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Posts from the ‘Printing’ Category

Printing Attachments

I am often contacted by clients having trouble printing documents that came attached to their email.

I just want to print the attachment but all I get is the email showing me there is something attached. Help!

To print the attachment, you must first click (sometimes double-click) on the name of the attached file, prompting your computer to find the program most appropriate to open it.

Once an attachment is opened, it is independent of the email that delivered it so you need to print it from its own print commands, not the email print commands. Examples:

  • By clicking a Word document attached to an email, you prompt your computer to open Word. Print the document by clicking File > Print from within the Word program.
  • By clicking on a PDF file attached to an email, you prompt your computer to open Adobe Reader (or whichever PDF-reading program you use). Initiate the print function from within that program.

Of course if you also wish to print the content of the email itself, print the email directly from your email program.

I hope this helps.

Holiday Cards 2016

How is your holiday card project coming? All done? Working on it? Just realized it’s December … yikes!

There’s still time to get it together; your computer can be a big help. Here are some options:

Do the whole thing electronically
Upload one or more pictures to a web-based photocard site
Choose your card design
Type your message
Upload your mailing addresses (to send a printed card) or your email addresses (to send a paperless electronic card)

Do most of it electronically
Use the card site to create your card but have the company mail you the cards and envelopes (with printed return address option)
Add a personal note and address by hand (or label)

Do some of it electronically
Create your card (or holiday letter) on your computer
Print copies on your printer
Add a personal note and address by hand (or label)

Do most of it manually
Purchase or handwrite cards but print your addresses from your computer onto labels.

Lots of choices. Where to start?

To find a web-based service that is right for you, type “holiday photo cards,” or “holiday ecards” into your computer’s search engine. (I’m sure some of the company names will look familiar to you from their commercials). Or look at a card you saved from last year — or ask the person who sent it — to learn which company created it.

I’m sure your friends and family will appreciate your holiday sentiments no matter how they arrive.

“Default” Defined

I wrote this a few years ago but still find that many remain uneasy about the word “default.” 

A “default” sounds like a bad thing. And for good reason. Many of its definitions are about failure:

  • Failure to act; inaction or neglect.
  • Failure to meet financial obligations. 
  • Law. Failure to perform an act or obligation legally required, especially to appear in court or to plead at a time assigned. 
  • Sports. Failure to arrive in time for, participate in, or complete a scheduled match. 

But the computing definition of “default” isn’t about failure at all:

  • The preset selection of an option offered by a system, which will always be followed except when explicitly altered 
  • (as modifier) : Default setting


The default settings in your computer are the settings that the computer programmers decided are your most typical choices. If you don’t like those choices, you can create new default settings.
For example:

  • On your printer, the “default” settings are the ones most of your documents require: “one copy, 8.5″ x 11″ paper, portrait orientation, and single sided.”
  • New Word documents, are set to an easy-to-read font (usually Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman) and to a readable size (11pt or 12pt). The “default” color is black.
  • The “default” setting for the clock is the 12-hour format (AM and PM). If you prefer 24-hour military time, you can change the setting.
  • Your computer’s Task Bar (Windows) or Dock (Mac) is positioned by “default” along the bottom of your screen. If you prefer it along either side instead, you can change the setting.

Now when you hear the term “default” in reference to your computer, you will not think you have failed it. For once, it is not “de-fault” of the user. How refreshing!


No Internet?

I frequently get calls from clients who cannot get on the internet. What causes a lost internet connection? Here is some diagnostic help.

If one computer can’t access the internet, try another computer, tablet, or smart tv. If none of them has an internet connection, the problem is with the service coming from outside the house or with your modem/router.

  • First try to reboot your modem and/or router (unplug, wait, re-plug, wait).
  • If still no internet service, call your internet service provider.
  • (Note that your smart phone will still have internet access; it is using your cellular plan, not your wi-fi network).

If your computer has no internet access but other machines do, the problem is not with the service or wi-fi but just with the one machine.

  • If your computer is hard-wired to the modem, be sure the ethernet cable that connects the two is snapped into place on both ends.
  • If your computer connects to the internet wirelessly, go to your wireless settings and try to select and re-join your network.
  • If you have a laptop, be sure that you have not accidentally turned off the wi-fi capability.
  • If you can’t access the internet with one web browser, try another one (if Internet Explorer won’t work, try Safari or Chrome or Firefox)
  • If everything seems in order and you still have no internet access on one machine, try rebooting that machine or moving it closer to the router.

Note also that if your computer does have internet access but it will not print to your wireless printer, the printer has probably lost its internet connection. The printer will copy, but until you re-establish internet connection, it will not print.

I hope this helps!

Printing a Spreadsheet

Printing an Excel spreadsheet that looks the way you want it to look can be a particularly challenging experience.

  • Does one column appear by itself on another page?
  • Do a few rows jump down to the next page but have no column headers?
  • Are the gridlines not where you want them, or do they not show at all?

Unless the content of your speadsheet (one you created or one someone sent you) fits effortlessly on one page, you need to decide how the printed copy should look, and then tweak the print settings accordingly.

  • Must everything fit on one page no matter the size of the text, or must the text be a certain size no matter the number of pages?
  • Must the page be vertical even if some columns jump to the next page, or can the printed copy be oriented horizontally?
  • Must the margins be a certain width (perhaps the page will be inserted in a binder) or can the margins be freely adjusted?
  • The answers will vary from spreadsheet to spreadsheet. Best to know some basic print setting options. Here is a link* to one of many helpful tutorials on printing Excel spreadsheets.

Use your “Print Preview” option to see what will print, and keep changing the settings until you see what you want. Don’t get discouraged; it takes some patience.

*Note: I have no control over, nor do I necessarily endorse, the products in any ads that precede this link or appear on the web page itself. 

Paperless Billing

Your credit card companies and other vendors are hoping you will agree to paperless billing — that is, forego the mailed paper bills and accept emailed electronic invoices instead.

Paperless billing is attractive: you receive bills wherever you are, and you eliminate the threat of personal information stolen from your mailbox or seen by others in your home.

However, what I suspect keeps you from embracing paperless billing is the fear that you will forget to pay a bill. When a paper bill sits in a pile on the desk, it’s hard to ignore. (Of course you can print an electronic invoice to have your own paper copy).

If you do choose paperless billing, create email folders called “unpaid” and “paid.” As soon as you receive an electronic invoice, move the email to your “unpaid” folder. When you pay the bill, move the emailed invoice to your “paid” folder. You can even create sub-folders within your “paid” folder to separate “credit cards” from “cable company” from “utilities,” etc.

Are you wondering how you are going to remember to check your “unpaid” folder? Set a reminder or event alarm on your calendar for a certain day (or days) of the month that you need to pay bills.

Printer Ink

Hi Carolyn,

Have you seen the price of printer ink lately? Of course you have. Pretty expensive.

The printer/ink relationship is like razors and razor blades or Polaroid cameras (remember them?) and film: the device itself is not expensive but the replaceable inserts are.

I can’t offer a way around this scenario, but I can explain what ink you get (or don’t get) when you purchase a new printer.

New printers often come with cartridges that are not completely full; Hewlett Packard (HP) calls them “Setup” cartridges. I imagine this is what HP is thinking:

If we include a full cartridge, we’ll have to increase the price of the printer and the consumer might not buy the printer. However, if we don’t include any ink, the consumer will have to buy ink at the time of purchase, realize how expensive it is, and maybe not buy the printer at all. Hmmm. So, we’ll include some ink with the printer…

Consumers not aware of this are often surprised (even annoyed) that the “setup” ink doesn’t last very long. Fortunately, the full-priced cartridges are fully filled.

Buy the printer you want, but be aware of the volume of ink that comes with it and the price of the cartridges in your future.

Happy printing!

Print Selection

Sometimes you might just want to print a selection of a webpage or a document, and not all the text and graphics that surround it.

How do you do it?

In most cases, it is quite easy. Select the area you wish to print (click and hold down your cursor and drag it from upper left to lower right; the selection will become highlighted), click “File” and then “Print.” When the print dialog box opens, click “Selection.” Then click “Print.”

Voila! Only your selection prints.

This works in Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Word, Excel, and most other frequently used programs. Interestingly, it does not work this way in Safari or Apple Mail; there is no “Selection” option in the print dialogue box. I don’t know why.

If you wish to print selections from Safari or Apple Mail, there is a way, albeit not as simple as in other programs. First, you have to set it up (just once):

  • Go to System Preferences (under the apple or on your dock)
  • Click the “Keyboard” icon
  • Click the “Shortcuts” tab at the top
  • Click the “Services” tab in the left hand column
  • Scroll down under the “Text” section and check “New TextEdit Window Containing Selection”
  • Close the window

Now that it’s set up:

  • Go to a webpage in Safari or to an email in Apple Mail
  • Highlight a section you want to print (something must be highlighted for this to work)
  • Click the word “Safari” (or “Mail”) at the top of your screen
  • Click “Services”
  • From the fly-out menu, click “New TextEdit Window Containing Selection”

The selected text will appear in a new window in the TextEdit program. Click “File” and then “Print” from the upper menu bar. Then click “Print.”

After the selection prints, you can close the TextEdit box, choosing to save it or not save it.

Maybe Apple’s next software update will include a “Print Selection” option. I’ve been waiting….

Holiday Cards

Summer is officially over and it’s time to start thinking about … holiday cards! Whatever holiday(s) you celebrate, consider creating a photo card — with or without text — right from your computer. It’s easy and fun.

The most popular software for creating personalized cards are the two web-based, and the Mac-only iPhotoprogram. To make cards in these programs requires the same three basic steps:

  • Create: Choose the appropriate holiday theme and the card style you like.
  • Add Photos: Upload one or more photos from your computer and place them in the card. Adjust as necessary.
  • Order: Specify quantity, envelope choice, delivery address, and billing information.

Could not be easier.

When your cards arrive, hand-address the envelopes or use printed stickers, write a short personal note, stamp, and send.

Even in this highly digital age, a printed card received through snail-mail is still a cherished holiday treat.

Your Smartphone is a Scanner

Scanning is the opposite of printing: when you print, you convert an electronic document into a hard copy; when you scan, you convert a hard copy into an electronic document. Your scanner simply takes a picture of your document.

So, can you use your phone’s camera (or your tablet’s camera) as a scanner?


  • Take a picture of a form you just filled out and email it where it needs to go.
  • Take a picture of a framed photograph, rather than take it out of the frame and put it on the scanner glass.
  • Take a picture of a newspaper or magazine article you want to share.
  • Take a picture of a written recipe — or one from a book — and file it or share it electronically.
  • Take a picture of a receipt and file it in your computer or email it to whoever will reimburse you.

Once you have the picture, you can edit it and/or email it right from your phone. Or, you can email it to yourself, pick it up in your computer, and file/edit/send from there.

Smartphone cameras take pictures in the .jpg format. If you need your scan to be a .pdf (a document format), use a program or an app designed to convert a .jpg to a .pdf, and even combine pages into a single document. Shop your app store for these.

Most likely, your flatbed scanner — with its cover that blocks light, shadow, and glare — will take a higher quality picture than your camera phone will. But, if you are not near your scanner or you can’t easily place the object on the glass, use your phone.

Try it!

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