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Internet Explorer V8
16 March 2010

  Microsoft has released Internet Explorer version 8, which is stable and available to all licensed Windows users.

The toolbar and layout is a little different to earlier versions, but an introductory tour is available if you want an overview of the main changes.

For those of you who like to clear your cache of temporary files and cookies when you have finished work, the Safety menu is the place to go. On this menu, click the 'Delete Browsing History' option, choose the item(s) you want to clear (we recommend all except the first option be ticked) then click the 'Delete' button and the cache will be emptied on your PC.

You may notice another option on the Safety menu - 'In Private Browsing'. When you click this, a new browser window is opened with higher privacy settings in force, including 3rd party toolbar suppression. This is a good thing to use when accessing, for example, online banking or secure shopping sites. The only caveat is that some secure sites still use 'non-secure' or non-standard components in their design, so you might find that the 'In Private Browsing' method prevents them from working properly. In these cases, just use the normal settings and remember to clear out your cache afterwards (as above).

Security backup for Xmas period
15 December 2009

  Remember to check your system backup procedures for the Christmas and New Year.

Depending on how you operate, the backup routines may be expecting new media (such as CD or disk etc) to be put in every normal working day. As it is highly unlikely that staff will be in to do this during bank holidays, a backup failure could result in the whole routine being disrupted.

If you address this potential issue before the holiday, it will help minimise problems in the New Year.

Payment card security
22 October 2007

  The payment card industry has released a new set of standards this month that may impact on the way in which businesses process and store data for credit and debit cards. As more companies now accept payment by these methods and hold related information on computer systems, it is important that you do not compromise sensitive data or break any conditions imposed on you by the card providers.

For technical help about this or if you aren't sure whether your organisation is affected, please give us a call.

Microsoft Office compatibility
4 September 2007

  Did you know that Microsoft has provided a compatibility feature for Office 2007 - available to users of earlier versions of Office?

Providing that your system is up to date on all high priority downloads from Microsoft, you can make use of this latest feature. It enables users of Office versions 2000, 2003 or xp to open files created in Word, Excel of Powerpoint under Office 2007. This is relevant where your organisation has different versions of the application and does not wish to upgrade all copies - and also applies if you send or receive Office files to trading partners.

For technical advice on this or any similar matters, contact supplier or give Ultralogic Solutions a call.

System backup procedures
9 January 2007

  Your organisation probably has a well tested operation for backing up your system data every day, but can you answer the following questions?

- Are there at least 3 people who know how the backup procedure works and where the media holding those backups is kept
- When did you last restore from a backup to validate that the backup sets are complete
- Where are the backups of the system files themselves kept
- How far into the past does your oldest backup date

There is a good reason for asking each of these questions - and more. If you think your procedure needs checking out or for more information, contact any of our staff at Ultralogic Solutions for practical advice.

Recycle Bin
3 May 2006

  OK, so you may remember to empty your recycle bin occasionally - but have you ever checked it's properties?

Right click the icon on your desk top and check how much space is reserved for the bin. With the large disks available, even 1% may be more than sufficient for your needs.

Get into the habit of clearing down the bin periodically - but don't forget to ensure that you take regular back ups first. (This applies to both work and personal computers).

Powerpoint animated slides
1 December 2005

  One option to keep your audience interested in a presentation is to experiment with the animation alternatives for loading slides.

Under the menu bar option 'Slide Show' - use Animation Schemes to try some of the available selections (which are subdivided into subtle, moderate and exciting). You can rehearse your slide show to get an idea of the overall effect.

Remember to tailor the animation to your audience and use the busier animations sparingly.

Auto sizing columns in Excel
3 October 2005

  To resize a column in an Excel spreadsheet so that the contents fit, double click the boundary on the right hand size of the column heading. This will shrink or expand the column, as required.

If you want to do this for all columns in a worksheet, select the whole worksheet first and then double click the right hand boundary on any of the columns. (Note that the select all button is in the top left hand cell of the worksheet).

Quick close in Microsoft Word
3 May 2005

  If you have several files open in Word and want to close (or save) all of them at the same time, simply hold down the shift button before clicking on the File drop down menu.

Calculation of number of working days in Excel
3 March 2005

  You may receive an error #NAME? in your formula if trying to calculate the number of working days between 2 dates using the Excel function NETWORKDAYS.

If so, first check that your syntax is correct, as follows:

=NETWORKDAYS(start date, end date, holidays)

Note that holidays is an optional field.

Secondly, if the start and end dates are input into the spreadsheet (and not generated elsewhere), use the DATE function to format the start and end dates - this ensures that the calculation interprets the date accurately.

Finally, install and load the Analysis ToolPak, using the Add-Ins option on the tools menu.

For example: =NETWORKDAYS(DATE(2005,5,1),(DATE(2005,8,31))) gives a result of 88

Remember that you need to specify all Bank Holidays in the function as Excel only counts Saturday and Sunday as non-working days.

=NETWORKDAYS(DATE(2005,5,1),(DATE(2005,8,31)),G10:G12) gives a result of 85 where G10=DATE(2005,5,2) G11=DATE(2005,5,30) G12=DATE(2005,8,29)

Windows XP taskbar
1 November 2004
  Do you know how to customize your taskbar - and what features can be set for your own desktop?

By right clicking on the taskbar itself and selecting Properties, you can change the appearance of your taskbar.

E.g. you can not only hide inactive icons but, by clicking on the Customize option, you can choose to leave certain ones on permanent display. This can be very useful for certain applications - for example, anti-virus icons can be left on show at all times.

Customised formats in Excel
2 April 2004
  If you spend a lot of time formatting numbers in a spreadsheet to a preferred layout that is not available as a standard, set up your own customised format for ease of use

For example, if you want to display all numbers to the nearest thousand and not show the insignificant figures, try formatting a cell by using #,##0,

This will display large numbers to the nearest thousand - so 72,584,694 will be displayed as 72,585

To set this up as a customised format in Excel, go into the Number tab of the Format Cells option; select the Custom Category; type in #,##0,

You can expand this by specifying a format for how you would like to see a negative number or the value zero displayed. Have a play with the formats to make you spreadsheets more readable for yourself and others.

Non-breaking hyphens in Word
1 March 2004
  To avoid splitting words or phrases that contain a hyphen over two lines in Microsoft Word, instead of typing the hyphen, simply type in control+shift+hyphen as one character.

For example, try this with e-mail or Burton-upon-Trent

Domain names
12 November 2003

  As use of the internet becomes evermore popular, the worldwide proliferation of domain names - and extensions - is increasing in volume, leading to complications for both users trying to locate sites and companies deciding on which name(s) to register.

There is no one standard - not even in individual countries such as the U.K. - that organisations adopt in selecting a domain name. As more companies, government departments and individuals register domain names for their web sites, a larger number of extensions are being dreamt up to satisfy this increasing need.

Within the U.K., companies have conventionally utilised the extension '.co.uk' to indicate their location and nature of their trade. However, alternative extensions include '.biz'; '.info'; '.uk.com' etc. - whilst '.com' originates in America but is also used by organisations who tend (or wish) to trade internationally.

It is possible, and may be desirable, to register the same company name with different extensions and ensure that all point to your home page - e.g. anycompany.co.uk, anycompany.biz and anycompany.info can all be registered to one organisation and, if typed in by a person using the internet, could all point to your first welcome page.

Whatever your company decides to do, make sure you know when the registration is due for renewal. Most domain name registrations are only effective for one or two years. Ensure that you know when yours is due for renewal - and that you renew your registration in time. If not, you could lose your current domain name to someone else - who may want to charge you a premium to regain it.

More Windows keys
6 November 2003

  More shortcuts using the Windows key on the keyboard

(1) Windows key by itself - Displays Start menu

(2) Windows key + E - Opens Windows Explorer

(3) Windows + Tab repeatedly - Cycle through buttons on taskbar

(4) Windows + F - Opens search/find screen

(5) Windows + F1 - Displays Windows Help

(6) Windows + R - Opens the Run command

Some little known Windows shortcuts
24 September 2003

  Windows Key + M - Minimises all open windows.

Windows Key + SHIFT + M - Maximises all previously open windows to how they were before you minimised them.

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Tel: 01543 496885