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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life - 7

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

Finding e-mail addresses

Q:  I met an old friend recently who is not listed in the phone book.   I would like to contact him and I am sure he has an e-mail address.  How can I find it on the Internet? 

A:  Because so many people use e-mail, and often change their Internet Service Provider and e-mail address, there is unfortunately no central directory for addresses.  However, you could try one of the following if you want to find someone’s e-mail address:

a.    Some of the larger search engines such as Yahoo have a “people finder” service.  Go to and enter  the first and last name ( you could also try using the initials) of the person you are looking for.  If a list of e-mail addresses appears, you can scan to see which is the most likely – or write a general note to everyone!

b.      Places of work have Web sites and you could  try contacting members of staff via the general enquiries e-mail address.

c.      Type someone’s surname into the query box of any large search engine if you think he/she, or a family member, might have produced a home page on the Web.

d.      Some people are known to be members of clubs or societies, or school/college alumni associations and these can be traced on the Web.  Leave a message on a message board or contact the Secretary to see if they can help you.


Learning how to use Autotext

Q:  It seems rather a waste of time to type in my address every time I word process a letter.  Is there a quick way to do this?

A:  Learning how to use  Autotext can save you time and effort and can be used with text and/or images.  Here’s how in 5 simple steps:

a.      Enter the full text (or insert an image) you want to repeat, set out and formatted to your liking

b.      Select/highlight the block of text with the mouse

c.      Go to the Insert menu and select Autotext – New.

d.      In the “name” box, type a reminder or code word for your text e.g. ‘add’ for address.  Then press the Enter key or click OK.

e.      Next time you want to type your address in a letter, click in place and enter your code word before pressing the function key F3.  The block of text should appear automatically.    

Replying to e-mails


Q:  What’s the difference between Reply and Reply All when answering an e-mail?

A:  If your name is on a mailing list, you may receive a message that has been sent to a number of other people.  You can now decide if your answer should be seen by everyone, or just the author of the message.  Only click Reply All if everyone should read your words, otherwise click Reply and only the sender of the message will hear from you.


Make your own Christmas Cards

Q:  Can you give me some advice about making my own Christmas cards.  For example, which is the best package and how is it done?

A:  If you have a desktop publishing application, such as Publisher, there will be templates you can use to make cards.  However, I like using PowerPoint as it is very easy to produce a card you can print on to one A4 piece of paper that is then simply folded down and across. 

When you open the program, select Blank Presentation and click on the blank slide layout. Before you start your design, you will probably want to change the orientation of the page from landscape (sideways) to portrait (upright) which you do via the File – Page Setup menu.

Make sure there are guidelines visible to work from – if none show, select View – Guides.  In the bottom, right-hand corner (your front page) insert clipart, word art, scanned pictures or your own drawings, together with text boxes to contain your greetings.  Format and re-size these as normal.  In the top left-hand corner (the inside page) insert and format the text in a text box but then select the box and click the circular arrow Free Rotate button on the drawing toolbar.  This will allow you to ‘drag’ the box round by one of the green circles that appear, until the words are visible upside down.  When the card is printed and folded, these words will be displayed correctly.

For Christmas clipart from the Web, try one of the sites below or search for Clipart in any search engine.  To use the image, first right-mouse click and select Save Image As to save it from the Web onto your computer, and then find it via the Insert – Picture – From File  menu to insert it into your PowerPoint card.

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.

Don't forget to visit the general laterlife features section called laterlife interest


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