Technology Tips

Post date: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 11:09am

Minimize All Windows at Once / Minimizar todas las ventanas a la vez

Today’s tip is one of my favorite keyboard shortcuts.  Often, I want to see my desktop quickly, without having to minimize each window individually.  To do this, use the Windows key + M.  To restore the minimized windows, use the Windows key + Shift + M.





El consejo de hoy es uno de mis atajos de teclados favoritos.  A menudo, quiero ver mi escritorio del ordenador rapidamente, sin tener que minimizar cada ventana individualmente.  Para hacer ésto, use la tecla de “Windows” + M.  Para restablecer las ventanas minimizadas, use la tecla de “Windows” + “Shift” + M.

Tags: minimize, windows
Post date: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 11:42am

Easily Convert to PDF in Office / Convierte facilmente a PDF en Office

Need to submit a resume in PDF format?  Want to email a PDF of that PowerPoint so the formatting doesn’t change?  It’s easy!

Open the file you want to convert to PDF.  Go to Save As.

Change the type to PDF and continue saving the file.

The PDF format is useful for sharing documents because all the formatting stays the same, and the file cannot be edited.  Be sure to keep your original Word document if you will need to edit it later.



Necesita presentar un resume en formato PDF? ¿Quiere enviar por correo electrónico un PDF de PowerPoint para que el formato no cambia? ¡Es fácil!

Abra el archivo que desea convertir a PDF. Vaya a “Save As”.

Cambia el tipo de PDF y continua guardando el archivo.

El formato PDF es útil para el intercambio de documentos, porque todo el formato sigue siendo el mismo, y el archivo no se puede editar. Asegúrese de guardar el documento de Word original si tendrá que editar más tarde.



Tags: Convert, Office, PDF
Post date: Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 5:12pm

How to Set Up Secure Passwords

We need passwords for everything these days!  It’s so easy just to use a simple password that’s easy to remember, like 123456.  But the annual list of the most common passwords was released recently, and it’s a good reminder that it’s important to create secure passwords.  Here are the most common passwords of 2013:








These are the easiest passwords for a hacker to use to get into your accounts!

Here some tips for setting up a password that a hacker is less likely to guess.

  1. Avoid common words, phrases, and number combinations.
  2. Avoid common names, dates, phone numbers, or things easily associated with you.
  3. Use a combination of numbers, letters (upper and lower case), and even symbols.  One way to make this easier to remember is to substitute numbers for letters or letters for numbers in a word or phrase.
  4. Make sure it’s something you can remember.  Don’t write it down!
  5. Don’t use keyboard patterns, such as “qwerty”.
  6. Make it at least eight characters long.
  7. Try not to use the same password on multiple sites.
  8. Change your passwords often.

For even more specific tips, try:



Tags: password, secure
Post date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 9:42am

Insert a Table in Microsoft Word

Sometimes statistics speak louder than words. On these occasions, I like to use tables. Inserting a table in Word is as simple as navigating to the Insert tab and clicking the Table tool.

You can use the grid layout provided to create your table or draw it yourself – I prefer using the grid. Once you create the “skeleton” of your table, you can select a design, outline and merge cells, add special columns – anything your little heart desires. The menu below will appear magically when you create your table, and whenever you click on your table.

What will YOU use tables for?

Post date: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 11:54am

Anatomy of a Web Address

Ever wonder what it really means when you type in a web address? It seems like an impenetrable code. Not so! Let’s dissect my favorite web address:

HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. Long-time computer users may remember a time before Windows when we needed to enter lines of code to tell the computer what we wanted it to do; HTTP works sort of like that. By typing HTTP, you’re telling a web server to go fetch and transmit the page you’re requesting.

Next comes waukeganpl (yes, we’re skipping the www for now). This is the domain. It is not case sensitive, whatever your grandmother may believe. It can’t include spaces, but can include numbers and dashes.

Next part is the .org – this is called a top-level domain. Different types of websites use different top-level domains. Some commonly used top-level domains are:

  •  .edu – for educational institutions like universities
  •  .gov – for websites created by the federal government
  •  .com – used by for-profit companies

Other countries often use different top-level domains like .mx for Mexico or .ie for Ireland.

Back to www! This part is called the sub-domain. Most websites use www as the sub-domain and depending on the way the site is configured, you can often skip typing this part into the address bar. Other sub-domains are sometimes used to point to different features of a website. For example, you can visit to conduct a keyword search, to log into your Gmail account, and to get driving directions. All the same website, just different features.

When you combine the domain (waukeganpl), the top-level domain (.org) and the sub-domain (www) you get something magical: a domain name!

What about the extra bit at the end? In the case of our example above, the /technology-tips added to the end of the domain name tells the website that we’re looking for a page called technology-tips. This part could also point to a specific file – in that case, it would end in the file type (.pdf and .docx are examples).

Tags: websites
Post date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 1:35pm

Be Your Own IT Support

A few months ago, I was puzzling over a tech problem that had no clear solution. I consulted the library’s IT manager who said, “Huh, that’s a tough one. Let me do a little research and I’ll get back to you.” And then, dear reader, HE GOOGLED MY QUESTION. It blew my mind! I’ve heard the standard “let me research that and I’ll get back to you” answer many times, but I thought IT professionals had some secret listserv or manual they consulted. Certainly they have better resources than the rest of us, right!?

Knowing that the answer to my tech question could only be a quick Google search away has empowered me to solve a lot more of my own tech-related issues. Phone acting weird? Google what it’s doing and you’ll find forums and blogs where people are having the same problem as you. Get a strange error message on your PC? Google it! The odds are slim that you are the first person to experience a particular tech issue.

I’m not saying that we can live without professional IT support, but we can solve a lot of our own problems with a little investigating and trial-and-error. You know more than you think! After all, that will free up the IT manager at your office to prepare that new computer you’ve been wanting…

Tags: Confidence
Post date: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 11:43am

Matching a Custom Color using Paint

For better or worse, I am a perfectionist. It drives me nuts when a project I’m working on is just a little bit “off” – so much so that I will go to great lengths to make all the colors in a project match. How? By creating custom colors in Paint using color samples I pull from other images.

Take the Pinterest logo, for example. I created a bookmark that incorporates the Pinterest logo and the URL of the library’s Pinterest page. I wanted the color of the URL to be the same shade of red as the Pinterest logo. It only took a few simple steps:

First I downloaded the logo from and opened it in MS Paint.

Next, I clicked the eyedropper icon in the Tools section. The eyedropper takes a “sample” of any color you click on. Point the eyedropper to the color you want to match and click. The color will automatically appear in the space designated Color 1. If you’re going to continue working in Paint, you can stop here.

If you want to use this custom color in another program like Word or Publisher, click the Edit Colors tool, found at the far right of the Home ribbon. A window like this one will open:

You can use the number values in the lower right to recreate your custom color in almost any program. Just locate the Color tool (in most Office programs, you can find it by clicking the More Colors option wherever you select color for shapes or font). You can also convert these values to a Hex code for use on a website. I like this free hex code generator:

Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 10:51am

Flip Among Your Open Windows

Today’s tip is a quick shortcut: Alt + Tab. Use it to toggle between open windows for quick and easy navigation. If you have multiple windows open, hold the Alt key and press Tab until you highlight the window you need. Then just release both keys and voila! The window you need is right in front of you. If you’re using Windows 7, the thumbnail views of your open windows should look a lot like the screenshot below:

Post date: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 4:49pm

Inserting Special Characters

If you frequently need to insert special characters into a document, you know all about where to find them in the Insert ribbon. You may also know that there are (complicated) keyboard shortcuts for a lot of them. But did you know that there’s a website that allows you to simply copy and paste the most frequently used characters? It’s called

You can either browse for the character you want (the categories are pretty intuitive) or you can create a custom list of frequently used characters. I created a list with all the accented vowels in Spanish , the Euro symbol, and GBP symbol. Super handy!

Post date: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 9:31am

Do You Need to Defrag?

Before we answer that question, we need to talk about what fragmentation is. Think of the files in your computer as boxes in an attic. You root through the boxes to find something you need, you move boxes around, you bring new boxes in and take old boxes out. Eventually, the boxes get out of order and your attic becomes a dreadful mess! Defragmentation is the process of rearranging all those boxes and freeing up as much floor space as possible.

Not all computers need to be defragmented, and some do it automatically. If your computer is older (more than five years) and it’s starting to slow down, you may want to think about defragmentation.

Before you click the Defragment button, check out this article on defragging and solid state hard drives and this article on defragging Macs. If you decide to defrag, you can find good instructions for Windows 7 here.