Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts

See the sidebar "Format Like a Pro in Excel 98"

How cool would it be to surf the Internet with your voice? Kham Vo of San Francisco found a way to do it with Apple's speech-recognition software, which works with most Power Macs. The software is included with Mac OS 8.5 and later but isn't installed by default, so you need to run the Mac OS Install program and do a custom installation of the Speech Recognition module. The software is also available from Apple's Software Updates site at http://asu.info.apple.com/swupdates.nsf/artnum/n11288. After installation, turn on the Speakable Items option in the Speech control panel and leave the Listening option set to Listen Only While Key(s) Are Pressed.

Now you need to create some Internet location files. You can do this in Mac OS 8.5 by typing a complete URL, such as http://www.macworld.com, in Stickies or the Note Pad; selecting the URL; and dragging it to the desktop or a folder. The Finder recognizes that you're dragging a URL and makes it a location file. You can also drag bookmarks from the Bookmarks window in Netscape Navigator or Communicator and drag favorites from Microsoft Internet Explorer's Favorites window.

Now select the location files; hold down the escape key to get the attention of the speech-recognition software; and say into your Mac microphone, "Make this speakable." This puts aliases of the selected files into the Speakable Items folder. Open this folder (found under the Apple menu), and rename the new aliases to something easy to remember and say, such as Macworld Home Page. Or you could just rename the original location files and drag them into the Speakable Items folder.

Now while surfing the Net, you can visit any location that has a file in the Speakable Items folder by pressing the escape key and saying the file's name into your Mac microphone.

Q. At work, I share documents created on my Mac with PC users. When I forget to add a three-letter DOS suffix to the name of a document, my coworkers using PCs can't read the file. How can I automate the addition of DOS suffixes to my file names so I can make it easier on everyone involved?

David J. Loury
Mountain View, California

A. You can use Sig Software's $20 shareware NameCleaner to quickly add the correct DOS suffixes to names of files you've already saved on your Mac. A more automatic–but more complicated–approach would be to write an AppleScript that renames files based on their type and creator codes. In Mac OS 8.5 and later, you could make this a folder-action script that automatically analyzes and renames files as you add them to a folder to which you've attached the script.

Alternatively, you could ask your PC cohorts to install software that enables their computers to recognize a variety of Mac disks and Mac files (with or without suffixes). This PC software automatically supplies missing file-name suffixes based on each Mac file's hidden codes for file type and creator application. Such software includes Software Architects' $70 Here & Now (800/863-9297, http://www.softarch.com ), Media4's $70 MacDrive 98 (800/528-7440, http://www.media4.com ), and DataViz's $60 MacOpener for Windows (800/733-0030, http://www.dataviz.com ).

Q. A friend who is legally blind needs his screen magnified. His old Mac had something called CloseView, but it doesn't work with Mac OS 8 on the Performa 6118 that I gave him. What can we do?

Rick Larimore
Los Angeles, California

A. Setting a 17-inch or larger multiscan monitor to 640-by-480-pixel resolution provides 1.5 x to 2 x magnification. If your friend needs more magnification, he should try CloseView 7.2.1–it works with Mac OS 7.6 and later but is not installed automatically. To get CloseView 7.2.1, run the Mac OS Install program and do a custom installation of the Mac OS module (for detailed instructions, click the Help button in the last step of the installation program). In the dialog box where you select Mac OS features to be installed, expand the Universal Access item to see and select CloseView.

Undo That Change-All

TIP Are you amazed that AppleWorks, a.k.a. ClarisWorks, has no undo for its Change All operation? Use a macro utility, such as CE software's $119 QuicKeys (800/523-7638, http://www.cesoft.com ), to create a macro that saves your work and then brings up the Find/Change dialog box when you press the standard AppleWorks keyboard shortcut for Find/Change (1-F). Now you can use the Revert command to undo a Change All. If for some reason you don't want your work saved before finding or changing, choose Find/Change from the Edit menu instead.

Clément Topping
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

You can also implement this idea with an AppleWorks macro that's invoked by pressing 1-option-F. Right after you start recording the macro, type a space and press delete to make sure the Save command is available. (AppleWorks dims the Save command if no changes have been made since the last save.) Then choose Save, choose Find/Change, and stop recording the macro.–L.P.

TIP Tired of staring idly at a modal dialog box while your Mac dials your ISP to make an automatic Internet connection? Next time you want to browse the Web, connect instead by opening the Remote Access control panel (Mac OS 8.5) or the PPP control panel (Mac OS 7.6 through 8.1) and clicking the Connect button. Now while it's dialing, you can hide the control panel and do other tasks on your Mac as you like. When it's time to sign off the Internet, just click Disconnect in the control panel. Once again, no modal dialog box gets in your way.

Jonathan Kurtzman
Brookline, Massachusetts

TIP Although you can copy your IP address from the Web Sharing control panel and paste it into your browser when you want to view your own Web site, an easier method to go right to your Web page, if you're using Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.X, is to type localhost in the address bar. Alas, this trick doesn't work in Netscape Navigator.

Alexander Savage
Austin, Texas

TIP It's not always the number of telephones or other devices plugged into a phone line that can impede modem speed (as reported in April 1999's Quick Tips), nor is your permanent phone wiring usually at fault. Chances are it's just one device on the line that's not within phone-company specs, and you can easily isolate it by connecting your phones and other devices one at a time and testing the modem speed. The connecting cord between a suspect device and the wall can also be a troublemaker, so try a replacement cord before dispatching the device to the dump.

Harron K. Appleman
South Salem, New York

LON POOLE answers readers' questions and selects reader-submitted tips for this monthly column. His latest book is Macworld Mac OS 8.5 Bible (IDG Books Worldwide, 1999).

All shareware and freeware mentioned in Quick Tips is available from the Macworld Online software library ( http://www.macdownload.com ).

We pay $25 to $100 for tips selected for publication that discuss how to use Macs, peripherals, or software. Please include your full name and address so that we can send you your payment. Send questions or tips to quicktips@macworld.com or to Macworld Quick Tips, 301 Howard St., 16th Fl., San Francisco, CA 94105. All published submissions become the sole property of Macworld. Due to the high volume of mail received, we cannot provide personal responses.

July 1999 page: 100

Applying the same format to alternate rows of a Microsoft Excel 98 spreadsheet doesn't require formatting each row individually. Shane Devenshire of Walnut Creek, California, devised a method that uses Excel 98's conditional formats. With this method, you can even sort the rows without affecting the formatting. To apply this method, select the first cell you want to format (cell A1 in this example) and follow these steps.

Easy Formatting With conditional formatting in Microsoft Excel 98, you avoid labor-intensive row-by-row formatting.

1. Choose Conditional Formatting from the Format menu to display the Conditional Formatting dialog box (top).

2. Select Formula Is from the pop-up menu, and enter the formula =MOD(ROW(A1),2)=1 in the box to the right of the pop-up menu.

3. Click the Format button, and in the dialog box that appears, click the Patterns tab, pick a color, and click OK.

4. Back in the Conditional Formatting dialog box, click Add and repeat step 2 for Condition 2, this time entering the formula =MOD(ROW(A1),2)=0 in the box to the right of the second pop-up menu.

5. Repeat step 3, picking a different color. Click OK in the Conditional Formatting dialog box.

6. Now use Excel's Format Painter tool to copy the format in cell A1 to the entire range you want formatted. The example here is two colors (bottom), but you can extend this concept to three colors with the following formulas:

=MOD(ROW(A1),3)=1

=MOD(ROW(A1),3)=2

=MOD(ROW(A1),3)=0

You can have four colors by substituting a 4 for the 3 in the above formulas. In this case, every fourth row is not colored by the conditional formatting. You can choose to let these rows remain uncolored or select the entire range and change its color. Because conditional formatting overrides regular formatting, you'll have a four-color color scheme.

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