Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The 17th Carnival of Computer Help and Advice

Welcome to the seventeenth monthly Carnival of Computer Help and Advice. Another collection of blog articles to help you avoid problems and get the most out of your PC.

He start this month with some relief for Vista users. Krissb explains how to get rid of the annoying dialog box that opens everytime you want to perform some sort of administrative task. See the Get rid of the UAC! article at SEEPEYU.

Jules of says, "If you are using Microsoft Outlook for your email, then there is a simple add-on from Microsoft that can help you make regular backups." To find out more go to Backup Outlook PST Files.

We often include articles about Firefox hacks in this carnival. This month's supply comes from kemei, who presents 8 ways to hack Firefox to load faster posted at infomaniac.

On ths subject of Internet apps, Ivan at PC Hacks has written an excellent article that answers the question, What Is A Proxy Server And How To Use It?

"For those of you, who have to work for long hours on the computer, your eyes are put to undue strain. Here are a few tips on how to relax them." So says Aparna of Beauty and Personal Grooming. Do yourself a favour and see that article: Eye care for computer users.

For those of you who have made the switch to linux or are considering making the move, Yonit Gruber-hazani lists 13 books and magazines for linux sysadmins at

We round up this month with a post from regular carnival contributor, Andrew Edgington, who presents Adobe Photoshop Elements Tools - How to use the Smart Brush on his Master Adobe Elements blog.

If you have a blog with posts about computer issues and would like to host the next carnival then please leave a comment on this post or use the contact form over at our Blog Carnival page, where you can also submit your blog posts for inclusion in a future carnival.

If you would like to host a future carnival but don't wish to have the responsibility for selecting articles or writing the carnival post, don't worry I can do that for you.

More next month.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Putting new buttons on toolbars in MS Office (before the 2007 version)

A while ago I published an article that suggested that rather than printing directly from web browsers, such as Internet Explorer, it is better to copy the information that you want into a word processor and print it from there. In that article I mentioned the use of the 'Paste Special' in Word, which enables you to remove formatting from the information that you paste. In this article I will explain how to put a button for 'Paste Special' onto the toolbar in Microsoft Word 2003 and other earlier versions. This technique can also be used to add any of the other available buttons onto any toolbar.

Open up Word and right-click on one of the toolbars, which are at the top of the screen below the menu and look something like this:

From the menu, select 'Customize...', which will open a dialog box. Click on the 'Commands' tab.

Select 'Edit' from the left-hand menu, because the 'Paste Special' tool is listed in the 'Edit' menu. Scroll down through the list on the right-hand until you see 'Paste Special' then left-click on it and hold the mouse button down. The mouse pointer should change to an arrow pointing at a rectangle with a square to the bottom right, which will have an X in it initially.

Move the pointer up to the toolbars and release the mouse button when it is in a suitable position: next to the normal paste button for example. You will notice that the mouse pointer changed appearance again when you hovered over the toolbar, with the X being replaced with a + to let you know that the new button can be placed there.

Your toolbar should now look something like this:

If you wish to remove a button from the toolbar, follow the instructions above for opening the 'Customize' dialog, but rather than drag from the dialog box to the toolbar, click on the button you wish to remove from the toolbar and drag it into the dialog box.

This process also works in the other Microsoft Office applications such as Excel and PowerPoint. With Office 2007, Microsoft have replaced the old tried-and-tested menu and toolbar arrangement with something called 'ribbons' (as pictured below) and there is no way to customise these in the same way as detailed above.

This is an edited version of a post that first appeared on Bloody Computer! on 19th November 2007.

Friday, 8 May 2009

How to password protect any file in Windows XP

Certain applications, such as Microsoft Word, enable you to password protect your files. Nevertheless, the zip functionality that is built into Windows XP enables the user to password protect any file by compressing it using a password. If you have an alternate compression application, such as WinRar installed then you can also use that to password protect files on any version of Windows.

To do so, right-click on the file you wish to password protect and select 'Send to...' From the sub-menu that pops up select 'Compressed (zipped) folder'

This will create a zip file with the same name as the original file.

Right-click on this zip file and select 'Explore'. This will open the file in a new window. From the 'File' menu select 'Add a password'.

Type the password in twice and click OK

Delete the original file, and for extra safety, empty your 'Recycle Bin'.

You may see the following message if you have another compression application installed. If so, just click 'Yes', and carry on as above.