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Archive for February, 2011

Changing Ruler Units from Inches to Centimeters in PowerPoint 2010

By default, the rulers in PowerPoint display measurement in inches. The same is true of the other Microsoft Office applications. If you prefer to view and work with metric units, this setting can be changed from within Microsoft Word and Excel (via Options > Advanced > Display) but not from within PowerPoint.

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Identifying and Replicating Colors in PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 includes many useful new features that make it easy for users to do everything they need to do from within the program. We can now edit images, audio clips, and even video without ever opening another application. While these editing capabilities are fairly limited, they are still extremely handy when you are trying to get a slide show out the door quickly.

Considering their efforts to include all the basic tools that a designer could ever need, I am really surprised that Microsoft has not integrated some type of color picker tool into their user interface. I can’t count the number of times over the past 5 years when I have needed to identify and replicate a specific color used in a slide show. Yes, I am a power user, and yes, I do create far more presentations than the average Joe, but I feel certain that even novice users may occasionally have this need. 

While it isn’t difficult to open Photoshop, or another image editing application, and to use the tools available to identify a color’s hexadecimal code or RGB values, it takes time.  I want everything to be quick and easy!   (  :

Pixie IconI guess that is why I was so excited when I recently discovered a handy little utility called Pixie. The program is free, easy to download and use, and it provides accurate color information, not only for use with PowerPoint, but for use with any application that doesn’t have its own built-in color picker.

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lynda has improved her look!

Easier ways to search


Lynda.com has not only changed its appearance, but has added enhancements to its search features.

The new interface allows you to search lynda’s library of training videos by choosing the subject, the software, or the author of the topic you are looking for:

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Excel: Tip for Saving Multiple Workbooks as One Workspace File

Did you know that if you frequently work with the same multiple workbooks in Excel, you can actually save these into one workspace file?  Then you will only have to open one file (rather than trying to find and open several workbook files) in order to have quick access to all of your Excel data.

Here are a few suggestions on how to do this:

  • Open all of the workbooks that you use at the same time, and arrange them the way you want by clicking Arrange All on the View tab; then choose Tiled,  Horizontal, Vertical, or Cascade.
  • To save the file as a workspace file, on the View tab, click the Save Workspace button, and you will be given an opportunity to choose a location.
  • Click Save. The file will be saved with the extension .xlw.
  • To open the file, navigate to the folder where it is saved, choose the *.xlw file and click Open just like you would any other file. All of the documents will open and be displayed in the same manner as when you saved and closed them. The workspace file will also appear under Recent Workbooks located under the File tab with your other recently saved workbooks.

This workspace file is just a handy way to open multiple workbooks all at once in the same way that you closed them. Everything else works the same. The changes you save to any workbook individually will always appear within the workspace file. If you make any changes to a workbook in the workspace file itself, you will be prompted to save that workbook before closing it.

Not Another Java Update??!

Every time my friend turns on her laptop, she is prompted to update Java. I have heard her complain about this for months now, and I decided it was time to address this issue.    
     Lots of coffee cups in front of the computer

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Troubleshooting Hard Drive Problems

Error talk

Uh-oh, the notorious “Windows detected a hard disk problem” error. What now? This article will show you steps you can take to make a proper decision about the problem. These steps can be taken for almost any suspected hard disk problem whether or not you’ve gotten this error.

Windows detected a hard disk problem

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Using the Push Pin in Microsoft Applications

Have you ever wondered what the purpose of that little push pin is when it shows up in a Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010 application? This push pin can be quite a time saver when opening documents or using online Help in Office applications.

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