Dec 29
My Top Tech Finds of 2012
icon1 techandlife | icon2 Tech tips | icon4 December 29, 2012| icon31 Comment »


Seeing as it’s nearing the year-end, I thought I’d round up the best web apps, services and tech podcasts I’ve come across during the year and which I’m still using and enjoying. Follow the links in each category for more information.

Tech podcasts

I haven’t tracked down a great many new tech podcasts this year and unfortunately, some of my favourites have faded away or are in limbo. The best new podcast I can recommend is the Ask Lifehacker Podcast which started up in February and has become one of my regulars. They offer great tech tips, favourite downloads and answer readers’ tech questions. If you listen to podcasts, give this one a try. And if you can suggest a great tech podcast, let me know in the comments.

WordPress plugins

Best find here has been the nRelate plugin which shows thumbnails of related content below all your posts. Have a look below this post to see it in action.

Web apps

I discovered Trello this year, a great project management app – and you don’t have to be part of a team to use it either. Great if you have to keep tabs on what stage each of your projects is at.

Top find

I kept the best until last – Reddit. Strictly speaking, not a new find as I’ve known about it for a few years, but this has been the year I really came to appreciate it. I found a great set of subreddits and started reading regularly and trying to contribute when I could. I think the secret of Reddit is finding those subreddits that really appeal to you – there are thousands out there. Once you’ve done that, you’ll start getting a lot out of it and you’ll find many of the conversations really stimulating. I’m also finding that I’m starting to pick up great tech tips on Reddit to rival my RSS feeds, and I never thought that would happen. So try putting Facebook aside for a while and have a look at Reddit.

What are your best tech finds of 2012 that you are still using? Drop a comment below.

Dec 19

Word icons

I came across this problem when opening a Word file recently. Someone had sent me a Word document to edit so as usual I moved it to a folder on my PC and double-clicked to open it in Word 2010. The file opened okay but I noticed that, strangely, the file was called Document1 at the top of the ribbon – not the name of the file I had received. Okay, so I decided to save the file with a different name. I clicked Save As but Word offered to save it in Libraries>Documents, not where I had originally opened the file.

So I knew there was a problem, probably with the file name. I use xplorer2 as my file manager and when I looked at the file extension, it was in fact .dot not .doc or .docx. So this was a Word Template file. Sure enough, when you look at the file icon closely as shown above, there is a slight difference between dot and doc icons.

So if you are having a problem with a Word document opening as Document1, it’s probably a Word Template file so just save it as a doc or docx file in your work directory.

Dec 13

Working more productively means you can finish work faster get on to something else or have some leisure time. I’ve collected 10 Word tips and tricks I’ve found really useful to help you save time. You’ll probably know some of these but hopefully there are one or two you don’t. I’ve written about some before so for those I’ll give a brief explanation and then link to the original post.

Quickly changing the case of a word, phrase or sentence

If you didn’t know about the Shift-F3 combination in Word, memorise it now – it’ll save you a lot of time in the future. With your cursor on a word, hold the Shift key, then press F3 repeatedly to cycle through all caps, initial capital and all lower case. Or highlight a phrase, sentence or paragraph then use this key combination to quickly change the case.

Return to where you left off yesterday

When you reopen a Word document, for example, the next day, Word remembers where you left off in the document, assuming you didn’t return to the beginning before closing. Pressing Shift-F5 will magically return you to where you were working.

Quickly navigate round your document using the Browse Object button

Look towards the bottom right corner of the document window. Have you used these browsing buttons? With these, you can browse up and down through your document by comment, section, heading level, graphic or table. A great timesaver.

Word Tips1

Access frequently used commands from the Quick Access bar

This is another great time saver. Think of the commands you use all the time and add them to the Quick Access bar. On mine, I have Undo, Redo, Advanced Find, Borders and Shading (tables), Select Row (tables), Delete Row (tables), Insert symbol, Insert comment, Show All Comments, Track Changes, and Apply Styles. Here’s my earlier post about using the Quick Access bar. I’ve also recently learned you can right click many commands on the ribbon and add them to the Quick Access bar.

Word Quick Access Toolbar1
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