Published Article

Astute readers of this blog may remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned I had submitted an article to a professional on-line film website (they paid for articles!). Well, sadly, that article was not accepted and it’s now been slightly re-written and is now featured on Bitch With Wi-Fi, as Intelligence In Modern Film. You know what they say about how one door closing means another opens. Recently I was contacted on Twitter about another opportunity. Everything has worked out and I’ve published my first professional article. This is huge for me – I’ve wanted to be an author ever since forever. I’m not at the level of being able to live off my income yet – not even close, but it’s a huge, huge confidence booster! I’m as excited about now being professionally published. It is another on-line publication, but I’m not going to say it doesn’t count – everything is going towards on-line anyway, and publishing experience is publishing experience. Everyone needs to start somewhere. The article is going on the Publications section of my résumé, and the entire experience is encouraging me to do more.

To read my article, How to Add Symbols to Word Press Blog Posts, click the link. Feel free to leave a polite comment. Also check out NixStudio I UK, for excellent WordPress Tutorials, information on improving your business with Social Media Marketing, and Web Design Information and Learning.

How to Customize Links Inside a WordPress Post

Have you ever wanted to add links to your blog posts? The easiest way to insert a link is to copy and paste the link into your post, then highlight it and click the link button.

WP_Link_button

However, especially for long links, this simple method can result in messy-looking text.

At first, I was confused about how to update the link title while keeping the link working, especially if it was a hyperlink to a page outside WordPress. Live Journal had a Link Editing pop-up menu, but the similar-looking one for WordPress didn’t seem to work. It turns out I was doing things in the wrong order. For Live Journal I’d write my intro text, click the link button, type the words I wanted to appear as the title in the title line, and copy-and-paste the link into the hyperlink box. This never worked for WordPress.

I recently found out how to do this for WordPress. In WordPress, you actually type the short title into your post, highlight that, then click the Link button. Once the hyper-link pop-up opens, copy and paste the link into the URL box but leave the Title box blank, then click Add Link.

Link_Box

When you go back to the post you are composing, the words you’ve highlighted will be red, indicating it’s a link.

Another cool thing about WordPress is you can make internal links to other posts on your blog. Simply type the text you want in your post, highlight it, click the link button, then search for the post you want to link using the Search box. When you find the post, highlight it and click Add Link.

These two techniques allow you to add cool, “For more information see this post,” items to your posts. It also brings more interactivity to your blog and allows another way, besides categories and tags, to link posts. For readers of your blog, it means they can jump directly to additional content.

How to Create and Use Styles in Microsoft Word 2010

What are styles? Styles are a way to apply formatting to paragraphs in Microsoft Word with a single click. More importantly, by formatting your documents using styles – the documents will be consistent throughout. Consistency always looks more professional.

I’ve used styles in Word, since the XP version, but this tutorial will focus on how to create and use styles in Microsoft Office 2010 (the same techniques should work for Microsoft Office 360 or Cloud).

The first step in creating a new style is to click on the new style icon. If you don’t see a styles list or styles icon, follow the instructions in How to Customize the Quick Access Toolbar to add the Styles Icon to your Quick Access toolbar. If you have trouble with this step feel free to ask politely worded questions in the Comments.

To create a new style click the Styles Icon:

Styles_icon

At the bottom of the Styles list click the new style icon (highlighted below):

New Style

Clicking the new style icon will bring up the New Style Dialogue Box. On this first screen name your style. Use a descriptive but short name that describes what the style is for. Here I’ve named the style “Article Text”.

Styles_Dialogue1

You can also highlight a style that’s already in the Style List, and click the Modify Style icon (the two capital letter As with the pencil). If you modify an existing style, that style name will appear in the “Style based on” space, as seen above.

Next, modify the style to what you need. First, modify the paragraph options by clicking “Format”, then “Paragraph”. This will bring up the Paragraph Style Dialogue Box.

Styles3_Paragraph

Here you can set paragraph alignment, the line spacing, space after the paragraph, and even the first line indent. By setting space after at 6 pt (point) Word will automatically insert a blank line at the end of every paragraph that uses the style. It is no longer necessary to press return twice at the end of the paragraph to insert a blank line. This also avoids awkward extra spaces, such at page or column breaks. The Special box (set at “first line”, .5 above) means that each paragraph will have a five space indent at the beginning.

These options can be changed as needed. For example, in an academic paper it’s customary to set off a long quote by not only leaving lines before and after it but indenting the quote on both the right and left, with justified text, like this:

Quote_sample

Which is accomplished with the following Paragraph Settings:

Paragraph Quote

Plus setting the alignment as “Justify” and updating the font to “Bold”.

Which brings me to the next section for a Style: Font. Microsoft Word includes a large number of fonts, as well as Italic, Bold, and Underline options. You are probably used to using the bold option to emphasize a word in a document, or using the Italic option for titles of other works such as books or films. But you can also specify the font and its options using the Font Dialogue Box while creating a style.

Styles2_Font

While this might not seem remarkable for body text, where you probably aren’t going to want to use any special options other than picking your body font and size, however, it’s extremely useful when designing styles for headings, subheadings, and special formats such as captions, footnotes, long quotes, etc.

Here you can also see the advantage of using styles – you can simply type your paper, and set the normal paragraphs with the “Article Text” style (or whatever you’ve named the style) and to update a quote you simply highlight it and click the “Long Quote” style in the Style list. Headings and subheadings styles can be created and applied just as easily. If you have several heading and subheading styles, they will be consistent if you use Styles for formatting. It’s also possible to choose your style first, then type what you need, and it will be formatted according to the style.

Try creating and using styles in Word. They save time because it’s no longer necessary to format every paragraph separately. Styles will make your formatting consistent. For example, in the Long Quote Style above the indents are set at .7. If you didn’t use a style, and you formatted the long quotes as you went, in a 30 or 40-page paper, you might have some quotes indented at .5, some at .7 and some at 1.0. But if you use the Long Quote Style for each quote – they will all be exactly the same. And if you need to change or update the formatting, all you need do is modify the style – and the change will occur throughout your document (as long as “Automatically Update” is checked.)

How to Use Evernote to Organize Your Life

Evernote is a syncing app and program that lets you organize information, keep things handy, and reduce the number of post-it notes filled with scrawled reminders littering your desk. Evernote can be used as a personal organization tool as well as a business tool.

To get Evernote:  download the app from the Google Play store on your Android phone or tablet. Evernote is also available for iPhone/iPad/iPod and Apple OS. The app is free for Android phones and tablets. I have it on both by Samsung Galaxy III Android phone and my Nexus 7 Tablet. Once you have downloaded and installed the app, download the PC version (or Apple version for Mac). If you download the app version first, the PC Windows version is free.

One of the neatest things about Evernote is that it syncs automatically. You can create a new note on your phone, and later find that note on your desktop PC version or on your tablet. This works for all notes where ever you compose them, and whatever device you compose them on. As long as you have recorded the information, it is there for you. However, Evernote does not need to be on-line to work. I’ve written notes when I had no internet access at all – next time I have access, the notes sync.

The first step in Evernote is to create notebooks. I suggest creating these in broad categories. I have a general notebook, a notebook for finances, a notebook for recipes, a notebook of favorite blog posts, a notebook for pictures, etc. It’s always easy to add new notebooks. A few months ago, I created a finance notebook and moved all my finance-related notes from my general notebook to that notebook, such as .pdfs of bills, on-line payment confirmations, and other financial information.

The next step is to create notes in your notebooks. There are several different ways to create notes in Evernote. You can simply click new note (location will vary depending on your device) and type in the note. If the note is time-sensitive, such as a reminder about an appointment – you can set an alarm with the note at the same time. You can take a picture with your phone (or tablet) and upload that as a note into Evernote. You can create the bare bones of a typed note, such as a title, then upload a Word or .pdf document – such as a bill, payment confirmation, or order confirmation. You can also type a note as a checklist, then optionally check off steps as they are completed. And if you’ve installed the Evernote Web Clipper to your browser, you can use that to download a “Simplified Article” version of a blog post or on-line article (this will give you the text of a post without any ads, banners, or side-bars – the way you want to read it). You can also use the Web Clipper to clip sections of web pages as an image. Personally, if I want record a section of a webpage as a separate image I use the Windows Utility “Snipping Tool”, which I call “Snippy”, and save it as a .jpg. But having an alternative available is always useful.

One of the best uses for Evernote is lists. I like to make my grocery shopping list in Evernote. I actually walk around, in my kitchen, opening the pantry, fridge, freezer, etc., and record what I need on my tablet. When I sync the app – everything I’ve written is on my phone in Evernote, and I can check it when I’m in the supermarket. I also sometimes start the process on my PC by looking through recipes, and adding ingredients I know I’ll need to my grocery list on my PC, then go to the kitchen, and pick-up the list on my tablet. Because it’s a computerized app, I can delete items that I actually have and add ones I need. In the store, I check the boxes next to the items I buy as I buy them. If I can’t find something, I can leave the item unchecked – and buy it at another store later. It’s a much more organized way to shop.

It is possible to keep any number or type of lists in Evernote. You can also add tags to any note, which makes it searchable, and helps your notebooks stay organized.

Evernote is also great for organizing recipes – because of the ability to add tags to your notes, and the multiple ways of adding information to Evernote. I’ve downloaded recipes from various websites, then added the recipe as an attachment to a note in Evernote. I then title the note with the name of the recipe, or if the recipe has a bland or common title, I’ll add a bit to the title of the note or in the text of the note to set it apart. I also add notes about recipes after I’ve tried them. And I classify my recipes not only by food/meal type (chicken/beef, etc, dinner/potluck, etc) but by level (dead easy, easy, medium, etc.) I have my system. But I also use Evernote to help me find recipes in my cookbooks. Rather than scanning a recipe page and uploading it – I note the recipe title, tag it, and in the body of note list the cookbook, page number, and any other notes. This reduces the, “which cookbook is that Lemon Cookie recipe in?”, time. I can’t tell you how many times I’m spent 30 minutes to an hour trying to find a recipe – only to spend so much time looking that I either no longer want to cook, no longer have time to cook, or I end-up deciding to make something else. And of course, when I come up with a new recipe myself, I can also add it as a new note in my recipes notebook. And you can also take a picture with your phone (or tablet) of a back-of-the-box recipe and add that as a note as well.

In short, Evernote is a great organization tool. I find that the web clipper, upload capability, tagging, and ability to create multiple themed notebooks, are all great ways to organize information. And it’s all searchable. Try it – I think you’ll find it as indispensable as I do.

How to Move and Customize the Quick Access Toolbar in Microsoft Word 2010

If you were dismayed to discover that in Microsoft Office 2010 all the menus you’d memorized were gone, you are not alone. And if you also miss having the ability to add custom buttons to your toolbar, I understand and feel your pain. But, all is not lost. This post will show you how to build a Quick Access Toolbar in Microsoft Word 2010. The same techniques work in Microsoft Excel, and can even be used to put buried options easily within reach in Microsoft Access. But let’s start with Microsoft Word.

The first thing you need to do is open Word and go to the File Ribbon (Click the File tab). You do not need to have a document open to do this. Go to Options and choose Quick Access Toolbar.

File_Tab_Options

The first thing you’ll want to do, is override the default placement of the Quick Access Toolbar above the Ribbon. Leaving the toolbar there makes it difficult to see (it almost hides) and difficult to get to (the Ribbon is in the way). Unless you intend to hide the ribbon entirely, simply click “Show the Quick Access Toolbar below the Ribbon”. A checkmark will appear next to the statement. Click “OK” to save (to apply the change).

 

Move Quick access Toolbar Below Ribbon

Next, after again going to File → Options → Quick Access Toolbar to re-open the dialogue box, in the Choose Commands From section, use the pull-down menu to select, All Commands. This will give you a very long alphabetical list of all Word commands. The list is long, but it’s the easiest way to find the commands you want to place on your toolbar.

Choose All Commands

Next, decide what commands you want on your toolbar. I suggest commands that not only you use frequently but that are buried in obscure places – making them difficult to access. I’ll talk more about commands you might want to add later. The illustration below shows how to add the Insert Hyperlink Command. Simply click the command in the command list on the left, click ADD, then click OK. Several commands can be added, to build your custom Quick Access Toolbar. The up and down arrows actually control where the commands are on the toolbar from left to right. So, in the illustration below, Open is to the left, followed by Save, followed by Save As, and so on to the right. When done, click OK to save all your changes.

Adding Insert Hyperlink

 

And there you have it – a custom toolbar, containing your most used commands, and/or commands that can be difficult to find or get to in Word 2010. Here is an example of how the Quick Access Toolbar looks (highlighted in yellow – additional commands can be reached by click the arrows circles in red).

Toolbar

 

Items that it can be handy to include:

  • Save As – The new Word really buries this one. If, like me, you often re-name files right in Word, so you can keep a previous version intact – this is a must-have. I always had a custom button for it in older versions of Word.
  • Insert Symbol – Why going poking around the insert page, trying to find this? Especially when you need it in the middle of document to correctly spell a name that uses accent marks of some sort? The Omega Sign is used for the Insert Symbol button – and besides letters with accent marks, it allows using the degree symbol (as in degrees Fahrenheit), copyright, registered trademark, and trademark symbols, arrows – to delineate steps or directions, etc.
  • Table shortcuts – I often work with tables, and I actually got used to using the shortcut buttons in Excel. When I began to need to update and edit tables in Word I found having the shortcuts accessible helped tremendously. I realize it may be hard to see, but the ones on the toolbar allow the insertion and deletion of rows and columns.

However, the point is to add to the Quick Access Toolbar commands you use constantly. Secondly, to add useful commands that are difficult to locate on the ribbons or that are buried in second and third level dialogues.

 

Handy Hint for Cleaning Keyboards

Old make-up brushes are great for cleaning keyboards.  A large fluffy brush (with a longish handle) is great for getting crumbs, dust and other messes off the flat surfaces of the keyboard.  Thinner, flat brushes can clean between keys, without depressing the keys.  Also remember to flip the keyboard over and lightly tap the back to dislodge what’s gotten under the keyboard.

– JM, Bitch with Wi-Fi