Top keyboard shortcuts make using the PC easier

By | October 1, 2010
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In the Computers newsletter this time:

  • Top keyboard shortcuts make using the PC easier
  • Making MS Word less confusing
  • Adding speech to photos – the easy way


Excuse the hooded eyes and vast mug of black coffee – I’m not hung-over, honest.  Alastair had one of his wide awake (and noisy) nights last night… and then fell fast asleep just after I’d got up this morning!

Luckily I’ve got a handy tip from Georgia and another one from a reader – so I’ve got a head start on writing this issue.

I’ll start with Georgia’s tip – that way I don’t have to do much thinking to begin with and can concentrate on drinking the coffee instead!

Tip from next door – Top Keyboard Shortcuts

Next door to the room I work in is where Louize, Laura, Emma and Georgiaanswer the phones, handle all the post and send out all the books.  Talking to so many people, they get a good idea of what tips people find most useful. This time, here’s a tip from Georgia:

love keyboard shortcuts. Once you get the hang of them, they make using your PC so much quicker and easier, and can be a lifesaver if your mouse is misbehaving! Here are some simple ones that I use every day.

CTRL + A  – Holding down the CTRL key and the A key at the same time will select everything on the page. This is really handy if you have a lot you want to select – for example so you can change the font size of the whole page or to copy it all.

CTRL + C  – This will COPY what you have selected – ready to be pasted into a different part of the same document or a different document altogether (see below).

CTRL + X – This will CUT what you have selected.  Cutting is a bit like copying but it gets rid of the original version.  Useful if you want to move something from one place to another.

CTRL + V – This will PASTE whatever you have copied or cut. This is great if you need to copy some information from a website and paste it into a word document.

The easiest way to get the hang of these is to open up Word, OpenOffice or Wordpad and type something in, then try copying it and pasting and cutting and pasting.

Making Microsoft Word less confusing – a website a reader mentioned to me

Microsoft Word is an amazing program.  It’s not just the basic stuff you can use it for – typing up a document or letter.  It’s some of the extra features.  It can check how many words you’ve typed (useful if you have a set space to fill in a local newsletter for example) it can format your work in all sorts of ways, automatically add footnotes and even create an index with the right page numbers automatically.  Plus lots of other things.

But Microsoft being Microsoft, every time they update the program they change how you get at all the features.  Which means if you’re used to one version and you then get the next version, you can’t find the features you’re used to.  They’re still there, just in a different place.

And when they went from Word 2003 to Word 2007, they changed it even more than normal.  (The new 2010 version is fairly similar to 2007).

Luckily, they’ve produced a free natty little gadget of a webpage that makes it easier to find the things you’re after.  You go into where the feature would have been in the old version of Word and it shows you where it is in the new one.

I still think it would have been simpler not to move them all about but since they have done, this does make things easier.

Click here and then on “Start the guide” about half way down the page.

Adding speech bubbles to photos

This one’s a bit of fun. It’s a website that lets you easily add speech bubbles to a photo.  You can add funny comments, a description or whatever you like – a bit like this one.

Here’s how it works – it looks like lots of steps but they’re all nice and simple:

  1. Go to this website.
  2. Click on “Browse” in the top grey box.
  3. Find the photo you want to add the speech bubble to on your PC. It might well be in the Pictures/My Pictures folder, depending on where you keep your photos.  Click on it and click on “Open”.
  4. Click on “Upload and Continue”  Depending on how fast your internet connection is it might take a minute or two to go to the next screen.
  5. You’ll get a screen showing the picture and some buttons on the left.  Click on the “New bubble” button.  It’ll put a speech bubble on the picture.  You can move it about by clicking on it, holding down the mouse button and dragging it to where you want it – then left go.
  6. Click in the box under “Selected bubble” on the left and type whatever text you want (press enter if you want a new line). Once you’ve typed it, click on “Update Text”.
  7. You can add more than one bubble if you want – handy if there are two people in the photo and you want to have them talking to each other.
  8. You can move the bubble again if you want to fine-tune exactly where it is and you can “flip” it to get the bit that points to the person on the other side.
  9. Once it’s how you want it, click on “Save Picture” and then on “Download to Your Computer” and then the “Save” button to save it.  You can choose where on your PC you want to save it – the Pictures/My Pictures folder is a good place.  The website automatically calls the photo “saywhat”  but you can type over that to give it a name that means something to you.
  10. That’s it – done.  You can print it off or email it to friends or do whatever you like with it!

I’ll admit it’s not as flexible as proper graphics programs like Photoshop or CorelDRAW, where you can make different shaped speech bubbles and so on – but it’s quick and easy to use (and free – whereas Photoshop is pretty pricy).

Well, the coffee seems to be helping – hopefully I’ve been awake enough to avoid too many typing mistakes this time…

One more thing:  There’s a possibility that I’ll be opening up a few more membership places in my Inner Circle in a month or so.  The Inner Circle is a way for members to get access to articles, videos and even books I’ve written that no-one else can get at.  Members also can use the Clubroom, where they can ask questions and get answers from other members and also Pete, Georgia and me (good for when you’re completely stuck on how to do something… or about what something means).

At the moment all the places available are taken but if it sounds interesting to you, watch out for the next newsletter – there’ll be more news then.

Tim Wakeling

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