Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two Simple Steps to Create a Contact from an E-mail

How many times have you received an e-mail and wanted to save the person's e-mail address into your Contacts folder? It is simple to do this. In this article, I will show you how.

These two steps are specific to Microsoft Outlook, but many other E-mail programs are very similar.

1) Open the E-mail message that contains the name you want to add to your Contact List.

2) In the From field, Right-Click the name you want to make into a contact and choose "Add to Outlook Contacts" on the Shortcut menu.

Once you choose this option, the Outlook Contact Window will open, allowing you to add more information or to simply Save and Close. The Contact has now been added to your Contacts Folder.

It really is that simple.

One more tip about Outlook - did you know you can Flag just about anything in Outlook? How about setting a Reminder to follow up on this new Contact you just added? To add Flags & Reminders, follow these short steps:

Before you click on Save and Close, click on the RED Flag on the Toolbar. This opens the Flag for Reminder window. Here you may choose the Color of the Flag and a Reminder Date and Time which will alert you to follow up. You may also change the name of the Follow up. In the drop down menu, choose from "Call", "Arrange Meeting", "Send E-mail", or "Send Letter". You may also type your own text in the Follow up box.

For these and more quick and simple computer tips and tricks, visit GoAskDebbie.com.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

12 Tips for E-mail Etiquette

Don't you wish that every person who received a new e-mail account had to agree to follow certain rules to use it? There are certain professional standards expected for e-mail use. Here are some things to keep in mind regarding professional e-mail conduct:

1) Be informal, not sloppy. Your co-workers may use commonly accepted abbreviations in e-mail; but when communicating with external customers, everyone should follow standard writing protocol. Your e-mail message reflects you and your company, so traditional spelling, grammar, and punctuation rules apply.
http://www.law.missouri.edu/lande/writingguidelines.htm

2) Keep messages brief and to the point. Just because your writing is grammatically correct does not mean that it has to be long. Nothing is more frustrating than wading through an e-mail message that is twice as long as necessary. Concentrate on one subject per message whenever possible.

3) Use sentence case. USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS LOOKS AS IF YOU'RE SHOUTING. Using all lowercase letters looks lazy. For emphasis, use asterisks or bold formatting to emphasize important words. Do not, however, use a lot of colors or graphics embedded in your message, because not everyone uses an e-mail program that can display them.

4) Use the blind copy and courtesy copy appropriately. Don't use BCC to keep others from seeing who you copied; it shows confidence when you directly CC anyone receiving a copy. Do use BCC, however, when sending to a large distribution list; so recipients won't have to see a huge list of names. Be cautious with your use of CC; overuse simply clutters in-boxes. Copy only people who are directly involved.

5) Don't use e-mail as an excuse to avoid personal contact. Don't forget the value of face-to-face or even voice-to-voice communication. E-mail communication isn't appropriate when sending confusing or emotional messages. If you have a problem with someone, speak with that person directly. Don't use e-mail to avoid an uncomfortable situation or to cover up a mistake.

6) Remember that e-mail isn't private. I've seen people fired for using e-mail inappropriately. E-mail is considered company property and can be retrieved, examined, and used in a court of law. Unless you are using an encryption device (hardware or software), you should assume that e-mail over the Internet is not secure. Never put in an e-mail message anything that you wouldn't put on a postcard. Remember that e-mail can be forwarded, so unintended audiences may see what you've written. You might also inadvertently send something to the wrong party, so always keep the content professional to avoid embarrassment.

7) Be sparing with group e-mail. Send group e-mail only when it's useful to every recipient. Use the "reply all" button only when compiling results requiring collective input and only if you have something to add. Recipients get quite annoyed to open an e-mail that says only "Me too!"

8) Use the Subject Field to indicate content and purpose. Don't just say, "Hi!" or "From Jane." Be as specific as you can.

9) Don't send chain letters, virus warnings, or junk mail.Always check a reputable anti-virus Web site or your IT department before sending out an alarm. If a constant stream of jokes from a friend annoys you, be honest and ask to be removed from the list. Direct personal e-mail to your home e-mail account.

10) Remember that your tone can't be heard in e-mail. Have you ever attempted sarcasm in an e-mail, and the recipient took it the wrong way? E-mail communication can't convey the nuances of verbal communication. In an attempt to infer tone of voice, some people use emoticons, but use them sparingly so that you don't appear unprofessional. Also, don't assume that using a smiley will diffuse a difficult message.

11) Use a signature that includes contact information. To ensure that people know who you are, include a signature that has your contact information, including your mailing address, Web site, and phone numbers.

12) Summarize long discussions. Scrolling through pages of replies to understand a discussion is annoying. Instead of continuing to forward a message string, take a minute to summarize it for your reader. You could even highlight or quote the relevant passage, then include your response. Some words of caution:
Use these suggestions as a starting point to create e-mail etiquette rules that will help your team stay efficient and professional.

For more E-Mail training, visit GoAskDebbie.com.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Preview Word Documents without Opening

If you are not sure you are opening the correct document, you do not need to open the document fully. Simply follow these steps:

Choose File, Open.

In the Dialog Box, change your View Type to "Preview".



The View Type is the button on your Toolbar that is to the Left of the word "Tools".

This will let you preview the first few paragraphs of the document to ensure you are opening the document you really want.

Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Most people think the mouse is the only way to move around in Windows. I've had more than one occasion where the mouse stopped working and the user didn't know what to do. These keyboard shortcuts will help you become faster and can potentially save you some day.

From the beginning of Windows, most keyboard shortcuts remain the same today. Here are just a few:

To Open a Document, press the CTRL and O keys simultaneously (CTRL + O).
To Save a Document, press CTRL + S.
To Print a Document, press CTRL + P.
To open the Menu, press the ALT key. From there, use your arrow keys to maneuver the menus.
To Close a Window (such as Word, Excel, or others), press ALT + F4.
To Spell Check, press the F7 key.
To Copy a section of text that you just typed, press the F4 key.
To Insert a Hyperlink, press CTRL + K.

And, my favorites:
Copy = CTRL + C
Cut = CTRL + X
Paste = CTRL + V

Practice these and you will become much less dependent on the mouse.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Less is More with PowerPoint

Don't make Powerpoint too difficult. Follow these 4 Tips and you will be off to a Great Presentation!

  1. Typeface & Font - Less is more! Choose a simple font. It is easier to read sans serif fonts such as Helvetic, Arial, and Geneva. Aim BIG - larger fonts are easier to read. If you use anything smaller than 18 or 20 point fonts, many people may have trouble seeing.
  2. Colors & Schemes - Keep it simple is the key here. Too much color or too busy of a scheme can be distracting. Also, a white background can give off a glare. Try a dark background with white text.
  3. Bullet Points - Do not overwhelm your audience with text. Use bullets to summarize your presentation. You do not want to read your presentation word for word.
  4. Graphics, Videos, & Charts - Use interactive features to make your presentation interesting, but don't use too many. This can also be distracting. Make your point with a simple graphic and move on.
Powerpoint has exciting tools and features, just beware of too much. The old rule of "Less is More" definitely applies here!

Click here for resources on Presentation Skills.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Welcome to Go Ask Debbie's Blog!

Go Ask Debbie is a website providing computer training. Our philosophy at Go Ask Debbie is “There are no stupid questions, if you don’t know the answer.” I cannot tell you how many times I have heard that over my years of Training. If you don’t know the answer, you need to ask. We, as adults, tend to stop asking questions out of fear. As children, we are constantly asking questions – that’s how we learn.

So, Ask Questions – We’ve Got Answers!