Author Archives: CDAWebAdmin

My favorite “Power Button” in Microsoft Word

There are a lot of extra characters running around on your Word 2013 document that you can’t normally see. Every time you press a key – whether it’s the space bar, tab or enter – Word records it in your document. Add in to that mix the special section, page and column breaks, as well as fields for your Index and References, and you’ve got a stew that can really mess up your layouts.

The first step when working on the layout of a document is to look for those hidden features that affect the document so strongly.

What Is It?

The Show/Hide button is the key to seeing these heretofore invisible items, and it’s a toggle button. That means it is like a light switch, either on or off. Many people may already have experience with the Show/Hide button because they either:

  1. Accidentally turned it on, or
  2. Inherited a document with Show/Hide already turned on.

Where Is it?

The Show/Hide button looks like a paragraph return, and is in the Paragraph group on the Home tab. Turning it on and off is a simple as clicking on it. For you power users, the keyboard shortcut for Show/Hide is Ctrl + Shift + 8.

The location of the Show/Hide button in Microsoft Word 2013.

You’ll notice power users flicking it on and off as they massage a document into the shape they desire. If you look closely at the figure above, you can see paragraph returns, but also tabs and a page break. Text that has a style rule applied to it has a small dot in the margin beside it.

Add the keyboard shortcut for Show/Hide to your repertoire and you’ll be much faster on the draw when it comes to laying out complex Microsoft Word documents.

Zipping and Un-Zipping Files

Zipper graphic

It seems inevitable that our files sizes are growing larger while our computer software is growing more complex. Remember the days of floppy disks that were 500K? Nowadays we are seeing hard drives that hold terabytes of information and thumb drives that hold gigabytes.

The real genius will the one who solves the problem of making computer files smaller while keeping the software advanced.

To help you handle large file sizes, we have something called a .ZIP archive. You can tell you’ve been sent a .ZIP archive because the file name will end in .ZIP.

.ZIP files are great because they do two things very well:

  • ZIP archives compress file sizes and make it easier to store and send or receive computer documents.
  • ZIP archives are also a great way to group and store related sets of files, such as photographs from a trip or computer files related to your business.

In fact, one of the primary reason people create .ZIP archives is to speedily send files via email and other electronic transfer.

Creating .ZIP Archives is Easy

If you are new to this idea, the good news is that .ZIPping is a feature built into most modern computer operating systems. If you’re not familiar with what an operating system is, it is what most people refer to when they say Macintosh or Windows. Follow these simple steps to .ZIP a folder or an individual file:

Windows 8.xMacintosh 10.x
  1. Right-click on the file or folder you want to compress.
  2. Choose Send to on the dropdown menu.
  3. Chose Compressed(zipped) folder from the flyout menu.
  4. Be aware that you now have two copies of the same material on your computer: the original file or folder as well as a new .ZIP archive. If you are looking at an icon view, you’ll see that the .ZIP archive has a little zipper on it.
  1. Right-click on the file or folder you want to compress.
  2. Choose Compress “File/Folder Name” where File/Folder Name is the name of the object you clicked on.
  3. Be aware that you now have two copies of the same material on your computer: the original file or folder as well as a new .ZIP archive. If you are looking at an icon view, you’ll see that the .ZIP archive has a little zipper on it.

What do I do with a .ZIP archive when I get it?

For starters, hang on to it. It is usually easier to store a .ZIP archive than it is to store the original uncompressed contents. But if you want to see what is inside the .ZIP archive, you’ll be glad to know that it’s easy to decompress them.

Windows 8.xMacintosh 10.x
  1. Right-click on the file or folder you want to decompress.
  2. Choose Extract All… on the dropdown menu.
  3. An uncompressed version of your contents as well as the original .ZIP archive will be available to you in the Finder.
  1. Double-click on the file or folder you want to decompress.
  2. An uncompressed version of your contents as well as the original .ZIP archive will be available to you in the Finder.

A Caution for Windows Users

We’re all pretty-well-trained to double-click on a file name to get it to open. In fact, you’ll notice in the instructions that that is all Macintosh users have to do. Windows users who double-click, will get a different result.

Instead of the .ZIP archive decompressing, Windows users who double-click will be taken to a special tab in Windows Explorer called — of all things — Compressed Folder Tools Extract. The reason this can be confusing is that you can see inside the .ZIP archive and might be tempted to just double-click on a file-name to open it. Unfortunately, this sometimes works with limited results. You might be able to see the final document, but you will quickly encounter problems with changing, editing or saving documents handled this way. The reason why is that the base document is still compressed and sitting in the .ZIP archive.

If you are a Windows user who makes the mistake of double-clicking on the archive name, just click on the files you want to work with and choose Extract All from the Compressed Folder Tools Extract tab.

If you’re not sure what a Windows Explorer window is or what I’m talking about, just check out the image below for more information. For extra credit, you can see a perfect example of the .ZIP icon sitting right beside my Recycle Bin.

Windows Explorer Compressed Folder Tools Extract tab

 

For more information about the .ZIP archive format and its uses, check out this great article on Wikipedia.

Adding Pages to your WordPress Website

WordPress makes it easy to add content to your website in several different ways. If you have content that won’t change a lot — such as a company history or a personal bio — you may want to add a page to the website.

Let’s cover some basics

First step, of course, is to sign in. If you don’t know how to sign in to your WordPress website, check out the tutorial I’ve got a WordPress website! Now what?

Once you are signed in, click on the Screen Options tab at the top right of the screen. Be certain that two columns is selected. Close the tab.

Observe the dashboard column on the left hand side of your page. Be certain the dashboard menu is not collapsed.

Adding  a WordPress Page

  • Click or Hover over the Pages button in the Dashboard, and then click on Add New.
  • Familiarize yourself with the resulting window.
    • The Title field is where you type the headline of your page.
      Go ahead and type your headline in if you are following along.
    • The Content field is where the main text goes.
      The Content field gives you many of the text formatting tools you may be familiar with from programs like Microsoft Word, plus a few others. See more about the text editing tools in an upcoming post. Add your text to see how it works.
    • The Publish box contains options to Save your page as a Draft or as a final Published page.
      Depending on how you work, you may want to save a Page in process and make changes before the rest of the world can see it — or you can click on the Publish button to make it available for everyone.
    • The Page Attributes box allows us to establish how the page relates to the hierarchy of the rest of the site. If, for example, a page is a child of another page, click the dropdown arrow in the Page Attributes box and select the previously created parent page from the list.
    • The Featured Image box allows you to define an image that will appear in Excerpts and other strategic places defined by your webmaster.
  • When you have finished writing your Page, click the Save Draft or Publish button in the Publish box.
  • To see what your page looks like, click on the Preview button in the Publish box.

Editing an Existing Page

Editing Pages uses the same tools as Adding Pages, with one small difference. To see a list of Pages you have written:

  • Click or Hover over the Pages button in the Dashboard, and then click on All Pages.
  • Hover over the name of the page, and click on the Edit hyperlink that appears.
  • Other choices when you hover over a Page are Quick Edit, Trash and View. Quick Edit allows you to change just a few things: the author of a page, it’s title, parent page, etcetera.
  • When you have clicked on the Edit hyperlink, the screen will look very similar to what the Add a Page screen looked like, except the Publish button in the Publish box will change to say Update if the Page was previously published.

 

I’ve got a WordPress website! Now what?

Featured Video Play Icon

WordPress is great not least of all because it allows designers to make beautiful websites and then turn them over to clients for content creation. To put it bluntly, you no longer have to pay designer rates to update your website! Great, huh?

If you’re not familiar with web-based applications and ideas, however, it can be a little bit scary when you get started. This is a step by step tutorial to introduce you to WordPress, and get started managing your own content.

Front door and back door — the Dashboard

WordPress has a wonderful way of displaying content. The front-end is what every regular visitor to your site sees. The back-end is what you, as a content-creator, can see.

Got that? Same information, just displayed differently.

Some sites that are membership sites may also allow members to see a limited view of the back-end, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Finding the back door

Like many nice homes, the back door on a WordPress site can be hidden. Your website may have specific log in instructions, for security or other reasons, but the general way is actually pretty easy, too.

  1. Point your web browser to your web site.
  2. Add the following text in the address bar after the domain extension: /wp-admin/
    (i.e. http://www.mywebsite.com/wp-admin/)
  3. Click the enter key on your keyboard.
  4. Your browser will redirect to the WordPress Dashboard.

Couldn’t be easier, right? Check out the next installment of WordPress for Clients to find out where to go from here.

What’s the big deal about WordPress?

WordPress, your new best friend

What started as an open-source platform for bloggers has become a major part of the web designer’s toolkit. WordPress gets us closer than ever to the dream of separating content from structure. Graphic designers can design a website and safely turn content generation over to the people who own it — the people who create it.

WordPress actually comes in two flavors:

  • WordPress.com Options ChartWordPress.com is a hosted blogging platform that anyone can sign up for. It has a free component that contains ads, but serious bloggers end up paying about $99 per year (current as of 08/2013) to get an ad-free version with special bonuses like domain names and mapping, as well as more storage space.
  • WordPress.org, on the other hand, is the place to download self-hosted versions of the platform, and is really what I’m yacking about in this blog. Creativity demands control over the media, and WordPress.org gives you complete access to everything. (Word to the wise: just because you can change it doesn’t mean you should change it. Make sure you know what you’re doing, or at least can un-do it, before you make any changes.

There were a lot of professional software programs that tried to provide the separation of content from design that I mentioned earlier, most notably an Adobe product called Contribute that was meant to go hand-in-hand with Dreamweaver.

A lot of my clients could not really get into Contribute, however, because it had too steep of a learning curve for them. Now several years later, we see the growing market-share of WordPress, which is much more approachable for people who don’t know and don’t care what HTML stands for, but really want to get their message out to their audience quickly.

And that brings us full circle to why WordPress should be part of your web-design-business strategy. You can easily establish templates for design, restrict the activities of non-administrative persons from breaking the design, and allow the client to publish at will without waiting for time to open up in your production schedule. Win, win, win.

WordPress is a big deal. It doesn’t replace the need for designers to know how to code websites from scratch, but it definitely helps us bring the web to our clients, instead of insisting that they learn our business before they can start to write.

Get to know your partners in crime: the mouse and the keyboard

LMP Bluetooth Keypad

One of the first skills I like to work with students on is how to use the mouse and the keyboard. Though many of us make use of these items every day, a lot of us don’t know many of the cool things we can do with them.

Let’s start with a caveat

There are distinct differences between a mouse/keyboard combination on a Macintosh Computer versus a Windows machine. I’ll make note of any differences in the article

The Keypad

  1. Take a look around and see if you have a keypad. The keypad is the square extension on many keyboards that has a traditional 10-key input for numbers similar to an out-of-date adding machine. Though available for both Mac and Windows, many laptops lack the keypad.
  2. Cautionary note: be sure the number lock key is pressed. Many people use numbers in their passwords and consistently type their passwords using the keypad. The problem arises when you assume the number lock key is pressed. Failing to do so will give you different results, and if you’re typing into a password field, your login will fail. When typing passwords it is best to use the number keys at the top of a normal keyboard.

 The Mouse

  1. The mouse is very sensitive, and is growing more so as developers add special touch sensors to the devices. Being aware of what you click and where you click will help you to get the results you expect.
  2. The manufacturers of all computers assume that you are right handed. They also assume that you keep the mouse to the right of the keyboard. When you are asked to left-click or right-click the mouse, they are referring to which side of the top of the mouse you click. Did you lefties know that you can reverse this perceived bias in your favor? See the tip below, but just remember that all instructions are now mirrored. So when someone using a right-handed mouse right clicks, you’re going to left click.
  3. Mouse Preferences on the MacintoshMacintosh:
    • Click on System Preferences in your Dock or Finder.
    • Locate the Hardware section (bold text), and click on the Mouse button
    • Click on the Point & Click tab at the top of the window
    • Locate the drop down arrow beside “Secondary Click, Click on right side” and click on it.
    • Choose Click on left side from the drop down menu.
    • Close the Mouse window
  4. Windows Mouse PreferencesWindows 8:
    • Hover your mouse in the lower right or upper right corner of the screen to expose the Charms Bar.
    • Click on the Settings icon.
    • Click on Control Panel
    • Click on Hardware and Sound
    • In the Devices and Printers group, click the Mouse hyperlink.
    • On the Buttons tab, put a check mark beside “Switch primary and secondary buttons”
    • Click on Okay
    • Close the Control Panel window.

Math on the Keyboard

One of my favorite classes to teach is Microsoft Excel Formulas and Functions. All of the math symbols are available on the keyboard, and some of them are on the keypad, too. Here’s a little table of some of the most common ones.

Math FunctionKeyboard LocationOn Keypad
Additionshift + = (results in “+”)yes
Subtractionhyphen (results in “-“)yes
Multiplicationshift + 8 (results in “*”)yes
DivisionForward Slash (results in “/”)yes
Percentageshift + 5 (results in “%”)no
Greater ThanShift + . (results in “>”)no
Less ThanShift + , (results in “<“)no

Recession-proof your business

Recession proof your business

It’s official – we’re in a recession. (If you didn’t already know that, have your doctor check your dosing… ) Some small business owners think in terms of surviving down-turns in the economy, but I’m here to tell you that your business can thrive in any economic situation.

According to most experts, the major mistake that small business owners make is decreasing the marketing budget when times get tight. The solution is not to spend more, it is to spend more wisely.

It makes sense when you think about it: your customers are most sensitive to issues of cost right now, and they are looking for reasons to differentiate you from your competitors. Not all businesses can be a price leader like the big box stores, so we are left to communicate why we are the better choice to people who are not paying as much attention to issues like value, service and quality.

And here’s the key: you can’t communicate why you’re better if you stop talking. Granted, very few companies have the budget to saturate a market with image advertising, but that just points in a new direction.

Now is the time to get creative with your marketing budget. There are four major themes to any recession-proof marketing strategy.

  • Keep your current clients
  • Increase your outreach to potential clients
  • Collaborate with other small business to build strength in the market
  • Bring the flexibility of small business to the table.

Contact CDA Graphic Design today and let us show you how these four principals apply to your business.

Good People Doing Good Work #02

AIDS Survival Project

Last month’s installment of this article featured the “birth” of a great agency, Caregiver Care Atlanta. This month, I would like to tell you about a great agency that is closing its doors after 25 years of service to the Atlanta area.

The AIDS Survival Project has been a client of mine for more than five years, and I was very proud to have been tapped to re-design their logo, website and branding 2 years ago.

It was my privilege to be “around” when the agency was formed in the late 80’s, and to see them become a unique and powerful voice for the HIV/AIDS affected population in Atlanta, the state, and indeed the Southeast.

Executive Director Melanie Sovine was quoted about the closure in Southern Voice. “I think always there was the clear objective that we had to respond to AIDS Survival Project in the deepest respect, and the difficult understanding that respect for ASP may mean not casting it into irretrievable debt,” said Melanie Sovine, ASP executive director since September 2006. “That’s when the board took courage and said we are going to close responsibly, knowing that the ability to financially sustain the agency for the long term is just not before us.”

As one more friend passes into the sunset, I want to say “thank you” to all of the professionals and volunteers at AIDS Survival Project who have given so much of themselves to our lives. We are richer because of your efforts.

Good People Doing Good Work #01

Chris Duncan with Frances Williams

I was very excited this summer to finish work on the website for Caregiver Care Atlanta. This consortium of Atlanta agencies came together to produce a website for and about the people who provide care for other people. Though still building content, the six agency partners are already using the database I built for them to direct each family to the information they need.

Although it was a coincidence, my maternal grandmother France Williams (pictured) was finishing her life journey at the same time as my work on this project was concluding. I can’t tell you how useful I found the information Caregiver Care Atlanta was able to provide.

The partners in the initiative include the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Jewish Family & Career Services, Lifespan Resources, One Good Deed, The Cohen Home and The William Breman Jewish Home.

If you or a member of your family find yourself in the role of cargiver, please remember this very important new resource.