Sep 282013

When we work with our clients we frequently see them backspacing over individual letters or characters one at a time to erase a word, phrase, or url in the browser address bar.  Stop doing that!

When text is selected (indicated by the blue highlight) just start typing what you want in its place or hit the backspace or delete key to delete it altogether.  There is just no need to backspace over each individual character.

Yes, it works like that on your iPhone and iPad as well.

select text then backspace or delete

Bonus Tip: Double-click to select a word, triple-click to select a paragraph, and CTRL+A selects a document.

 Posted by at 10:14 am
Sep 192013

A lot of people think you need to go through the process of sorting your Excel spreadsheet in order to view the data in any useful manner.  Forget sort!  While you weren’t looking, Microsoft created a really quick and easy way for you to view your data on the fly: the Filter function.

  1. Click the Data tab
  2. Click the Filter icon
  3. Use any one of the drop down icons that now appear on each of your headings

use the Excel filter function to sort data quickly

By default, every available item is selected.  If there are just a few items you want to view, click in the Select All checkbox to deselect everything and then click the checkboxes of the data you want to view.  Note the different ways to filter, including by color, and the sort functions available as well.

Further refine your view by using the drop down icon in another column and making selections there.   Keep going in each of the columns until you are viewing the data that you need.

 Posted by at 5:26 pm
May 152013

The Bcc field is your friendWhen you send or forward an e-mail to a group of people, please be courteous and use the “Bcc” field instead of the “To” or “Cc” field — unless you specifically want your recipients to know who received the e-mail.

If you are forwarding an e-mail with a list of recipients already on it, please be kind and delete the prior list of recipients.

It is so annoying to receive an e-mail that has a half page of e-mail names and addresses on it, and doubly so when you are using a mobile device with a small screen.

Reasons to use the “Bcc” field:

  1. Common courtesy.  Don’t make your recipients wade through a long list of names and e-mail addresses before they get to your actual message.
  2. Privacy.  Maybe everyone on your list doesn’t want the world to know their e-mail address.
  3. Spam protection: (of sorts).  If one of your recipients has a virus or malware, the entire address list may get automatically spammed.
  4. The (sometimes) dreaded “Reply All” person.  Protects the recipients from a “Reply All” response.

Of course there are valid business reasons as well.  Sometimes you want to include a recipient that the other person doesn’t need to know about (think paper trail).

When you forward an e-mail, you should always do some basic due diligence.  Also—this is really important—please be cognizant of the other person’s time.

Here’s some help in finding and using the Bcc field in Outlook and

Lastly, just in case you are not familiar with the term, Bcc explained (for those of you too young to remember typewriters and carbon paper.)

 Posted by at 12:36 am
Apr 242013
click the to link to see the entire address or people list

Figure A

See the entire address list in when composing or forwarding e-mail

Microsoft makes use of MRU (most recently used) lists in their products, including  When composing an e-mail in, the default list that you see in the “To,” “Cc,” and “Bcc” fields are your most recently used addressees (or People).  To show the entire address list (everyone in your “People” list) just click the “To,” “Cc,” or “Bcc” link.  (See Figure A) . defaults to the “To” field, and immediately shows your MRU list.  Click the “To” link once to show your entire address list.  If you click the “Cc” or “Bcc” link, it will default to your MRU.  Click the link again to show the entire list.

Creating a distribution list in (Revised 8/19)

First, you need to have all contacts added to your main contacts/People list.

1. How to go to People window in
Open > top left, click the down arrow by the Outlook logo >  click People > here is your People (contacts) window.

2. How to create a group :
Go to the People window > in the toolbar at top, click the down arrow by New > click New Group.  Enter a name for the new group. Start adding members by typing in the name as it appears in your existing contact list.  When you see the name you want, you can just press the <Enter> key.  When finished adding members, click the Save button.

3. How to add contacts to the group you have created :
In the People window > click the name of the group or the icon (do not click the checkbox). Click the Edit button on the menu bar across the top, add names in the Add members box as you did when you created the group (see Step 2 above).  When you have finished, click the Save button.

4.  How to delete members of a group:
Still in the People window > click the name of the group or the icon (do not click the checkbox).  Click the Edit button on the menu bar across the top.  Each member will have an “X” in the lower right corner.  Click on the X to remove that member.  Save your changes.

THANK YOU to Alert Reader DMitchell for letting me know the procedure had changed and suggesting this YouTube video.

 Posted by at 1:43 pm
Apr 232013
go back to viewing folders alphabetically

Figure A

Windows 7 tips

View Folders alphabetically

If your My Documents or other folders are showing the most recently used folders first, and you want to go back to showing the folders alphabetically, just drop down the “Arrange by” arrow and select “Clear Changes”. (Figure A)


Making use of MRU (most recently used) file lists (awesome shortcut)

Pinning your most frequently used applications to the taskbar is helpful (1-click launch), but you can cut to the chase to access recently used files or folders by utilizing the jump lists in Windows 7.  These are the MRU file lists (jump lists) that you see when you right-click an application icon on your taskbar. (Figure B)  Slide your cursor up to the document or folder and left-click to launch the application and file at the same time.

If you want an item to always be available on your jump list, just move your cursor up to the item and a push-pin icon appears with the words “Pin to this list.”  (Figure C) Move your cursor over and click the push-pin icon and that item will always appear when you view the jump list.

You can pin a file or folder to your jump list for easy availability

You can clear an individual item from a list by right-clicking on the item and selecting “Remove from this list.”  Clearing an entire MRU list isn’t for the casual user, but you can clear all your MRU lists by following the procedure on this website.

 Posted by at 6:19 pm
Mar 122013

If you are in the Microsoft Word Print Layout and the page numbers and white space between pages don’t show, it’s an easy fix: Go to File -> Options.  In the Word Options dialog box, select Display. Check the box next to the “Show white space between pages in Print Layout view”.

How to show page numbers and white space in Print Layout

 Posted by at 6:13 pm
Jan 122013

select columns in WordYou can make columnar selections of text in your Word document, even when it isn’t in a Table. Click at the beginning of your selection, press the ALT key, then click again and drag to the end of your selection.

Format the text like you would any other selection (color, bold, font, and so on.)

To select non-contiguous text, just make your first selection, then hold down the CTRL key as you make your next (and any subsequent) selection(s).

Again, format the selection as desired.

make non-contiguous selections in Microsoft Word, Outlook, or ExcelBecause Outlook uses Word as the default editor, you can use these same selection tips in Outlook.

Selecting non-contiguous cells in Excel works the same way: click once in the first cell and hold the CTRL key as you click once in the other cells you want to select.

Jun 192012

We had heard about it, but it actually happened to us: a phone call from a “Microsoft technical specialist” telling us they had received a report from our computer in the last 30 days and there was a problem.

After a hearty laugh and an “Are you kidding me?” we hung up.

Unfortunately, many people don’t.  It’s a scam to get your credit card information and/or damage your computer.  Remember:  

Microsoft does not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer

Microsoft’s Safety & Security Center details some of the most recent scams using both e-mail and the telephone being committed under the Microsoft name.

6/26/2012.  Another call today, telling me those reports kept coming in to the “International Server” and my computer would be shut down in two weeks if I didn’t take action.  I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time.

Mar 112012

Sometimes all you have to do is open an e-mail and malware is deployed.  Many times clicking a link in a spam message will cause malware to be downloaded to your computer.

You can stay ahead of the curve by checking the message header before you open an e-mail.

Message headers is information that travels with an e-mail and is chock full of information about where an e-mail came from. It doesn’t take long to zero in on the key information.  The Reply To field (if you clicked reply) is often a dead giveaway.  Looking at the routing information is another.

Previous versions of Outlook had a really handy tool to help you look at the message headers by selecting a message, right-clicking, and selecting Options from the contextual dropdown menu.  In Outlook 2010, Message Options are still there, you just have to create a shortcut manually.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to the File Menu
  2. Select Options.  This brings up the Outlook Options dialog box.
  3. Click on the Quick Access Toolbar (that’s where we will put the Message Options icon)
  4. In the Choose Commands From dropdown, select Commands Not in the Ribbon
  5. Scroll down to Message Options and select it
  6. Press the Add button.  Message Options will now appear in the Customize Quick Access Toolbar side.
  7. Click OK.

You will see the new Message Options icon in your Quick Access toolbar that appears at the top of Outlook.

Now you can select a message (but don’t open it!) and then click the Message Options icon to see the message headers.

Analysis of a span header will give you an idea of how to interpret the information.  If you are in the United States and see a domain name with a country extension like .cz (Czech Republic) or .ru (Russia), and the company does not have an office there, chances are very high that this is a nasty malware waiting to happen. 

If you have an Exchange Server-based network, ask us about installing a spam firewall.

May 172011

Make sure you don’t miss messages from important people (like your boss) in Outlook, with color coding.

In previous versions of Outlook it was very easy to color code messages from specific e-mail addresses by selecting “Organize”.  You can still color code messages from certain e-mail addresses in Outlook 2010, but there are a few more steps involved: 

  1. Go to the View tab
  2. Click View Settings
  3. Click the Conditional Formatting button
  4. Click the Add button
  5. For the Name of the rule, type in Mail received from [name of sender]
  6. Click the Condition button
  7. In the From field of the Filter box, type or paste the e-mail address, or select from your contacts list
  8. Click OK on the Filter box
  9. In the Conditional Formatting box, click the Font button.
  10. Select a color then click OK in the Font box.
  11. Click OK on the Conditional Formatting box
  12. Click OK in the Advanced View Settings: Messages box

 Posted by at 9:00 pm