Originally created 01/14/02

Tips for easier computing

Sample this treasure chest of tips for faster, more effective computing:

- Tired of double-clicking to open documents and run programs? Try the single-click system used on the Internet. One click and the link opens. Configure your computer so that one click works all the time.

Right-click on the Windows Start button. Select Explore. Go to Tools and Folder Options. Click the General tab. At the bottom, click to mark "Single-click to open an item."

Click Apply and OK.

- The Windows Taskbar is that icon-filled strip visible along one side of the screen with the Windows Start button at one end. It can disappear if resized incorrectly.

To make it reappear, move the mouse pointer to the edge of the screen where the bar usually appears - often the bottom. Watch for the pointer to sprout a double arrow when it touches the border of the hidden bar. Then hold the mouse button down, and pull the bar open. Resize it to suit yourself.

- Protect your computer, monitor, printer, scanner and other gear from being zapped by power surges in household electrical wiring.

Plug all your electronic gear into a surge protector. A surge protector looks like a power strip, which has multiple outlets and perhaps an on-off switch. But it also has internal circuitry that absorbs surges of electricity, such as those during electrical storms. Cost: Less than $30.

- When your computer's keyboard and mouse "freeze" and stop responding to commands, don't waste time turning the system off and back on.

Instead, try CTRL-ALT-DEL, the universal first-aid procedure for computers. Hold down the CTRL and ALT keys, and then touch the DELETE key. A "Close Program" box may appear, and identify the misbehaving program. Use the box to close the program and resume work without turning the computer off.

- You don't have to reinvent the wheel when composing reports, letters and other documents. Text or graphics from existing files can be used in the new document. Use cut-and-paste to move existing material into a new document.

With the new document on the screen, click on File in your word processing program's tool bar. Select Open. Open the old document. Highlight the block of text by putting the cursor at the start of the block, holding down the CTRL key and moving the cursor over the text. Then right click in the highlighted area, and select Copy. Return to the new document, put your cursor at the point where you want to insert the text. Right click, and select Paste.

- Entire text or graphics files also can be inserted into new documents. With the new document open on the screen, select Insert from the word processing tool bar and then select File. Use the down arrow in the new menu to select the folder where the file is stored. Find the file, highlight it with a left click, and then clock on the Insert button.

Computers have a built in selection of graphics that can be inserted into documents. Finding and inserting the material is easy.

With that new document open, select Insert from the tool bar, and Picture from the dropdown menu. Select Clip Art, and browse through the selection of items.

- Can you barely hear your modem dialing a connection as you head for the Internet? Or does your modern produce an ear-piercing screech?

Adjust the volume by clicking on the Windows Start button, selecting Control Panel, and Modems. Click on the General tab and the Properties button. In the new screen, click on the volume slider, hold the mouse button down, and slide it to adjust.


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