply a smaller font size before printing.)

To change the toolbar icons, select View – Toolbars – Customise and then choose Option – Large Icons.

Printing galore

Q: I recently tried to print out a Web page and found I had printed 14 pages. How can I make sure this doesn’t happen again?

A: Sadly, web pages don’t equate to page length in the same way as a word processed document, and so it is very hard to know how long any page will be. What I do is open the Print dialog box and first select to print the page range 1 – 1. After this prints out, I can then see what extra material I want to print and, if necessary, choose a new limited range of pages e.g. 2 – 4. It may take slightly longer, but it can save quite a lot of paper.

Format painting for speed

Q: When I change certain aspects of my typing e.g. by making entries bold in Excel cells, or underlining titles in Word, I sometimes want to repeat the same changes elsewhere. Is there a quick way to do this?

A: Yes, you can ‘paint’ new formatting onto entries using the toolbar shortcut Format Painter. The button icon looks like a paintbrush (and so is often mistaken for Paste as it reminds some of us in the UK of wallpaper pasting!) but works very simply. Just select/highlight an example of entries with the new formatting, click on the Format Painter and then highlight the text to be changed. As you click or drag your mouse across the text, you will see a small paintbrush symbol attached to the pointer, and the text will alter automatically.

If you have a number of changes to make, double-click the brush first of all and it will stay turned ‘on’.

Shrink to fit

Q: What does "Shrink to Fit" mean on the Print Preview toolbar in Word?

A: This is a very useful little shortcut when your letters or reports just run over onto a new page. If you click this button after previewing your work, you should see the number of pages ‘shrink’ . Technically, what happens is the font size of your text is automatically reduced and so the words take up less room on the page. It doesn’t always work but it is certainly worth trying if you want to save paper and tidy up your documents

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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