Saturday, July 2, 2011

Password Security Tips

UPDATED: 12/11/2017

Word this week (July 2011) spread across the country as the Arizona Department of Public Safety was hacked by the groups LultSec and Anonymous.  And the thing that saddens me most is that one of the officers actually had the password "12345."

Even more so, I was most recently shocked when I received a new modem from my internet provider who said there was a uniquely secure password on the bottom of the modem... only to find out that the "uniquely secure password" they had printed on the bottom of the modem was the word "password." Are you kidding me?!

Passwords are setup for a reason.  With certain jobs, there are security risks of which you need to be aware.

When using a typical password length of 8 characters, the times listed below are how long it would take for your password to be hacked by anything from a typical Pentium to a Supercomputer.
  • Using Only Numerals = Instant
  • Using UPPER and lower case letters = 3-1/2 minutes
  • Using UPPER, lower, and numerals = 60-1/2 hours
  • Using UPPER, lower, numerals, and special characters = 83-1/2 days

The above examples are cracked when using Supercomputers.  When using a typical fast PC, the numbers are as follows:
  • Using Only Numerals = Instant
  • Using UPPER and lower case letters = 35 minutes
  • Using UPPER, lower, and numerals = 253 days
  • Using UPPER, lower, numerals, and special characters = 23 years

You can easily see that the more complicated the password, using a mix of upper, lower, numerals, and special characters, the harder it is to hack.

I know it seems difficult and I know everyone wants to yell at the IT personnel telling you to do this.  However, there really is a reason!

To ensure you are using a strong password (and can remember it), use the following tip.

Use numbers to replace letters in a word that is specific to something in your life. This will not only make it more secure, but will make it easier for you to remember.

For example, if I would like to use the word "celestial" as my password, I can type "C3l35T1a1" as the password.  Another example would be "security" written as "
s3cur1Ty" which replaces the number 3 for the letter e and 1 for the letter i.

Please share my article about password safety.  It may save you or a friend one day!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Excel Properties

Have you ever sent an Excel spreadsheet to someone whom asks you details on when the worksheet was created or other details?

Well, this tip shows you how to add some basic contact and worksheet information for yourself and others.  Excel Properties allows users to search for spreadsheets and access some other details of the file including the Author, Company, and like information.  Excel 2007 allows "Comments" to be added for further reference and details.

To add information to the Excel Properties, follow these steps.

Click on the "Office Button," hover to "Prepare," and click on the "Properties" option.

HINT:  For Excel 2003 and earlier (and for 2010), click on the "File" Menu/Tab and select "Properties."

In Excel 2007 and 2010, the "Properties" window opens above the worksheet fields.

Information such as phone number, email, formulas, or other information may be added for reference.

In Excel 2003 and earlier, the "Properties" window opens as a pop-up window.

Notice that the "Properties" window prefills the "Author" field as the user of the said computer.

Excel 2007 Properties

In Excel 2007 and 2010, click on the "Document Properties" drop-down and select "Advanced Properties" to add further information.

This window appears similar to Excel 2003 and earlier versions.

If this window is chosen, you will need to click on the "OK" button when completed.

Simply save the workbook and the added information is saved with the workbook.

When sending Excel spreadsheets to others, this information is stored for their reference.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Outlook Quick Tip: Navigation Pane

Quickly turn the Navigation Pane On or Off by pressing "ALT + F1" and keep more room for reading emails.

This is such an easy tip, but can provide much more room in the Outlook window.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Outlook Calendar Tip: Date Picker

To quickly view specific days next to each other, follow this tip.

Click on the date in the "Date Picker" window.  This is the small calendar(s) usually on the left side of the screen.

Hold the "CTRL" key to select non-consecutive multiple days while clicking on each date.

As you click, each date will appear next to each other in the Calendar view.

It's that simple.

Start Outlook in a Folder other than Inbox

Many people I've trained use the Outlook Calendar to schedule their day.  So, this tip is dedicated to those that would like to start Outlook in a folder other than the Inbox.

Click on the "Tools" menu and select "Options."

Click on the "Other" tab.

Click on the "Advanced Options" button in the "General" area.

Click on the "Browse" button in the "Startup in this folder" field.

See image below.

Outlook Startup Folder

Highlight the folder you want (in our Example above, we would select the "Calendar" folder) and click on the "OK" button.

The next time Outlook is started, the "Calendar" folder will open first.

You may change this option at any time, depending on your usage.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Outlook Send a Message to a Category

I've shown how to use the Category feature in the past; but other than sorting, some users aren't sure how else to use this feature.

Let's say you've setup a Category for your son's sports team.  When you need to send a message to the team, simply filter your Outlook Contacts by typing the Category name in the "Look For" field and press "Enter."

Outlook Category Sort

When the names in the Category appear, press "CTRL A" to select all of the contacts.  Choose "Actions" from the menu and select the "New Message to Contact" option.

All email addresses within the Category appear in the "To" field of a new email message window.

Type your Subject Line and email message and press the "Send" button.

It's that simple!

Excel Quick Tip

Press "CTRL ~" to display all formulas.

Not only does this provide a quick view of the formula in the first cell, but it shows all formulas in the entire spreadsheet.  This can be used to quickly see information without having to scroll to the cell and view the formula in the formula bar.

Press "CTRL ~" again to hide the formulas and return to the standard view.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Outlook Calendar Tip

I've shown many different ways of changing the appearance of Outlook; but this one is easy and used by many people I've trained over the years - I just had to share it with everyone.

When using the Calendar in Outlook, the default time periods are 30 minute intervals.  But, what if you have appointments or other scheduled items that need to be broken down into 15 minute intervals?

Follow this tip to learn how.

With the Calendar open, simply right-click in any blank area.

Select the "Other Settings" menu item.

Outlook Calendar Time Settings

Click on the "Time Scale" drop down arrow and select the time interval you want to appear.

Notice the interval options are from 1 to 60 minutes.  Personalize Outlook's Calendar to fit your needs.

Click on the "OK" button to save the changes.

It's that simple.

  The only views that show the new time intervals are the "Day" and "Work Week."  Or any other personalized views that show the default intervals.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Word 2007 Spacing Tip

Joe, of Aeroflex asks, "I have a Word 2007 document and I want to see the spacing above the first line at the top of each page.  Some of the pages show the space and some do not."
Thanks for your question Joe!

Yes, Word 2007 is a bit different than previous versions of Word and the best way to add spacing above the first line at the top of each page is to use Styles.

The styles are located on the "Home" tab.  Preset styles, such as Headers, will add spacing above the line.  If you do not like any of the preset styles, simply click on the drop down arrow (the very bottom on the scroll bar - it says "More" when you hover the mouse over it) and select "Apply Styles."

In the window that appears, you may select a style to base your new style on and then select the "Modify" button.

This takes you to the old window for Style Formatting.  Change any formatting you would like by clicking on the "Format" button at the bottom of the window.

Click "OK" until you return to the document and the new style will be added to the Style Gallery.

There is the possibility of using paragraph formatting as well.  I'll cover this in next week's email.

I hope this helps!
If you have a question, simply click here to send me your questions.  I'll post as many answers as I can in the following Tips e-mail.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Excel 2007 Watch Window

If you're like many Excel fanatics, you probably deal with large spreadsheets and multiple cells containing formulas.

Excel 2007 has a great new feature that lets you "watch" cell contents as they change.  If numbers are added, subtracted, and changed, these specific cells are probably something you'd have to remember to review in previous versions of Excel.

To turn on the "Watch Window," follow these steps.

Highlight the cells you want to "Watch."

Click on the "Formula" tab and select the "Watch Window" button in the "Formula Auditing" group.

Click on the "Add Watch" button.

Since the cells were highlighted, simply click on the "OK" button and the cells will be added to the "Watch Window."

Excel 07 Watch Window

Now when you make changes to the spreadsheet, the "Watch Window" shows you the changes to the cells you added to the list.

If you accidentally close the "Watch Window," simply click on the "Formula" tab and then the "Watch Window" button to open it again.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Word 2007 Tip

Do you use the Highlighter in Word? Highlighting in Word can be helpful for pointing out certain words and phrases; but it doesn't print very well.

There is a somewhat simple way to hide the Highlighter for printing.

Click on the "Office" button and select the "Word Options" button.

Click on "Display" on the left menu.

Clear the "Show Highlighters" checkbox.

Word 07 Show Highlighters Option

Click on the "OK" button to save the changes and return to your document.

The Highlighters are now hidden.  Print as needed.

Remember to repeat the steps above to unhide the Highlighters.  This time select the "Show Highlighters" checkbox.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Excel 2007 Quick Tip

Many of you have seen the improvements made in Excel 2007; but most users have still not learned all of the handy new features.

One of these new features is located in the "Recent Documents" area.

We've all seen the recent documents list and I've shown ways to change the number of recent documents as well as turning them on and off.

But, did you know you can "Pin" specific documents to the "Recent Documents" list?

To do so, simply click on the "Office" button to bring up the "Recent Documents" list.

Move the mouse to the spreadsheet you want to keep on this list permanently and click on the "Pin" icon on the right side of the spreadsheet name.

See image below

Excel 2007 Pin Recent Documents

The spreadsheet will remain on the list as more spreadsheets are added.

HINT:  This is an Office 2007 feature and may be used in Word 2007, PowerPoint 2007, etc.

To "unpin" the spreadsheet, simply click on the "Pin" icon again to "unpin" the spreadsheet from the list.

Friday, March 25, 2011

PowerPoint Animation Tip

Animations in PowerPoint can get your point across, when not overdone.  With PowerPoint 2007, it is easy to add sound to an animation and now users have the ability to edit the volume of the particular sound.

Once an object has been added, select it and click on the "Custom Animation" button in the "Animation" group on the "Animations" tab.

Select an animation from the "Add Effect" button and make any settings needed for the specific animation.

Once added, simply double-click on the animation in the "Custom Animation" wizard on the right side of the screen.

This window allows users to add sound and set some other specific settings.

Click on the "Sounds" drop down to select a sound.  Once the sound has been selected, simply click on the "speaker" icon to the right of the drop down.  Edit the volume by clicking the slider up or down.

Once set, click on the "OK" button to save the changes and return to the PowerPoint presentation.

PPT Custom Animation Sound

Friday, February 25, 2011

Excel Cell Reference Tip

By default, Excel uses the "A1" format when referring to cells.  This means that the "A" is the Column and the "1" is the Row that is being referred to.  Most Excel users understand this; but some spreadsheet programs do not use this referencing.

Instead, other programs use the "R1C1" format when referencing cells.  Excel allows for this format as well.

To specify the format you want to use, follow these steps.

Excel 2007:

Click on the "Office" button and select the "Excel Options" button.

Select the "Formulas" tab on the left menu.

Check the "R1C1 reference style" checkbox in the "Working with Formulas" section and click the "OK" button to save the changes.

Excel 07 R1C1 Cell Reference Option

Excel 2003:
Click on the "Tools" menu and select the "Options" menu item.  Follow the above instructions from here.

Excel 2010:
Click on the "File" tab and select the "Excel Options" button.  Follow the above instructions from here.

Notice the Column Headers are now numbers instead of letters.

Excel 07 R1C1 Cell Reference Screen Shot

  If you prefer the "A1" formatting and need to change Excel back to this preference, simply follow the above steps and uncheck the "R1C1" checkbox.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Outlook Printing Tip

How many times have you clicked on the "Print" button in Outlook only to have 4 or 5 or more pages print?  And you really only wanted the first page of the e-mail - you know, the part that showed on your Preview Pane.

I've spoken of this tip before in relation to Word and Excel; but it also applies to Outlook.

Click and drag the mouse to highlight the area you want to print.

Click on "File | Print"and in the Print Dialog window, click on the "Selection" option within the "Page Range" area.  See the image below.

Outlook Print Selection

Click on the "Print" button to print.  Only the highlighted selection of the e-mail will print.  This tip can save you a lot of wasted paper and ink.

NOTE:  Depending on the version of Outlook, you will need to double-click to open the e-mail prior to highlighting and selecting "File | Print."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Outlook Archive Tip

When Outlook is first setup, the default Auto-Archive is 6 months.  This means that e-mails dated 6 months ago will automatically be moved into the "Archive" folder.

This saves space in your .PST file; which is the file that contains your e-mail account information - all e-mails in the user account folder.

There are a few ways to change the Archive settings; however, for most people, Auto-Archive is probably best.

But, what if you send and receive a hundred or more e-mails a day?  This could add up to quite a bit of e-mails in your folders and can slow Outlook down.

Simply change the "Auto-Archive" settings to a smaller time period.  Follow these steps to do so.

Click on the "File" menu and select the "Options" menu item.

Click on the "Other" tab.

Click on the "AutoArchive" button.

Ensure that the "Archive or Delete old items" is checked.

Once it is checked, select any of the options below to setup the AutoArchive to the time period you want.

Outlook AutoArchive Settings

Click on the "OK" button to save the changes and exit the window.

Click on the "OK" button to close the "Options" window and return to Outlook.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Excel Quick Tip

If you've ever needed to copy information in an Excel spreadsheet (who hasn't, right?), then this Quick Tip will become one of your favorites.

Let's say you have information in Cell A5 that needs to be copied into Cell A6.

With the cursor in Cell A6, simply press "CTRL + D."

It's that simple!

Monday, January 10, 2011

How Green is Your Excel?

Have you seen the little green triangle in the upper left corner of a cell in Excel?

What is this green triangle?

It simply tells you that something is wrong with the formula in the cell.  It may not create an error message; but when you click on the green triangle, you'll see a yellow exclamation point.

Click on the drop down next to the yellow exclamation point and Excel will provide some possible answers.

If you have Excel 2007 or 2010, the yellow exclamation point provides you with a "trace error" function which helps follow the formula to find out where there may be a mistake.

Understand these "smart tags" like the green triangle and you'll be able to correct errors without a lot of frustration.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Outlook Quick Tip

Would you like more room on the Outlook Desktop?  If so, did you know you can turn the Navigation Pane On or Off, as needed?

Simply press "ALT + F1" to toggle the Navigation Pane On or Off.

Turn it "Off" when you need more space or turn it "On" when you need to see folders.

It's that simple!

How to Delete Blank Rows in Excel