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© St. Petersburg Times, published March 13, 2000

Insert key will stop overtyping

Q. When writing a letter using Microsoft Works, I have a problem when I want to add a word or change a letter. I delete the letter or word, but when I type in the new word it erases the rest of the words and I have to retype the whole sentence. Is there anything you can do to stop this?

A. Somehow you have switched to Overstrike mode. You want to be in Insert mode. To change back, press the Insert key on your keyboard.

Setting Excel formats

Q. I saw your response to a question about setting format defaults in Word and Excel. However, in Excel some of the formatting options revert to the original settings in subsequent Excel settings. How can I get them to stick?

A. To do this in Excel requires creating an Excel template file (XLT) with your customized settings and then using that template as the base for new Excel workbooks.

This is how you do it: Open a new blank workbook. Set the options -- gridlines, fonts, etc. -- to how you want them. From the menu bar select File, Save As. Enter a name such as MyDefaults and make sure you select Template in the "Save as type" option. This should automatically switch you to the folder where the Office templates are kept (c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates).

When you open Excel, you'll need to do a File, New. You will see the MyDefaults template. Click on this and it will open a new workbook with your custom defaults set. If you use the New Office Document shortcut that Office installs on your Start menu, you will see your new Excel template listed there as well.

Adding seconds to the clock

Q. Can seconds be added to the time on the taskbar, such as 12:30:15 p.m.?

A. Yes. Double-click the clock on the bottom right of your taskbar. This will display the Date/Time properties dialog where you can set the time, including the seconds. Alternatively, you can access the Date/Time properties dialog from the Control Panel.

All about screen savers

Q. Would you please tell me the plus and minus of screen savers?

A. Years ago, monitors left on for extended periods of time would tend to "burn in" whatever image was left on the screen. This image would then become a permanent ghosted image on the monitor. This is not a problem for current monitors (less than 8 years old). Today screen savers serve cosmetic purposes. Some allow you to set a password that prevents others from using your PC while you're away. However, unless you have a CMOS-based password, one could reboot the PC and gain access. Personally, I am not a fan of screen savers, preferring to have the monitor power down when not in use.

Windows 2000 tip

For users of Windows 2000 Professional, check out the Hibernate feature (enabled from Control Panel, Power Options). This alternative to Shut Down writes the contents of memory to a file. Then during boot-up, this file is used to restore the PC exactly as you left it, in dramatically less time than during a normal boot-up.

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