Information Technology Blog

Making the Most of E-mail

December 16, 2013

To some e-mail is the lifeblood of their existence. To others, e-mail is an inconvenience that they are forced to use. However you use e-mail, there is always something that can be learned that will improve your performance (or give you extra time to deal with something more important). At the University of Nevada, there are many features of your @unr.edu e-mail account that can be discovered on the E-mail Training section of the IT site. These include:

  • How to connect your e-mail to many different e-mail clients.
  • How to set an out-of-office notification
  • How to archive your e-mail
  • How to set rules to automatically process incoming e-mail
  • How to send an encrypted e-mail
  • How to avoid and deal with spam messages
  • and more…

E-mail, Training


Using Styles in Microsoft Word

November 20, 2013

Formatting documents can be a repetitive and time-consuming task.  But by using a feature called styles in Microsoft Word you can speed up the process of formatting text.  The styles feature in Word allows you to save text-formatting into easily applied presets.  If you often apply formatting to text, such as indenting, spacing, and numbering, you can increase the efficiency of formatting by using styles.  Styles reduce the number of keystrokes you use, because you can automatically apply desired formatting as opposed to manually applying it.

As an example, say you want to create subheadings in a document.  You want the subheadings to be numbered, bold, and size 14 font.  You could apply this formatting manually for each instance of a subheading you create.  But, to be more efficient, you can create a style from the formatting and then simply click one button each time you want to apply the formatting saved in the style.

Here’s how to create a style:

  1. Create an example of the formatting you want.  So, for a subheading, you could create a number list, make the font bold and the text size 14.
    SubheadingThen, you create a style from this formatted text.
  2. Navigate to the Home tab in your navigation ribbon.Home Tab
  3. In the Styles section, click the downward arrow at the bottom right to expand the Style Pane.Expand Styles
  4. Highlight the text you want to create a style from.Highlight Text
  5. In the Style Pane, click New Style.New Style
    The New Style button saves the formatting from selected text into a style (in this case the selected text is Subheading example.
    The Create New Style from Formatting dialog box appears.
  6. In the Create New Style from Formatting dialog box, name your style and click OK to create the style.Set Formatting
    Now the desired formatting (bold, 14 pt, numbered) is saved in a custom style called Subheading.
  7. To apply your style, highlight text you want to format and then click your style in the Style Pane.Apply Style
    Clicking the Subheading style applies its saved formatting attributes to any selected text in the document.

So anytime you find yourself applying similar formatting over and over again in a document, remember that you can speed the process up by using styles.  Create an example of the formatting you wish to use and save the formatting as a style.  Then you can apply the saved formatting to any text simply by clicking the name of the custom style in the Style Pane.

Styles have many more benefits as well, such as integrating with Word templates and automatically updating all instances of a style when it’s changed.  For more information, check out the Lynda.com videos about styles, which you can access for free as a University member.

Training


Lynda.com

October 4, 2013

Are you tired of scouring Google trying to figure out how to get Excel to sort your data?  Or, do you want to learn how to use video editing software, or start learning web development?   Look no further, and try using Lynda.com.  As a member of the University, you have free access to tutorial videos on Lynda.com.  Lynda.com is an educational website offering high quality tutorial videos about a wide range of technology related concepts.  Just go to Lynda.unr.edu and sign in with your NetID username and password.

Lynda.com is a web-based educational company, which offers tutorial videos about a wide range of technology, software and other concepts.  Lynda.com videos offer practical information to help people use and learn new technology, software and business related concepts.  The videos range from beginner-level knowledge to advanced concepts.  For example, Lynda has videos about computer programming, teaching users to program in languages like C++ and Javascript.  Lynda has videos about web development, office applications, video and photo editing, business concepts, and even writing.  Professionals and experts in technology fields create the videos, so the information is high quality and in-depth.  For less technology-savvy people, you can use Lynda to get in-depth and expert knowledge about common applications like Microsoft Word and Excel.

The best part about Lynda is that University students and employees can access all the contents on the site for free.  Go to the site Lynda.unr.edu and sign in with your NetID username and password.  Normally, Lynda.com charges a monthly fee to access the tutorials, but as a University member you can access them for free.  So, it’s worth looking around on Lynda.com to find something interesting.

Training


Avoiding Disasters

September 12, 2013

Every week the IT Support desk witnesses this unfortunate scenario: A student or faculty member has worked for hours on their very important paper. They’ve been so engrossed in what they are doing that they haven’t slept, eaten, or clicked save. And then… their computer crashes.

Sometimes the computer auto-saves the document, and sometimes it doesn’t. Every time, the student or faculty member has a panic attack, loses their train of thought, and gains a couple of grey hairs.

Here is some advice that you already knew, but it’s worth repeating anyway.

  1. Prepare for the worst – It’s always good to start a list like this with something so positive. However, when you are typing something as important as your research paper or thesis, it’s beneficial to imagine the worst thing that could happen while you’re typing, and plan accordingly. For example, the University is located in an Earthquake zone, so it may be one thing to save your document on multiple devices, but it probably isn’t a good idea to keep those devices in the same building.
  2. Save more often than you can ever imagine – Try and get into the habit of saving very frequently. Every time you save, you are reducing the amount you could lose when your computer crashes, or there is a power outage. Ctrl + S (Command + S on a Mac) is your friend. Whenever you pause from typing, you should automatically save. Never rely on a program’s auto-saving ability – it doesn’t know how important the document you are typing is.
  3. Save in multiple locations – Saving your document only to one device is a bad idea. The IT Support desk has seen many people believe they are safe by saving to a USB drive. Unfortunately, USB drives, and all devices, fail at some point. While IT does have tools that can recover this data, they should not be relied upon. Save to your USB drive, and then back that data up to the cloud (using a service like Dropbox or SkyDrive – as long as you don’t have confidential information on there). If you are an employee, use your personal NAS drive. That way, your data will be on more than one device, and also in more than one location.
  4. Use a reliable machine – You may have used “Ol’ Smoky” the laptop for years, and become quite fond of it. However, if your machine is unreliable, then so is the data that is stored on it. Use a machine that will reliably last the length of time you need it to. The lab computers in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center are regularly maintained, and are all connected to backup batteries in the event of a power outage (providing 15 mins for you to save your work before the computer safely shuts down).

If all else fails, come see us at IT Support. We can’t guarantee that we will be able to recover your data, but we certainly have tools and the knowledge to help you as much as possible.

 

General Information, Training


Adobe Events for Education

August 14, 2013

Adobe produces a lot of software in use at the University: Acrobat Pro (for PDFs), Dreamweaver (for Web Design), and Photoshop (for picture editing) are the most common.

While the IT department has a lot of information on how to buy these products, unfortunately we don’t have the resources to train you on them. Luckily, Adobe has produced a series of live and on-demand webinars, specifically designed for those in education, to help you get the most out the software you use.

Adobe Events: Education

Software, Training