Technology Q&A: when to use .rtf ... big changes coming ... more shift key functions ... identify excel cells containing formulas ... access function keys ... shortcuts.WHEN TO USE .RTF (Rich Text Format) A document format from Microsoft for encoding text and graphics. It was adapted from IBM's DCA format and supports ANSI, IBM PC and Macintosh character sets.
Q. Whenever l click on Save As to save a Word document, I'm presented with many choices. I usually click on .doc, the default Word format. But every now and then I receive a file from a colleague that's been saved as .rtf, which is one of the Save As options. What's the difference?
A. The extension .rtf, which stands for Rich Text Format Rich Text Format - (RTF) An interchange format from Microsoft for exchange of documents between Word and other document preparation systems. , maintains a document's formatting. Use .rtf (see screenshot See screen shot. below) if you don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. what version of Word your recipients have or whether they have Word or even Windows.
In lily view the biggest advantage of .rtf is that it doesn't retain any imbedded macros, which makes it immune from catching and spreading viruses.
The other useful format is .txt, shorthand for Plain Text, which saves just the text in the document with no formatting. If you need to make a document as small as possible to transmit it faster over the Internet and formatting is not important, save it as .txt.
BIG CHANGES COMING
Q. Ounce for ounce, my cell phone and personal digital assistant (PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) A handheld computer for managing contacts, appointments and tasks. It typically includes a name and address database, calendar, to-do list and note taker, which are the functions in a personal information manager (see PIM). ) are more powerful and technologically advanced than my laptop, and they cost a lot less. Why are laptops so far behind the technology times?
A. The reason for the gap can be summed up this way: Last year consumers bought 700 million cell phones but only 50 million laptops. On top of that, phones and some PDAs generate big wireless connection fees. Because the potential profits from them far outstrip out·strip
tr.v. out·stripped, out·strip·ping, out·strips
1. To leave behind; outrun.
2. To exceed or surpass: "Material development outstripped human development" those from laptops, they get more attention from manufacturers.
But that's beginning to change. Here are some advances for laptops coming down the pike:
* Always-on small screens. Tomorrow's laptops will mimic the clamshell-style cell phones, which have a second, smaller screen on the outside that displays basic information such as time, date, caller identification and connection accessibility.
* Small laptops with phones. In the next year or two, we should begin to see ultrasmall laptops that have built-in cell phones.
* Touch-screen laptops. Longhorn The code name for the Windows Vista operating system. After the client version was renamed "Vista" in 2005, Longhorn referred to the server version until it was officially named Windows Server 2008 in May of 2007. See Windows Vista. , the code name for Microsoft's next operating system operating system (OS)
Software that controls the operation of a computer, directs the input and output of data, keeps track of files, and controls the processing of computer programs. , will be able to handle inputs from a stylus or finger a la tablet PCs.
* Better battery monitors. Those electricity-reserve gauges on today's laptops are useless; they tell you 20 minutes of power remain when your laptop's about to black out or report no power is left when you have an hour in reserve. Late this year or early next, expect to see gauges that have an accuracy within 1%.
While we're on the subject, here are some other advances we'll start seeing in all computers:
* Less reliance on disk drives. Microsoft is urging laptop and desktop makers to add power-efficient flash memory drives See solid state disk and flash card reader. to store often-used programs. Less reliance on spinning power-hungry hard drives will shorten computers' start-up time--eventually to nearly instantly.
* Dual chips that run faster. Manufacturers of computers' central processing chips--the computer's brain--are introducing a new design that packages together two chips, each running independently of the other. The chips divide the processing of a command between them, each solving part of it, and then forward the completed solution. This parallel processing parallel processing, the concurrent or simultaneous execution of two or more parts of a single computer program, at speeds far exceeding those of a conventional computer. results in a much faster computer. The dual chips are being installed in high-power server computers now and in a year will be introduced in all other ones.
MORE SHIFT KEY FUNCTIONS
Q. Once when I finished working in Excel and had a bunch of open files, I clicked on the File button to save a file, and lo and behold, saw the menu choice Close All. Wow, what a time-saver! But try as I might, I can't get the File button to display Close All again. Any ideas?
A. You must have accidentally held down the Shift key when you clicked on File. When you do that, Close changes to Close All (see screenshot below).
Bonus: In Word, when you hold down the Shift key and click on File, Save changes to Save All (see screenshot below).
IDENTIFY EXCEL CELLS CONTAINING FORMULAS
Q. Is there a way to command Excel to highlight all the cells in a worksheet that contains formulas?
A. Sure. Just click on Edit, Go To and then Special, which is at the bottom of the screen.
That opens the Go To Special screen (see screenshot below). Click on Formulas.
When you click on OK, the cells that contain formulas will be highlighted in dark blue and look like this:
ACCESS FUNCTION KEYS
Q. Ctrl+F3, Shift+ A5 ... I just can't bother to memorize mem·o·rize
tr.v. mem·o·rized, mem·o·riz·ing, mem·o·riz·es
1. To commit to memory; learn by heart.
2. Computer Science To store in memory: all those shortcuts See Win Shortcuts. . Is there an easy way to access them?
A. What you want to do is create a handy screen display that shows all the shortcut (1) In Windows, a shortcut is an icon that points to a program or data file. Shortcuts can be placed on the desktop or stored in other folders, and double clicking a shortcut is the same as double clicking the original file. function keys available at the moment, depending on what you are doing at that time in that application. Interestingly, Word can do that, yet for some reason Microsoft hides that function and gives you no hint where to find it. Even if you access Help (F1), there's no indication the tool exists.
To get it, go to Tools, Customize, click on the Toolbar A row or column of on-screen buttons used to activate functions in the application. Many toolbars are customizable, letting you add and delete buttons as required. Toolbars may be fixed in position or may float, which means they can be dragged to a more convenient location in the tag and cursor down to Function Key Display (see screenshot). Check the box next to it and click on Close.
When you return to Word, you'll see a toolbar at the bottom of your screen that looks like the second screenshot above. To evoke the displayed commands, click on an icon or press one of the function keys.
As you work along in Word, you'll notice from time to time the assortment of function keys will change depending on what you're doing.
Outlook navigation shortcuts: Switch to
* Inbox: Ctrl+Shift+I.
* Mail: Ctrl+1.
* Calendar: Ctrl+2.
* Contacts: Ctrl+3.
* Tasks: Ctrl+4.
* Notes: Ctrl+5.
Stanley Zarowin, a former JofA senior editor, is now a contributing editor A contributing editor is a magazine job title that varies in responsibilities. Most often, a contributing editor is a freelancer who has proven ability and readership draw. to the magazine. His e-mail address See Internet address.
e-mail address - electronic mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have technology questions for this column? Or, after reading an answer, do you have a better solution? Send them to contributing editor Stanley Zarowin via e-mail at email@example.com or regular mail at the Journal of Accountancy, 201 Plaza Three, Harborside Financial Center, Jersey City, NJ 07311-3881.
Because of-the volume of mail, we regret we cannot individually answer submitted questions. However, if a reader's question has broad interest, we will answer it in a Technology Q&A column.
On occasion you may find you cannot implement a function I describe in this column. More often than not it's because not all functions work in every operating system or application. I try to test everything in the 2000 and XP editions of Windows and Office. It's virtually impossible to test them to all editions and it's equally difficult to find out which editions are incompatible with a function. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Key to Instructions
To help readers follow the instructions in this article, we use two different typefaces:
* Boldface type is used to identify the names of icons, agendas and URLs.
* Sans serif Short horizontal lines added to the tops and bottoms of traditional typefaces, such as Times Roman. Contrast with sans-serif.
type shows commands and instructions users should type into the computer and the names of files.