Microsoft Word Tips

WordWhile preparing for a recent presentation I invested some time looking into a few Microsoft Word shortcuts that would help speed up my work. Here are a couple tips I found interesting, maybe not huge timesavers, but still interesting shortcuts I didn’t know about.

Converting to plain text
When you copy a block of text into Word from another source like a webpage or even another Word document, all the formatting is kept from the copy. One way to remove this formatting is to highlight the text and press Ctrl + Spacebar; the rich text will be converted to plain text. I’m going to try this tip for this TechBits article, so if it works, this paragraph will stay, if it doesn’t then you will never know that it failed here because I’ll delete this paragraph never speak of it again.

Moving text
Another useful tip is to move text without using the copy paste commands. Most people know the shortcut of Ctrl X to cut, Ctrl C to copy and Ctrl V to paste. But have you tried highlighting the block of text you want to move, pressing the F2 key, clicking the mouse cursor where you want the text to move to, and hitting enter? This will quickly move the text. Maybe the novelty of this one hasn’t worn off on me yet. I found myself doing this for a few minutes again today, amazed that it works!

Sharing videos via email

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Have you ever wanted to share a video via email and was told that you can't because the file was too big? Kristine from LDI had this same problem and she even tried zipping the video to make it smaller, but it was still too big. She ended up finding a solution in the Office 365 application called Stream. Using Stream she was able to upload her video and then get an online link which she used in the body of her email. She said that it worked perfectly.

To find this application you would need to be logged into your Office 365 Outlook SCLS email account. Then in the upper left-hand corner you would click on the button that has nine little squares in it. You should then see a list of applications, one of which is called Stream. Click on Stream and you will be taken to the Stream website where you can "Securely upload" your video. You will then be given a link to your video. You can then use that link in an email to send to whomever you want.

Photo by Gabriel Petry on Unsplash

Using Google Calendar for Task Reminders

I have been using Google Calendar as an online calendar for years, but more recently I have utilized the "Reminder" feature to keep track of daily tasks, especially repeating tasks.

To create a Reminder, click on the appropriate day, enter the information, and select the Reminder button (instead of the Event button).  Googlecalendarreminder-create

You can set up the Reminder for a certain time, or leave it as "all day." You can make it a one-time task, or set up a schedule for the task.

The many options for Repeating the task are highly useful. There are multiple tasks that I do on a regular schedule, such as monthly, every other month, etc. I even have Reminders set for tasks that are only done once a year. 

Googlecalendarreminder-markasdoneWhen you have completed the task for the day, you can mark the task as done to cross it off of your list (hover your mouse over the task to get the Mark as done option). If you don't mark the task done, it will appear on the next day. The tasks keep appearing until you mark them done or delete them. 

Community Data - How do we compare?

Want to understand the industries, occupations, poverty, education, cost of living, and more in your community? 

Want to go further and see how you compare to other communities, the state, or the nation?  

Want to know how your community has changed over time? 

If so, here are a few resources to help make the analysis easier: 

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DataUSA: https://datausa.io/

Combines multiple public U.S. Government data sources into one visualization tool. The data sources are cited so you can check for more current data or actually get the underlying data so you can generate your own charts. Don’t miss the ADD COMPARISON option which allows you to compare to another community.

 

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Applied Population Lab: https://apl.wisc.edu/

The Applied Population Lab, Department of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison publishes research on Wisconsin trends. The reports and chartbooks tend to be at the county level, but many of the websites can be searched by village or town. Be sure to check-out their Wisconsin Food Security Project: http://foodsecurity.wisc.edu/ and the GetFacts: https://getfacts.wisc.edu/ websites.

 

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American FactFinder: https://factfinder.census.gov

The primary source of data used by many websites. The advanced search allows you to get the details by geographic areas including summary data for a neighboring community, the state of Wisconsin, or the entire United States. Explore the various topics including Product Type-Comparative Profiles that looks at trends over time of demographic, economic, housing, and social characteristics for populations of 5,000 or more. For details on what data can be compared, go to Comparing American Community Survey (ACS) Data: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/guidance/comparing-acs-data.html

Focused Inbox

A few months ago Microsoft implemented the Focused Inbox in the Office 365 Email, or Outlook on the Web.  Microsoft's secret algorithms decide which emails are the most important to you and directs them to the Focused Inbox.  The rest are directed to the "Other" portion of your Inbox.  Personally, I like the Focused Inbox.  It is doing a pretty good job of deciding what emails I actually read and displaying them in the Focused section.  I have had a few co-workers ask me how to turn this feature off.  They prefer to have a single Inbox, mostly because it means they don't have to switch back-and-forth between the two Inboxes.  You can also turn off this feature by following the instructions below.

  1. Click the Settings gear at the upper-right
  2. Click Mail beneath the "Your app settings" heading
  3. In the Layout section, click Focused Inbox
  4. Select Don't sort messages
  5. Click Save
Inbox Before
Before

 

Inbox After
After

It's also a good idea to train your Focused Inbox if you do keep it.  If you see mail going to the wrong Inbox, right-click the email and select (Always) move to Focused Inbox or (Always) move to Other Inbox.

Easily combine text or csv files

I am totally nerding out. I admit it. I had a folder full of text files, and I wanted to dump them all into a single Excel worksheet. It turns out there is a super-easy way to do this, provided you're willing to open up a command line and type in a few DOS commands!!

Here's where I found the instructions:  https://www.rondebruin.nl/win/s3/win021.htm

In my case...

  1. I put the .log files (which are all really text files with a fancy extension) in a folder named "logs" on my desktop
  2. I clicked on the Windows Start button and typed cmd to open a command prompt
  3. My path showed that I was already in my user account. 
  4. I typed cd desktop/logs to navigate to the "logs" folder on my desktop
  5. I typed copy *.log all.txt  to copy ALL the .log files into a single text file titled "all.txt"
    Copy
  6. Then I opened Excel, chose File->Open and navigated to the all.txt file

I am ridiculously excited about this trick!

Printing a PDF form on your receipt printer

Let's say that you have a PDF form that you want to print out on your receipt printer. If you print using the settings we use as defaults the form doesn't print out well. If you change the default settings then you have to remember to change them back BEFORE you print a patron's receipt or it won't look good. There's got to be an easier way you say! Well, let me tell you the simple solution that requires no changing of default printer settings on your receipt printer.

The steps are as follows:
1. Open the PDF form in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC
2. Select your receipt printer in the drop down printer list found in the upper left-hand corner

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3. Click the Page Setup... button found in the lower left-hand corner

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4. Click the drop down next to Size

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5. Choose 72mm x 200mm

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6. Click OK
7. The preview area of the screen should now show a better view of the PDF form

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8. Click the Print button found in the lower right-hand corner

I think this is a lot easier than changing the default printer settings of your receipt printer. At least that's what LAV and PDS said when they wanted to print a PDF form that they got from Sue Ann at REE. Thanks Sue Ann!

Instagram for libraries

InstagramInstagram is a popular smartphone app for sharing photos and videos. LifeWire describes it as being "like a simplified version of Facebook, with an emphasis on mobile use and visual sharing. Just like other social networks, you can interact with other users on Instagram by following them, being followed by them, commenting, liking, tagging and private messaging. You can even save the photos you see on Instagram."

Want to learn more about how to use it? Take a peek at the GCFlearnfree.org tutorial.

Considering Instagram for your library? Already on Instagram but curious what other libraries are doing? Here are some links to get you thinking!

More on coding

Code-geek-2680204_640Back in July 2016, I wrote a TechBits post about the kickoff of DPI's "Coding Initiative in Wisconsin Public Libraries." Since then they've added lots of great information and resources to the Coding Initiative website that are worth a look, including a coding quiz, concrete guides for 8 coding topics, and large searchable list of coding resources!

And, in case you missed it (like I did!), the Wisconsin Libraries for Everyone blog has moved! (old location, new location)  Topics covered include Administration & Data, Resource Sharing, School Libraries, Services & Programs, and Technology, and there's an option to sign up to receive updates via email.

'Tis the season - clean your keyboards and mice.

I'm reprising a post of Cindy's from Sept 2009; a timely post as we work our way into the next cold and flu season.  Plus my keyboard needs a good cleaning.  Heidi O.

Keyboard Ickyness

Dirty Keyboard

Did you know that a study from the University of Arizona found more germs per inch on a keyboard or a mouse than on a toilet seat?  And not just a few more but many times more.  Yuck! 

 

Unfortunately most keyboards just don’t react well to a bath.  Nor do they really react well to bleaching.  And washing your hands after each and every time you touch your keyboard or mouse just isn’t practical.  So what can you do?  One recommendation is to wipe down your keyboard and mouse with commercial anti-bacterial computer spray or wipes.  Instead of a commercial cleaner, you could even use something as simple as isopropyl alcohol or a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water.  (That’s a major part of what’s in a lot of the commercial cleaners anyway and it’s cheaper.)

Tips for wiping down your keyboard or mouse:

  1. It easier to wipe down the keyboard and mouse while the computer is turned off so you don’t have random keystrokes and mouse clicks doing strange things to your PC. 
  2. Make sure that whatever you’re using isn’t too wet since both keyboards and mice don’t like when liquid gets down into their insides . 
  3. If you’re using a spray, make sure to spray the cloth and not spray the keyboard or mouse directly. 
  4. Don't use any anti-bacterial computer wipes or sprays on LCD monitors unless it specifically says it’s safe. 

So how often should you wipe down your keyboard and mouse?  I looked online and opinions on that differ.  Most recommendations were for around once a week, though some recommended daily if there was a nasty illness going around the office.  Just make sure you're not doing this so often you wipe the letters off of your keyboard.