Category Archives: Apps

Are You Using Mobile Apps to Help With Your Job Search and Connections?

If you are looking for employment or wanting to increase contacts in your professional network, you should consider looking at mobile tools that are available to assist you.
In January 2015, Business Daily News featured at least 10 apps that can help you with your employment search and networking, and best of all, THEY ARE FREE!

The table below provides a brief description of each app and its availability on the Android and iPhone/iPad devices. For a more detailed description, click this link.

05-04-2015 PP Table for BlogIf you want to upgrade or develop skills that can help you in today’s job market, consider enrolling in the Business Office Systems & Support program at Richland College. You will have a wide selection of courses (offered online and face-to-face) from which to choose. These courses range from basic keyboarding, computer literacy, business communications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (includes preparation for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam**), office procedures, etc. These courses can all lead you towards a college-credit certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree.

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu at 972-238-6215.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2013***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a FREE version of Microsoft Office 2013 Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.

 


Using the Data Validation Feature in Excel  

Have you ever wished for a way to limit the data in an Excel cell to match certain parameters?  If so, the Data Validation feature located under the Data tab in the Data Tools group is for you!  It is a feature that is simple to use and offers several options.

Let’s say that the name of your column in Excel is Paid and the correct response in the cells of this column is either Yes or No.  To limit the values for this column to either Yes or No, do the following:

Select the cells you wish to limit to a value of either Yes or No.  Click the DATA tab; in the Data Tools Group click the Data Validation button.  The dialog box shown below will open.  Click the down arrow in the Allow text box and choose List.  Click in the Source box and type Yes, No as shown below.  This will limit the data input for the selected cells to accepting only Yes or No in the cell.

Validation Yes No box

The cells to which the validation is applied will also have a drop down arrow allowing the user to select either Yes or No from the drop down list when the cell is selected.

If you click the Input Message tab, you may enter a short message telling the user the values that may be entered in the selected cell.  When one of the restricted cells is selected, the message you see at left will appear.

Validation Message

Could it be any easier?

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For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support (BOSS) department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.


Excel Formula Problems? Try These Troubleshooting Tips!

Ribbon with FBWhen you work with formulas in Microsoft Excel, there are sometimes some glitches. Excel is good about letting you know when there is an error and even offering some help. The Error Checking feature on the Formulas tab in the Formula Auditing Group will find errors such as Divide by zero errors or errors in cell references (#VALUE!) where a cell referenced in the formula does not contain a number.

Also in the Formula Auditing group are the Trace Precedents, Trace Dependents, and Remove Arrows buttons. The Trace Precedents button shows arrows that indicate which cells affect the value of the currently selected cell. The Trace Dependents button show arrows that indicate which cells are affected by the value of the currently selected cell. The Remove Arrows button removes the arrows drawn by the Trace Precedents and Trace Dependent buttons. These buttons are very helpful when determining incorrect cell references in formulas.

However, with especially long formulas, it is sometimes necessary to examine small parts of the formula at a time to figure out the problem. You may use your mouse pointer to look at only a certain part of a formula and press F9 to evaluate just that section. Press Esc to go back and keep searching. The Evaluate Formula button on the Formula Auditing group will also allow you to examine small parts of a long formula.

Another common problem in Excel formulas is a circular reference. A circular reference in an Excel formula is one that depends on its own value. The most common type of circular reference occurs when you mistakenly refer in the formula to the cell in which you are building the formula itself. For example, suppose that cell B10 is active when you build this formula,  =A10+B10.   As soon as you enter this formula in cell B10 (assuming the program is in Automatic recalculation mode), Excel displays an Alert dialog box, stating that it cannot calculate the formula due to the circular reference.

Do not forget, too, that by clicking the down arrow at the right end of the formula bar you can expand the size of the formula bar to include more than one line. Use these tips to become an expert in troubleshooting Excel formula problems—something that we all encounter when using Excel’s powerful calculation features!

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For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

Did Your Ribbon Disappear?

One of the new features introduced in Office 2007 was the Ribbon interface.  The Ribbon is still a vital part of Office 2010 and the newest version, Office 2013.

Some users become very frustrated because suddenly as they are hurriedly completing a task the buttons on the Ribbon are no longer visible and all that can be seen are the tabs across the top of the Ribbon, for example in Microsoft Word 2013, Home, Insert, Design, Page Layout, References, Mailings, Review,  and View.  You might call this the “mystery of the missing buttons,” which can be most annoying to the user.

Ribbon

Ribbon with Only Tabs Displayed

The cause of the problem and its solution are, however, very simple.  We have all become very accustomed to double clicking the left mouse button to issue a command.  However, if you double click a tab on the Ribbon, it hides the buttons on the Ribbon.  How do you get those buttons to reappear?  Simply double click any tab again, and, magically, everything is back as it should be!

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For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.


Making the Windows 8.1 Start Menu Your Own by Dean Keith

Windows 8The current version of Windows 8.1 enables more features to help the user bridge the difference between Applications running on the Desktop and Apps running in full screen mode. The addition of the Close and Minimize buttons to the tile Apps screens and enabling tile Apps to be pinned to the Taskbar that now appears when using an App improves the experience for the user.

Historically, I have tried to find the best place to easily access Applications, Websites, or specific files. Should they be pinned to the Taskbar, which only supports Applications and Apps? How do I organize my desktop to see links to Websites or specific files using shortcut icons? The Start Menu in Windows 8.1 provides an excellent way to resolve those questions.

Start Menu Basics
Right clicking in the Start Menu activates the Name Groups option. All tiles on the Start Menu can be separated into Groups. Scrolling the mouse wheel moves you right and left through the groups. Holding the Ctrl key down and then scrolling down with the mouse wheel minimizes the groups. This allows you to select a group and move it to a different position relative to the other groups. This Microsoft video will help you see these options to set up your Start Menu. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/start-screen-tutorial

Start Menu Advanced
As the video shows when in Windows Explorer, you can right click a Folder and choose Pin to Start to add it to the Start Menu. From there, it can added to a group. Now, you have Applications, Apps and Folders pinned to your Start Menu in groups. No matter what you are doing, pressing the Windows Key provides easy access to frequently used actions.

Adding Files and Websites
Unless you are using Internet Explorer (choose Add site to Apps in the Menu Bar – Tools drop down list) there is not a way to do create an icon for websites on the Start Menu from other browsers. Follow these steps to create that Shortcut Icon from any browser:

1. Copy the URL for the website for which you want to create a Shortcut Icon.
2. Press the Windows Key and Right Click on any icon in the Start Menu.
3. Choose – Open file location.
4. You want to be in the Start Menu folder in Windows Explorer. You may need to go up one or two levels in Windows Explorer. Use the Address Bar in Windows Explorer to select Start Menu.
5. You may need to change the Permissions in the Security Tab for the Folder’s Properties to Allow you to Modify the folder.
6. Right Click in an empty area of the folder or use the New Item drop down in the Home Tab to create a New Shortcut.
7. Paste the Website URL in the field and continue with the Wizard to setup the Shortcut Icon.
8. Press the Windows Key and go to the list of all applications (the down arrow in the lower left corner of the Start Menu).
9. Change the sort option of the list to “by date installed.”
10. Right click the Shortcut Icon you created and choose Pin to Start.
11. Go back up to the Start Menu or just press the Windows Key again.
12. Then move the icon on the Start Menu to the appropriate group.

To create a Shortcut Icon for a specific file:

1. Press the Windows Key and Right Click on any icon in the Start Menu.
2. Choose – Open file location.
3. You want to be in the Start Menu folder in Windows Explorer.
4. You may need to change the Permissions in the Security Tab for the Folder’s Properties to Allow you Modify the folder.
5. Right Click in an empty area of the folder or use the New Item drop down in the Home Tab to create a New Shortcut.
6. Choose Browse to navigate to the file for which you want to create a Shortcut Icon, press OK and continue with the Wizard to setup the shortcut.
7. Press the Windows Key and go the list of all applications (the down arrow in the lower left corner of the Start Menu).
8. Change the sort of the list to “by date installed.”
9. Right click the Shortcut Icon you created and choose Pin to Start.
10. Go back up to the Start Menu or just press the Windows Key again.
11. Then move the icon on the Start Menu to the appropriate group.

Change the Icon’s Image
The default icon image is usually boring. Right Click on the icon in the Start Menu folder in Windows Explorer. You can access this folder by Right Clicking on the icon in the Start Menu and choosing Open File Location. Once in the folder, Right Click on the icon and choose Properties in the drop down list. In the Shortcut Tab, (or Web Document Tab for Internet Shortcuts) choose Change Icon and select a new icon image from the list. You can paste this file location into the “Look for icons in this file:” field if you get a location without many icons displayed. %SystemRoot%\system32\SHELL32.dll

An alternative involves searching the Internet for .ico files for an image you would prefer. For example, search for “Facebook ico files” to find a website that allows the .ico file to be downloaded. http://www.iconspedia.com/ appears to be safe. Download the .ico file and save it in a location you can easily find. I save mine in My Pictures folder. When in the Change Icon dialog box, Browse to that location to choose the .ico file you downloaded.

Have fun setting up your Start Menu. I have found it very easy to access anything and open it without having the go to the Desktop by minimizing open windows. It may even replace your need to pin applications or apps to the Taskbar.

Dean Keith is one of our Adjunct Faculty in the BOSS department.  He teaches Emeritus and credit courses and also does computer consulting and technical support in the Dallas Area.

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For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu, 972-238-6215.


A Change You May Want to Make if Using Office 2013

The new version of Microsoft Office is here!  Office 2013 or Office 365 (a subscription version) is currently the only version of Office sold by retailers.  Therefore, if you purchase a new computer and have Microsoft Office installed on the computer; you will be using Office 2013.

One of the new features in Office 2013 is one that you may wish to turn off.  When launched, several of the Office 2013 applications show a “dynamic Start screen” by default.  This screen, in Excel, is shown below.

Excel Start Screen

If you prefer to simply see a new blank workbook, Select File, Options, the General tab, and uncheck, Show Start screen when the application starts, under Startup Options.

You will need to make this change in Word 2013 and PowerPoint 2013 if you wish to avoid seeing the Start screen in those applications also.

Making this change will save you several clicks!

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For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu (972-238-6215).

 


Use Hi-Tech Manners With Siri!

As with most new advances in technology, voice-interactive apps have opened the door to greater ease in getting some of our more basic business tasks accomplished that include making appointments, contacting others by phone or e-mail, or inquiring about simple facts. However, there are simple common sense rules that should be evident and that need to be observed when you are using voice interactive apps, whether they on a smartphone or tablet.

Siri, as one example, is the iPhone/iPad app that has helped usher users into the world of VPA (Virtual Personal Assistants). Using Siri means you can use your phone to issue a set of instructions and to then receive audio feedback from the device confirming or clarifying your verbal request.

Christina DesMarais from PCWorld offers users some helpful, practical tips for using Apple’s Siri without getting on everyone’s nerves around you:

  1. Hold the phone up to your ear. This may sound like a “no brainer,” but there are people out there who use the speakerphone when uttering Siri commands. Don’t be found guilty of this faux pas!
  2. Apply the standard 10-foot rule. If you are in a library, in a restaurant, or waiting in line to get a cheeseburger; remember, strangers don’t want to hear your Self/Siri conversation!
  3. Be mindful of your audience when exploring Siri. Practically everyone who has the Siri app has probably tried asking it strange questions in order to get Siri’s response, which may be nonsensical or which may elicit a question from Siri indicating that it doesn’t understand you. Wait until you are in a solitary setting, or at least wait until you are surrounded by friends and family who love you and who don’t mind.
  4. Tap when in public. Let your fingers do the work and tap in your question or command, if there’s the remote chance you might annoy those around you. The voice assistance feature is optional, so use good judgment.
  5. Finally, don’t be a show-off! Save the grandstanding for something else. Use your Siri app when appropriate and for helping you with real productivity.

For more information on BOSS software offerings, the BOSS degree and certificates, and how the BOSS program can help you with your career, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.