July 25, 2010


I got pulled kicking and screaming into the new computer age.  Loathe to upgrade, I waited until my computer crashed with no hope of revival to throw in the towel. First decision was what machine to get. I browsed the aisles at Office Depot and Best Buy but saw only one model on the floor that I liked. The sales guy said it was out of stock. I called another store, and that person said it had been discontinued. So I went my previous route and ordered direct from Dell. I got an Inspiron 580.

After a breathless wait, the new machine arrived about a week later. I just needed the CPU because I had all the peripherals. Or so I thought. When I saw all the usb connections on the CPU and the parallel and serial ports on my printer and ergonomic keyboard, I gulped with dismay.

Fortunately, I’d saved the extra usb cable that had come with my monitor, so we switched cables and that worked fine. Then we found a usb cable for my five year old printer, too. My computer consultant fussed with the printer driver and got it to work.

No luck with the keyboard, though. It’s years old but has saved my wrists from carpal tunnel problems with its split keyboard and touch pad.  So add this item to the List of MUST HAVES:

  1. New ergonomic keyboard

I already knew my scanner wouldn’t work and set that aside as a loss.  Add this as a maybe:

  1. New Scanner  (or more likely an All-In-One color laser printer)

Next we start up the computer, connect it to the Internet, and install my only new program so far, Microsoft Office 10 ($279.99). I knew I’d have to buy it because my version from 2003 was seven years old.

My heart sank as I tried to install my other essential software that now has to be replaced:

  1.  Screen Shot by Parsons Technology that allowed me to print whatever is actually on the monitor screen with the Print Screen button on the keyboard. 
  2. Adobe Photodeluxe.  I’ve been using a free version for years.  Maybe my camera program will work instead. I have to install that disk yet. Let’s hope it works.
  3. WordPerfect.  All of my old files are in WP, so even if I want to use Word primarily now, I have to remove the WP codes before converting the files. I still need WP for things like my brochures since I don’t have Microsoft Publisher. But after installing WP 12, my Outlook crashed. I restored my computer to an earlier restore point and Outlook worked again. WordPerfect Office X5 is another expensive program at $159.99. I don’t want to get it unless I know it’s compatible with Outlook  10 but I may have to take the chance.
  4. Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred 10.  I have version 9. It would not install on Windows 7. Dragon 10 says it works with Vista 64 bit and will work with Windows 7, but is it really made for the new system or will they be coming out with an upgrade soon? I already turned down the chance to get Dragon 10 for the initial upgrade offer of $99 and now I’d have to buy it for $199. Plus the specs say you have to have a processor with SSE2 instructions. They refer you to a free online program to determine if your computer meets this requirement. Why does technology have to be so complicated?

Meanwhile, I am struggling to figure out how to do the simplest things like address an envelope, change the font, and print selected pages in Word 10. Everything seems to be there but in a different place.  Where is the Select All button?  How do I change the lines per page?  What are all these new tabs for?

I am so lost!

Next Day:  I’m getting used to this interface and even learned how to print what’s on my Internet page by using a new tool call Snippet with Windows 7.  I’m ready to resume my normal activities and will just have to learn as I go. Still have to add Dragon and WP and my photo program, but one step at a time.

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  1. I have also learned the hard way that you do’t just buy a new computer – you buy the whole nine yards! NOTHING worked with the new machine that came with Vista!

  2. Yes, nothing is every easy when it comes to computers. I think the tech geniuses planned it that way so we’ll always need them and they’re assured of staying rich, lol. I’m wondering why you don’t have Publisher, though. It should have been included with Office 10.

  3. Karin, that sucks. I wonder if your new software will work with Windows 7. And Allison, I bought the Office for Home and Business. You have to buy Office Professional to get Publisher, and that package also includes Access database program that I don’t need. I saw in Office Depot that you can buy Publisher separately, and it would cost less than if I bought Professional. But I still have to get WP for my older files and Dragon. The cost keeps escalating!

  4. I got a new Dell a year or two ago (time flies) and we kept Windows XP–we had the professional version. At least I think so, because I needed Access at the time for my part-time day job. I’m still running Office 2003. Hubster had to upgrade to Windows 7 when he bought his new computer, and had numerous issues. He seems to have made the adjustments, but I dread having to change. I don’t want to learn an entire new repertoire of tricks. I remember having to switch from Word Perfect to Word, and that was enough.

  5. Hi Nancy

    Dani Greer mentioned to me that you were having difficulties with Word 2010. Maybe I can help, and if you have further questions I have a Word Q&A section on my website where you are welcome to ask more questions.

    Envelope setup:

    “Mailings” tab on Office Ribbon >> click “Envelopes” in the “Create” box.

    Change Font permanently:

    1. Home tab on the Office Ribbon >> Styles box

    2. Right-click the big Normal Style button, select Modify.

    3. Make your font changes in the Modify Style Dialog Box.

    4. Select “New Documents Based on This Template” at the bottom of the Dialog Box. This copies your changes across to any future blank document you create.

    Print Selected Pages:

    1. File Tab on the Office Ribbon >> Print

    2. Under “Settings” there is a box called “Pages:” where you can type in the page numbers, separated by commas, that you want to print.

    Select All:

    Home Tab on the Office Ribbon >> Editing box (far right) >> Select >> Select All

    (I like to use the shortcut keys Ctrl-a for Select All.)

    Lines Per Page:

    Were you setting this up using the Document Grid feature in Word 2003? Unfortunately there is no longer an option to set the number of lines per page in version 2010. The only way to do this is to:

    1. first turn off Widow/Orphan Control: (Home tab >> click the tiny arrow in the bottom right-hand corner of the Paragraph section to open the Paragraph Dialog Box >> Line and Page Breaks Tab)

    2. Fiddle with your margins (Page Layout Tab >> Margins) and font size options (Home Tab >> Font Size) until you get approximately the number of lines per page that you are after.

    I hope this helps.

    Word 4 Writers on

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