Monday, August 22, 2016

Windows 10 and Temp Storage...The Saga...

I've been described by friends as being frugal. I have a tendency to try to assess my needs and buy what is appropriate for those needs. Thus, since I'm pretty much retired, I decided that I didn't really need an expensive computer. I needed a basic hobby computer. If you haven't bought a computer recently, you might not have noticed that the prices have come down considerably. The laptop I'm typing on at the moment is a Dell that cost just $200...a real steal!

The deal with these computers is that you need to watch the amount of storage you have in case an update comes along. Clearing the storage is easy. There are a few methods to do the task. Here is one.

  1. Click the Start button, pick Settings, and then pick System to display a menu. 
  2. Click Storage. The pane on the right updates.
  3. Click This PC (C:). The Storage Usage pane opens. 
  4. Scroll down and click Temporary files. The Temporary files pane opens.
  5. Click buttons to delete temporary files.

I did fine the first few weeks. However, I began to notice that as I cleaned out the storage, Windows 10 was missing some of the files. At first, it was 50 KB that got left in the file, and then a bit more the next time. I kept clicking and wondering where these files were and why they were not going away. This mounting problem continued until I no longer had enough room for the system to install updates.

This situation of course meant I had to go looking for a solution, which wasn't all that easy to find. Here's what I found that worked for me.

  1. Open File Explorer (the folder icon on the task bar at the bottom of your screen). 
  2. In the menu on the left, click This PC. The pane to the right updates.
  3. Double click OS (C:). The pane on the right updates.
  4. Double click Users. The pane on the right updates to show system users. My system has ptrem and Public.
  5. Double click your user name (ptrem in my case). A list of files appears.
  6. In the address bar, click at the end of your user name and type \AppData\. A drop-down list opens. 
  7. Click Local. The Local folder opens.
    (The entire path looks like this: C:\Users\ptrem\AppData\Local)
  8. Click the Temp folder. The Temp folder opens.
  9. Select all of the contents (Ctrl + A), and then press the Delete button on your keyboard.
    You may not be able to delete all of the files. If a message appears telling you that a file is in use, click the Skip button in the message. 
  10. To see the results, in the pane on the left, click This PC. The pane to the right updates.
  11. Look at  OS (C:). You should see more free space on the drive.
When I finally found this solution and completed the steps, the system deleted 13,000 plus temporary files from my system and I was able to update the system. So, if you're having storage issues on a Windows 10 system with limited storage, you might want to see if this helps you manage the space better. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Fillable Family Group Sheet MS Word Document

A reader reported that the link to the family group sheet form no longer works.

Click here to download a fillable family group sheet, which is an MS Word document.

Note that the form is protected so that all you can do is complete the blanks. To edit the form, unprotect it using the password form.

Click here to see the archive post for creating, editing, and completing fillable forms.

Update: I replaced the link because people are reporting that it's not working. I'm hoping it's working now. If no, please email me a and I'll email a copy to you.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Archive of Series of Posts

Many of the posts you see on this blog are part of a series of posts. If you'd like to read the posts in order, select Archive in the list of Labels down the left side of the page. After you click Archive, you will see the following posts:

  • Archive Fillable Forms
  • Archive Using Paint for Graphics
  • Archive Setting Up Tables
  • Archive Setting Up a Book Template
This subject came up because I recently responded to a person who was asking about creating books.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Changing Calibri...It's Reared Its Head Again

First, let me say that this post is for a special case that power user Ray--a reader of this blog--wrote to me about. Let me start by giving you the background explanation.

Background Explanation

Ray changed Calibri to Garamond inside of MS Word. If Ray opens a document inside of MS Word, he gets Garamond and all is right with the world.

However, shortcut lovin' Ray is opening new MS Word documents from Windows Explorer. When Ray has Windows Explorer open, he is right clicking in a folder, and using pop-up menus to open a new Word document.

Click the graphic to open a larger view.
Press the ESC key to return here.

When you open a new document using this method, it appears that Word opens the Normal/Blank Document template with the Office theme applied...ignoring your font change inside of Word; that is, you get Calibri font...Again!

So how you open a new document matters because of the apparent automatic application of the Office theme.


I'm a never say die type of gal. So, after thinking about it a minute, there is a workaround. 
  1. Use Ray's shortcut to open a Word document.
  2. Click the Page Layout tab. 
  3. Locate the Themes group, and click the drop-down arrow beside the Fonts button. A list of fort themes opens.
  4. Select a font theme--in Ray's case Black Tie (Garamond). Word updates all of the styles in the new document to garamond or whatever font combination you selected. 

Since this will be a routine task for Ray, he should add the Theme button to his Quick Access toolbar. 
  1. Right click in the Themes group to display a pop-up menu.
  2. Click Add to Quick Access Toolbar. Word adds the Themes button to the toolbar at the top of the screen. 
  3. To use the button, Ray has to open a document, click the button in the Quick Access toolbar, select the Font button, and then select a font combination.


I'm continuing to read to see if there's a way to change the Office theme to force the font change. A quick look online provided no answer. 

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 (

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

Here is the full address to the form:!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.