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OVER 2 YOU 189 (20/07/04)



I use Word and Windows XP. How can I write both subscript and superscript numbers in the same vertical line next to a letter representing a chemical symbol? I can align a single super/sub number using the Character Spacing adjustment on the Font menu but I cannot work out how to do it for two or more digits. For example, a superscript of 108 and a subscript of 47 before the symbol Ag for silver
Ian Brandon, via email



This can be done using Word's Equation Editor, which can be found by going to Insert > Object and scroll down the list to Microsoft Equation 3. It is not installed by default so if you donít see it on the list go to Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel and on the entry for Microsoft Office click Change then Add of Remove Features, youíll find Equation Editor listed under Office Features. Once installed a Toolbar appears. On the bottom row click the Subscript and Superscript Templates (third from the left) and choose the third entry on the fourth line, showing super and sub scripts aligned vertically. In the text box that appears enter the super and subscripts and the chemicalís name or letters. If necessary go to Define on the Size menu to alter the font style and size, press the Return key and the symbol will be entered into the document. This is only one of a number of very useful functions in the Equation Editor; it is a little known and undervalued feature of Word and well worth getting to know, especially by those studying science and chemistry.

Nick Ward, via email



As Ian Brandon says, for single digits, it is possible to type the superscript first and then the subscript, and then use character spacing in the font menu to modify the superscript so that the spacing is condensed by, say 6 points. This means that the subscript is moved to the left, below the superscript. This can also be applied to multi-digit numbers (at least in Word 97), by entering the digits alternately for the upper and lower lines. For example, for the element Pb one might want to enter a superscript of 210 and a subscript of 82 before the symbol Pb, so that the 0 is above the 2 of 82. Enter the digits in the order 21-8-0-2. Then make 21and 0 superscript, and 8 and 2 subscript. Then select the 1 and apply Font > Character Spacing  > Condensed 6 point and to then also do this to the 0. This will give the desired result, although further tweaking may be required, depending on the font used. To speed this process up, put subscript and superscript as buttons on the toolbar, and create a new text style that applies the font spacing condensing easily.
Ken Fitchew, via email




Write a page using only the superscript values with the rest of the text and print it. Call up the page and delete all the superscripts and enter the subscripts in the appropriate places. Change the colour of all the characters to white except for the subscripts and replace the printed page in the printer tray.  The white characters ensure that the subscripts are in the right places.  If the registration property of your printer is as good as mine is the page will print with subs and supers aligned,

R. A. Everett, via email




I do not know how to write both subscripts and superscripts in Word but I do know that it is very simple in LaTeX, a typesetting program that is used by many scientists in favour of Word for creating technical documents with complex formulae.  For a beginner, LaTeX can be difficult as it is not WYSISYG but more akin to a DOS version of WordPerfect with the 'show codes' feature enabled, but after an initial steep learning curve it is more powerful than a word processor and fairly easy to use. To use LaTeX you need to download two pieces of software: the typesetting engine itself, which can be found at www.miktex.org,
and an editor such as WinEdt (www.winedt.com).
Joseph Haig, Manchester




One of my colleagues has relatively poor colour perception and I am trying to source a new flat panel monochrome/greyscale monitor to connect to his laptop computer. Any recommendations gratefully received.
Sid Hawkins, via email



I suggest that your correspondent tries the built-in colour schemes in Windows?  In Win98SE you right-click on the desktop background, on the menu, which appears you pick Properties, then choose Appearance, and investigate the Scheme options.  The High Contrast Whites may appeal, or there may be another, which his friend may find more useful.  When you find a good one, you click Apply then OK.
Margery Allcock, via email



There is very little demand for greyscale flat panel monitors so consequently they are few and far between, and they can be very expensive, costing more than fives times as much as equivalent sized colour LCD monitors! The only application I am aware of is in medical imaging, for displaying X-Rays, CAT scans and so on. There is a small selection of models in the 15 to 21-inch range at Clinton Electronics (www.clintonelectronics.com/


George Crawford, via email



Monochrome LCD monitors regularly turn up on ebay. However, new ones are rare, most of them seem to be ex-bank and building society so they are probably quite well used. The screen sizes tend to be quite small too, rarely more than 12 or 14-inches across but they can be quite cheap and I have seen them selling for as little as £30.

Trevor Stevens, via email






I am the Chairman and acting Clerk for the Parish Council. Various agencies send me forms, returns and questionnaires etc. by email in PDF format. Currently I have to download, print and complete the form by hand, take a photocopy for my files and then return it by post. I would prefer to complete these forms on screen, store a copy on the computer and return them by email. Can anyone recommend a cheap software program that would enable me to easily fill out PDF forms? I am using Windows XP and Word.

Alan Jury, via email



Much historical documentation is still stored on microfiche, but to print pages requires a microfiche reader/printer and each page printed costs 50p. For a small village history society, this becomes very expensive and also very time consuming.  Surely in this technological age there is a method of accessing this information through one's own computer. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Eunice Doswell, via email


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