Houston We Have a Problem 09



Houston We Have A Problem 069, 05/09/09


Boss of the Office

I use Microsoft Office 2003 on my desktop PC at work and on my home laptop, both of which run on Windows XP Professional. Is there any way I can get around Office's default selection of the 'My Pictures' folder when I wish to insert a picture in a Word or PowerPoint document or to save an image? I save and store images according to their subject matter, in the appropriate sub folder in the My Documents folder; Microsoft's automatic assumption that all images are stored in My Pictures is annoying, simplistic and bossy.

Paul Bishop, Glasgow


The simplest solution is to modify the Places Bar, which is the list of shortcuts that appears in the left hand panel on all Office Open, Save As, Insert etc. dialogue boxes. You can add your chosen folders to the list, put it at the top if you wish then you are never more than one click away from your files. On older versions of Office the only way to change the Places Bar shortcuts was to edit the Registry or use a third-party utility but from Word/Office 2002 onwards you can change it to suit your needs. All you have to do is select the folder location that you want to add to the Places Bar then go to Tools and click Add to My Places’; you can add up to 256 items to the list. To remove an entry simply right-click on it and click Remove (you cannot remove the default entries without tinkering with the Registry), and you can change the order by right clicking on an entry and selecting Move Up or Move Down.



Opening Lotus Files

I have used Lotus AmiPro and then WordPro for all my word processing over many years, including a book that I wrote a few years back so now I now have lots of WordPro files. I am using Windows XP and forcing myself to get used to Microsoft Word.  Is there any way I can convert WordPro files to Word? I have tried the conventional way of copying and pasting but Word says no way! The only way I have found is to send a copy of a Word Pro document to myself by email them copy and paste it and Word will accept it, but that is tiresome.

David Burke, by email


Although Word cannot directly open WordPro .lwp files, it does have a very useful, and-little known feature that can extract text from almost any type of file. Simply go to Open and on the Files of Type drop-down menu select ‘Recover Text from Any File’, select your WordPro document and click OK. The only downside to this method is that you’ll probably see a lot of WordPro formatting characters dotted throughout the text but these can be removed using Find and Replace on the Edit menu. By the way, don’t forget to change back to All Files or Word Documents when you have finished. Otherwise, if you still have a working copy of WordPro you can open and re save the files in plain text or rich text formats. Alternatively, download and install a text converter; they are available for most versions of Word (W97 to 2003), free from Microsoft at: http://tinyurl.com/m7v6wr.



Clear Up Your Canon

My Canon IP 2000 printer has packed up due to the waste ink reservoirs becoming full. I have contacted local computer service centres that all quote £30 plus for clearing this ink. As one can buy a new printer for not much more money, I wondered if there is an easy way to solve this problem?

J. Price, by email


There are those who say it’s just a cunning plan to make you buy a new printer but let’s be charitable and put it down to an over-cautious monitoring program. The reality is on most printers the waste ink reservoir is just a felt or sponge pad that soaks up surplus ink from cleaning cycles. The printer simply guesses that I has become saturated and needs replacing, usually just by counting the number of printing and cleaning operations. The chances are it’s nowhere near full up and you can safely continue using the printer, so try this simple reset procedure, (reset codes for many other Canon models can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/yaqk56).


With the printer switched off hold down the Resume button then press the Power button. Keeping the Power button pressed, release the Resume button, press it twice more and release both buttons. The green light will flash, wait for it stay on then press Resume 4 times. Finally, press Power to switch the printer off and on again and it should be back to normal.



Vista Fax Faux pas

My version of Windows Vista does not appear to have a fax function. Can you recommend a free program that is easy to use?

Lindi Burroughs, by email 


It’s mostly bad news, I'm afraid. Windows Fax and Scan is only available in the Business, Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Vista. I am not aware of any freeware alternatives, at least none that actually work in Vista or do not require a lot of complicated tweaking. I'm afraid the only way to fax from Home Premium is to use fax software that comes with many fax modems (remember, you cannot send or receive faxes directly through a broadband connection), though as far as I can make out very few of them are Vista compatible. Otherwise you'll have to use a third-party program and the only one that seems to run reliably in Vista is Snappy Fax Desktop (http://tinyurl.com/2jg8xb). You can download a free 30-day trial to see if it works for you and if you want to continue using it the registration fee will set you back $30.00. If you only need to send an occasional fax then a free fax service (usually supported by adds on the sent fax) might be the answer, there’s a list of sites at: http://tinyurl.com/244oy





© R. Maybury 2009 1008


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