Category Archives: PC Basics

Password-protect a spreadsheet

It can be useful to protect an Excel spreadsheet with a password, for example before sending it by e-mail. Password-protected files are also encrypted, so there’s no way of seeing their contents without knowing the password.

You can do the same with Word documents. The process is virtually identical to that described below for Excel.  Access databases can also be password protected, although it’s a little more complicated (look for File | Info | Encrypt with Password).

Here are step-by-step instructions for putting a password on an Excel spreadsheet. Continue reading Password-protect a spreadsheet

How to stop Microsoft Word from double-spacing everything

I get asked this a lot. Microsoft changed how Word initially works a version or two ago, and here I explain (with screenshots from Word 2016) what’s going on.

One feature of Word that new users tend to ignore is its “styles” function. Initially, Word uses the “Normal” style, but lots of other styles are available, for example the “No Spacing” style. To choose a style, just click it on the “Home” tab:

Click to enlarge

Continue reading How to stop Microsoft Word from double-spacing everything

Open the “Run Box” in any version of Windows

There are a number of ways to open a run box, but one of the easiest, and one that works on all modern versions of Windows is this:

Use Win+R:

Windows and R keys
How to get the Run box

In details: hold down the Windows key, press and release the “R” key, let go of the Windows key.

Win and R keys
How to get the Windows “Run” box

The “Run box” will appear:

win-run-command

Type a Windows command into the run box – my screenshot shows the command “winver” – and then click “OK”. Windows will execute your command.

Useful commands:

  1. winver
  2. notepad
  3. cmd
  4. cmd /c”ipconfig /all > desktop/ipconfig-pd.txt”
  5. powershell

Explanations of the above commands:

  1.  Shows which version of Windows you are running.
  2. Runs the text editor
  3. Open a command windows (also called a “DOS box”) – type exit to close it.
  4. Creates a text file on your desktop called ipconfig-pd which contains your IP configuration – sometimes I’ll ask you to e-mail this to me if you can’t get on the Internet.
  5. Run Powershell – type exit to close it.

Be careful with the command box and (especially) with Powershell! 

 

Windows 10 – how open an “Elevated Command Box”

An Elevated Command Box is a useful way to run certain specialised commands. Here’s how you do it:

Right-click the Start Button

The Start Button is the little flag icon in the bottom-left corner of the main screen in Windows 10.

Right-click the Start Button to get a menu of useful commands. From here you can click on Command Prompt (Admin) to get an elevated command prompt – you’ll be asked for permission first (just click Yes). It will open in a black window. When you’ve finished with the command box, you can type exit or just close the black window by clicking the normal “red X”.

Windows 10 – Use The Search Box

Windows 10 search

The Windows 10 Search Box is a very useful tool, and under-used by many people. You can use it to search for almost anything on your PC (and maybe on the Web) – files, photos, documents, settings, and so on.

It’s at the bottom of your main PC screen (the desktop), just to the right of the little Windows flag (the Start button). It may contain the words “Search Windows”, “Search Windows and the Web”, or “Ask me anything”, depending on your PC’s settings.

It may also just be an icon, like this: Seatch icon

To use it, just type the start of a word or phrase into it. As you type, it will show you matching things that it finds.

Windows 10 Search Box
The Windows 10 Search Box

Let’s say we want to find Windows’s “Command Box”. So I type com and up it pops:

Run the command box

I could either click it to run a command box, or right-click and choose Run as administrator to run an Elevated Command Box (that is, a command box with extra privileges).

How do I tell what version of Windows I’m running?

There are a number of ways, but one of the easiest, and one that works on all modern versions of Windows is this:

Use Win+R:

Windows and R keys
How to get the Run box

In details: hold down the Windows key, press and release the “R” key, let go of the Windows key.

Win and R keys
How to get the Windows “Run” box

The “Run box” will appear:

win-run-command

Type “winver” (without the quotes) and click “OK”.

screenshot
Windows 10 Anniversary Edition

You’ll be shown a box that tells you which Windows you have (Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 8, Windows 10), and, in smaller letters the version and edition – version 1610 of Windows 10 Pro, for example. Click “OK” to make the box go away.