Keep it Forever Using Evernote’s Web Clipper

Have you ever had the frustration of finding a fantastic article on the internet, only to come back a few days later and find that it is no longer there? If so, I have a great tip for you! Download Evernote’s “Web Clipper” add on for your browser and never lose that article again. If you are not familiar with Evernote, let me describe it for you in a nutshell; it is platform- and device-independent software that allows you to take notes, create lists, capture photos, and, for the purposes of this article, capture whole web pages, storing them in a personal electronic notebook. Many articles have been written already on this site about its features so feel free to search the term Evernote in our search bar. You can also visit their website at Evernote.com.

To install the Evernote “Web Clipper”, go to evernote.com and click the “Downloads” link on the main page. Below, you will see a picture of the Evernote main page with a pointer to the link.

Evernote Downloads Link

When you click the “Downloads” link on the main page, you will be taken to a page with different downloads. Find the option that says “Web Clipper” and click it. In the picture below, you will notice that Evernote detected the browser that I was using, and gave me the appropriate extension.

Chrome Extension

One you install the appropriate extension, or add on, for your browser, you will notice a new icon in your browser’s toolbar that looks like a green square with an elephant’s head in it. Now you are ready to do some clipping! Let’s say you find a great article on Techie Buzz that you would love to keep handy. Simply navigate to the page and click the Evernote logo in your browser window. Evernote will prompt you to login. Below, you will see a picture of the dialog box with the different options afforded you.

Clip Options

As you can see from the picture above, you have several options from which to choose. The first line that you see shows the title of the web page you are looking at. Second, you have the option to pick which notebook you would like your web clipping to be put in. The last two lines allow you to put tags for searching and a description. You will see a large button at the bottom of the box that gives you the option to clip the article, the full page, or just the URL of the page. In this example I chose “Clip full page”. When you have everything set up just the way you want it, click the large green “Clip article” button.

Now you have a permanent copy of that web page stored in a note. See the picture below. I clipped an article that I previously wrote for Techie Buzz. I now have a fully functioning (links and all) copy of that whole page. How cool is that? I can even put my own notes on the page now. It is also full searchable in my Evernote application.

Clipped Page

Did I mention that you could start using Evernote’s features for FREE! Even if you decide to use the premium features, it is only $5 per month. I think this is a great bargain.  Evernote is a powerful tool and the “Web Clipper” is a great feature.  I could see this being great for gathering recipes, collaborating on a website design, keeping up with references for a paper, and much more.

How would you use this feature? I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts.

 

 

 

How To Create a Lion Install Disk with Lion DiskMaker

Most of the world is aware that Apple released OS X Lion exclusively on the Mac App Store. While this model of digital distribution guaranteed enough copies for everyone who wanted one, and cut down on the possibility of heat effected lines. However, what this didn’t provide was a physical backup of the install files.

Lion natively creates a recovery partition on any Mac it is installed on. While that will be fine for most cases of simply reinstalling the OS, it has its negatives. If you hard drive becomes corrupted, or physically breaks, you will need to start over from Snow Leopard. That sounds very annoying, but developers have been working hard to make it a non-issue.

While it is possible to create a Lion install disk manually, it can be a little complicated. Thankfully, a French developer has made it a little easier with a free tool called Lion DiskMaker. In order to make use of it, you will need a copy of the Lion install file.

While that isn’t a problem if you have not yet installed Lion, it requires a little trickery to get said file on a machine already running Lion. In order to do so, open the Mac App Store and click the “Purchased” tab while holding the “Option” key. You will then be able to re-download the install file, and thus create an installation disk.

Once you have the Lion installer, you need to download and unzip Lion DiskMaker. Once that is done, you need to put your destination disk into your machine. You can use a DVD or a flash drive of size 4GB or greater. Once you are set up, run Lion DiskMaker. You will notice that the app is written in French, but its still very easy to use.

Step 1. – When you first open the app, you will see this window. If you are using a DVD, click the button that says “DVD.” If you are using a USB thumb drive, click the one that says “USB.”

Step 2 – The next window that pops up will be this one. Click the button on the right, and you will be taken to the selection window shown below. For this example, I used a USB key, so I picked that drive eon my system and hit “Choose.”

Step 3 – Once you choose a disk, the program will begin to run. It will unpack the needed files from the Lion installer, and then proceed to burn them to your disk of choice. This can take up to a half an hour, so be patient.

Step 4 – After the burning is complete, you will see this window. You can click the button on the right to exit the application, or the one on the left to create another disk. Once you are done, be sure to unmount/eject your drives correctly, and place the finished media in a safe place.

As you can see, its easy to create your own Lion install disk. While I hope an English version of this app is available soon, the French version does the job and is very easy to use. if you have any questions or comments, let us know in the comments section.

Update:  A version of Lion DiskMaker is  available  in English. You can grab it here. Thanks to  Guillaume Gete for the email and the link to the US version.

Editing the Slide Master in PowerPoint 2010

Slide MasterHave you ever wanted to create a visual presentation that utilizes your company logo and color scheme? PowerPoint has great built in themes, but sometimes you just want something a little more customized. You could customize each slide with colors and logo placement, however, there is a much easier way to do this. PowerPoint has a feature called the “Slide Master” which allows you to format once, but affect every slide in the presentation.

The process of editing the “Slide Master” is pretty simple. In PowerPoint 2010, click the “View” tab above the ribbon toolbar. On the “View” tab, you will find a button that says “Slide Master”, as illustrated below.

Slide Master Button

When you are in the “Slide Master” view you, will see a blank slide with several miniature slide layouts running down the left side of the screen. Clicking on these miniatures will show you a preview of how that particular layout will appear with the edits you make here. See the picture below.

Slide Master

Let’s say you wanted to make the slide title a particular font and size. Click inside the title placeholder and highlight the text. You should see a font toolbar pop up like the one pictured below. Here, you can customize the font. You will also notice that you can edit the different levels in a bulleted list. Note, any change you make here affects every slide in the presentation. You are basically setting the defaults for this presentation.

Font Change

Let’s say that you wanted to edit the background color of the bulleted list. It is pretty easy to do. Right click in the shape area, and you will notice a little toolbar pop up, like the one pictured below. You will notice a little paint bucket icon on there with a small downward pointing arrow to the right. Click this arrow, and you will get a color selector that will allow you to choose a background color for the shape. Note, you can also do pictures, gradients, and textures.

Fill Shape Color

You might also decide that you would like to customize a different color for the main slide area. To do this, right click on the outer edge of the slide, away from any shape, and choose “Format Background” from the menu. In the picture below, you will see what the “Format Background” dialog box looks like. Like shapes, you can fill backgrounds with solid colors, gradients, pictures, or patterns.

Background Color

Once you have all of your fonts and colors the way you like it, you can move on to adding a custom logo. You can insert the logo from a picture file, or simply copy it from a website. if you like. Below, you can see what the logo file looks like when pasted into PowerPoint. Notice the “Paste Options” toolbar. There is an icon with an image attached to a clipboard. If you click this button, it will paste the picture that you have copied from a website.

Pasted Logo

Now, you have your logo in the presentation. The next step will be to find a good location for it in the presentation. In the example below, the image was positioned in the bottom right corner of the slide. This looked great on the bulleted list layout, but notice that the subtitle placeholder on the title page is covering the image up. There are a couple of things that you could do here. The easiest thing would be to resize the subtitle slide to make it small enough not to cover the logo. You may want to check the other slide layouts, as well. For example, the content layout slides completely cover the logo up in the instance pictured below. You may want to resize them, as well.

Logo Covered Up

Now, you have come to the final stretch. To get out of the “Slide Master” view, click the “View” tab and select “Normal” on the ribbon toolbar.

Normal Button

Now, each new slide you insert into the presentation will be formatted in the same way as your “Slide Master”. Below, you will see a picture showing a slide that is formatted with the edits that were done in the “Slide Master” view. Hopefully, the creative wheels are turning in your head now. How might you use this nifty feature? As always, I would love to hear your comments below.

Slide Preview

How To Get Back Old Facebook Chat

Recently, rolled out a new video calling feature in collaboration with Skype. The new feature allowed for one-to-one video chatting with your friends. However, they also rolled out a new  chat sidebar which has been annoying people to no end.

Facebook Video Chat

Facebook has been known to annoy users with newer design changes, and it is no surprise that people are upset with such an attitude. Last time Facebook annoyed users with a new rollout for the image viewer, however, you can easily disable the Facebook Theater mode too.

Earlier last month, Google also annoyed users by changing their homepage design and adding a black bar at the top. You can easily remove the black bar in Google and similarly also revert back to the old Facebook chat.

Also Read: Group Video Chat on Facebook with Social Hangouts

In order to get rid of the new Facebook sidebar chat that has been included, you will need to install a script. Just head over to this link and click on the install button. This will install the script and revert Facebook chat to the older version.

The script should work out of the box in and with the Greasemonkey add-on installed. If you are using a browser like , Internet Explorer or Safari you might want to read our earlier guide about a workaround to run Greasemonkey scripts in Opera, Internet Explorer or Safari.

Don’t forget to read our earlier article on how you can make Facebook better in Google Chrome.

Update: You can also use a called Facebook Cool to restore the old Facebook chat. Download the extension from here.

Save Word Documents to Windows Live Skydrive

SkydriveI would love to have a nickel for every time the word “cloud” is used in some marketing piece these days. Are your marketing numbers down? No fear, just stick the words “cloud-hosted” in front of your product, and watch your numbers soar! For a lot of people, “the cloud” is just some mystery term that makes no sense. Let me put it to you in the simplest terms. If you take data from your computer and store it on another computer outside of your location, via the internet, you’re using “the cloud”. Why is it a “cloud”? Mostly, because you really have no idea of the physical location of the computer storing your information, or of the physical path it takes to get there. Today, I want to describe how you can save Word 2010 documents directly to “the cloud” using Windows Live SkyDrive.

Windows Live SkyDrive is a service of Microsoft. It provides 25GB of free online storage. Two of the greatest features it has are document sharing between yourself and  other Windows Live users, and in-browser editing of the documents that you store there. Let’s open a Word document and see how this is done.

In the picture below, you will see a Word document with a grocery list on it. Let’s say that you and your spouse would both like to be able to access and edit this document remotely. An easy way to do this is to use a shared folder in SkyDrive. To begin the process, you click the “File” tab on the ribbon toolbar in Word.

Word Document

 

Under the “File” tab, there is the option called “Save & Send”. Look at the picture below to see what this looks like. If you click this option, you will see a sub-menu with an option labeled “Save to Web”. Finally, clicking that option will take you to a sign in box.

Save & Send

You will need a Windows Live account to use this feature. If you are a Hotmail user, then you already have one. Just use your Hotmail account ID.

Windows Live LoginOnce you are logged in, you will see a list of folders available on your SkyDrive. In the picture below, you will see a folder highlighted under the heading of “Shared Folders”. Selecting this folder will make this file accessible to all the people with whom you have shared this folder.

Skydrive Folders

Now that you have selected the appropriate folder, click the “Save As” button at the bottom of the dialog box. You will see a window pop up similar to the one pictured below. Give the document a name and click the “Save” button to finish the job.

Save As Box

The Word document is now saved in “the cloud”. You can access the document by logging on to http://skydrive.live.com from any computer. When you do, you will see your SkyDrive folders listed.

Skydrive Window

Open the folder that contains your Word document, and you can view, as well as edit, the document right there in your browser. Below, you can see a picture of what the Word document looks like in the browser, as well as the location of the edit button.

Word in Browser

Using Word with SkyDrive is a great way to collaborate with others on a document.  It is also a good safety net because it keeps files backed up in an offsite location.  Hopefully, you can think of other creative uses for this feature.  Feel free to comment on this post at the bottom of the page, and let me know your thoughts on the subject.

 

Jazz Up Excel Spreadsheets Using Tables

Format As TableTake a look at the spreadsheet in the picture below? What does it say to you? Do you get the feeling you’re looking back in time at an old black and white TV? What this spreadsheet needs is some spunk! Today I would like to show you how Excel can turn this bland spreadsheet into a work of art!

Spreadsheet

Microsoft Excel 2010 has a real handy feature called “Format as Table”. This feature can be found on the “Home” tab of the ribbon toolbar.  See the picture below.

Format As Table

To use this feature, highlight your spreadsheet, and click the  “Format as Table” button. This will drop down a menu with different samples of tables you can choose from. Click one of the choices on the menu to apply it to your spreadsheet. A dialog box will pop up asking you to confirm where the data for your table resides.  Since you highlighted your spreadsheet to begin with, this data should be correct as shown. Since our spreadsheet does have column headers you want to make sure that the “My table has headers” check box is checked. Click OK to apply the table style to your spreadsheet.

Confirm Data Window

In the picture below, you will notice that your table style has been applied. You will also notice that there are little downward pointing arrows beside each column heading. These are filter arrows. If you click the filter arrow beside the heading labeled “State”, for example, you will have the option to filter the list to only show the states you want to see.

Table Headers

When you click in your newly formatted table, you will notice a new tab on the ribbon toolbar called “Design”. In the picture below, you will see this “Design” tab gives you the option to change the table styles. If you hover your mouse over the different table styles, the table changes to give you a preview of how it will look if that style is applied; however, the style will not be applied until you click it.

Design Tab

On the same “Design” tab, you will see “Table Style Options” group. Here you can add different formatting to the first column. You can even add a “Total Row”, as shown in the picture below.

Total Row

As you can see, using the “Format as Table” option in excel, is an easy way to add color and functionality to your spreadsheet. How would you use this feature in your spreadsheet?  Comments are always welcome. Please see the comment field at the bottom of this post.

Combine Multiple Documents in Word

Insert Object in WordRecently, I was tasked to update our “Techie Buzz Keyboard Safety Manual”. As self appointed Safety Manager, I was concerned about the rash of keyboard related injuries many of our staff were incurring. When I began to work on the manual I noticed something very strange. The person that saved the original manual had saved each section as a separate Word document. At first I panicked. What do I do? Did I seriously want to copy and paste each document into the master document? Fortunately, I remembered a trick that made this as easy as pie. Today, I would like to show you that trick.

Open the document you wish to add other documents to in Word. In the image below, you will notice section one of the manual.  One thing to decide before you insert another document is whether you want the other document’s text to appear in the body of the current page, or below in its own page.  In this example, we’ll be adding a page break so that the imported document’s text will appear on its own page. Below, you will see a graphic with the “Insert” tab highlighted. Click the “Insert” tab on the ribbon toolbar.

Click the Insert Menu

On the “Insert” tab, you will see a “Page Break” button. The “Page Break” button is highlighted in the picture below. Clicking this button will insert a new page into the Word document.

Page Break Button

Now that you have a new page to work with, you can insert another Word document. On the same “Insert” tab there is an “Object” button.  It is usually found on the far right side of the ribbon toolbar in the “Text” group. If you click the downward pointing arrow beside the “Object” button, you will see an option that says “Text from File”. See the picture below.

Insert Object Button

When you click the “Text from File” button, a dialog box will pop up.  In the picture below, you can see the various Word documents that need to be inserted into this master document.

Insert File Window

In this dialog box, you can select one or all of the documents that you wish to insert into the master document. Hold down the “Ctrl” key on your keyboard and click each file that you want to insert. In the bottom right corner of this dialog box, there is a button that says “Insert”. Click the “Insert” button to combine these files into your master document.

Now all of your documents are combined into one. Producing your finished product is now just a matter of formatting and tweaking the paragraphs a little.  It is certainly faster than opening each document individually and copying the text. I hope you find good uses for this little tip.

Merge Word Documents to Outlook Email Recipients

Merge to Email in WordSummer’s here!  The birds are chirping.  The butterflies flutter by.  All this just screams, “COMPANY PICNIC SEASON“!  So let’s make some plans and get those invites out!  Microsoft Word is a great way to make pretty invitations.  But what is the easiest way to distribute them?  You could attach your invitation to an e-mail, but then you would have to go through and select all of the recipients.  You also have to consider the fact that putting all the recipients names in the “To:” field lets everyone who gets the e-mail see the e-mail addresses of all the other recipients.  This is a real problem if you want to protect the identity of certain people.  You could resolve this by placing all the recipients in the “BCC:” field, however, then you have to put something in the “To:” field or it just looks weird when the recipient gets it.  Confused yet?  This whole process can be simplified using the “Merge to Email” feature in Word.

Let’s begin by creating a custom contact folder Microsoft Outlook.  In Outlook, right click your mailbox folder and choose “New Folder” from the menu.  You will see the following window pictured below.  Give your folder a name and make sure that the “Folder contains:” field has “Contact Items” selected.  This will assure that we have a contact folder.

Create New Contact Folder in Microsoft Outlook

Next, add some contacts to your new contact folder.  Pictured below, you will see the contact window with a couple of contacts shown.

Contacts Window

Once you have all of your contacts entered in you new contact folder, you are ready to proceed to your invitation.  Open Microsoft Word and type up your invitation.  When you have it all typed up the way you want it, click the “Mailings” tab on the ribbon toolbar.  See the picture below.

Mailings Tab in Word

On the “Mailings” tab, you will see a button that says “Select Recipients”.  When you click this button you will see a drop down menu where you can choose the source of your recipients.  In this tutorial you will choose “Select from Outlook Contacts” from the menu shown in the picture below.

Select Recipients

You will now see the window, pictured below, asking you to select the Outlook contacts folder.  Choose the appropriate folder and click OK.  Choosing the contacts folder will set that folder as the source for the merge in Word.

Select Contacts

You now have the opportunity to pick and choose which contacts from that folder you want to receive the invitation.  Note that all contacts in the folder are selected by default.  In the picture below, you will see little check boxes beside each contact name.  Simply click the check box to select or deselect the contacts you wish to send to.  When you are finished, click OK.

Recipient List

Now the magic really starts to happen.  Let’s personalize the invitation to show the recipients first and last names at the top.  To do this, make sure your cursor is at the top of the page, then, from the “Mailings” tab choose “Insert Merge Field”.  This will give you a drop down menu with all of the fields in the contact folder you chose.  See the picture below.

Insert Merge Field

Now, choose the “First” field.  Notice you get a little merge field at the top of your document with the word “<<First>>” listed, as pictured below.  What this means is when you finish the merge, and your contact receives the e-mail, they will see their first name in this spot on the document.  Go ahead and hit the space bar, and  insert the “Last” merge field too, so that the recipients last name will appear there as well.

Edit Merge Field Font

Double click the “First” field to see formatting options, as pictured above.  Here you can change the font style and size.  Go ahead and set the font to look the way you would like for the recipient to see it.

The last step in the process is to click the “Finish & Merge” button on the “Mailings” tab.  You will see the drop down menu pictured below.  Click the “Send E-mail Messages” option to start the merge.  Now all of the recipients you picked from the contacts folder will receive an email with the invitation in the body of the message.  WARNING! Once you click “Send E-mail Messages”, the message is immediately sent!  There will be no dialog boxes asking you to click OK or anything.  So don’t click this button until you are ready for it to go.

Start the Merge

You can verify that the mailing went out by checking your “Sent Items” in Outlook.  You will notice that every contact received a single message.  This means there is no more worry about hiding people’s email in the “BCC:” field.   Problem solved!

Hopefully you will find this feature useful for your next big mailing.  Oh, by the way, don’t forget to save me a little dessert at the picnic!  ;)

Add Some Spark to Your Excel Spreadsheets

Creating SparklinesHave you and your spreadsheet lost the old fire?  Do you find your eyes wandering?  Rekindle that flame!  Add some “spark” to your spreadsheet using one of Microsoft Excel 2010’s coolest new features, “Sparklines”!

“Sparklines” are kind of like miniature charts that you can fit into a small area, such as a cell.  They are great for showing trends in a data series.  In the spreadsheet below, you see a series of numbers representing recordable safety violations by month.  Some people can extract what they want by looking through long rows of data like those below.  Others, however, prefer something more visual.

Insert Excel Sparklines

Notice the column labeled “Trends” in the picture above.  This is the ideal place for a “Sparkline”.  To insert a “Sparkline” here, click the cell in which you wish to place the “Sparkline”, then click the “Insert” tab on the ribbon toolbar, and click on the type of “Sparkline” you want from the “Sparkline” group.  See the picture below.

Inserting Sparklines

When you choose a “Sparkline”, you will see a dialog box like the one pictured below.  The first field asks you to input the range of cells that contain the data.  You can manually type this in, for example, A1:A12, or you can click the little square at the end of the box.  This little square will minimize the box and allow you to highlight the data range with your mouse.  It really is just a matter of preference.  The second field asks you where you want your “Sparkline” to reside in the sheet.  Note this can be a range and not just a single cell.

Creating Sparklines Window

Once you have inserted the “Sparkline”, you will see options to format it under the “Design” tab, highlighted in green below.  You can choose from a number of styles.  You can even set different colors for markers, such as high points and low points.

Customize the Sparkline

The next time you have to present a report in a spreadsheet, take a moment to insert one of these neat little “Sparklines”.

Speed Up Formatting in Microsoft Office with Format Painter

Format Painter ButtonLay down the canvas!  Put on your painting clothes!  We’re going to do some painting!  Today I would like to show you an easy way to format multiple objects in Microsoft Office using the “Format Painter” tool.  You may have noticed a little paint brush icon that sits at the top of most Microsoft Office applications.  This button is called the “Format Painter”.  Below you will see a screenshot from Excel highlighting the button.  So what does this button do, exactly?  First you have to understand the word “format”.  When you format something in Microsoft Office applications, you are basically changing the way something looks.  In the picture below, you will notice that the spreadsheet has column headers.  The first column header says “First Name”.  It is different from the other headers because it has been formatted to have a bold font, background color, and font color.  It took a few steps to get that header to look that way.  So what if you wanted  the “Last Name” column to look exactly the same?  This is where “Format Painter” saves the day.  First, Click the cell that has the formatting you want.  Now click the “Format Painter” button.  Notice the highlighted cell below and how the mouse changes to a white cross with a paint brush icon beside.

Format Painter Button in Microsoft Excel

Now you click the cell that you want to change and presto! change-o!, you have duplicated the formatting from the selected cell.  See the picture below to verify this.  Once you click the cell that you want to change, the mouse will go back to normal.  You can click and drag with the “Format Painter” button activated, and it will continue to work until you release the mouse.  Once the mouse has been released, “Format Painter” disables.

Selecting Cells with Format Painter

What if you wanted to do multiple  non-contiguous cells?  This is possible.  In the example below, you will see that I was able to format cells that were not contiguous.  To achieve this, you double click the “Format Painter” button.  Doing this enables you to keep on painting until your heart’s content.  Once you are ready to stop formatting, all you have to do is hit the “ESC” key in the top left corner of your keyboard.

Selecting Multiple Cells Using Format Painter

Below, you will see an example of how the “Format Painter” button appears in Microsoft Word.  Notice that the first paragraph has blue font and 1.5 line spacing.

Using Format Painter in Word
In order to duplicate the formatting of the first paragraph in the second, you must highlight the entire first paragraph, click the “Format Painter”, and then highlight the second paragraph.  Why do you have to highlight the entire first paragraph?  If you highlighted a single word in the first paragraph, and then applied the “Format Painter’ to the second paragraph, it would only duplicate the word formatting.  The paragraph formatting would not be duplicated.  Highlighting the entire first paragraph duplicates both the word and the paragraph formatting.  See the picture below.

Formatting Paragraphs in Word Using Format Painter

Using “Format Painter” can make quick work of formatting in Microsoft Office.  Plus, there’s no drippy mess!  :)