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facebook-icon-28x28.pngVisit my Briticiser Facebook Page to keep up with things here - lots of reviews of stuff I’ve really used and also all kinds of helpful computer tips with a heavy bias towards SAVING YOU TIME.

How to add folder comments in Windows 7

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry151103-120033

Adding a description to a folder so you can easily see what that folder contains is one of the greatest features that Microsoft have left out. It was possible using Windows XP by using a 3rd party program called HobComment and there’s a bit more information about this in my earlier post on this subject here:

How to restore file tooltip popups in Windows 7

Sadly this doesn’t seem to work under Windows 7 but it can be used WITH Windows 7 - meaning that any comments created by HobComment can be viewed on ANY Windows 7 machine (they show up in the native Windows Explorer “Comments” field, if you choose to display that) - which is actually an improvement on XP as the only way to see those comments previously was by having HobComment installed on your machine: other network users couldn’t see them.

I have the option of either using an XP machine on my network, or Windows Virtual PC on my Win7 laptop (running virtual XP) and I have HobComment running there.

This is read from a Desktop.ini file which HobComment creates in the folder. I’ve tried just copying one of these to a new folder and editing it with a new folder description but that doesn’t work - I need to go into an XP machine running HobComment and confirm it there so it can do whatever magic it does to make it appear.

The text in the Desktop.ini file is simply 2 lines like this:

[.ShellClassInfo]
Infotip=YOUR FOLDER DESCRIPTION HERE

I’m sure someone out there must be able to glue all of this together somehow and make something similar to HobComment for Windows 7. Whoever you are “good luck, we’re all counting on you”!

Can’t delete or rename a folder in Windows 7? Try this

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150907-162937

Occasionally you may receive a Folder In Use message such as “the action can’t be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program” when you try to rename or delete/move a folder in Windows 7.

folder-error-msg

There are a number of suggestions out there which might work for you, but try my suggestion first and you may be pleasantly surprised. [Read More…]

This is how to enter a blank line in an Acrobat X Text Box

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150618-115736

Yes, pressing the Enter key in an Acrobat Text Box will create a blank line but, ever since about Acrobat Version 9 that blank line magically disappears when you either click outside of the text box or save the document.

Well done Adobe!

Fortunately you can get the blank line to stay there if you hold the CTRL key down as you press Enter to create it.

CTRL+Enter lets you create a blank line in Acrobat X, and have it stay there! It’s as simple as that.

Avoid SPAM with my text to image conversion plugin for FlatPress

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150530-064419

As one who knows just how easy it is to scrape web pages for email addresses it never ceases to amaze me how many people are unaware what they’re letting themselves in for by putting their email address on a web page.

I never do it myself but I was recently asked to do so by the owner of a new website I’m developing so I went looking for a way to help make those email addresses invisible to the kind of software programs I’ve used in the past, and found a simple text to image conversion script which displays an email address as an image, like this:

If you right click on the image above and inspect the image source address you’ll see that the email address itself is encoded so this will defeat most of the malicious robotic visitors to your site… though I’d still recommend that you NEVER put an email address on a web page, even like this, if you want to be 100% certain that your email address can’t be stolen and used in ways which could make your life a lot more difficult than it already might be.

As I develop most of my sites using FlatPress I wrote a neat little plugin to convert an email address to an image. This is how it works. [Read More…]

Computer bugs… everywhere!

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150526-102839

Just like these:

http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2006/01/03/computer-loving-mites/

I added a comment there with my own plan to get rid of the little buggers (see copy below in case it never made it past the moderator) [Read More…]

Excel 2010 Solutions to the Clipboard Cannot Be Emptied Problem

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150514-124113

In Excel 2010 you may run into an annoying problem trying to copy things to the clipboard:

clipboard-cannot-be-emptied

The solution which worked for me was to open the Windows Snipping tool:

Start > All Programs > Accessories > Snipping Tool

then click the “Options” button and uncheck “Always copy snips to the clipboard”, then close the Snipping Tool again.

Credit for this tip goes to user dawsopd at the MrExcel.com forum - you can also find a few other suggestions there if this doesn’t work for you:

http://www.mrexcel.com/forum/excel-questions/506582-excel-2010-pop-up-message-clipboard-cannot-emptied.html

Here are some other things you can try - I must admit that I still got the message occasionally after trying the fix I mentioned above, but the first solution on the following page (simply press the Esc key to deselect any cells which were already selected when you try to copy another cell) seemed to also work for me.

Fix for Cannont Empty the Clipboard in Office (yeah, I know it’s spelt wrong… but that’s how it is)

How to have mixed font colours in Excel comments

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150513-174658

Cell comments in Excel are a useful way to alert users to information you want them to know about - often to provide them with an explanation about what a particular cell contains, e.g. what it means or how it has been calculated. It’s also sometimes useful to draw the user’s attention to part of your comment by using a different font colour for some of the words or characters.

excel-comment-text-colours In Excel 97-2003 this was simply a case of selecting the text you want to change the colour of and then selecting a new colour from the font colour button the toolbar. Unfortunately later versions of Excel have made it a bit more fiddly to achieve the same effect, though it’s still very easy to do this. Here’s how to do it. [Read More…]

The save failed due to out of memory or disk space

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150507-125645

For anyone who has a problem trying to save a Word 97-2003 Document (this may apply to other Office file types too) in Office 2010, specifically where you receive a message saying “The save failed due to out of memory or disk space” then there is an easy fix for this. [Read More…]

How to run Acrobat 7 Professional on Windows 7 64 bit computers

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150404-154122

If, like me, you’re less than impressed with the latest versions of Acrobat Professional (I have Acrobat XI 64 bit installed) and wish you could go back to good old 32 bit Acrobat 7 with it’s dockable toolbars, batch processes which run really quickly, and overall familiarity with a product which you use on a daily basis, then here is some good news… for some of you.

image As Acrobat 7 is no longer supported by Adobe they’ve decided to give it away (activation key and all) for FREE to qualifying users and, while you can’t install this directly in Windows 7 64 bit you can install it from within Windows XP Mode running in Windows Virtual PC on a 64 bit version of Windows 7.

While you still suffer from a few problems caused by Adobe not fully supporting 64 bit in so far as you can’t easily see thumbnail previews of you PDFs in Windows Explorer or (inexcusable) the PDF document PROPERTIES in Windows Explorer, there are ways around these problems. [Read More…]

How to add the file name and page number to multiple PDF files in Acrobat X Professional

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150404-150500

*Updated September 2015*

Batch processing of PDF files was a powerful feature of previous versions of Acrobat Professional. Since the release of Acrobat X Adobe have renamed batch processing as “Actions”. While these are just as easy to set up and retain much - if not all - of the functionality of the previous versions there is one major problem with Actions - they are incredibly SLOW TO RUN, in comparison with the good old batch processes.

For those who are either stuck with Acrobat X+ or who are perfectly happy with the new interface then this article explains how to set up an Action to add the file name and page number to a whole folder full of PDF files. If you’d like to learn how to set up a batch process in earlier versions of Acrobat Professional then click here for my earlier article on how to do that. [Read More…]

How to restore file tooltip popups in Windows 7

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150320-164842

Having finally been forced to use Windows 7 on my computer at work I was faced with the loss of a couple of handy features which I’d become accustomed to in Windows XP.

One such problem concerned the apparent inability to show more than the barest of information in the little popup you get when you hover your mouse cursor over a file in Windows Explorer in Windows 7.

InfoTip balloon in Windows XP Actually that’s only partially true - it still works for local files (e.g. files on your own hard drive) but for files viewed on a network drive - whether mapped to drive letters of not - you only see the file type, last modified date, and it’s size, none of which is really worth the effort of showing the InfoTip in the first place (you can turn the feature off in folder options).

However it IS possible to get all of the extra information that might be stored in the File Properties (e.g. the document title, subject, and comment) by making a simple change to the registry. Here’s an example of how it looks in Windows 7 - you can see there how useful it is to show more information than you can easily display in the columns to the right:

InfoTip balloon in Windows 7 Note that you must have administrative rights to the computer you’re working on in order to make this change.

WARNING! It is also assumed that you are familiar with the Windows Registry and are happy about taking the risk that you could seriously screw your day up if you do something wrong in there. If not then stop right here and go fetch someone who is. For this reason the instructions below are written with less detail than I would normally provide.

If you’re not confident about doing this then please stop right here!

Otherwise, here’s how to do it:

1) Click on the windows button (normally at the bottom left of your screen) and then type “regedit” in the “Search programs and files” box, then hit return.

2) RIGHT click once on the regedit.exe file you should see in the box above the search box and choose “Run as administrator”. REMEMBER - don’t try this unless you know you have administrative rights to the computer - if you know you can install new programs, then you’re probably going to be ok - if not, then you’ll probably be wasting your time doing what comes next because Regedit won’t let you save your changes after all your efforts.

3) Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREClasses* and add the following to the end of the existing values in both InfoTip and QuickTip:

;System.Title;System.Subject;System.Comment

Type (or copy and paste) everything in blue - don’t forget the semi-colon at  the beginning of the line as that’s the “follow on” from the entries which you’ll already find there.

The reason you need to change it in both keys is that Windows will prioritise “QuickTip” over “InfoTip” when you hover over a network file. Microsoft did that in case you are viewing files over a slow network connection, so it’s useful to know you can make that little tweak if your computer slows to a crawl trying to display the popup information.

In some cases (for local files) I also needed to change the InfoTip value in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTSystemFileAssociations - for instance, for my Word docs (my VBA only generates 2003 versions of Excel and Word files) I needed to make the same change to the InfoTip in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTSystemFileAssociations.doc

4) Close regedit.

It should be enough, at this point, to simply close and re-open Windows Explorer in order to see the effect of your changes, or you might want to log off and back on to Windows just to make sure.

My other problem (I’m sure I’ll find more - I won’t even mention my hatred of ribbon menus) is the sad loss of the Folder Description column I could add which allowed me to add a comment to a folder using a truly excellent program called HobComment. While this may still work for 32-bit versions of Windows it certainly doesn’t in 64-bit editions but, fortunately, all is not lost!

Folder comments in Windows XP

In my case I still have my old Windows XP PC connected to the network so I simply access this via RealVNC and add my comments there. Displaying the folder description in a column in Windows 7 is actually a piece of cake - simply right click on the column headings in Windows Explorer and add “Comments” column :) Curiously that trick DOESN’T work in XP, but who cares? Here’s how I’ve got it looking in Windows 7:

Folder comments in Windows 7In case you don’t have an XP machine which you can use to add your folder comments then all is not lost because you can run XP on your Windows 7 computer in order to run old programs like HobComment, by using Microsoft’s very own Windows Virtual PC. I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m sure it will work.

 

Happy computing!

Facebook no more

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150103-103123

I’m not on Facebook as myself any longer, my New Year’s Resolution was to stop using it for personal use. [Read More…]

How to add tiny text to a PDF

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry141210-144058

Sometimes you may find that the minimum font size offered to you by Adobe Acrobat when adding a text box to a PDF document is still too big for your needs. Luckily it’s very easy to get around that problem. Here’s how to do it… [Read More…]

How to avoid losing changes made to a Word document opened from an email

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry141204-110640

When you open an Word document from an email and start making changes to it, it’s easy to forget that you’re only editing a “temporary” document. If you save your changes it’s often quite difficult to find your revised document again.

To help avoid that here’s a nice snippet of VBA code which you can use to issue you a warning message every time you open a document from an email, like this:

image

As a kind of “bonus” the following script will also warn you if the document you are opening has tracked changes enabled, and ask if you want to turn them off.

 

To install the code open up Word and press Alt+F11 to get into the Microsoft Visual Basic Editor.

In the left hand pane under “Normal” double click “Microsoft Word Objects” then double click “ThisDocument”, and enter the following code in the pane on the right. It should all look something like this:

image

And here’s the code to put in there. Please note that you’ll need to remove the apostrophe from the beginning of the line saying ‘MsgBox(ActiveDocument.Path) and then open an document from an email in order to find out and jot down the Windows file path of your temporary folder, which you need to enter later in the code. I figure if you’ve been brave enough to go this far then this step should be plain sailing for you :)

Private Sub Document_Open()

' the following code will determine if the document you are opening
' has tracked changes enabled and ask if you want to turn them off
' it will also warn you if you are opening a document from an email
' in case you intend making changes to it

Dim TurnOffTrackedChanges As Variant

' Uncomment the following line and open a Doc from an email to find out what your temporary folder is
'MsgBox(ActiveDocument.Path)

If ActiveDocument.TrackRevisions = True Then

TurnOffTrackedChanges = MsgBox("This document has tracked changes enabled." & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & "Do you want to turn tracked changes off?", vbYesNo, "WARNING - Tracked changes enabled!")

If TurnOffTrackedChanges = vbYes Then

ActiveDocument.TrackRevisions = False
MsgBox ("Tracked changes have been disabled :)")

End If

End If

' You need to put your temporary folder name below - uncomment the message box at the top to find out what it is

'example for WinXP
If ActiveDocument.Path = "D:Documents and SettingsPaulLocal SettingsApplication DataOperaOpera 11.64temporary_downloads" Then

' Example for Win7
'If ActiveDocument.Path = "C:UsersLee CliffordAppDataLocalOperaOperatemporary_downloads" Then

MsgBox ("WARNING! You may have opened a temporary copy of this document from an email as the current file path is" & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & ActiveDocument.Path & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & "If you intend making any changes you should save it RIGHT NOW to a different location... or you could lose your changes!"), vbCritical

End If

End Sub

Goodius luckius!

How to fix missing pdfmaker files error

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry140806-115206

image If you ever run into a problem trying to convert an MS Office document to PDF format - either by clicking on the PDF button in Word or Excel (for example) or by right clicking in Explorer and choosing “Convert to Adobe PDF”, and it does nothing except maybe suggest you run Acrobat in “repair mode” which, again, does nothing, then this is how you can EASILY fix it in a matter of seconds.

Cause: Adobe PDF has somehow been added to the “Disabled Items” list in the Microsoft Office application

Solution: Follow these simple instructions to remove Adobe PDF from the “Disabled Items” list: [Read More…]

How to detect if tracked changes are enabled when opening a Word document

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry140521-031442

Unless you’re familiar with Word documents which have tracked changes enabled it can be a bit confusing when you start editing such a document and everything you type is in red and underlined. Unless you know why this is happening you might waste a lot of time re-formatting everything you type.

Fortunately there IS a way to automatically detect if the document you are opening has tracked changes enabled, and pop up a box asking if you’d like to turn this feature off. Here it is. [Read More…]

Excel tip - Converting Unix Timestamps

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry140512-154624

imageYou may find the formula below useful if you are importing dates into Excel from a list where the dates have been stored as a UNIX timestamp. Some of my web application PHP scripts store numbers this way, hence the need to remind myself here of how to convert them to readable dates: [Read More…]

Your browser is now updated - FINALLY!

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry140225-124154

Internet ExplorerI’m probably one of a dwindling number of people who have ran into the problem of how to install Internet Explorer 8 on Windows XP Service Pack 3. The problem here is that IE8 normally insists you install an update (KB932823) but, when you try to do this, it proceeds to tell you that you don’t need this update.

Snakes and ladders with no way to win… almost. [Read More…]

A quick way to set the Subject in Word document properties

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry140131-170717

Making full use of the document properties sheet for a Word document (or any document) is not only good practice but it’s more useful than you might at first think because you can use this information in a number of ways, not the least of which is to simply see what the document is about without having to open it, often simply by hovering your mouse over the file name in Windows Explorer…

image

Setting the document properties is a bit of a chore, to be honest, and busy people tend to follow the line of least resistance… and just ignore it. Even though some companies insist that their staff use the document properties to enable the documents to be more easily searched and sorted, it’s a difficult thing to police.

Here’s a much easier way to set the document properties which really is as simple as selecting some text and doing a simple keystroke. This example shows you how to set the document’s “Subject” field. [Read More…]

Cannot delete file or folder: Cannot read from the source file or disk

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry140130-133919

Occasionally you might try to delete an empty folder but get a message up like the title of this post.

In my case the folder name had what looked like a space at the end, although whether this was really a space, or some other hidden character was hard to tell.

After trying almost every trick in the book I finally managed to nail the issue by using the following command using the command prompt: [Read More…]

Support our caregiving

If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing then please consider dropping a few pennies in the jar to help us to take care of our disabled son who contracted encephalitis in 2007 at the age of 6 and who is now confined to a wheelchair. He is getting bigger as his mother and I get older, imagine that, please. Every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.

Thank you.

Support our caregiving

Support our caregiving

If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing then please consider dropping a few pennies in the jar to help us to take care of our disabled son who contracted encephalitis in 2007 at the age of 6 and who is now confined to a wheelchair. He is getting bigger as his mother and I get older, imagine that, please. Every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.

Thank you.