MS Word – Adjusting a Form Template

Just got back to having computer access and received a call from my wife. A form I had made up for her, using Microsoft Word 2003, needed adjusting for some new product and she had ten orders to type up and run on the dot matrix printer with the new information.

The problem was that she knows very little about how to use Microsoft Word and needed it done right away to keep from having to do everything by hand.

Luckily, I was able to walk her through sending me a copy of the DOT (Word Document Template (Microsoft)) file, via email. Once I saved that DOT file to my hard drive, I was able to open it, adjust it and email it back to her.

To make the adjustments in MS Word 2003, I did the following:

  • Right clicked on the DOT file.
  • Selected Open from the drop down menu. (If you just double-click a DOT file to open it, you will get a new blank document instead of opening the DOT itself.)
  • Made the Forms Toolbar visible:
  • View on the MS Word menu bar
  • Select Toolbars
  • Click on Forms
  • Clicked on the Protect Forms icon, it looks like a little padlock, to unlock the form.
  • Replaced three text items with Text Form Fields, with the same formatting as the replaced text; also changed text in another area, but straight text not a Text Form Field.
  • Clicked on the Protect Forms icon again to lock the form again.
  • Hid the Forms Toolbar again.
  • View on the MS Word menu bar
  • Select Toolbars
  • Click on Forms
  • Saved the DOT file with a new name, reflecting today’s date and the new function.

Once the form was adjusted, I emailed her the new DOT file and walked her through how to save it in a folder in My Documents containing forms of the same type and then walked her through creating a shortcut for this one to the desktop.

The whole process took about a half hour and saved a lot of work on her part. Now she just needs to double-click on the shortcut item, fill in the information that changes, print the multi-part form on the dot matrix printer, sign it and move on to the next order of business.

She has some other forms, that are not multi-part, but those I have done for her in PDF (Acrobat Portable Document Format) and have to do those differently as you must have the complete Acrobat application to create or adjust them.

If you have special forms or interested in forms, leave a comment and let me know how you handle problems.

As Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, there will be no posting. I will be spending time with my family, as we all should, and will post Friday this week instead.

Have a great Thanksgiving!!

Email – Show File Extensions For Safety

Set Windows to show file extensions to make it easier to determine attachment safety. By default Windows is set to hide file extensions and hackers have used this to hide the real extension of an attachment to look legitimate, as most users do not change the defaults.

As an example goodattachment.txt.exe would show as goodattachment.txt, unless Windows is set to show file extensions and, if opened would run the executable file with probable bad results.

Showing file extensions is a simple process:

  • Left click Start.
  • Left click Control Panel.
  • Double click Folder Options.
  • Select the View tab.
  • Un-check the “Hide extensions for known file types.” box.
  • Click OK.
  • Close Control Panel.

Sowing file extensions is one of the first things I do when someone asks me to help them with a computer problem and I explain why they should keep this setting. Not only is this a good precaution for email, it helps me understand what the different files are in the folders on the computer that is having problems, as most leave the file extensions hidden and I can not then determine whether a particular file is a data file, an executable, a zip, etc.

Do yourself and your computer repair/consultant personnel a favor and set Windows to show file extensions.

If you know of any other reasons to show file extensions, please leave me a comment.

XP – Single Click File Open

Some people have asked me if there is a way to use only a single click with Windows Explorer, to open a file, like clicking on a link in a web browser.

The answer is yes, if you use Windows ME or XP.

To set it up:

  • Access your Control Panel.
  • Open the Folders Options applet.
  • Under the General tab, select Single-click to open an item (point to select).
  • Also select Underline icon titles consistent with my browser, to have all icons underlined (Default).
  • Or select Underline icon titles only when I point at them. (Optional)
  • Click Apply.
  • Click OK.
  • Close Control Panel.

Personally, I leave my options to be opened by a double click, as I find myself opening things I don’t really want opened, using the single click method. This is really a matter of personal preference, so if you can get used to the single click option, it should make your computing experience better.

Try it out for a while, if you can not get used to the change, or just find it doesn’t work for you go back to the Control Panel General tab and reselect Double-click to open an item (single-click to select), click Apply and then OK and close Control Panel.