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Solutions: To navigate Office 2010, try the help feature

I recently upgraded from Windows XP and Office 2000 to Windows 7 and Office 2010, a leap that can boggle the mind. The toolbar line is in a small font, and I cannot find a way to change it to a comfortable size. The taskbar is also hard to use. I cannot drag a desktop icon to the bar. And it is difficult to start another session of Internet Explorer. Word is a nightmare. The toolbar is a jumble of unusable icons. I cannot believe that Microsoft created this monster and charged me over $100. Where do I go from here?

I feel your pain. As a user of Windows and Office from the very beginning, I've had to work through all the different versions. Although new features are great, finding your way around is always more difficult for the experienced user when things are changed. That leads me to believe that Microsoft's intent is to make it easier and more user friendly for new users. Using the Help feature usually gets me where I want to be.

In Word you'll find the Edit functions to the extreme right on the Home ribbon bar. To "select all" and "copy," you'll find it easier to use the keyboard shortcuts of ctrl-a (select all), ctrl-c (copy) and ctrl-v (paste). The old "File" menu is now accessed by clicking the Office Orb (top left of the window). That one frustrates new Office users the most. Don't forget to use the Help function; you'll eventually get used to the new layouts.

I'm not sure which toolbar you're referring to. The Office toolbars are already gigantic. The Windows taskbar can be made larger by right-clicking the Windows Orb (a.k.a. Start Button) and selecting Properties, then the Taskbar tab. Uncheck the "use small icons" option. You can only drag programs to the Taskbar. Attempting to drag a file or folder to the Taskbar results in it being pinned to Windows Explorer and the Windows Explorer icon placed on the Taskbar. Opening that icon you would expect to find that file/folder. Wrong. You'll need to right-click that icon to see your "Jump list" of pinned file/folders. Confusing? Yes.

To start a new Internet Explorer session, there are several options: Click the Orb and type Internet Explorer, right-click the "Internet Explorer" link at the top of the returned list and select Pin to Taskbar. Then just click on that icon from now on. If you're already in Internet Explorer, pressing ctrl-n will open an identical session of Internet Explorer (same page). And you can always click the New Tab button (empty square) on the list of tabs in your current session.

We have a small home-based business and need to get rid of a few very old computers. What is the best way to wipe the drives before disposal? We would like to donate them to someplace where they could still be useful.

You can find many free, secure erase programs on the Internet. Darik's Boot And Nuke can be found at sourceforge.net/projects/dban. What's nice about DBAN is that after creating a CD, you just boot with it and the program securely erases the hard drive.

Send questions to personaltech@tampabay.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: To navigate Office 2010, try the help feature 04/08/12 [Last modified: Sunday, April 8, 2012 5:59pm]

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