Tag Archive for Tips

Speed Up Your Computer Tips

I found this page on the Microsoft web site. They have five quick tips for speeding up your computer. The handiest are the Disk Cleanup and Defragmenting features.

Both of these tools can be found by clicking Start >> Programs >> Accessories >> System Tools.

If you and your household spend a lot of time on the Internet browsing, I recommend running disk cleanup once every week or two. The more often you do run disk cleanup, the less time it will take to complete.

Disk cleanup eliminates “temporary files”. These temp files are junk files that the computer accumulates as part of its normal operations. You need not work about losing anything that you saved. Anything you save isn’t considered a temporary file, no matter how long you intend on keeping it. Think of temp files as being scratch pads that the computer allows to pile up inside the hard drive.

Disk defragmenting can be run once every month or two.  It’s also handy if you save and download large files such a videos and music.  As with disk cleanup, the more you run it, the less time it takes to complete. In most cases, if you use the Analyze feature before the Defragment feature, it will let you know if the hard disk needs to be “defragged” or not.

Not familiar with the term defragmenting?

When your computer saves files it tries to save them near the center or the start of the disk so they can be accessed faster. In many cases the computer will chop the file into pieces and scatter the pieces wherever they fit. Your computer may run slower when it needs to access these files later becuase the computer must search for and reassemble the pieces.

When you defragment the hard drive, the computer reassembles all the files and rearranges them so the files are stored whole instead of in fragments. Also, it will put important programs near the start/center of the disk so they load fast.

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Microsoft Office Tips, Tricks, Shortcuts

When I teach courses for using Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher, I always provide my students with a handy sheet of tips, tricks, and keyboard shortcuts.

This handout, which I am providing here as a downloadable PDF is particularly popular in my Microsoft Word classes.  Since Word is naturally a keyboard intensive program, people enjoy knowing that many of the tasks they often perform with a mouse can also be performed with the keyboard.  Such shortcuts include boldface, italics, copy and paste, printing, and doublespacing of paragraphs.

Some useful tricks include creating a double underline, copyright symbols, and arrows, along with the Word calculator for performing calculations.

The tips will work with most versions of Microsoft Office up to and including Office 2007.

If you know of any other shortcuts or tricks, feel free to post them here as a comment. Want to know if there’s a shortcut for performing a particular task? Just post your question as a comment as well.  I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Right click and “Save As” to download or click to open: Microsoft Office Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts (PDF)

Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with my email form. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Why are blank pages printing with Word?

Babs, a guest reader from Long Island, NY emailed me yesterday morning:


A former student of yours in NYC told me to contact you. Sometimes when I print a one page letter on Word I get a blank second page too. Can you help?


After writing to Babs, I learned that she was an experienced typist who had spent as much time on typewriters as she had on word processors like Word.

In my teaching experience, I have seen many people who are accustomed to using typewriters —however long ago that may have been— have a habit of hitting the “Enter” key several times when they finish typing a letter. Typewriter users would often do this to eject the paper sheet from the typewriter.

Word Status BarOn a word processor this often results in the cursor going onto a second page. A glance at the status bar in the lower left hand corner of the monitor will show the ‘typing cursor location’ and ‘page count’ (shown in picture at right). The message “Page 2 of 2” means that the cursor is on the second page of a two page document. Even though there is nothing typed on the second page the printer will load and eject a second blank page.

Okay, but how do I fix this?

You just need to move your typing cursor to the end of the document and tap the ‘Delete’ key several times until the cursor appears at the end of the last word in your document.

A quick way to get to the end of a document is to use CTRL + End. (Hold the ‘CTRL’ key with one hand, and tap the ‘End’ key with your other hand). The cursor will move to the end of the document.