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Excel Tips

Here are some quick tips for working with Excel:

Clearing the Print Area:

In Excel 2007

  1. Click anywhere on the worksheet for which you want to clear the print area.
  2. On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Clear Print Area.

In Excel 2003

  1. Choose File > Print Area > Clear Print Area from the menu.

How to Hide a Column:

In Excel 2007

  1. Select the column(s) you want to hide. 
  2. On the Home command tab, in the Cells group click Format.
  3. From the Format menu, in the Visibility section, select Hide & Unhide.
  4. Select Hide Columns.

In Excel 2003

  1. Select the column(s) you want to hide.
  2. On the Format menu, point to Column, and then click Hide.

To hide a row in either Excel 2007 or Excel 2003, use the same steps except substitute row for column.

How to Unhide a Column:

In Excel 2007

  1. Select at least one cell from both of the column(s) around the hidden column(s).
    EXAMPLE: If column B is hidden, select a cell from both columns A and C.
  2. On the Home command tab, in the Cells group, click Format.
  3. From the Format menu, in the Visibility section, select Hide & Unhide.
  4. Select Unhide Columns.

In Excel 2003

  1. Select at least one cell from both of the column(s) around the hidden column(s).
    EXAMPLE: If column B is hidden, select a cell from both columns A and C.
  2. On the Format menu, point to Column, and then click Unhide.

To unhide a row in either Excel 2007 or Excel 2003, use the same steps except substitute row for column.

More Tips for both Excel 2007 and Excel 2003:

Quick Sum of a Column
Hold down the Alt key while you type the equal sign. Excel will automatically write a SUM formula for the cells above or to the left.

Some Keyboard Shortcuts

Ctrl+;(semicolon) - Inserts current date

Ctrl+shift+:(colon) - Inserts current time

Ctrl+Page Down - Move to the next worksheet

Ctrl+Page Up -  Move to the previous worksheet

Ctrl+Home - Go to upper left most cell (usually A1)

Ctrl+End - Go to the bottom right corner of used cells

Ctrl+1 - Opens the format cell window

Ctrl+s - Saves workbook

Ctrl+z - Undo (My personal favorite!)

For even more shortcuts, open up Help in Excel and search for the word "shortcuts".

Format Painter

Let's say you have some beautifully formatted text.  Then you add some text that isn't so beautifully formatted.  How can you easily copy the formatting from the original text to the new text?

Enter "Format Painter".FormatPainter

Available in Microsoft Office programs, Format Painter offers you a quick way to copy formatting from one item to another.

How does it work?

  1. Select the text whose formatting you want to copy
  2. On the toolbar, click the Format Painter icon
  3. Select the text you want to apply the formatting to  ("paint it"!)
  4. The text will take on the new formatting.

(click on the image to enlarge)

Want to see this in action?  Microsoft has a handy video!




Using book cover images on the library website

copyright cushionWouldn't it be nice to post book cover images on your library's website without that lingering feeling that you're breaking copyright law? What's the safest way to do it?

First, check with your catalog vendor or the vendor that supplies cover images for your catalog. Your usage agreement might permit you to use cover images on the library's website, too. It turns out that the cover images found in LINKcat can be used by LINKcat libraries on their websites as long as the images link back to the catalog. Bowker/Syndetic Solutions, which supplies cover images for LINKcat, has given this their blessing in their Syndetics Classic FAQ and via email. (Yes, I emailed them to be absolutely-positively-no-doubt-in-my-mind sure about this!) Make sure you use the new LINKcat Link Advisor to process your LINKcat URLs into durable links.

If extending the use of your catalog cover images isn't an option, try sources that supply free cover images. Two that I'm aware of are LibraryThing and OpenLibrary. These providers assert that using thumbnail-sized cover images can be considered Fair Use. Check the terms of use for each service and make sure your use complies.

Want more info about the legal stuff so you can make up your mind? LibraryLaw Blog discusses the copyright questions in "Book jackets - can libraries put pictures of book covers on the websites?" ALA also sponsors the Copyright Advisory Network, which includes a Fair Use Evaluator tool and a forum where you can ask specific questions about copyright.

SCLS Launches Technology News Blog

The SCLS Technology Team announces the launch of the SCLS Technology News Blog:


Here, you'll find updates and information on our various projects such as Enterprise Wireless services, the SCLS Network convergence, and other pertinent technology-related issues.  We are hoping that this will assist our member libraries in understanding what work has been done so far on our assorted projects, as well as go into more depth on certain key issues.

Our plan is to post on a regular basis, updating the status of various projects as well as discuss SCLS policies and how they affect our member libraries.

Please let us know what you think.

SCLS Network Convergence: Part I

Back in the spring, when we thought that the fiber grant was ‘a go’ we began preparing for network convergence.  While the loss of the grant is a disappointment, we’ve continued to proceed with this project, albeit more slowly.  This article will be presented in two installments.  Phase I and II will be covered here and Phase III – V will be covered in a later installment.  


In order to move forward with network convergence, we’ve evaluated each library’s BadgerNet bandwidth utilization to determine if there is enough unused bandwidth to accommodate the addition of non-LINK PCs and wireless users.  Of the 50 SCLS BadgerNet sites, we believe 15 of them have sufficient bandwidth to converge ‘as is’.   The remaining libraries will need to wait until the BadgerNet Converged Network contract is signed by DOA.  Once it’s signed, if the costs are affordable, we should be able to request more bandwidth for the remaining 35 libraries. 

Since every library is different, both in terms of building infrastructure and how the non-LINK devices are networked, we’ll be taking a phased approach for each library:

1. Phase I: PC/printer inventory.  Network cabling assessment.
2. Phase II: 3rd party ISP is released
3. Phase III: Migrating non-LINK staff PCs to SCLS network
4. Phase IV: Migrating non-LINK patron PCs to SCLS network
5.Phase V: Migrating wireless services to SCLS network (legacy wireless not Enterprise wireless)

To go into each of these with a little more detail:

1. Phase I: PC/printer inventory.  Network cabling assessment.
SCLS staff will come to your library to take an inventory and evaluate the number and types of non-LINK networked devices, how they are distributed and how they connect to the network.  Depending upon the nature of your building’s infrastructure, suggestions may be made to prepare your building for convergence.  

2. Phase II: 3rd party ISP is released
After building infrastructure issues are resolved (if there are any), SCLS will make some changes so that SCLS will provide Internet access to your non-LINK PCs.  After the cut over, we’ll monitor network bandwidth utilization on the SCLS network to make sure that your network connection to SCLS is not overloaded.  If bandwidth utilization looks fine, we’ll suggest that you consider releasing your 3rd party ISP (if your ISP won’t penalize you for this.)

During Phase II, PC support will primarily remain ‘as is’.  Non-LINK support through Dan and LINK support  through the Help Desk.

In the next TechBits network convergence installment, Phases III – V will be covered in detail.  In the mean time, please let us know what questions or concerns you may have.

OverDrive by the Numbers


  • 16115
  • 11% & 36%
  • 368%
  • 80806

These are just a few of the more fascinating OverDrive statistics in the recently posted OverDrive comparison spreadsheet. Be sure to check out the different worksheets for all the data.

16115. This number refers to the total number of items in the OverDrive collection right now. This includes 6012 ebooks, 9783 audio items (books & music), and 320 videos.

11% & 36%. These refer to the percentage of total usage for ebooks. Ebooks represented 11% of the total SCLS usage in 2010. Compare that with 2011 when ebooks are projected to account for 36% of our usage. Isn’t that an amazing increase? Check out the System Statistics worksheet for more information.

368%. This number refers to the percentage increase in ebook usage from 2010 to 2011 (projected). 368%! Wow - it’s hard to imagine a percentage that high. Here are the numbers and formula so you can figure it out for yourself:

29049 (Projected ebook usage in 2011) – 6205 (ebook usage in 2010) = 22844
22844/6205 = 3.68 x 100 = 368%

80806. This is the projected total usage of all OverDrive materials by the end of 2011 for an increase of 44% over 2010. These numbers and more can be found on the Comparison spreadsheet.

For a look at the statewide statistics, check out the TechBits OverDrive post from 8/2/11

We’d love to hear the stories behind the numbers. Share your OverDrive stories in the comments.

Excel: Select all with one click!

What is the easiest way to select an entire worksheet?  A picture's worth a thousand words...

Source: TechRepublic's "10 Obscure Excel tricks that can expedite common chores"



Dell OptiPlex 790

The new Dell OptiPlex 790 has been added to the PC order form.  The pricing is very similar to its predecessor, the OptiPlex 780, but there are some differences in its architecture.    

  • The base system does not include a parallel port.  You will need to order the optional parallel port adapter if you wish to continue using a printer or document scanner that requires a parallel connection.
  • The front side of the PC now has four USB ports.OptiPlex 790
  • PS/2 ports are included in the base system again.  This is a bit of a surprise, because PS/2 ports haven't been standard since the OptiPlex GX280 arrived in 2005.  The need for PS/2 ports has decreased greatly over the years as the majority of keyboards and mice utilize a USB connection.
  • An optional USB 3.0 controller is available.  This could be useful if you purchase a USB 3.0 external hard drive or thumb drive.  Data transfer between a PC and a USB 3.0 device is much faster.  How much faster?  You can read more about some speed comparisons at Y! Tech.  One problem with the USB 3.0 controller is that it is located at the rear of the system, so access isn't very easy.

As always, you should call the Help Desk if you have any questions about filling out the PC order form.

OverDrive Training & Format Fun Facts

Statewide Digital Download Center (OverDrive) Usage by Format
Format 2010 2011 YTD 2011 Projected
Audio 246,419 (88%) 155,981 (64%)  
Video 3,007  (1%) 1,695 (1%)  
Ebooks 30,099 (11%) 84,044 (35%)  
Total 279,525  241,720 414,377 (48% increase)*

Look at those numbers! Learning how to help patrons use the Digital Download Center is more important than ever, and OverDrive's Training Month is coming up (September 12 – October 7, 2011). This year only two courses are offered as live webinars requiring pre-registration:  sign up for "Ebook Explosion" or "2011 OverDrive Experience" to learn about the newest features and services from OverDrive. Basic how-to courses are available as pre-recorded webinars through the Online Learning Center.

To make it fun, OverDrive is offering a "Download Discovery Raffle" that you can enter after completing a course. Each course has a unique quiz that you can complete, and if you answer 100% correct, you'll be entered in a raffle to win prizes (Training Month FAQ PDF).

* If we divide the 2011 YTD circulation by 7 months, and assume the same amount of circulation for the rest of the year, our year end total circulation would be 414,377, or a 48% increase over 2010. Thanks to Stef Morrill for the usage statistics and analysis!