Question:  My computer locks up a lot, why?

Answer: This is a very loaded question. It could be caused by a lot of different things. One thing Windows doesn't like is any program which are started up in DOS before Windows starts, one of the most common problems are scanning programs, but could be anything else too. Also, look at the system tray (the area where the icons are at next to the time), all the icons indicate programs which start when Windows does. One of the programs may have a compatibility with your version of Windows or may be configured improperly. Many of the programs in the system tray do not need to be there, the manufacturer just chose to put it there but it ultimately causes problems. This issue needs to be looked at by someone who can assess what is causing your problem, so, call for an appointment. No matter what you read, Windows is not unstable and you should not be experiencing constant problems with lock ups and illegal operation errors. The machines which have the worst problems are the computers with generic BIOS which have been built by the guy down the block. While it may have seemed like a good deal or the guy seemed to know what he was doing, you'll probably pay more later. Marrying compatible hardware together for a solid system is very important. If you watch the benchmark tests the magazines do on retail systems, there can be as much as a 30% speed difference with systems with the same hardware, it depends on how the system is integrated together. Most times, the guy building the systems in his garage is going to end up with a system which will not perform nearly as well, and try to get a 3 year guarantee from him. Next, make sure if you get an illegal operation, make a note of what program you were running and what you did when it happened. Could be a bad program or some tweaking is needed. Also along the same lines, if an application does crash, you should always shut down and restart. Even though everything seems OK, things can be messed up in memory and continuing to use the computer can cause other programs to crash making it seem like the whole computer is a mess when the whole problem was created by one bad application.

Question: How do I change the default font in Microsoft Word?

Answer: I've never been able to figure out why Microsoft hasn't caught up with the rest of the world long ago on this one. When you install Word the default font is Times New Roman 10 point. Businesses seemed to standardize on using Arial 12 point several years ago. It is a very clean looking easy to read font, and for us older folks, 12 point is much easier on the eyes. To change the default font click on the Format menu, click Style, click Modify, now click Add to template (if you don't do this, the default won't be changed, now click Format, then Font. Now select Arial 12. Then click OK, OK, then Apply. Arial 12 will no be your default font.

Question: How do I remove a file from the recently opened file list in Microsoft Word?

Answer: To remove files from the list at the bottom of the File menu, first press Ctrl-Alt-- (that's the minus key). When you do, the mouse pointer changes to a minus sign. Now from the menu bar select File, then click on the item in the Recent Files list that you want to remove. It's gone!

Question: How do I change the number of files which can show up on the recently opened file list in Word?

Answer: Go to the Tools menu, click on Options, click on the General tab and go down the list to the item which says Recently used file list and change the number to anything up to nine.

Question: I started typing in Word and forgot to turn the caps lock key off and now have a bunch of text in capital letters. Is there and easy way to change it without re-typing?

Answer: To toggle the case of selected text, press Shift-F3 to toggle to sentence and upper case. Ctrl-Shift-A toggles from existing to Upper case.

Question: Is there an easy way to select certain text in Word?

Answer: Use the mouse to select text: One Word - Double click on the word. One Paragraph - Move the cursor to the left so it changes to an arrow, then double click. More Than One Paragraph - Move the cursor to the left so it changes to an arrow, then hold the mouse button down while scrolling to the end of the selected area. Entire Document - With the cursor anywhere in the left side, hold the Ctrl key down and click.

Question: Is there an easy way to return to the point I was editing the last time I used a document in Word?

Answer: When opening a document, press Shift-F5 to return to the last editing point.

Question: I want to print out a document which is slightly larger than one page but would like to condense it to fit on a single page. How can I do this?

Answer: Instead of fussing with margins, fonts, and page settings to squeeze that one-and-a-quarter-page document onto one page, let Word do the work for you. Select File, Properties, and click the Shrink to Fit button. Word will make all the necessary tweaks to fit your document onto a single page. On longer documents, Word will reduce the page count as much as it deems prudent.

Question: What is Autotext in Word?

Answer: This is one of the handiest features in Word which almost nobody uses. Autotext is used to inset text or graphics which you use often. Examples include a company logo, a scanned signature, boiler plate text used in forms or letters, etc. To create an autotext entry, first have the text, graphic, or whatever on the screen, highlight the entry, click on the Insert menu, click Autotext, then click New, then give it a name. Now if you go back to the menu and click Autotext your entry is there and you can insert it into a document. Cool!

Question: Where can I get label templates for Word?

Answer: Probably in the program, that's right, most people don't realize label templates for most labels are in the program. Go to the Tools menu, click on Envelopes and Labels then click on the Labels tab. Click on Options and the chances are the label template you're looking for is in the list. If you just want to make up a template, click on New Label and go from there. The items from this point on vary between the different versions of Word but are straight forward. One other tip here, if you are only going to print a couple of labels, go to the cells at the end of the page since it will be easier for your printer to pull the sheets through after some of the labels have been removed.

Question: Is there a way to print a graphic on an envelope return address in Word?

Answer: Ever get frustrated when you want to put a graphic in the return address on an envelope and find out Word only lets you type text? Well, Word checks it's list of macros for some which run automatically. One of these is called EnvelopeExtra1. Anything contained in this macro will print in the return address area, although NOTE: You will not see the graphic in the preview pane when you go to print and also, if you check omit return address, it will still print. If you want a graphic in the return address, make a document with the graphic and text you want, highlight everything which goes in the return address, go to the Insert menu, click on Autotext, click on New, now give it the name EnvelopeExtra1. When you go to print an envelope, it will print out automatically.

Question: I've been sharing Word documents with friends who are having trouble opening them, why?

Answer: If you are using Word 2000, or later, and they are using an older version, this is one of the things you should keep in mind. Because features change as time and version go on, you need to do a Save As and save the document in the version of Word they are using. Older version files can be opened in a later version of software but not the reverse. Since now, most people have either Word 97 or Word 2000, I suggest setting the following in word 2000. Start Word 2000 and select Tools/Options from the menu bar. Click on the Save tab, then select the Disable Features Not Supported By Word 97 check box and click OK. Now when you save a document in Word 2000, Word lists the features it's able to convert (if any) for use in Word 97. If your friends are using Word 95 or older, when you go to save the file do a Save As and select the appropriate file type. The main things to stay away from are fancy graphics and advanced table stuff. These items usually can't be saved in an older format. You can also check out the Microsoft Office web site for more info. by clicking here.

Please Note: All information provided in The Help Desk web site is in easy to understand terms, in my opinion only, and may not necessarily be the only accepted answers or advice.  I will not be responsible for any problems caused from anyone making any configuration or hardware changes to their computer system resulting from information obtained from this web site.  Please contact me prior to using any content from this web site.