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Leading Zeros

Have you ever tried to enter a number that begins with zero in an Excel spreadsheet? It seems impossible; the leading zero always disappears.
Perhaps this does not matter. But if you are entering a zip code, a social security number, or a four-digit phone number — or you just need a consistent number of digits — the leading zero is crucial.
Here’s how you get the zero to stay:
  • Highlight the cells, rows, columns, or areas that need leading zeros (the cells can be blank or already have your numbers in them)
  • Right-click on the area (control-click on a Mac)
  • Click “Format Cells”
    • For zip codes, phone numbers, or social security numbers, click “Special” and choose the appropriate format.
    • For all other instances, choose “Custom.” Click the “0” (the second option in the list) and, in the cell labeled “type,” enter one zero for each digit you want in your cell: for a four digit number to appear in your cell, type “0000.”
  • Click “OK.”
Note that if you just put a zero in a cell by itself, it will stay there. But, if you put any other number in the cell after it, the zero will disappear unless you change the format to include the leading zeros.
I hope this saves you some frustration!


Have you ever needed a magnifying glass and couldn’t find one? You probably had one with you and didn’t know it. There’s one in your iPhone. And it just got easier to find.

The Magnifier tool is in the Accessibility section of the iPhone. The “old” (but still good) way to get there is to tap Settings > General > Accessibility > Magnifier, and slide it “On.” Then, to use the feature at any time from any screen, triple-click the Home button and your iPhone camera becomes a magnifying glass. (Try it, you’ll like it).

With the iPhone’s new iOS11 software, there is an even easier way to open the Magnifier: you can add it to the phone’s Control Center for “one-swipe, one-tap” access.

(The Control Center is the dashboard that you can swipe up from the bottom section of you phone. It’s like a window shade that comes up from the bottom. This panel already has some useful shortcuts: the Camera, the Calculator, and the Flashlight.) Now you can remove shortcuts you don’t want and add ones you do, including the Magnifier.

To customize the Control Center, go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls. The top part of the list shows the controls that already appear in your Control Center. To remove any of them, tap the red circle to the left of a specific shortcut. To add a control — like the Magnifier — scroll down the list and tap the green circle to the left of the shortcut.

Then, push the home button to return to your Home screen and raise the Control Center shade. You will see the controls you specified. If you added the Magnifier, tap it to use it.

Do you, um, SEE what I mean?

(Android owners: I do not know if there is a built-in magnifying feature in your phone but there are a number of good third-party magnifier apps available from the Google Play Store. Try one!)


Auto-Correct: your phone thinking it knows better than you what you want to say. You start typing and your phone finishes the word for you.

This is helpful … unless it’s not the word you want to use. One word, or even one letter, can change your whole message.
  • “I am not going to the store” is not the same as “I am now going to the store.”
  • “I hope he dies” isn’t “I hope he does.”
  • And, well, pubic isn’t public in any case.
If you think Auto-Correct is your worst enema, (oops! enemy), you can turn it off in the Keyboard section of your Settings menu.

If you leave it on, just be really really sure you know what your message says before you click Send.
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