The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 090 05/07/08


Picasa Posers

You have recommended Picasa in the past and a friend has also spoken favourably of it. I have a couple of questions. Once Picasa arranges my photos, will I still be able to import them into Adobe Photoshop? If Picasa is uninstalled will all photos be arranged as before?

Sandy Alderson, by email


There’s no need to worry. Picasa doesn’t overwrite or alter your original pictures in any way and they can still be opened viewed, edited and copied by any other program on your PC. When you use Picasa to edit an image it doesn’t actually change the picture, instead it records what you have done and saves that as a separate file. Whenever you open, print or export a picture in Picasa the alterations are reapplied to the displayed image. The only images that actually change after editing are the small thumbnails displayed in the ‘Library’ view. In Picasa 2 (the current version) you can also Save an edited image and this does overwrite the original but Picasa automatically creates a backup of the unedited image, which it stores in a hidden sub folder, called ‘Originals’ in the same folder.


By the way, several readers have asked about backing up images. Picasa has a built-in utility on the Tools menu for saving a selection or all of your edited images to CD or DVD, and it even tells you how many CDs or DVDs you will need to store the photos.



What the F Do Those Keys Do?

It would be really handy to have a full description of what all of the F keys on my keyboard do. I never use them and your recent column, which mentioned Shift + F3 to capitalise highlighted characters in Word, was a reminder of how useful these keys can be.

Richard Garry, by email


I’m afraid that’s a near impossible task because the Function keys are programmable and what they do depends on the program you are running at the time; the same goes for keyboard shortcuts. However, there are a few constants, F1, for example, normally opens the program’s Help menu and when you are using an Explorer type window (File Open, Save, Save As etc.), if you highlight a file and press F2 you can rename it and F5 refreshes the file list. Some programs come with labels that you can stick to your keyboard, to help you remember what they do and other’s, like Word, can display an on-screen crib sheet. In that particular case just right-click on an empty part of the toolbar, select Customize then Toolbar tab and tick ‘Function Key Display’.


Keyboard shortcuts are usually listed in the program’s Help menu but again there are a few universal ones that are worth committing to memory. Ctrl + C copies a file, chunk of text or object to the Windows Clipboard from where it can be pasted into another open folder, window, document or program using the shortcut Ctrl + V. Ctrl + A highlights all of the files in a list, use Ctrl + X to cut or delete a selected item or block of text and Ctrl + P should open the printer dialogue box, or print whatever is showing on the screen. Finally, the most useful shortcut of all is Ctrl + Z, which normally (but not always) undoes the last action.



Community Dating

I arrange bookings for the local community hall and have to produce a calendar with dates and times, which is sent monthly to members of our committee.


On an old computer I used WordPerfect, which contained a template to create an A4 calendar for any month of any year with the dates inserted. Is there a similar program in Vista or Word 2007?

Pat Keeble, by email


All recent versions of Word can create calendars, as simple or elaborate as you wish. Just go to File > New, select the Other Documents tab, click the Calendar Wizard and work your way through the options to create your design.



Moving Stationery

Help! I tried to create a fancy pattern for a birthday greeting. I managed to get a faded background and a row of leaves – neither of which was any good but every time I create a new email – there it is again, and again, and again…


I can blot it out by deleting the leaves and editing the background but how can I get rid of it for good and how did I do it in the first place?

Brenda Harrison, by email


It took me a little while to work this one out but it sounds to me as though you have been playing around with the Stationery Wizard in Outlook Express or Windows Mail. To revert to plain backgrounds for your emails all you have to do (in both programs) is go to the Tools menu, select Options then Compose tab and under Stationery deselect the Mail checkbox.  If you want to have another go click the Create New button on the same dialogue box.





© R. Maybury 2008 1606


Search PCTopTips 



Digital Life Index

Houston 2006

Houston 2007

Houston 2008


Top Tips Index

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Internet & Email

Microsoft Word

Folders & Files

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy & Security

Imaging Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities

Sound Advice

Display & screen

Fun & Games

Windows 95/98/SE/ME








 Copyright 2006-2008 PCTOPTIPS UK.

All information on this web site is provided as-is without warranty of any kind. Neither PCTOPTIPS nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained herein.