Tag Archives: step-by-step

How to Modify Styles in Word 2016

The following excerpt is from my unpublished how-to called ‘How to print your book with Createspace, a step-by-step guide for Absolute Beginners’. The specific instructions are for the layout of a book, but you can change the settings to be appropriate for any document.

# # #

Word Styles

Styles contain pre-set groups of commands that determine how headings and paragraphs appear.

The most commonly used Word styles are found on the Home tab, in the Style gallery [as shown below]:

 

Even if you did not select any of the styles in the Style Gallery while writing your book, there is one style that you would have used without even being aware of it. That style is ‘Normal’.

Note: the only time the Normal Style is not used automatically in a Word document is when the document originated in another software program and was imported into Word. For example, the Windows program ‘Notepad’ creates documents in Rich Text Format. RTF documents can be opened in Word but the Normal style must be applied manually.

Every time you create a new document in Word, it automatically sets that document to the ‘Normal’ style settings. These include:

  • the default font [Calibri],
  • the font size [11],
  • the font colour [automatic – i.e. black],
  • the text alignment [left]
  • and a host of other less immediately visible options.

As part of the design process, you can modify some of these options for your book.

Modifying the ‘Normal’ style

In Word, the easiest way to modify an existing style is to right click on its name in the style gallery. This will cause a small menu to be displayed. On that menu is an option called ‘Modify’:

To change elements of the ‘Normal’ style in your document, right click ‘Normal’ in the Style gallery and select the ‘Modify’ option from the drop down list [as shown above].

You should now see the ‘Modify Style’ dialog box:

The first thing to note is the radio button down near the bottom left corner of the dialog box. The option ‘Only in this document’ is pre-selected to ensure that any changes made to the ‘Normal’ style of this document do not become standard for all  Word documents.

Editing the style name

Up near the top of the dialog box you will see the style name. Editing the name is not necessary, but it can be useful as a reminder that the style was changed.

To change the name of the style, simply click inside the Name text box and type in a new one.

Editing the font, size, colour and alignment

You can change the font and font size just as you would on the Home tab. Remember to also select the ‘Justify’ alignment option.

To change the colour of the font, click the small arrow next to the box that says ‘Automatic’ [as shown below]:

Click the colour of your choice or leave it as Automatic, i.e. black.

Editing the paragraph options

All of the less common stylistic functions are hidden behind the ‘Format’ button which is located on the bottom left hand side of the Modify Style window.

Click ‘Format’ and select the ‘Paragraph’ option from the menu:

The paragraph dialog box is now displayed:

As you can see from the screenshot, the alignment is already shown as ‘Justified’ because we set it in the first dialog box along with the font and font size.

Indentation – leave the Left and Right settings at zero, but under ‘Special’, click the small blue arrow [as shown above]. Now select the ‘First line’ option from the drop-down menu. For By: type or select an indent width for the first line of the paragraph.

Check the preview pane to see how the first line indent appears.

Spacing – ensure that ‘Before’ and ‘After’ are both set to zero. These numbers control the blank spaces inserted before and after each paragraph.

Finally, make sure that the ‘Line spacing’ is set to ‘Single’. When you are satisfied, click the ‘OK’ button.

If you are using Word 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 or 2016, any text already using the ‘Normal’ style will be automatically updated to the new settings..

In earlier versions of Word you may have to manually update the text using the modified style.

# # #

These same techniques can be used to edit any of the Word Styles, not just ‘Normal’.

cheers

Meeks

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Book 5 up on CreateSpace

My CreateSpace adventure has gone in directions I never thought it would. Only 1 of the five books is actually ‘live’ but the 3 Innerscape books are due for their final, final, final review and the latest book is getting it’s 24 hour review by CreateSpace.

The approval process [by me] won’t be quick because I’m picky, but it is happening. This is the cover of ‘How to Print Your Book with CreateSpace, a step-by-step guide for absolute beginners’:

I know this doesn’t look like a professional, business type cover, but I wanted to convey how I felt about my books. And this is it. For now. I may change my mind though.

No comments. Literally. 😀

cheers

Meeks


#Windows 10 updates – #Metered Connection

This how-to is for all non-US users of Windows 10 who have capped broadband plans – i.e. only get XX gigabytes of data per month.

Pre-Step A

Go to:

  1. Start
  2. Settings
  3. Update & Security
  4. Windows Update
  5. Advanced Options

Now make sure ‘Choose How Updates are Installed’ is set to ‘Automatic (recommended)’ as shown below:

update auto is on

[Note: if this option is set to ‘Notify to reschedule restart’ at this point, Windows becomes…confused and could go into a perpetual loop. Mine did and I had to do a hard shutdown to get it to stop].

Step 1 – Finding the ‘Metered connection’ option

Click on the Start button and then select:

  1. Settings
  2. Network and Internet
  3. Wifi
  4. Advanced Options

Under ‘Metered connection’, click the slider button to show ‘on’:

metered connection

Step 2 – changing how Windows 10 updates are scheduled

Now go back to:

  1. Settings
  2. Update & security
  3. Windows update
  4. Advanced options

and under ‘Choose how updates are installed’, change ‘Automatic’ to ‘Notify to schedule restart’.

Now, Windows 10 will notify you of:

  • available updates, and
  • how much broadband they will use

but it will not download and install them automatically. This is what my laptop now shows:

new update option

My heartfelt thanks to The Opening Sentence for showing me where the ‘Metered connection’ option was hiding! I feel a lot better now. 🙂

cheers
Meeks


#howto – search for an image on the internet

My thanks to Pinky for showing me how to do this! Now for the why. The answer is the big C. No, not cancer, copyright.

If you are just downloading pictures off the internet for your own enjoyment, and no, I’m not going to go there, then copyright is not an issue. The instant you use one of those images in anything vaguely commercial, even a simple blog post, you have to be sure you’re not infringing on someone’s copyright.

But how do you do that when you have no idea where the picture originally came from?

This is where Google Images comes in. Google has long been the king of word searches, but now it also lets you search by picture [and voice], and it all starts in the familiar Google search box…sort of.

How to find Google Images

If you are using Google Chrome then it’s easy. Simply click on the ‘Images’ option in the top, right hand corner of the screen:

googleimages 1

That will lead to this:

googleimages 2If you’re using some other browser [I use Firefox], type http://images.google.com into the address box of your browser and hit Enter :

googleimages 3[Note: as soon as the page is displayed, the URL changes to ‘https‘. As I’m a purist I always type the plain ‘http’.]

You should now be looking at this:

googleimages 4[Note: in Firefox, the Google search box does not include the ability to search by voice. This is only available in Chrome.]

How to actually do an image search

Whatever route you took to get here, you should now click on the small icon of a camera as shown above. That will lead to this:

googleimages 5

The ‘Search by image’ dialogue box contains two tabs – Paste image URL, and Upload an image.

Click the tab to Upload an image. This is what you will see:

googleimages 6

Click the ‘Browse’ button as shown. This will allow you to browse your own computer in order to find the image to be searched:

googleimages 7

The next bit assumes that you know how to find your way around the Windows files and folders. If you don’t, you can find a step-by-step how-to here.

Find the folder that contains the image you’re interested in. Click on that image and then click on ‘Open’ [as shown in the screenshot above].

And now the magic happens. Google search will think for a moment or two and then it will present you with the closest match it can find on the internet. This is the result for my image:

googleimages 8

As the image I chose is from a game, I did not expect to get a perfect match, and I didn’t. That’s because game avatars, even when customised, are based on a preset image. So they’re not unique. Photos of people and/or drawings etc., are unique, so they’re easier to find.This also means that if you use a copyrighted image in your blog, it can be found. So be careful!

cheers

Meeks

 


Gmail for Beginners, Part 5 – opening an attachment & attaching a picture [Windows 7]

Part 1, Getting Started is here.
Part 2, Finding and Reading emails is here.
Part 3, Replying to an email & Saving a Contact is here.
Part 4, Composing an email & inserting a smiley is here.

Warning! Some of the screenshots and step-by-step instructions appearing in Part 5 are only applicable to Windows 7.

The screenshots and instructions pertaining to Gmail – i.e. how to open an attachment – will be the same for everyone, but the instructions for finding a picture on your PC [in order to attach it to an email] will only be relevant to Windows 7 users. This is because people using other operating systems – such as a MAC or Windows XP, Vista, or one of the 8’s – may not see the same things on their own PCs.

What are attachments?

Attachments are simply files that you send along with your email message. Most of these files cause no problems whatsoever, but some hackers will use attachments to sneak viruses onto your computer. These viruses are triggered when you ‘open’ the attachment. For this reason, ALL attachments should be treated with caution.

Internet security and staying safe

When I first started browsing the internet I thought I would be safe from viruses because, well, you know, how would a hacker even know I existed? It was not as if I was someone important.

-blushes with embarrassment-

What I did not know was that hackers do not care about me personally. In fact, they do not target me at all. Quite simply, hackers throw out huge, baited nets and wait to see what bites. And yes, my PC did get infected.

I’ve learned a lot since then, and one of the things I’ve learned is to be very, very wary of attachments. Before I click on an attachment I check a couple of things carefully:

  • do I know the sender? If the answer is ‘no’, I automatically assume the attachment is suspect and  delete the whole email,
  • does the sender [someone I do know] sound a bit odd – i.e. is the email a generic sounding one-liner such as ‘hi, thought you might like this’ or something similar? If it is, I’ll delete the email and the attachment first and apologise, if necessary, later.

This lack of certainty when it comes to attachments brings me to a bit of netiquette – if you are sending someone an attachment, it is a really good idea to tell them about it in the email message itself.  It’s a small thing but will reassure the recipient the attachment is safe to open.

As a general rule, however, I will never open an attachment if the filename ends in ‘.exe’ or ‘.zip’.

[Note: for a description of filenames, seeHow can you tell what’s a picture file and what isn’t?below].

There are exceptions to this rule of thumb, but beginners should probably delete first and ask questions later.

So what attachments are safe to open?

Picture files are generally safe to open, unless there is something else suspicious about the email – e.g. it’s from someone you’ve never heard of, or promises something unsavoury.

How can you tell what’s a picture file and what isn’t?

Like people, files have a ‘first name’ and a ‘family’ name. The ‘first name’ describes what’s in the file while the ‘last name’ describes what kind of file it is – i.e. one of the picture files, a text file, a music file, etc.

To illustrate this naming process, have a look at the following example:

picture file exampleThis is a simple picture created in Windows Paint. It was saved as a file called:

picture file example.jpg

‘picture file example’ = the first name of the file

‘.jpg’ = the family name of the file – i.e. what type of file it is. In computerspeak, this part of the file name is called the file extension. The file extension tells the computer how to handle the file – i.e. as a picture file rather than, say, a music file.

Examples of picture files

The following are examples of the most common types of picture files. Notice that only the file extension changes in each filename:

mypicture.jpg

mypicture.bmp

mypicture.png

mypicture.tiff

If you get an email from a friend, and if the attachment in that email ends in any of the above file extensions, the attachment is safe to open.

How to open an attachment in an email

Returning to our friend, Kenneth, I discover that he has sent me an email at meekasmind@gmail.com. The email has a file attached. When I read the email, this is what I see:

gmail attachment received 1

As you can see, part of the picture has been truncated in the preview. To see it all, I point the mouse at the picture. This causes an overlay to be displayed:

gmail attachment received 2This overlay shows the full filename of the attachment, including its file extension which tells me it is a picture file. Also of interest is the ’15 KB’ which tells me how big the file is.

[Note: A huge picture file would be shown in GB, an average picture file would be shown in MB, and a small picture file would be shown in KB. Thus the attachment from Kenneth is quite small and will take next to no time to load]

The overlay also contains the buttons for two options – Download and Save to Drive.

Save to Drive option

Clicking this option will save the file to Google Drive [a storage area in the Cloud]. This option is not covered in the Beginners guide.

Download option

Clicking the ‘Download’ option will copy the file from the email and save it to my own PC. Once the file is on my PC, I can do whatever I want with it. This is the option we will be exploring.

When I click the Download button [in Windows 7], the screen changes to display the last location at which I saved something. In the example below, you can see that it was in ‘Libraries, Documents, My Documents, My Games, Final Fantasy xiv – A Realm Reborn’. This is not where I want to save the attachment.

gmail attachment download 1

To make it easier to see where I’m going, I will close the Documents folder I am in. To do this I simply click on the small arrow next to ‘Documents’ in the navigation pane:

gmail attachment download location

I can now see the main folders quite clearly, including the folder I want to reach. It is called ‘Pictures’ :

gmail attachment download location 2

A single click on the ‘Pictures’ folder causes the ‘Pictures Library’ to be displayed. In the Library is a folder called ‘Sample Pictures’. This is where I want to save the attachment:

gmail attachment download location 3

The easiest way to open the folder is to click on the ‘Sample Pictures’ icon once. This will highlight the icon, and it will cause the ‘Save’ button to change to ‘Open’ [as shown above]. Now all you have to do is click the ‘Open’ button.

Once ‘Sample Pictures’ opens up, the ‘Save’ button reappears.

Click the ‘Save’ button to save the attachment to this location.

Now that I’ve saved the picture file to my PC I can edit it if I want to. I do, I did, and this is the result:

picture file example black and whiteNaturally, I want to share the new picture with Kenneth so I compose an email to him [see Part 4].

Before I click the ‘Send’ button, however, I click the small ‘Attach Files’ icon shown at the bottom of the compose form.

It looks like this:

picture file attach icon

Clicking the attach icon in Gmail causes the following screen to be displayed in Windows 7:

gmail attachment send location 3

This screenshot is almost identical to the one we saw before…except that in this one, the image peeping out of the folder is of the edited house. That’s because I saved the edited file to the same location as the attachment.

Click on the ‘Open’ button [as shown above]. The following pictures are available for you to attach to your email:

gmail attachment send location 4

Clicking on an image displays information about it, including its dimensions and size. You will also see a much larger preview of the image. When you are sure you have the correct image, click the ‘Open’ button as shown.

You should now be back in Gmail, looking at the message you typed to Kenneth. Down near the bottom of the form, you should also see the name of the file you have attached to the email. This is what mine looks like:

gmail attachment send location 5

Click the ‘Send’ button and that’s it. As always, Gmail will display a yellow confirmation message telling you your message has been sent.

Before I finish, a quick word about the other way of attaching a photo to an email. And yes, there is another way. It looks like this:

gmail attachment insert photo1

The difference between ‘Insert Photo’ and ‘Attach Files’

If you click the ‘Insert Photo’ button, you will be given the choice of inserting an image as an attachment or as an inline picture.

If you select the ‘Inline’ option, the image will be embedded into the body of your email message like this:

gmail attachment insert photo3

Sometimes it’s nice to embed a photo like this because it means the recipient doesn’t have to do anything but look at the email. Unfortunately, the drawbacks are that:

  • the process is not quite as straightforward as it should be, and
  • the recipient cannot easily download the image onto his/her own PC. It can be done, but not in a straightforward way.

If I ever do an Advanced Gmail how-to [shudder], I will include the ‘Inline’ function, but given the unfinished state of Gmail at the moment, I don’t see that happening any time soon.

I did not intend to review the new version of Gmail, but after a month of working on it for this series, I can honestly say I am not impressed. I had to work around certain key functions – like Contacts – because the interface was so poorly designed and/or implemented. And even the Inbox functions leave a lot to be desired. Too much is hidden, making not-so-advanced functions hard to find, hard to use and hard to explain.

In many ways, the new Gmail reminds me of Windows 8. There too, key functions were hidden, or implemented in ways that were not at all intuitive. And people hated it, myself included.

I truly believe that function should never be subordinated to form. I don’t care what something looks like so long as it works. Sadly both the new Gmail and Windows 8 placed form well and truly over function.

To be fair, I understand that mobile devices have made it necessary to simplify all applications in order to conform to the new ways of doing things, but we have not yet reached the point where serious work is done on those devices. Imagine trying to write your magnum opus on your mobile phone! Or if that’s not your style, imagine trying to create a complex spreadsheet on your phone.

Mobile devices are simply too limited for the kind of work we currently do on desktops or laptops. Therefore it does not make sense – from a user’s point of view – to reduce everything to the common denominator of the mobile device. Yet that is exactly what Windows 8 and this new Gmail are attempting to do.

As the younger generation would say – ‘Fail’

cheers

Meeks

 

 


Gmail Advanced – How to manually add a Contact

One of the things I dislike intensely about the Gmail ‘Inbox’ interface is how it hides important functions behind layers of unintuitive forms. God forbid there should be a menu anywhere. No, instead you have to learn to look for tiny down arrows that lead to lists that may or may not lead to something you know you should be able to do….

-cough-

One of the best hidden functions is something we used to take for granted – the ability to enter Contact details in one place and edit them in the same place. It’s still there, but boy do you have to dig to find it. So here goes.

Step 1 – Go to Contacts

6 gmail contacts manual 1I know, you’ve tried this before and got nowhere, right? Well, just trust me and click ‘Contacts’ one more time.

Gmail will take you to something called ‘Contacts Preview’, but don’t expect to see that name anywhere obvious.

Instead, you will see a screen that looks as if it should be a Contacts screen …but isn’t. There is a button for creating a new Contact but all it will let you do is type in a name. There is also an icon for editing a Contact. That will let you see all the available fields…but you can’t actually do anything with most of them.

Step 2 – click ‘More’

No, if you want to really add a new Contact, you have to click on the ‘More’ option [as shown below]:

6 gmail contacts manual 2

Do you see that option near the bottom of the ‘More’ features? The one that says ‘Leave the Contacts preview’? That, my friends, is the key to sanity.

Step 3 – click ‘Leave the Contacts preview’

Clicking the ‘Leave the Contacts preview’ option takes you to, ta dah, this:

6 gmail contacts manual 3

Does this screen look more hopeful? Of course it does.

Step 4 – click the ‘New Contact’ button

Clicking ‘New Contact’ will take you to this:

6 gmail contacts manual 4If you’ve used Gmail Contacts before, the layout and format of this screen should be a snap. Things are where they are supposed to be and the labels make sense. Better still, this view is now permanent. It will not change back when you log out of Gmail. Yay!

You can change the view back to the ‘Contacts preview’ by clicking on the ‘Try Contacts preview’ option, but for my money I never want to see it again. I don’t know what it is meant to do because just playing around with it tells me nothing, i.e. it’s about as intuitive as mud.

If anyone knows what the Contacts preview is good for, I’d be interested in finding out.

cheers

Meeks


Gmail for Beginners, Part 3 – Replying to emails & saving Contacts

Part 1, Getting Started is here.
Part 2, Find and Reading emails is here.

To make this section feel a little more realistic, I called for help from the blogging community, and they responded by sending Kenneth Wu, [Gmail username kenzomuramasa] the fictional character I have been using in all my examples, lots of mail! This is what Kenneth’s Inbox looks like now:

1 new Inbox list

You can tell at a glance that Kenneth has received five new emails because the number (5) now appears next to the Inbox. 😉

Now have a look at the ‘date received’ column. All the emails are displayed in date order with the most recent one [from Honie Briggs] at the top of the list. Notice that Honie’s email does not have a date next to it. Instead, it has a time-stamp. This indicates the email arrived during the current day, hence no need for a date. By tomorrow, it will show a date like all the others.

And now to the emails themselves. As Kenneth looks at the sender of each email, he realises that he only knows two of the people who have written to him – Single Pixel and David Prosser. Single Pixel is an old friend from university days while David Prosser is both friend and mentor.

Unable to face the sympathy of an old friend, Kenneth reads the email from Single Pixel and then ‘stars’ it for later.

Another way to ‘star’ an email

In Part 2 you learned how to star an email while it was sitting in the Inbox list. Now you will learn a more intuitive way of starring an email – from within the email itself.

With the email open, click on the ‘More’ option as shown:

1 new Inbox more and star

A drop-down list will appear. Click the ‘Add star’ option as shown above.

Gmail will display a bright yellow confirmation message like this:

1 new Inbox star confirmed

After starring the email from Single Pixel, Kenneth returns to the list of emails by clicking ‘Inbox (4)‘ in the navigation pane. The (4) indicates that there are only four unread emails left.  From those emails, Kenneth clicks on the one from David Prosser who, along with his team of dedicated researchers, is working to make Kenneth’s dream a reality.

It’s a long email and Kenneth has two ways of replying to it. The first is circled in red on the screenshot below:

2 david prosser long read

Clicking the ‘Reply’ button takes you to the very end of the email and displays a text box [for typing in your reply].

The second method is to manually scroll to the end of the email until you see:

2 david prosser long reply to box

You cannot actually type anything into this text box. It is there only as a visual cue. Instead, you have to click the Reply link shown inside the box. [The Forward link is used when you want to send the email on to someone else. For example, you might receive a funny joke from one of your friends. Using the Forward link, you could send it on to one of your other friends]

Whichever method you use, you will be presented with the following reply-to form:

2 david prosser long reply to form

Notice that the cursor is already inside the form, ready for you to start typing.

When you have finished typing, click the bright blue ‘Send’ button as shown above.

Gmail will display a bright yellow message confirming that the reply was sent:

1 new Inbox reply confirmation

Kenneth now has three more emails to deal with. All three are from friends of his friend Meeka and are clearly from kind, generous people, exactly the sort of people he would want to keep in contact with. He decides to add all three to his contact list.

How to add Contacts

By a strange coincidence, Kenneth discovers that Gmail provides a different way of saving the contact details of each of his new friends.

Method 1

Opening the email from Honie Briggs, Kenneth hovers the mouse over her name as shown:

3 save contact honie briggs

Gmail displays a small pop-up with information about Honie Briggs as well as some options down the bottom. One of those options is ‘Add to contacts’ [circled in the screenshot above].

Clicking ‘Add to contacts’ will save the Honie Briggs’ name and email address to Kenneth’s contact list. When it’s done, Gmail displays another bright yellow confirmation message:

3 save contact honie briggs confirmation

Method 2

The next email came from Dale Newling. After opening it up, Kenneth clicked the small arrow next to the ‘Reply’ button [as shown below]:

4 save contact dale newlingClicking the down arrow causes Gmail to display another small pop-up. This one contains a long list of options, but the one of interest to us is about half way down – ‘Add Dale Newling to Contacts list’.

After clicking the option, Kenneth is presented with yet another yellow, confirmation message.

Method 3

The last email in Kenneth’s list belongs to Carrie Rubin. This time he decides to save her to Contacts directly from the Inbox list. He hovers the mouse over her name in the list until a pop-up appears:

5 save contact carrie rubin

This is exactly the same pop-up that appeared when Kenneth saved Honie Briggs to Contacts. Clicking on the ‘Add to contacts’ option [circled in red], Kenneth saves Carrie Rubin’s details to Contacts and is presented with the same, yellow confirmation message as before.

Exhausted from his labours, Kenneth decides to take a nap while I thank my friends – Honie Briggs, Single Pixel aka George, David Prosser, Dale Newling aka EllaDee, and Carrie Rubin – for their time and generosity!

In Gmail for Beginners, Part 4, we will explore how to write an email from scratch by:

  • using Contact details we have already saved,
  • typing in the email address of someone not in our Contact list, and
  • inserting a smiley face into the email

cheers

Meeks

 


Gmail for Beginners, Part 2 – Finding and Reading emails

If you missed Part 1, Getting Started, you can find it here.

Finding your emails

In the past, when you received emails they would all be lumped into one place – the Inbox. From there, you, the user, would have to sort through all kinds of unwanted emails to find the few gems, i.e. the  ones from friends, family, work or personal interests. Then spam filters came along, whisking away the most obvious ‘junk’, but this still left your inbox full of things that were not quite junk – like newsletters that you might read once in a blue moon, or notifications from online retailers confirming things you had bought, or advertising material from websites you once visited – but not high priority either. And you still had to sort through it all yourself.

Now, Gmail has attempted to change all that by automating the sorting process. Instead of lumping everything into the one Inbox, it automatically sorts incoming email into preset categories which are then displayed in separate pages called ‘tabs’.

But what are tabs?

gmail cardboard tabsLike the cardboard dividers in a physical folder, Gmail tabs organize information into logical groups, but unlike ordinary dividers, you do not have to lift a finger.

In the example shown below, the three welcome emails from the Gmail Team are located in a tab called ‘Primary’. The other two tabs shown are Social and Promotions respectively:

gmail the middle bit

Unfortunately, the tabs are not that easy to see when you do not know what you are looking at. To make them stand out a bit more, I have outlined the Primary and Social tabs as shown:

gmail tab appearance 1

gmail social tab

To move from tab to tab, simply click on the name.

What is in each tab?

Although only three tabs are shown, there are in fact five Gmail tabs – Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forum.

Forum contains emails from online groups, discussion boards and mailing lists.

Updates contains emails that may include confirmations, receipts, bills and statements.

Promotions contains emails from commercial websites you have visited. It can also include paid advertisements.

Social contains email notifications from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter etc.

Primary contains emails from friends and family etc., as well as anything that does not belong to any of the other tabs.

How can I see the other tabs?

By default, only the Primary, Social and Promotions tabs are displayed when you first start using Gmail, but it is very easy to change which tabs you see. You can even choose to see all of them at once.

To change which tabs you see, click on the small + sign to the right of the last tab:

gmail tabs display moreYou should now see the pop-up window shown below:

gmail tabs display more B

Customising the Gmail tabs

As you can see, only three of the five tabs have been ticked, but you could have all five displayed at once. If you did, Gmail would automatically sort all incoming emails into those five categories, and you would not see those emails unless you opened the relevant tab.

This level of automation would certainly make your Primary tab less cluttered, but it would also mean that bills and other important notifications would be hidden away in the Updates tab – out of sight and out of mind. If you forgot to check that tab regularly, you could easily miss paying an important bill. Of course, having all your bills grouped in the one location might also make them easier to pay.

At the other end of the scale, if you de-selected every tab except Primary [which cannot be de-selected], Gmail would stop sorting your emails entirely. Instead, every incoming email would be displayed in the Primary tab. Now, this might not sound too bad when you receive only a few emails each day, but when the flood of promotional material finally begins, important emails could easily get lost, hidden in full view like a needle in a haystack.

Luckily, the Gmail tabs do not have to be all or nothing. You could, for example, select only the Promotions tab. This would mean that all advertising material would be taken out of the Primary tab and placed in the Promotions tab where you could read it or ignore it with impunity. Everything else would be displayed in your Primary tab.

This solution would be perfect for those who know they are likely to forget to check the other tabs, or those who prefer to remain in control of their emails. Given the amount of promotional material that I receive every day, I would strongly recommend keeping the Promotions tab at the very least.

How to select or de-select a tab

To de-select one of the existing tabs, simply click inside the tickbox next to its name.

To select one of the other tabs, again, simply click inside the tickbox next to its name. The tickboxes toggle on and off like a light switch.

[Note: Starred emails are emails that you have manually marked as important in some way. There are no starred emails as yet, however if there were, they would appear in the Primary tab.]

Once you have selected which tabs to use, click the ‘Save’ button.

Reading emails

Now that you know where to find your emails, you can finally read them! gmail mouse pointer HANDPoint the mouse at the first email from the Gmail Team.When the mouse pointer changes to a ‘hand’, click the left mouse button. The email will open up as shown:

gmail email body all

The body of the email, i.e. the actual content, is in the middle of the screen. You can scroll up and down to read the entire email. But now what?

The two most important things you need to know after you read an email are:

– how to reply to it [detailed in Part 3], and

– how to get out of it so you can read the rest of your emails

How do I get out of an email?

gmail email body 2The easiest way of getting out of an email is to click the Inbox option on the navigation pane [shown with a big blue arrow next to it].

Or…you could click on the ‘Back to Inbox’ button [circled in red].

Either method will return you to the Primary tab where the email you have just read will be shown as grey. The remaining unread emails will still show as white.

Once all the emails have been read, they will look like this:

gmail emails all read

Despite showing as grey, all the emails are still active. They can be replied to and, amongst other things, they can be ‘starred’ to show they are important in some way. Starring also makes them more visible.

To mark an email with a star, simply click the small, empty star shape next to the entry for that email:

gmail email unstarred

The first screenshot below shows the same email after it has been starred. The second shows all the emails in the Primary tab, including the starred one:

gmail starred

gmail read and starred

Another way of looking at your starred emails [and only your starred emails] is to click the Starred option in the navigation pane to the left of your screen:

gmail starred only

The Starred option changes colour to red [to show it is the active option] and the tabs disappear. In their place you will see only a list of emails that have been starred. In this example there is only one starred email on display because we only marked one with a star. If we marked all three emails with stars, this is what the Starred list would look like:

gmail all starred only

To return to the normal, tabbed display, click on the Inbox option in the navigation pane.

In Part 3 we will look at:

  1. how to Reply to emails,
  2. how to save email addresses to Contacts, and
  3. how to do some very basic housekeeping.

You can find Part 3 here.

cheers

Meeks


How to link to your story on Wattpad

angryIn my last post about Wattpad, I talked about my failed attempts to link to Innerscape, Part 1, and the workaround I finally discovered. I was not particularly happy with the Wattpad interface, and said so.

Since then, Fernanda from Wattpad support replied to my email and explained how to link to my story properly. The following is a quick, pictorial version of what Fernanda told me.

Once you have created and published your story to Wattpad, you are ready to promote it beyond Wattpad.

Step 1 Click the tiny arrow next to your Wattpad name to display the drop down list as shown below:

 

Step 1

Step 1

From the drop down list, select the ‘My Profile’ option.

Step 2 The ‘My Profile’ page contains the About [you] as well as a list of stories you have published to Wattpad. In the screenshot below, you can see that I’ve only published one story [Innerscape].

Step 2

Step 2

To read [or link to] any of the stories you have published, click on the relevant link. For me, the link is for Innerscape.

You should now be looking at a sort of public page on which anyone can read your story.

Step 3 Click on the address bar for your story as shown in the screenshot below:

Step 3

Step 3

Once the URL of your story is highlighted in blue, simply copy and paste it into your tweet, FB post, blog post or other promotional site.

If you try to do any of this from within the ‘Works’ option [the obvious place to look for your story], the resultant URL will belong to your private Wattpad account and hence will not be accessible to other people – i.e. it won’t work!

I can see the programming logic behind all this but …a good interface would not hide such a common function in such a non-intuitive location. Or perhaps the Devs of Wattpad assume that anyone publishing material on Wattpad will not be interested in promoting their work anywhere else. -shrug- Or maybe they don’t want to clutter up the interface with all this unsightly and potentially technical stuff?

I don’t know what the answer is, but I believe most current user interfaces are hell bent on being innovative and different, and beggar the functionality. I’ve suffered through the latest, ongoing transformation of the WordPress.com interface, and it appears I shall have to suffer from the Wattpad one as well.

Perhaps I should be more diplomatic.

-thinks-

Nope. Poor design is poor design no matter what the intention of the developers may be.

-grump-

Meeks


I have my U back!

I meant to write like crazy these school holidays, but instead I’ve done a lot of physical work – building new rockeries in the garden, spring cleaning the house, messing around with my computers, and cooking. You have no idea how much cooking I’ve done, and not for pleasure either.

But that rant is for another post. This post is about me, cleaning the keyboard of my computer… on the inside. Yes,you heard me. This is what came out of my keyboard :

keyboard 3

If you feel weak at the sight of what was hiding under my keys, take a stiff brandy before you continue.

Moving right along. I really would like to blame the cats for all that mess, but mixed in with the fluff were crumbs, lots and lots of crumbs. My work, I’m afraid. Nonetheless, the trigger that sent me into techie mode was that I spilt some coffee on the keyboard.

<<picture of woman madly shaking white coffee with one sugar out of her keyboard>>

It didn’t work. By the next day, the letter U had seized up. I either got ‘bt’ or ‘buuuuuuuuuuuuut’, ‘yo’ or ‘youuuuuuuuuuuuuu’. Not a happy state of affairs. Something had to be done. After doing some online research, I gathered my trusty tools and set to work :

keyboard 4

I’ve had those teensy weensy screwdrivers for about 20 years, but you should still be able to get them at a computer shop. The tweezers I stole from the Daughter. Sorry dear. 🙂

DISCLAIMER : I have not tried doing this with the keys of a laptop. I highly recommend taking your laptop to a professional for repairs! 

Now, the first key is always the hardest to get off because space is at a premium. If you don’t have the teensy weensy screwdrivers, try using an ordinary dinner knife. Place the tip of the knife in the gap between the right hand CTRL key and the base, and wiggle until the key pops off. Once you have that first key off, you can attack the rest of the keys fairly easily.

Whatever you do, though, don’t pull everything off in one hit unless you have a photographic memory. I took the keys off row by row, lining them up in the order in which they would have to go back :

keyboard 5

You can now use the tweezers to pull out the gunge, or you can use a small paint brush to sweep out the dirt, but whatever you do, do NOT use the vacuum cleaner. Inside those exposed keys are the doohikkies that make them go up and down. If you use the vacuum, the suction could possibly hoover up the most important parts of the keyboard. So be warned!

Once the loose dirt is cleared away, spray a little ordinary window cleaner ON A COTTON BUD [not directly into the keyboard please!]. Give the inside of each row a good clean with the cotton bud and allow to dry before replacing the keys.

As you were pulling off the keys, you may have noticed that some keys, including the SPACEBAR,come with an extra little locking doohikkie. The following are two photos I took of the locking mechanism under the spacebar :

keyboard 6 red outline

I outlined the locking mechanism in red as it’s very hard to see. The two ‘horns’ at either end are currently in the down position, but they swivel up and down as shown in the next picture :

keyboard 7 in the up position

And just in case you still can’t make head nor tail of the photos, the following is a diagram I created showing the two halves of the mechanism – i.e. the bit that stays in the keyboard, and the bit that goes inside the spacebar :

keyboard 2

Please do not say ‘oh but my keyboard doesn’t look anything like that’. Of course it doesn’t, this is a schematic thingie, okay? The point my picture is trying to convey is that the tongue and groove arrangement has to be in place before the locking bits in the middle can snap into place. Do not be daunted! This is how you do it :

keyboard 1

As you can see, the little rods do not snap into place, they slip into the hole shapes from below.

Once the tips of the rods are in place, tilt the key forward slightly in order to get the two box shaped locking bits to fit together. Once they do, you will hear a click, and the key will be back, and popping up and down quite happily.

All the ordinary keys just snap into place without any drama.

I didn’t clean under the numeric key pad, or the arrow keys as I don’t use them much [and couldn’t be bothered]. I also did not take out the function keys [F1, F2, F3 etc] as I have no idea how the key mechanism works with them [and the coffee seems to have missed them]. You mess with the rest of the keyboard at your peril – i.e. don’t blame me if something goes horribly wrong. 😦

With the cleaning all finished, I plugged my keyboard back into the pc and crossed my fingers. It worked! And the proof is this post. Look…

‘but’ ‘you’ ‘up’ ‘under’

I have my ‘U’ back. 🙂

Conclusion : Honestly? This job was nowhere near as hard as I thought it might be, and by tackling it myself, I avoided having to buy another, expensive keyboard. That said, I probably would not have been motivated to try this if I had lots of money to throw around. So if you’re in the same boat, give it a try and give your wallet a break. Your self confidence will receive a huge boost too. 😀

cheers

Meeks

 


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