Clear 'Em Out


If you use Internet Explorer as your web browser (according to my server logs, that's 80% or so of you), you might be using its AutoComplete feature. AutoComplete saves previous entries you've made for Web addresses, forms, and passwords. Then, when you type information in one of these fields, AutoComplete suggests possible matches. This information is encrypted and stored on your hard drive. If you're the only one on the computer this can be great, but if you share a computer in an office or classroom situation you might want to turn off AutoComplete for one or more categories. Here's how:
1. Tools > Internet Options > Content tab > AutoComplete button.
2. Deselect as desired--Web addresses, Forms, and/or Passwords.
3. Remove all stored Form info and Passwords with the lower buttons*
4. Stored Web addresses must be cleared through Tools > Internet Options > General tab >
Clear History.

Conditionally Yours

You can have Excel automatically add emphasis to key cells in your worksheets when you use conditional formatting. When you apply this special formatting, Excel evaluates the contents of a cell, then formats the cell differently depending on your pre-determined conditions. For example, you might want any cell within the range to appear green and bold when a certain numerical goal is reached - 100 boxes cookies sold in this example. Any cells that don't match your condition remain formatted as the default.


Here are the step to performing a simple conditional format: 1) Select the range you wish to format, G2-G5 in the example. 2) Select Format > Conditional Formatting... and the dialogue box shown below will open. 3) From the first dropdown box, select whether you want Excel to evaluate the cell value or the formula; a second dropdown box with comparison criteria to select will appear if you choose Cell Value. Select the comparison operator you want. 4) The final entry will be the value you are comparing the formatted cells to. We're not done yet!


Now, select the format for the cells that match your condition: 5) Click the Format... button. For conditional formatting, you can select Font Style, Underline, Color, Strikethrough, Cell Borders, and Cell Patterns (colors). Format your heart away! 6) Click OK twice, and now you're finished! Next time we'll take a look at adding multiple conditions!

Conditionally Yours, Part II


Last issue we took a look at the Conditional Formatting feature available to Excel users; today let's expand on the topic just a bit and use more than one condition:
Pete wants to keep a close eye on his expenses. He's done that in the example to the right by conditionally formatting the cells in the Total column so that:
- Condition 1 is [Cell value] [less than] [750] Format light green; Add>>> button
- Condition 2 is [Cell value] [between] [750] and [2500] Format light yellow; Add>>> button
- Condition 3 is [Cell value] [greater than] 2500 Format Bold Red text. (You're limited to a maximum of 3 conditions when formatting.)


Lower expense totals (<750) are shaded green; mid-range (750 < X < 2500) are yellow, and those pesky high expense items (>2500) are red. Individual expense cells could also be formatted using the same method, thereby increasing the chance that data anomalies are discovered before things get out of hand...and thus save your company from the fate of an Enron or WorldCom!
And that's why your boss should let you read Noises From The Basement on company time, Julie!

Spring Cleaning - Straighten Up That Desktop!


Was the last time you saw your Desktop wallpaper the day you brought your computer home? Are there so many icons on your desktop that it takes you 30 seconds to find the one you’re looking for? If so, help is here!


I) Create ANOTHER icon! – Right-click on your desktop. Choose New, then Folder. IMMEDIATELY, type a new name for your folder, for example: “Games”. Tap your Enter key.


II) Start with your first “game”-related icon. Click&drag the icon on top of your new folder, releasing your mouse button when the destination folder changes color. Your icon will ”move” into the folder. Move every “game” icon into this folder.


III) Continue to create folders and move icons into them until you’ve reclaimed your desktop. Note, folders can also be moved into folders – for families with several children, for example, each child might have a folder. All children folders could be moved into another folder named “Kids”.


IV) Double-click your folders to access your file icons.

Compact that Recycle Bin


The Recycle Bin can be a wonderful friend if you accidentally delete a file or folder – just open it up and remove the misplaced item. However, have you ever considered just how big that friendly little trashcan is?


Windows is configured “out of the box” to set aside 10% of your hard drive as reserved for the Recycle Bin. Yep, if you have a newer computer with, say, 4.3 gigs of space, 430 MEGS of hard drive space is available for storage of – TRASH! For those with smaller hard drives, the fact that Windows can stake out 10% of your available space should be even more worrisome!


You can reclaim your valuable real estate like this:


I) Right-click on your Recycle bin icon, and select Properties.
II) Configure your Recycle Bin globally, or for each drive
III) Use the slide control to decrease the size requirement to a more conservative amount – if you regularly check and empty your Bin, 3% - 5% should be more than sufficient!

Right Proportions


When working with Drawing Objects, you might want to change the size of the object without changing its shape. To change the size of the object, select the object by clicking directly on it, then position your cursor on a handle (“square block”). When your cursor changes to a double-headed arrow, click&drag in the desired direction.
This can cause problems with proportions, however – you can end up with short, wide giraffes if you’re not careful! To make sure you don’t change the *shape* as you change the *size*, hold down your SHIFT key before you click, and always click&drag from a corner.




While there are many ways to select blocks of text or cells, there's no way quicker or more adaptable then the simple "click-shift-click" method.
To select ANY block of text/cells:
I) Position your cursor in front of the beginning of your text (or in the left-most top cell) and CLICK,
II) Hold down your SHIFT key, and
III) Position your cursor behind the end of your text (or in the right-most bottom cell) and CLICK.
All text/cells in-between the to "tagged" endpoints will be selected.


Permanently Removed


What’s the proper way to remove unwanted programs AND their supporting files from your computer? Many people will find the folder where the program is saved on their drive and simply delete it. Unfortunately, this will often leave additional support files scattered, orphaned, on your machine. Additionally, this method will not remove any pertinent entries in your Windows Registry – which frequently leads to mysterious system operation problems and slowdowns.
Windows offers an adequate way to remove most unwanted programs completely:
I) Start | Settings | Control Panel
II) Open Add\Remove Programs
III) Select the Install\Uninstall tab, if not already selected
IV) Scroll down the files listed and find your desired file. Select, then click the Add\Remove button.
This method will work on well-behaved programs - ones that followed Windows-mandated installation standards. However, you might find that the program you want to remove isn’t listed. When that happens, you’ll need to turn to a third-party software program for removal help. I’ll be featuring just such a program as next week’s File Find!