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Understanding the Basics of Computers, Issue #014
November 30, 2009

Ezine issue 14

Understanding the Basics of Computers

Your source for computer tips and tricks for the beginner computer user

November 30, 2009 Issue 14

Welcome to the November issue of Understanding the Basics of Computers. I hope the articles I have chosen in this issues help you with your computer problems or teach you something you didn't know before. For all of my readers in the Denver metro area, please consider my one-on-one training. The cost is $40.00 for a 1 hour session. All lessons are project based and if you don't feel like you learned everything you anticipated I will work with you free until you understand. Please contact me if you are local to the Denver metro area and interested in a personalized training session. I am also working on making the web pages easier to find things so look for changes at and let me know what you think. If you have any suggestions for the website please email me at and let me know what you think or what you would like me to add.

In this issue:

  • Computer accessibility features
  • Online Maps
  • Holiday Party Template

Computer accessibility features

Very few of us have 20/20 vision, perfect hearing, and 100-percent use of every single part of our bodies. With all of Microsoft's products they have built in features to accommodate persons with vision and hearing trouble. I'm here to point you toward some resources that will help you get the most out of your software so that you can get the most out of your computer time, and then get on with your day. I am going to cover some of the Microsoft office accessibility features and a few window features that may help make your computer more user friendly.

Get a better view

Word 2007 Full Screen Reading view improves the resolution and display of text for reading on the screen. As well, in Full Screen Reading view, you can highlight content, track your changes, add comments, and review changes. The simplest way to change to full screen reading view is at the bottom right side of your document you will see 5 buttons place your mouse over each one and read the popup that tells you the view style your document will be viewed in. Click the one that says Full Screen Reading.

Word 2003 With the Reading Layout View, if you're opening a document primarily to read it, text is automatically displayed using Microsoft ClearType technology, which improves the legibility of what you're reading. As well, Reading Layout and Reviewing are the only toolbars that are displayed - all others are hidden, giving you more room for the document.

Learn your keyboard shortcuts

Fact is, keyboard shortcuts are the meat and potatoes of accessibility features for any program, whether it's Windows or Word. Maybe you have difficulty using the mouse, or are starting to suspect your wrist doesn't like it. Give your mouse (and your wrist) a break; learn how to work with the keyboard in Office and start accomplishing tasks more quickly and easily with simple keystrokes. Using keyboard shortcuts can help you complete some tasks faster and more easily. Many features and commands are available directly by pressing two or more keys simultaneously. Email me if you would like a list of keyboard shortcuts.

Customize toolbars and menus

We try to anticipate your needs when we're designing toolbars and menus, but one size - or style or button arrangement - does not fit all.

Office 2007 In Office 2007, the Quick Access Toolbar is a customizable toolbar that contains a set of commands that are independent of the tab that is currently displayed. You can customize the Quick Access Toolbar in the Office 2007 programs that use the Ribbon, which is part of the Microsoft Office Fluent user interface.

Office 2003 You can customize toolbars and menu commands in most Office 2003 programs to put the most used commands within easy reach.


In windows go into your control panel and click on Display. In these windows you can modify your windows program to better fit you needs.

Online Maps

Need directions to a meeting or the hot new restaurant across town? Want help planning a bicycle trek or a cross-country road trip? Curious about the location of your neighborhood or the small town your grandparents were born in?

Wherever you want to go, whatever you want to find, mapping software and Web sites can make finding what you need easy and fun.

Find addresses instantly online

MapQuest, Yahoo! Maps, and are among the most popular map sites on the Web. Enter an address and within seconds a color map of the location appears. You can zoom in for closer street information and get turn-by-turn directions to print out and take with you. Some sites calculate the number of miles from your starting point to your destination and estimate your travel time.

Plan detailed trip or jogging routes with map software

Installing a practical tool like Microsoft Streets & Trips on your computer can be very useful. It enables you to map routes that don't follow roads, map multiple destinations, send location information to your mobile phone, and find restaurants, landmarks, hotels, and public transportation stops in North American cities. It also gives you travel tips, such as how much gas you'll use getting to specific locations.

Some People use Streets & Trips to create jogging routes and track his time and distance. They like being able to map routes that don't correspond with roads, such as footpaths through parks and along the edges of rivers.

Use map tools to simplify and enhance your everyday life

Maps are useful for far more than family road trips or driving directions. Try using these handy mapping tools in your everyday life. For example:

  • Print maps to your child's party to enclose with the invitations.
  • Map the carpool route that is used to transport your children and their friends to extracurricular activities like swimming lessons or hockey practice. Print a copy for each parent.
  • Include maps in e-mail directions to your house when sending an electronic invitation.
  • Find out how far it is to walk different routes. Plan a "walking route" for each day of the week or to share with your walking group.
  • If you are an avid biker in a big city, use a map to find alternative side-street routes to your destination and to avoid the larger, busier streets at rush hour.
  • New to a city or area? Use maps to find the major routes to stores, your new job, and recreational facilities.

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Holiday Party Template

I thought it would be fun to include some holiday party templates so you can practice using your computer skills and make your own holiday party invitations.

These holiday party templates make party planning fun and easy. Choose from existing themes or add your own designs to create a unified set of party invitations, menus, place cards, thank you cards, and more. Click here to browse the templates and download them free.

I hope this issue of Understanding the Basics of Computers was helpful. If you have any suggestions for next months issue or comments on this issue please let me know.

Keep learning about your computer,
Jennifer Anderson

P.S. If you would like to purchase ad space in my e-zine please mail me with Ad in the subject line.

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