Tag Archives: word processing

Writer Tech Trouble

pcillustratorThe other day I had some issues with my computer. It’s not a huge problem for me because I know how to take them apart and fix them, or get into the DOS settings and troubleshoot. Since the computer is vital to writers, I felt I’d share some tips that might help you out if you have problems and don’t want to lose your work.

Set your word processor to save every few minutes.

MS Word- autosave tutorial

OpenOffice autosave tutorial

Back up your file to a cloud drive. I also recommend backing up to a USB periodically. I use my Dropbox folder as the My Documents folder on my computer. This way, if I get a crash and need to format or get a new computer, everything is already saved and synced through the Internet.

Dropbox (free) If you sign up via the link, I get more space. If you sign up, you can get more space by getting people to sign up too.

Icloud- (free) If you have an iPhone, you probably already have an icloud account.

OneDrive (try for free) If you use MS Office, you may already have an OneDrive account.

Be sure to have your antivirus software update regularly. This means not only to update ‘definitions’ but also the program itself. Make sure settings scan the computer regularly.

Avast antivirus (free)

AVG antivirus (free)

Install anti-malware. I recommend Malwarebytes or Spybot. You can also install these programs on a USB drive and run a scan from the drive.

Malwarebytes (free)

Spybot (free)

Corrupted files. Sometimes with word processors, the file you save gets corrupted.  

MS Word document recovery.

OpenOffice documents recovery.

Make boot discs for your computer. A boot disc helps with fixing problems with the computer with a simple restart of the system. How to do this will depend on the version of Windows you have, and sometimes even the make/model of the computer.

How to create repair discs for your computer.

How to make bootable USB, CD, or DVD to install Windows using a ISO file.

If you have any questions, please leave in comments or email me at frootbat31@yahoo.com.

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Google Drive for Writers

driveforwritersToday I want to share with you some elements of the free Google service known as Drive. This is something like a cloud drive (you can backup files) but also an online program suite. I will be discussing mostly the Docs features.

Google Drive includes:

Docs– This is an online word processor that is compatible with Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, and even Microsoft Works.

Sheets– A spreadsheet compatible with Office, Open office, and Works.

Slides – A presentation service that easily integrates into web sites or shared with others. Compatible to open files from Office and OpenOffice.

Forms – A service to create and compile information from forms. Includes easy to use templates, click and build features, and saves data to the drive for access later.

Drawing– This includes an online service to create or edit graphics. Saves as PDF, JPG, SVG, and PNG.

docs

Google Docs works similar to most word processors, including formatting, templates, and printing. You can open and save, change file formats, and share/collaborate with others online. This also includes revision history. (Saved my butt when I ‘lost’ an entire chapter of a book I was writing).

You can also add ‘add-ons’ which improves function;

Table of Contents – Creates a table of contents that runs as a sidebar.

EasyBib- Bibliography creator

Speech Recognition- So you can talk instead of typing. This works great for those who have issues with typing for long periods of time.

Mind mapping- This is a great tool to plot stories or brainstorm ideas.

ProWritingAid- This is not free, but as an add on that works in the Docs. It corrects grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Screenplay formatter- For the script writers out there, this add on helps with formatting your doc.

Saves in these formats:

DOCX – Document Microsoft Word file

ODT – OpenOffice Document Text file

RTF – Rich Text Format, works with any word processor

PDF- Portable Document Format, used for downloading files and eBooks

TXT – Text. Very simple with very little formatting but can be read by every word processor.

HTML/ZIP – Hypertext Markup Language is what web sites are built. Often used to upload to publish books.

EPUB – EBook file format that can be read by tablets and smart phones. This is new and is an industry standard.


Google drive can also

Cloud Storage– Back up photos, documents, etc. to your cloud drive. This includes 15 GB free, and you can pay $1.99 monthly for 100 more GB.

Collaborate with others–  Not only can you share files with others, they can view or even edit them. You can also share LIVE with others. Some authors now share their writing in real time for fans to check out their process. Share via email or link on your blog. You can even embed files too

Share anywhere– Google Drive works on PC, Mac, smart phone, and tablets.

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Microsoft Office 365 in the cloud

With my new Surface Pro tablet, I’m currently testing out Microsoft Office 365. What makes this so different than the other Office suites is that it’s a cloud-based program, but also works offline as well.

Many programs are shifting to this format, thereby, preventing people from pirating the software.  A rumor says that Microsoft’s Windows 10 will be cloud based. Photoshop also offers their own ‘in-the-cloud’ version of software.

There are some benefits but also cons to this;

Pros:

  • Subscriptions vary between $5.00 – $15.00 a month. You can upgrade or downgrade between plans, depending on what services and features you want included.
  • Your programs are always updated. You will always have the current software.
  • Some will find the monthly cost affordable rather than the payout of a lump sum.
  • You can work offline, with sync features to Skydrive.
  • You work syncs with Skydrive, Microsoft’s cloud drive service. This includes 7 gigabytes of storage, and you can earn more.
  • With the one subscription, you can use on multiple computers. Although, it could be argued you can do this with the disk based program; the licensing, however, is pretty clear that you’re supposed to have it only on one or two systems. This multi-user is for someone like me with a tablet and laptop, and other computers. You can also install on iPhone, iPad, Windows phone, and more.
  • You can get a month trial version to try it out.

Cons

  • Cost is cheaper within the year, but after a while, it will cost you more. You will need to weigh cost worth for yourself.
  • The download is buggy, at least for me. I had some issues with installing. Fortunately, I know technology, but I can see this causing issue for those who are less savvy.
  • You’re basically renting the program- not buying. I’m still on the fence with weighing costs, but you are renting the use of the program. If you miss a payment, you may not use the program.
  • Its confusing what plan includes what. For some, this might be a good thing- after all, you get so many choices. One of which is Lync, for video conferences, but not all plans include this feature. Read thoroughly before purchase. (Google+ hangouts seem to do pretty much the same thing but for free)
  • Office 365 works only with Windows 7 on up, or Mac OS X and up.

I’ll be including tips and tutorials for this version, but other versions as well.

If you liked this post, please share, like, and comment. I always enjoy feedback.

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Word Processing Tips

I’m always grateful for shortcuts that make writing easier, and here are a few I’ve found lately;

 

Using the following keys, these worked for me in a number of word processing programs as well as typing online;

Ctrl + B = bolds text

Ctrl + I = italic text

Shift + F5 = moves to last edit point.

F4 = repeats the last command

Shift + Ctrl + 8 = turns on and off the Show Hide function. This allows you to see the hidden details of your formatting. It helps to understand page breaks.

Double click– highlights a word

Ctrl + click- highlights sentence

Triple click– selects the entire paragraph. You can then click, hold, and drag wherever you want.

Want to share your own tips? Post in comments.

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