Archive for the Office Category

Hyperwords – Hype What You Can Do in Firefox

Posted in Firefox, Firefox Extension, Google, Office with tags , on September 26, 2007 by Ethan Dickenson

Hyperwords is one of the most functional extensions in Firefox. I use this all the time through the context menu. I use it consistently for thehyperword.jpg following things;

1. it allows me to highlight some text and send it to the printer. This is good for a lot of things, including Google directions

2. copy url

3. copy link location

4. look up definition in dictionary

5. send highlighted words to Google search

6. get similar pages through delicious

7 and many more…

There are a lot of things it enables you to do. You can also see a report of everyone who links to the page, see a wayback report of the page… It makes all the sense in the world to install this extension because many of the things that you would normally pull up a different site to do are part of hyperwords and it is much faster to use it as opposed to pulling it up individually. It will take you a while to get used to everything and know what you can use hyperwords for but once you’ve figured it out I’m sure you’ll appreciate how useful it is.

One word of warning on this extension, when you first install it the default settings will enable a bothersome auto engage. Whenever you click on a text box it will bring up a ‘hyperword menu’. Disable this bothersome function in the options and you’ll be happy with the abilities of the extension.


Breakthrough – .PDF Editing, Viewing, Commenting, in a Free Product

Posted in Graphics, Office, Viewer on September 7, 2007 by Ethan Dickenson

The best part of my job (I consider this blog my job) is trying new software and finding a free package that excites me because it does something unique that is really awesome. I got that feeling when I downloaded PDF – Xchange Viewer. At the time I downloaded it, my hard drive had crashed and I just needed a PDF viewer and it was a product I had not tried so I put it on my system. I looked at several Lady Liberty!documents, was happy with the speed at which the Xchange Viewer pulled them up but I didn’t notice all the features until I was looking at a form stored as a .pdf and I wanted to fill it out. While looking at the form, and thinking how nice it would be to fill out the form and store it, because it was a form that I have to submit over and over again, my eyes doubtfully looked at the top of the document and found the edit toolbar and I was excited and pleased to find that I could do everything I needed to do (and more) with the Xchange Viewer. I could type and just fill out my form or I could leave a bright yellow sticky comment for someone, I could lock the document from editing once I was done, I was truly over joyed with all the features. I had always wanted the ability to fill out forms stored in a PDF format. The Xchange Viewer is fast, has all these great edit features, and free and I’m surprised that I have not read more about it in some of the other ‘market sight’ pages I regularly visit. So I’m very happy to recommend what I think is truly a great freeware product, everyone should download the PDF Xchange Viewer.

Breedlink to: PDF Xchange Viewer

Rounding Off Breed’s Graphical Suite With a Worthy Image Viewer

Posted in Disk and File Mgt, Graphics, Graphics Editor, Office, Photo on August 28, 2007 by Ethan Dickenson

I’ve been looking for a good graphics viewer. FastStone Image Viewer is a very functional freeware product. It is quick to lode, easy on the resources, provides a fast and effective way to navigate through your photos, gives you a way to do some basic editing, and it provides a utility for renaming and/or resizing your photos in batch mode! You can’t ask more from an image viewer. Except… maybe they could add a way to export photos to some of the online organizations like Flicker or Photo Bucket but I’m not complaining because FastStone image viewer packs a lot of features into their viewer while keeping resources in check and ‘load time’ acceptable.Stewwy

If you are not a ‘shutter bug’ and don’t do much graphic editing, this one program will do everything you need. However, for those of us who like to experiment with our photos and design graphics for applications and web pages, there is a need for a more robust graphics editor and I’ve covered those requirements in a previous post. With the addition of the FastStone Image Viewer I think we’ve nailed down the best free suite of graphic image editing and I would compare it to anything on the market.

When you go to FastStone’s download page, you will notice there are 2 other products that might sound interesting to you; the Photo Resizer 2.4 and the MaxView 2.1. Both programs are components that were rolled up and used to build the Image Viewer. So all the functional abilities in those products are rolled up into the Image Viewer.

Draw a Plan, Paste .doc

Posted in Drawing, Office on August 19, 2007 by Ethan Dickenson

Dia is the ultimate drawing program. I like to think of it as a white board with all kinds of objects that you can use to help make your point. I got addicted to Visio at my last job. I would map out my customer’s computer environments and show them how our software would fit into their existing infrastructure.

You can use DIA to do things like, map out the rooms in your home to plan for development or redecorating, create a landscape plan for your yard, put together flowcharts, draw out networks, design circuit boards or other projects that involve electricity… Anything that you would normally grab a piece of graph paper to draw out is something you can use DIA for. I believe that most people have a need for DIA but they don’t know its out there and available for them.

DIA is a feature rich product that has hundreds of objects that you can put on a drawing board, resize, edit, and use. You can import and export into Visio and you can paste your drawings into your word processor or presentation graphics software (like Power Point). If you have a need to draw something out, you can’t go wrong with DIA. Everyone should be aware of this great product and spend some time learning how to use it.

You can get additional objects or ‘shapes’ from this link (which is also available on the DIA download page)

It’s Easy to Create PDF Files

Posted in Office, Writing on August 19, 2007 by Ethan Dickenson

For some time now you’ve been able to download freeware that integrates a printer into your windows operating system which allows you to create a .pdf file by selecting a different printer from your ‘print setup window’. This is an easy freeware solution to the expensive option of buying the Adobe software to edit and create .pdf files. At first it may souJugglend like a ‘jerry-rigged’ solution, and it is, but after you use it a few times you’ll see that it’s dependable, easy, and reliable.

I do have one problem I am working on. If you want to scan several pages and turn them into one .pdf document then you have to import them, one by one, into another application, usually a word processor, to do it. I’ve been looking for a solution to that problem but as of today I’ve not found one. If this is what you are doing, before you import the documents you should format the page in the word processor and move all the margins as far out as you can because if you don’t your document will show up at about 70% as large as the original. If you do push out the margins you can get about 92% and it is hardly noticeable.

There are several solutions that all work the same way. I downloaded Cute PDF writer and it is working well for me. It does require a post script to pdf converter and there is a link to one on the Cute PDF download page that I’m referring you to. Unless you’ve worked with post script applications before you’ll need to download and install both applications. Both are a snap to install and when you go to print a document you’ll see ‘Cute PDF Writer’ listed as one of the printers that you can select.

Take a Note, Write Some Code

Posted in Office, Programming on August 18, 2007 by Ethan Dickenson

Programmer’s Notepad is a programming editor that doubles as a notepad replacement. It’s small enough to be used effectively as a Notepad replacement and it’s nice to have the programming editor right at your fingertips. There are more highlighting options than you can shake a stick at. On the left side there’s a frame with a list of common functions that are ‘bundled’ so when you select one of them the appropriate characters show up in your editor and then you can fill in the customizable portion of the function. OfProgrammer’s Notepad course, those functions change depending upon which programming language you select. It also recognizes the separate ‘chunks’ in your programs and it allows you to collapse or expand those so looking at all that code doesn’t scare you off.

I’m not much of a programmer, I do some stuff with html / css / xml occasionally. Like most out there, I copy, hack, and make it work for me if I can. Code doesn’t scare me but I’m not the type that will create something on his own. Programmers Notepad is really useful to users like me, who don’t really know what they are doing, and can use a nudge in the right direction once in a while. Programmer’s Notepad enables users like myself to do more with code than we otherwise could. If you’re starting to look at code and customize html, then Programmer’s Notepad is a good way to pull up the stuff you are looking at. And since you’re using it for that reason, you might as well replace Microsoft’s Notepad with it and switch your ‘file association’ for .txt to Programmer’s Notepad.

The ‘Best of Breed’ Clipboard

Posted in Desktop Enhancement, Utilities, Writing on August 18, 2007 by Ethan Dickenson

Yankee Clipboard (YC) delivers an amazing freeware value. It’s better than many of the shareware products that are out there. I’ve tried every clipboard product I can find and the YC’s features top them all. Another important characteristic I look at, especially with clipboards, is the amount of resources they take to run. YC is very efficient. Even when I’ve been doing a lot and I have not “cleared” the clipboard file it is still one of the least resource intensive processes on my machine. There are several things you can do with the YC that you normally have to pay for.

  • It stores rich text formats and pictures of all kinds and even URLs.
  • It has the ability to strip crap off text. For example, when you send an email and several people forward it. If it is routed by a UNIX server you get all those > characters that indicate the text has been sent forward. YC can clip those characters off so when you paste they are not there.
  • You can initiate either your screen saver or a calendar (nice 3 month view) from the icon in the task bar.
  • You can store text that is frequently pasted in their ‘boiler plate’ field so it is always available from the main window. I’ve stored information like my email addresses, phone numbers, and even credit card information in it.

Basically, it’s a great clipboard manager. The only thing I don’t like is that you can’t pull up a list of your recent clips from the icon in the system tray. You can accomplish it with a hot key ‘control+alt+v’ so the capability is there. It could be that I just don’t know how to do it, maybe I’ve missed something. Regardless, I have no problem recommending YC and identifying it as the best clipboard tool I’ve used. I may get a lot of feedback because most people use clipboards and we all get used to the products we use and love them. I’ve tried several including Ditto and Clipomatic and I’ll try others if my readers think they merit consideration. So leave me a comment, let’s have them!

The bottom line is, for now anyway, I’m recommending the Yankee Clipboard as a ‘best of breed’ clipboard manager. You can download it at the link below.