Registration Now Open for July Computer Classes

The Regional Library Computer Center July 2013 Computer Classes schedule is now available, and registration is open to the public for the free courses. Please note that class times have been changed to 10:30 am – 12:30 pm. This month, we are again offering Microsoft Office 2010 programs and featuring Twitter in our “Introduction to Social Media” course. OpenOffice.org programs will be offered in August.

Beginner Classes

  • July 8 – Keyboarding: Introduces you to the basics of working with the computer keyboard and the mouse. Participants need not have any previous computer experience to take this course.
  • July 9 – Basic PC: Introduces people to the computer: basic PC terms, components, hardware, peripherals, desktop features, etc. Participants need not have any previous computer experience to take this course.
  • July 10 – Basic Internet: Introduces people to the history of the Internet, how to access and surf the Web, what web browsers are, what search engines are available, and basic search methods. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.

Intermediate Classes

  • July 15 – Microsoft Word 2010 Part 1: Introduces people to Word 2010, a word processing application that is part of the Microsoft Office suite. It is recommended that participants to take all three parts. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.
  • July 16 – Microsoft Word 2010 Part 2
  • July 17 – Microsoft Word 2010 Part 3
  • July 24 – Email Workshop: Helps people set up email accounts and learn to maneuver their way through email browsers. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding, Basic PC, and Basic Internet or have some PC, mouse, keyboarding, and Internet experience to take this course.

Advanced Classes

  • July 22 – Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 Part 1: Introduces people to PowerPoint 2010 presentation software. It is recommended that participants take Microsoft Word 2010 prior to taking this course.  It is also recommended that participants take both parts of the course. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.
  • July 23 – Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 Part 2
  • July 29 – Microsoft Excel 2010 Part 1: Introduces people to Microsoft Excel 2010, a spreadsheet software in the Microsoft 2010 Office Suite. It is recommended that participants take Microsoft Word 2010 prior to taking this course.  It is also recommended that participants take both parts of the course. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding and Basic PC or have some PC, mouse, and keyboarding experience to take this course.
  • July 30 – Microsoft Excel 2010 Part 2
  • July 31 – Introduction to Social Media – TWITTER: Introduces people to the history, elements, and software used in social media interactions. Participants need to have taken Keyboarding, Basic PC, and Basic Internet or have some PC, mouse, keyboarding, and Internet experience to take this course. An email account is needed for this class.

Line Spacing in Microsoft Word

A few days ago I discovered a new shortcut to changing the line spacing in Microsoft Word.  This shortcut should work with whatever version of Microsoft Word you own or use. It is very simple. There are a couple of ways that you can do it. First, you can place your mouse pointer at the start of the paragraph that you wish to change line spacing. Let’s say that we currently have single line spacing and we want to change it to double line spacing. After placing your mouse pointer at the beginning of the paragraph, press the “CTRL” key and “2” together. This should change the line spacing from one line to two lines. Another method you can use is by highlighting the text you wish to change and pressing the same key combination. To make text single line spacing press the “CTRL” key and “1”.  Try it for yourself…it works! It saves a lot of time by not having to use the menu or toolbars.

Converting .docx files to .doc

We have many people who come into the computer center wanting to open a file that was created by Microsoft Word 2007. The new version of Microsoft Word came with a change in extension format. Before the 2007 Word the extension ended in .doc. With Microsoft Word 2007 it now ends in .docx. This creates a problem because we still use Microsoft Word 2002 which uses the old extension. So Microsoft Word 2002 can’t open a Word 2007 file. However, there are some things which can be done to correct this or override this problem.

First, if you have any version of Microsoft Office besides 2007, there is a compatibility pack that can be downloaded to your computer which will allow you to open a .docx file in a older version of Word. The website for that compatibility pack is Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats.

There is also a website called Zamzar which can convert files to different formats. It is a fairly easy tool to use. Basically you find the file you wish to convert and choose the format in which you want it in and then enter your email address. As soon as the conversion is complete, an email will be sent to you. Sometimes this only takes a few minutes but at other times it can take hours.

There are other programs available on the Internet that can be used to convert files. Just do a Google search for “file conversion” or something similiar and you should be able to find other resources which might prove to be helpful.

Alternatives to Microsoft Word

In recent days my computer as decided that it is time to shut down when I open up Microsoft Word or try to open up any kind of Word document. Until the problem is solved there are several remedies that I could use temporarily. First there are portable office suites that you can install on your flash drive. It isn’t Microsoft Word but they work basically the same way. One portable app is called Open Office. It is also available for download to a computers hard drive as well. Open Office is one alternative office suite that is most similar to Microsoft Word and it is compatible with Microsoft Word.

Another method of using office suites is to use online office suites like Google Docs or Zoho. Both of these office suites are free to use. You must first create an account. The downside to using online office suites is that there is not guarantee that the Internet service will always be available. Things happen and when things happen you lose power which means you lose your Internet connection. On the other hand, online apps are pretty much available at any Internet connected computer. You don’t need to download any special package in order to use it.

Microsoft Office Alternative

When purchasing both my desktop PC and laptop, I wasn’t given many options in regards to a word processing suite. If you wanted Microsoft Office there was an additional cost to have it added to the PC. With both my computers I was given Microsoft Works, which is basically a watered-down version of the Microsoft Office suite. To be honest with you, I am not that fond of Works. First of all, it doesn’t have all the features of Microsoft Office. Second, I don’t like the interface of Works. Third, sometimes it is not compatible to other programs.

Without going into debt, there are other alternatives to Microsoft Office and Microsoft Works. There are online programs such as Google Docs that is capable of handling most formats. There is also alternate office suites which can be downloaded to your computer at a very reasonable price…free! Open Office is one such example of free word processing. The multiplatform and multilingual office suite is free to download, use and distribute. For Open Office 2 the system requirements for a Windows-based system are as follows:

  • Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000 (Service Pack 2 or higher), Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista (enhanced Vista integration from version 2.2)
  • 128 Mbytes RAM
  • At least 800 Mbytes available disk space for a default install (including a JRE) via download. After installation and deletion of temporary installation files, OpenOffice.org will use approximately 440 Mbytes disk space.
  • 800 x 600 or higher resolution with at least 256 colours

Other system requirements can be found by going here.

This Microsoft Office alternative has basically the same features of Microsoft Office, just without the high price.

There are several components to Open Office. In some ways I believe that Open Office is a better program than its competition. Here are the components:

  • Writer
  • Calc
  • Impress
  • Draw
  • Base
  • Math

Each of these components can be examined further by visiting: http://www.openoffice.org/product/product.html.

Homewood Public Library’s Online Tutorials

The Homewood Public Library offers online tutorals for both Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. Each tutorial has three sections. I just finished taking Part 1 of the Microsoft Excel tutorial and it is an excellent tutorial for a beginner. Here is the link to the tutorials: http://www.homewood.lib.al.us/CSD/trainingLab.html#onlineTutorials.

Autosummarize in Word

Last night I discovered something new on Microsoft Word. Since I have Microsoft Office 2003 I thought that it was a new feature for this version. As I was working on Word today, I checked to see whether the same feature was on the 2002 version. And guess what! It was and I would have never known it was there if I hadn’t been working on my project last night.

It is a pretty neat feature. Especially for those who write for a living. It is called “Autosummarize”.

It allows you to create a summary, highlighting the keypoints of the message. You have a lot of control over what you create. Here is a screenshot of what you will see after you select Autosummarize.

After you decide how you want it to summarize you will automatically be given the new page with the changes on it. The “autosummary” is at the top of the page.

Scanning Capabilities

The RLCC has scanning capabilities available to the general public. If you need assistance with scanning a document or image you may ask any staff member in the RLCC. You will need to have a floppy disk to save your information once you have completed your task. If you don’t have a floppy disk, the RLCC does sell floppy disks for $1 each. Also, we charge a $1 per scan. The scanning capabilities include the ability to scan a document directly onto a software program file such as Microsoft Word. Also, when you scan you can choose to have the image or document scanned directly onto the location in which you want it saved. So if you are wanting it to be saved to your floppy disk, you would simply choose the floppy disk from the drop down menu of items. You also need to select what format you want the item to be saved as. If it is a text file you can save it as a simple text file, html file or even a PDF file. For images, you may save it as a JPEG, GIF, or BMP.  If you have multiple pages to scan and you want them in the same document, then we can assist you with that as well.