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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life
Previous Editions

You can do IT


Amazon book - Basic computer skills made simpleGetting the most from your computerYou can do IT is a regular Question and Answer section on run by Jackie Sherman IT trainer and author. The aim is to try to help laterlife visitors make the most of Information Technology on or off the web.      

Jackie has also written several books - you can find more details about these by clicking here. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s.

Here via the index you can view the articles from previous editions. 

Select You can do IT to see the current edition. 

Index Continued



Edition 20


Mail merge


Q: Everyone I speak to says that mail merge is very difficult. Can you explain it in simple terms for those of us who are not very confident with our computers.



Edition 21


Using my scanner


Q: Can you give me some advice about using my scanner?



E-mails to folders


Q: I get several e-mails a day that are always moved straight into a particular folder. Is there a way to set this up automatically?


How does the `print screen` key work


Q: I have discovered a key  labelled Print Screen but nothing happens when I click it and then try and print. How does it work? 



Edition 22


Searching databases


Q:  I need to use databases in my work but can’t seem to get to grips with searching. Can you give me some basic advice


Missing Toolbars


Q:  I sometimes find I am missing the common toolbar buttons e.g. for saving or centre alignment. How can I get them back?



Edition 23


Displaying sub-totals


Q: I run a club and use my computer to prepare financial spreadsheets. I often need to show subtotals for different groups. Is there a facility in spreadsheet packages that can do this for me?




Q:  I use Excel for creating questionnaires. How can I put the symbol of a tick in a cell? 


IF statements


Q:  I need reminders to carry out particular tasks, and wonder if I can set up Excel to do this for me. 


Edition 24


Workshop on using Excel to set up useful conversion tables.


Edition 25


Workshop explaining the mysteries of styles in word processing



Edition 26


Two methods of making and keeping address books for storing names and addresses




Edition 27




Sending groups of e-mails

Q:How do I send the same e-mail message to a group of people

Confidential text

Q:Is there a way I can place text on a page that cannot be copied without permission.

keyboard shortcuts

Q: Are there any keyboard shortcuts to save using my mouse.


Edition 28

Something a little different this month: Using an on-line auction for buying and selling goods.


Edition 29

This month Jackie helps you to take more control of your computer


Edition 30

Jackie shows how to send large files or images by creating a zip file.

Edition 31

How to sort and file e-mails

Edition 32

Text available quickly

Q:  Is there any way to keep small sections of text available quickly, rather than having to keep opening up long documents to refer to them?  

Scanning pictures into a publication

Q: I now have a brand new scanner and can scan in pictures, but don’t know how to get them into a publication or send them via e-mail.  Can you advise?

How different is Windows XP

Q:I am thinking of buying a new computer which will have Windows XP installed and will be buying Office XP software.  How different are these from earlier versions?


Edition 33

I enjoy using a computer and would quite like to take a qualification in IT. What would be an appropriate course for someone over 50 studying part-time

Edition 34

This month Jackie offers a little advice on improving publicity material.


Edition 35

Simple on-screen calculations using Word


Edition 36

Computer adds dates

Q:How can I stop my computer adding strange dates?

E-mail attachments

Q: Can you provide a simple guide to attaching e-mails using Outlook Express?

Manageable spreadsheets

Q: How can I make my spreadsheets more manageable?


Edition 37


Jackie touches on the art of online shopping, to help you find the perfect present on the web..



Edition 38


Start the new year by spring cleaning your computer system



Edition 39


For gardeners, Jackie explains how to use a spreadsheet package such as Excel for keeping track of sowing and cropping information.



Edition 40


Is it worth buying image editing software?



Edition 41


Jackie offers a simple guide to usernames and passwords: what they are and why you need them


Edition 42


Jackie explains how to work out your BMI on the computer and keep it updated when dieting



Edition 43


The first of a new mini-series about building your own web site. In this edition, Jackie answers some of the questions you may have about getting on the web.



Edition 44


This month Jackie introduces you to the basics of creating your first web page.



Edition 45


Jackie explains how to embed hyperlinks into a web page and link several pages together.



Edition 46


In the final column of this mini-series, Jackie explains how to publish your website on the internet, and find details other people have used.



Edition 47



Q:  How do I  install a programme CD-ROM


Q: I am being inundated with spam e-mails. Is there a programme to help?



Edition 48



Three activities with a festive flavour





Edition 49


Explaining about PDF files





Edition 50


Computing tips on submitting articles, stories and poems to magazines.


Edition 51

Some of the more complex problems people have with databases


Edition 52

How to put together a calendar.


Edition 53

Q: Acknowledging email messages received..

Q: Advice for someone who keeps forgetting their passwords?

Q:  The difference between CLAIT and ECDL computer courses.


Edition 54

This month, Jackie explores some of the options that you may not have discovered but that may be needed in case of emergency or when things are not working properly.


Edition 55

Jackie explains what PDF files are and how to use them?

Edition 56

So many people want to take digital pictures nowadays, so this month’s column will run through the steps you can take to get your pictures onto your computer and then make a few changes.

Edition 57

Like many people, I am considering moving to broadband. Do you have any tips or are there any problems I should look out for when doing this?

Edition 58

In case you only use the Search Engine Google for simple web searches, I thought you might like to be updated on the variety of services the website now offers.


Edition 59

Q: How do I know which operating system I have?

Q: Where do I find contact details on websites?

Q: How do I create complicated drawings where different objects are visible at the same time?

Edition 60

Q I`d like to be able to get online computer help

Q: Can I collect email when away from home?

Q: I`m worried about security when shopping online


Edition 61

Q: What is the difference between AutoCorrect, AutoFormat etc


Q:  Three methods of sending files by email


Q:  I want to use two different printers.


Edition 62

Using files on a CD

Spotting a good place to retire

Receiving emails





Edition 63


Q: General advice about buying a digital camera


Q: I want to sell some unwanted items on eBay. What are the pitfalls





Edition 64


Q: Is there a quick way to change word processed text from capitals to lower case letters?


Q: I want to set out some text in columns but then continue writing normally.


Q: How can you print a very long document on both sides of the paper?




Edition 65


Q: Can you tell me how to jump from one page of a document to another, as it would be very useful in a long document.


Q: How can I add a link within a document to a different file, or even a page on the Web?



Q: What are "comments" for and how can I use or delete them



Edition 66


Q: Importing email addresses
I have a word processed document that just contains the email addresses of people I need to write to. Is there any way to add them to my Outlook Express address book that won't involve typing in each one manually?



Edition 67


Q:  I cannot open emailed photos in Outlook Express.  


Q:  I recently missed a favourite radio programme and would like to listen to it.  I have heard that the BBC has made this possible. 


Q:  Is there a simple way to order prints of my photos?



Edition 68


Q:  Something is wrong with my keyboard as typing the @ symbol displays quote marks instead. How can I get back to normal?


Q:  My taskbar is behaving very oddly and often disappears altogether.


Q: When trying to print out web pages, I often find the last few characters on the right-hand side are truncated. Can I change the settings to make sure I print all the words?


Q: When typing e-mail messages, I sometimes find my words are being replaced when I try to make changes. What has happened, and how can I put it right?




Edition 69


Jackie explains how to book a train ticket easily using the Internet


Edition 70


Q: There is no sound on my PC - how do I get it back?


Q: What is the best way to produce a number of documents that are slightly different from each other

Q: When searching the Web, I would sometimes like to email the website directly. However, when I click the link, it doesn't open an e-mail message. How can I set this up to work correctly?


Edition 71


Please can you tell me how you use software such as Skype over the Internet to make telephone calls.



Edition 72


Using spreadsheets for complex everyday decisions


Index to YoucandoIT previous editions

Index to YoucandoIT previous editions

Edition 1

Homing in
Q: What sorts of thing can I do to save time when using the Internet?

Why use a database
Q: My new computer has a database application on it. Can you explain why I might want to use it?

To filter or to query?
Q: I have started to use a database but find searching quite confusing. What's the difference between filtering and querying? They both seem to do the same thing.

Not quite so capital

Q: I sometimes make a mistake and leave the Caps Lock on, so that my text is all in capitals. Is there a quick way to put this right?

Post it
Q: I've been asked to produce a poster for our village fete. I know I could do it in Word, but is there a better package?

Amazing effects
Q: I'm giving a talk in a few weeks' time and have decided to use PowerPoint. Is there one special effect you can recommend that I use?

Edition 2

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?

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?

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?

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?

Edition 3

Column problems


Q: When using columns in Word, how

 do you make sure the right text starts at the top of the second or third column? I press the space bar several times, but then have to re-set everything if I change the content of the document.


Overflowing email


Q: I really enjoy using Outlook

 Express e-mail, but now have lots of messages in my Inbox. What should I do with them?


Inconsistent web printing


Q: How do I make sure pages print

 out properly from the Web? It seems rather inconsistent.


Overtyping annoyance


Q: When trying to add some text,

 why does typing sometimes start replacing words rather than push them along the line? It's terribly annoying.


Edition 4


Easier on the eye


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


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?


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?


Shrink to fit



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



Edition 5


Better Searching


Q: Do you have any general advice about searching the Web?


Repeated entries


Q:I run a small club and use Access to maintain a database of members. As many of the details for each record are the same e.g. the annual fee and the class they belong to, I wondered if there was a way to repeat entries automatically.


Changing your signature

Q: I send e-mails to all sorts of people. Can you explain how to add automatic signatures at the bottom of messages that I can vary, depending on what style of signature I want to include.

Easy indexing

Q: Is it very difficult to add an index at the end of a long document?


Edition 6

Working safely

Q: Do you have any general advice about working safely with computers?

Zip it up

Q: I need to send long documents to people. Is there any way to save them so that they take up less memory?

Return to sender - capturing addresses quickly

Q: Is there a quick way to add e-mail addresses to my Address Book?

Photos from the web

  Q: I often find fabulous photos or pictures on the Web that I would love to use in my own work. How do I make copies?

Edition 7

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? 

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?

Replying to e-mails

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

Make your own Christmas Cards (also cards for all occasions)

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?

Edition 8

Creating Templates

Q: Is there a way to create standard documents that can be used over and over again


Q: I would like to exchange views with people sharing my interest in Nelson. How would I go about finding anyone on the Internet to write to?

Using Address book

Q: How do I use the Address Book feature in my e-mail system?

Edition 9

Using a database

Q: I don’t know how to use a database package such as Access and so keep records of all the members of my local association in an Excel spreadsheet, and search the records for members in specific categories without checking each one manually?

  Using WordArt

  Q:I produce posters and leaflets and want my text to stand out. Apart from increasing the size and making it bold or underlined, what else can I do?

Creating labels

Q: Please tell me how to use my computer to create labels.  I make a lot of jam and chutney and think I could make my life easier by saving my labels so that I can just change the dates each year.

 Which e-mail system?

Q:  A friend who attends a local evening class uses a web-based e-mail system (Yahoo) as he can access this free when he goes to College.  Is it better to do this than use Outlook Express, as I do at home?

Edition 10

Master slide in PowerPoint


Q: Can you explain how you would use the Master slide in PowerPoint?


Organising my work


Q: Since buying my computer, I have saved everything into something labelled My Documents.  Is this the right thing to do?  It is now so full of my work that it takes me ages to find some important letters and reports.  I feel there must be a better way to organise my work.  


I am always looking for shortcuts


Q:  I am always looking for shortcuts as I spend far too long at the computer.  Can you suggest a useful tip?


Problems producing charts with Excel


Q: I have started producing charts with Excel but have one problem.  Sometimes I want to use information in columns that are not next to one other, but if I select one range of cells, the highlight comes off as soon as I click somewhere else on the spreadsheet.



Edition 11


Uninstalling games


 Q: My grandchildren have installed various games on my computer that they have found on CD-ROMS.  When these don’t work or aren’t played any more, what is the best way to remove them?


Changing background


Q: At the moment I have plain green as a background to my desktop.  Can I change this for something more exciting?


Lost file


Q:  I recently spent ages looking for a file I know I saved but couldn’t remember where!  Any tips for finding lost  files in future?



Edition 12


Get rid of the yellow box


Q:   How can I get rid of the little yellow suggestion box that appears when I write letters?


Quick way to enter filename


Q Is there a quick way to enter the filename when saving my work?


Copying databases to disk 


Q I sometimes want to copy databases to disk to give to someone else



Edition 13


Correcting errors in Autotext


Q:I know how to insert AutoText,  but how do I correct some errors made in an entry?


Where did my toolbar buttons go 


Q:I recently tried to save and print my work but couldn’t find the usual toolbar buttons  at the top of the screen.  Where did they go, and how can I get them back?


Shortcut on desktop


Q:  I use certain programs quite often, and want to create a shortcut to them on the desktop, so that I can open them more quickly.



Edition 14



Repeated searches

Q: How do I carry out repeated searches of my Access database



Clipart doesn't behave


Q: I have updated my MS Office package from 97 to 2000 and found the clipart doesn`t behave in the same way.


Sending e-mail attachments


Q: How do I send pictures - or other documents I have saved - by e-mail



Edition 15


How do I copy a file across from a floppy disk


Q: A friend has sent me some photos on a floppy disk and wants the disk back. How can I keep copies and use them in my presentations or documents?



I can`t understand  instructions on CD-ROMS


Q: I have several CD-ROMs but can’t seem to understand the instructions for using them. 


How do you launch games or educational CD-ROMS


Q I like to play games or use educational CD-ROMs and want a quick way to launch them.  How is this done?



Edition 16


Removing items to free up memory


Q: When trying to upgrade a programme should I remove some items from the Start menu to free up some memory


Tables or Tabs


Q: What is the best method to use for producing columns of numbers



Explain URLs or website addresses


Q: How can I find company website addresses



Edition 17


Adding music and other sounds to the computer


Q: How can I add my own music and other sounds to the computer



How do I automate different printing options


Q: How do I automate instructions for different printing options for labels, envelopes etc.


How do you create a Table of Contents for a book?


Q: How do you create a Table of Contents for a book?


Edition 18


This month Jackie introduces a few less well-known options available on some of the menus:-


The view menu


The edit menu


The window menu


The insert menu



Edition 19



Numbering difficulties


Q: Can you help me with word processing minutes of meetings


Number sequences


Q:Can you suggest quick ways to insert number sequences into a spreadsheet? I use Excel


Blocking e-mails


Q: I am drowning in e-mails. How can I stop unwanted messages downloading onto my computer?





Read Jackie's books:

Getting the most from your computer


Getting the most from your computer





Amazon book - Basic computer skills made simple


Basic Computer Skills Made Simple  





Amazon Book - Everyday Computer Activities. A Step-by-step Guide for Older Home Users


Everyday Computer Activities

A Step-by-step Guide for Older Home Users  



How to Find Work When You're Over 50: Make the Most of Your Maturity and Experience to Find the Right Job

How to find work when you`re over 50

This book can help you if you want to find work but feel your age may be a
limiting factor.



Visit the other laterlife regular features sections too: Healthwise, Talkback and laterlife interest
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