Friday, August 8, 2014

Family Group Sheet Fillable Form and Shading on Fields

This summer has been interesting. Had you been a friend on my Facebook page, you would have been treated to updates on how I was recovering from a broken ankle. I made sure to include a few gruesome pictures. That was in early June. By the middle of June, my computer conked out and I just didn’t have the ump necessary to get it fixed until this week. Like my computer, I'm on the mend. Luckily, only one person posted a question, which was in reference to the family group sheet fillable form. Here’s a paraphrase of that question.

How do I remove the shading on the fillable fields?
The shading is a global option…a toggle that gets turned on or off. When I created the form, I wanted you to always be aware of the fields, so I set the control to Always (on). Here are the Word 2007/2010 steps to change the option to Never (off).
  1. Open the form and stop protection so that you can make a change to the form.
  2. Click File, and then Options to open the Word Options menu. 
  3. Click Advanced, and then scroll down to Show document content.
  4. Locate Field shading, and then pick Never from the drop-down menu. 
  5. Click OK at the bottom of the dialog to save the change. The shading on fillable fields disappears. The fields are still there but not showing.
  6. Start protection again so that your form cannot be changed.

I'll be adding this new post to the Fillable Forms Archive post.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Update to Family Group Sheet Fillable Form

I've had a reader of this blog report a problem. You can't enter a date earlier than 1910 in the form. I've mostly used the form to collect information for and about living people or recently deceased people...most of whom were born after 1910. Therefore, I've never run into the problem.

To get around the problem, I've updated the form. I've turned the date fields into plain text fields so that anyone filling in the form can type the dates in any format. I've added a suggested format (DDMonthYYYY) to the first field; however, I placed no restriction on the field so that other date formats are possible.

In addition, I've added the form to my OneDrive account as a public download. OneDrive is the rebranded SkyDrive account. You should be able to use the SkyDrive download instructions if you need help (http://technology-tamers.blogspot.com/2013/03/fillable-family-group-sheet.html).

Click here to get the latest copy of the family group sheet form.

Here is the full address to the form: https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=E8AA5BE5FEB18E27!493&authkey=!ADugQArUckqvDs4&ithint=file%2c.docx

As usual, the form is protected. After you download the form, use the password form to unprotect and edit the form. Remember to start protections again after editing.

If you've been wondering where I've been, it's been a busy time for me.
Aug 2013 Lost my job
Sep 2013 Moved my mother from New Orleans to my home in Florida
Oct, Nov, Dec 2013 Looked for job and got my mother's paperwork done
Jan, Feb 2014 Looked for job...visited every discount mall in Florida with my mother
Mar 2014 Landed a part-time contact job
Apr 2014 Started working again

I'm settling back in. I stand to learn new things at the new job. You always learn new things on each job. So perhaps I'll find more to write about on this blog. In the meantime, please report any problems you run into. I'm sometimes slow, but I do eventually find a bit of time to answer questions.

P.S. Tested the links and maybe you won't use the SkyDrive instructions to download the form. I'm not sure what you'll see. So, if you have problems downloading, please post a comment and I'll do my best to provide an answer.

Friday, January 17, 2014

To select or not select...selecting partial text...

I had the pleasure today of teaching a day long class on using MS Word to execute a template (and all the attendant skills a writer needs) as well as showing the class how to create a template. During the class, when we were talking about getting text from an existing document into an instance of a template, I recommended two ways of adding the text.

Method 1:
  1. Select a template to create a new document. 
  2. Open the document with the source text. 
  3. Highlight the text you want to copy.
  4. Copy and paste the text into the instance of the template. 
  5. Use Paste Special to paste the text as unformatted text so that you can apply the styles associated with the template. 
Method 2: 
  1. Select a template to create a new document. 
  2. Place your cursor in the document where you want to add existing text.
  3. On the Insert tab in the Text group, select the Object drop-down button. A pop-up menu opens. 
  4. Select Text from File. A navigation dialog opens. 
  5. Navigate to the file with the text you want to add to the instance of the template, select the file name, and then click the Insert button. All of the text from the selected document flows into the new document you are creating. 
The problem arose in my neat little world when a class member asked this question: Suppose I have a book with ten chapters and I just want to copy the text in chapters three to six. How do I copy just what I want?

I never do this task so I had only the two methods described above to offer as a solution. Another class member offered this nifty bit of instruction.

Method 3: 
  1. Open the document with the text you want to copy.
  2. Click your cursor before the first word in chapter three.
  3. Scroll to the end of chapter six.
  4. Hold down the Shift key and click behind the last word in chapter six. Word selects the text from chapters three to six. 
  5. Copy the text (Ctrl + C). Word places the text on the clipboard. 
  6. Select a template to create a new document.
  7. Click your cursor in the location where you want the copied text to appear. 
  8. Paste (Ctrl + V) the selected text into the new instance of the template. 
Regardless of how long I use MS Word, I'm constantly learning to do new tasks, which are frequently tasks that I would never have thought of on my own. So here's another example of a place where I had the a class member teach me to do something new. I'm writing about it here in case you have to do this type of task too. 

Click here to go to a list of shortcuts, including selection shortcuts. For the most part, I don't use selection shortcuts but that doesn't mean that you won't find them helpful. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Got a Blank Line in your Electronic TOC?

I recently had someone contact me because she had a blank line in an electronic table of contents (TOC). She was deleting the line from the TOC but couldn't understand what was causing it.

This problem is exactly the same type of problem as described for a graphic turning up in a TOC. That is, the user accidentally applied a Heading 1, 2, or 3 style to a blank line. This event can happen frequently when you are trying to add a page break for a new section.

Fixing the Problem
  1. Click the blank line in the TOC. Your cursor will move to the location of the blank line because each entry in an electronic TOC is an internal link for the document. 
  2. Look to see what style was applied to the empty line. If it was a Heading 1, 2, or 3, this line is the source of your problem. 
  3. Apply another style to the empty line...anything other than a Heading 1, 2, or 3 style. 
  4. Check the next line, which is most likely a title line you need to be a Heading 1, 2, or 3 style and might not still be a Heading 1, 2, or 3 style anymore. If the style shifted, you'll need to reapply the heading style. You might need fuss with the paragraph returns to get the styles properly applied. You are again looking at the super secret hidden codes.  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Got a Graphic in Your Electronic TOC?

Every once in awhile, I have a graphic turn up as part of my electronic table of contents in a Word document. The cause? The cure? It's easy but not necessarily intuitive.

Graphics are usually on a line of their own with their own style tag applied. You can confirm that this is true by clicking the Show/Hide button to see hidden codes. See Hidden Word Codes for more information.





The diagnosis: Look for a hard return (a paragraph icon like the button above) after the graphic. Click after the graphic and check to see if a Heading style was selected for the graphic.

If you don't see the hard return icon:

  • It might be that there's just a space after the graphic. Click after the graphic and press the Enter key. 
  • It might be that the graphic is on a line with a line break (Shift + Enter). Click after the graphic and press the Enter key.

The cure: Apply a non-heading style to the graphic and update your table of contents.

See Electronic Table of Contents and Styles for more information.

An Introduction that Tugs at Your Reader’s Heart

When I begin to write about a person’s life, I try to walk beside that person in real time. I try to tell their story as if I were standing beside that person, living it with the person at the moment, and hopefully, tugging at my reader’s heart. For the most part that means I’m writing in present tense.

Choosing present tense isn’t intuitive for anyone writing about family history. Writers automatically write in the past tense. When you use past tense, you limit your use of livelier action verbs that create a livelier picture for your reader.

In addition to using the present tense, I try to limit the use of the verb to be (am, are, is). When you force yourself to look at every sentence that includes a form of the to be verb and search for other verbs or edit to create a different sentence structure, you immediately strengthen anything you've written. You won't always be able to avoid the use of the to be form; however, awareness of it can make you a more creative writer. 

Use the Thesaurus. MS Word includes a built-in Thesaurus. Double click a verb (or any other word), hold down the Shift key, and press F7 to open a Research pane. The pane includes a list of synonyms with the part of speech in parentheses and sometimes antonyms. If you look at the top of the pane, you can click a drop-down arrow that gives you access to lots of other research options; for example, Thesauruses in other languages. Frequently, the Thesaurus can provide synonyms that you are unaware of or that you just don’t use in your everyday writing and speaking. Surprise your reader. Use peruse instead of read. My favorite things to read always send me scurrying for a dictionary.

Here’s an example of an introduction written in present tense.

Jane massages the tips of her sore pricked fingers as she makes her way home from the workshop. She spends her days sewing leftover bits of fur into hats to be worn by moneyed women. As she rubs her fingertips, she wonders if her job as an Irish maid in an affluent household had been so bad after all. Jane takes solace in the fact that she at least has company when she sews.

Jane lives with her brother Robert and his family but still must earn her way in the world. She needs to raise money to get to her family in Illinois. Once there, Jane can begin to search for a suitable husband and start a life of her own. At nineteen, Jane’s search for a husband is already underway but she has time on her side. Most of Jane’s siblings were well into their twenties before they married.  

As Jane nears her home, the din of the tenement where she and her family live rouses her from her musings. Who would have thought that life would be like this in America? Life in Ireland had been rural and quiet, but meager. The meagerness of life in Ireland had been what caused Jane’s family to come to America in 1837.

Do you want to know more about Jane? I hope so. I hope that by using present tense I’ve made Jane come off the page as a real person—a person you want to get to know. After you have an introduction that will catch your reader's attention, you can write a transitional paragraph that allows you to provide past or future information in any tense you like. The point is that by using the present tense you’ve engaged your reader’s imagination and they will want more.

Writing in real time and shadowing your ancestor takes some practice. However, you should  take heart in that writing is a learned skill just like driving. The more you practice the better you get at the skill. So the next time you begin to write about an ancestor, try picking just a small incident and see if you can work it into an introduction that will tug at your reader's heart. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Four Generation Chart in Word SmartArt...Inserting Chart as Graphic

Click below to see the posts in this series:
Click here to see the Introduction
Click here to see the Layout Page and Insert SmartArt
Click here to see Altering the Chart
Click here to see Word 2003
Click here to see Using Chart and Resizing Boxes

While having a working chart as a Word document is convenient when you're creating the chart, trying to control the chart inside of a working Word document--think page in a book--can be a challenge for a host of reasons. In addition, charts frequently must be rotated and resized to fit into a portrait oriented page.

When you create charts, I suggest that you create them as an individual documents, and then use Paint to convert the charts to graphics, which you can insert into your document (article or book). If you need to make corrections later on, you can correct them in the live chart...the individual Word document, use Paint to turn the chart into a graphic again, and replace the graphic in your document. The advantages of this approach are that you can easily rotate and resize the graphic.

If you're a longtime reader of this blog, you know I'm a big time fan of Paint...and you've probably read all of the posts so that you're way ahead of me on this suggestion.

If you're a new reader, following are the posts you need to read to learn how to use Paint to capture the chart and resize and rotate it.
Much Ado About Graphic Software...Part 1 Capturing a Screen
Much Ado About Graphic Software...Part 8 Resizing and Rotating

If you want to read more about Paint, click here to go to the Archive post with links to Paint-related articles listed in sequence.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

RootsSearch Chrome Extension

During a computer user group meeting, my friend Cathy Vance pointed out a new RootsSearch Chrome extension. Extensions (also called add-ons) are tiny applications that you can add to a browser to do a specific task. For example, you can add an extension that is a stock market ticker that opens and runs each time you open your browser.

How does RootsSearch work?

After setting up RootsSearch, when I open one of the programs covered by the extension and display a record, I see a new icon in the address bar of the webpage. For example, when I open Find A Grave and display any memorial, I see the RootsSearch icon in the address bar of the webpage.


I can click the icon to open the RootsSearch pop-up.
The Extension copies the information from Find A Grave 
to fields in the pop-up.

Using the pop-up, I can add more detail and click a button to search an additional website based on the search criteria in the RootsSearch pop-up.

So, with the Find A Grave memorial displaying, I can click the RootsSearch icon, select the FamilySearch button in the pop-up, and have the search results appear in a new tab in my Chrome browser. In addition, the Find A Grave memorial is still displaying on another tab.

To continue, I select a record in the FamilySearch results and the icon appears again in the address bar again. Note that the RootsSearch icon appears only when I have an individual record displaying. I can click the icon and continue using the pop-up to search across additional websites with each set of search results opening in a new tab.

What do you need to make this magic happen?

You need to add the Google Chrome browser to your system, and then you need to add the extension.
  • Click here to display the Chrome download page and download the browser.
    Note: I suggest that everybody have multiple browsers on their system. At the very least, I suggest Internet Explorer with a Hotmail account so that you can use all things Microsoft and Chrome with a Gmail account so that you can use all things Google. I also happen to have Firefox on my laptop because it on occasion offers better functionality. 
  • Add the extension.
To add the extension:
  1. Click the Chrome Customize button to display a menu, and then select Tools, Extension. The Extensions page opens.

  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the link Get more extensions. The Chrome Web Store page opens.
  3. In the Search the Store field, type RootsSearch and press your Enter key. The extension displays.

  4. Click the Add to Chrome button. A confirmation message opens. 
  5. Click Add. Another confirmation message opens. The extension is available for use.
Upshot
Getting into the swing of using the RootsSearch pop-up takes a bit of practice. However, I’m finding it to be a convenience that I frequently use. So, if you’re a genealogist who is looking to make your online life a bit more efficient, you might want to look at Chrome and this extension to see how it might work for you.

Thank you Cathy for pointing out this useful tidbit.

P.S. Something to make you laugh...I copied lots of this text from a formatted Word document, which makes Blogger just nuts. So, if you think you noticed changing fonts, it's not your eyes...it's me...fighting formatting in Blogger!

P.P.S. I used crgalvin's suggestion in the comments below to fix the formatting. Works like a charm! Thanks again cr!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Four Generation Chart in Word SmartArt...Using Chart and Resizing Boxes


Click here to see post 1 in this series--The Introduction.
Click here to see post 2 in this series--Layout Page and Insert SmartArt
Click here to see post 3 in this series--Altering the Chart
Click here to see post 4 in this series--Word 2003

Using the Chart
The point of having created the form is that you're going to want to use it repeatedly rather than having to create the chart every time you want to fill out one for a family. So you will want to save a copy of the chart you created under a new name prior to completing the chart.

Note: If you've created a form that only you will be using, you might want to complete the contact information in your master copy so that information is there when you open the chart.

To use the chart:
  1. Save a copy of the chart under a new name. 
  2. In boxes, double click placeholder text and type in the real information. As you fill the boxes with text, you'll notice that the text flows outside of the box. Don't worry. We'll fix this later.
  3. Save your chart and resize boxes. 

Resizing the Boxes
When you resize, you need to resize all of the boxes in a column at the same time. Resizing based on columns gives you a consistent display.

To select the boxes in a column:

  1. Click in the first box. The handles (circles and squares) appear. 
  2. Hold down the Shift key, and click in the border of the second box. The handles for the second box appear. You'll know you're clicking in the right spot because your cursor will change to a four-headed arrow. 
  3. Repeat step 2 until you have all of the boxes selected. Your screen will look similar to this one.

    Handles are the circles and squares inside the orange squares and circles. 
To resize boxes in a column: 

  1. When you selected the first text box, the SmartArt Tools tab opened on the ribbon. 
  2. Select the Format tab, and locate the Size group.
  3. In the Height field, click the up and down arrow beside the field to increase and decrease the height of the selected boxes.
  4. In the Width field, click the up and down arrow beside the field to increase and decrease the width of the selected boxes.
  5. When you have the arrangement you like, save (Ctrl + S). 

If you find that you can't adjust the height or width, it's most likely because the layout is getting cramped and Word isn't letting you make the adjustment. You might want to consider using abbreviations or otherwise altering the presentation of the information in boxes.

So good luck with resizing. I'm sure you'll do fine. It's easy...you just have to know the trick of how to select multiple boxes to apply the change to all of the boxes in a column.

I'll continue hacking around and seeing what additional functionality you might need.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Four Generation Chart in Word SmartArt...Word 2003 options


Click here to see post 1 in this series--The Introduction.
Click here to see post 2 in this series--Layout Page and Insert SmartArt
Click here to see post 3 in this series--Altering the Chart

I had a few minutes today on the computer where I have Word 2003 installed. So I went poking around. While you don't have as many choices as you do in more recent versions of Word, it's not as limited as I originally thought.

Here are the menu selections you make to get to the charts in Word 2003. Word automatically inserts the default organization chart.



In addition, Word displays the Organization Chart toolbar. If you click outside of the chart area, the toolbar closes. To open it again, click inside of the chart area. 


This chart works like all of the others I've been talking about. Click in a box and start typing text. 


Adding boxes in Word 2003 is different. You use options (Assistant, Coworker, Subordinate) from the Insert Shape drop-down list to add boxes in different locations.

If you want additional options for formatting, click the Auto Format button to display the chart style gallery. Pick a style from the gallery to see how it changes your chart.


Use options on the Layout drop-down to change the arrangements of the boxes. 

So there you have some of what you can do in Word 2003. I'll pick up writing about the Word 2007/2010 versions in my next post.