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Archive for June, 2012

it2go Episode 42 – Number Formatting in Excel

On this week’s episode we’re talking about how to format numbers to include leading zeros in Excel.

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Excel 2010: Converting Case of Text Entries

When you import large data sets into Excel, some columns of text may not display in the case you would prefer. For example, you could have a column of names that are all upper case where you want only the first letter of the name to be upper case. Or you might have a list of model IDs that are lower case where you expected upper case. There are three functions for working with text that might be just the tools you need to improve the appearance of your data.

The functions are UPPER, LOWER and PROPER. This function, =UPPER(A1) will convert the text in cell A1 to all upper case. Similarly, the function =LOWER(A1) converts all the text in cell A1 to lower case. The PROPER function converts just the first letter of the text in the designated cell to upper case.

Proper Function

The best way to convert a column of data is to:

1)      Back up the spreadsheet

2)      Insert a blank column to the right of the column holding the text you would like to change.

3)      In the first row of the new column place the function you need and referencing the cell where the text sits assuming here that my original text is in cell A1: =PROPER(A1)

Copy the function down the rest of the column

The Creative Commons, a great resource for multimedia producers

I create videos, podcasts, and other digital material for delivery via the Web. I want my work to be visually and sonically interesting, but I’m not a professional designer or musician, and I don’t have lots of money to spend on assets from stock photo, video, and music services. My solution is the Creative Commons.

Founded in 2001, the Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables content creators to share their knowledge and creations through free, legal tools.  If you want others to be able to use your work only if they credit you with its creation, you can apply a license that states just that. There are licenses that give others the right to change your work and not give you credit, or change your work but state that the new work came from your original. You can disallow use of your work for commercial purposes or even dedicate your work to the public domain. Visit the Creative Commons website to learn about all of these options and others.

So, when I’m looking for background music for a podcast I can go to this page, and run a search. When I find music I like, I add the music to my podcast and make sure I’m following the rules stated in the license.

The thing I love about the Creative Commons is that it helps make the Internet a place for openness and sharing; a place where everyone can participate. Their vision statement is this:  “…nothing less than realizing the full potential of the Internet — universal access to research and education, full participation in culture — to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity. ”

I encourage you to take advantage of this wonderful resource.


Creative Commons licensed works will have a logo like one of these attached to them:

Creative Commons license buttons

Creative Commons license buttons







PowerPoint’s Selection Pane: What it’s for and how to use it

I recently came across an IT Training Tips Blog post by Donna K. Jones entitled “Renaming Clip Art Images When Creating Triggers in PowerPoint 2007 (Or… Using the Selection Pane)“.

“What?” I said to myself, “You can do that?”

Well it turns out you can. In my several years of using PowerPoint I have never noticed this Selection Pane, but there it was right under Bring Forward and Send Backward in the Arrange group in the Format tab.

Back in the day when I was using PowerPoint to create animations, and then converting them into video with Camtasia Studio for my IT Help Podcast, I could really have used this great feature.

Now that I do know about the Selection Pane I figured I’d make a little tutorial video to let you guys in on the secret.

I created a slide for a pretend presentation. This presentation is about animals and their habitats, and in the talk I want to mention an animal, show a picture of it, and show a picture of the place where it lives. I found some clip art images of the animals and the locations in which they might be found and arranged them on a slide.

I’ll use the Selection Pane to help me keep track of my images. I can also use it to organize text boxes and shapes.  I can give them useful, recognizable names, instead of their default names (i.e., picture 22, oval 1, etc.).  I can change an object’s place in the stacking order.  If you have lots of objects on a slide, it’s sometimes tricky to do this just by right-clicking and choosing Send to Back or Bring to Front.

Using the Selection Pane should speed up your design process. Watch my video and learn how to locate, and then use this neat tool.

Click to watch video.










it2go Episode 41 – IT Training on Twitter

On this week’s episode we’re talking about our Twitter presence with our new Social Media Specialist Laura Reed!

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