Tag - guide

How To Search for Files With Cortana in Windows 10

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Not being able to find a file is one of the biggest frustrations you can have with a computer. Whether you can’t remember where you saved it, what the file was called or you just need it now and have no time to jump in and out of nested directories, this is a problem that you’ve probably suffered at least once.

Thankfully, Microsoft’s addition of Cortana — which can parse text thanks to natural language recognition — in Windows 10 gives you a faster and easier way to search for that file you so desperately need. Here’s how to quickly pull up the photos you shot over the weekend, the last document you had open and that presentation you are supposed to share with your team. Cortana can also point you to emails and other file types, depending on how you phrase your query.

How To Find A Group of Photos You Took With Cortana

1. Type your search request into the Cortana Search Box, asking it to show you a specific kind of file, and name the day or time window you used it.

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2. Select the “Show me…” option that “Search photos” under it.

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Cortana’s found the photos you were looking for, so you can look back at the simpler and more decadent times.

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How To Use Cortana To Find The Last File You Opened

1. Type your request into the Cortana Search Box, specifying that you’re looking for the last file you opened.

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2. Select the “Show me” option that has “Search documents” under it.

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There’s that file you were just using, and the directory it can be found in is listed as well.

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How To Find Your Presentations With Cortana

1. Ask Cortana to show you your presentation files.

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2. Select the “show me” option that has “Search documents” underneath it.

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There’s that presentation you needed!

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How to Make Your Own Windows 10 Theme

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Want to change how your desktop and windows look in Windows 10 and share that design with friends? Windows 10 lets you create your own theme with a custom desktop background, windows border and Start menu accent color. You can save these settings as a new theme file to use over and over or send to others.

1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.

windows10 theme 1settings

2. Choose Personalization from the settings screen. windows10 theme 2personalization

3. Change one or more of the following

  • Desktop background: Select picture, solid color, or slideshow. In addition to some default photos, you can click the Browse button to select a background picture. If you choose slideshow, the default album for the slideshow will be the Photos folder, but you can browse to a different folder and also set how often you want the picture to change on your desktop. windows10 theme 3background
  • Colors: You can either have Windows automatically pick an accent color from your background or select a color for the Start menu tiles background and the thin border around windows. This will also change the color of the Windows icon in the taskbar when you hover over it. Optionally, you can also have that color shown on the taskbar and Windows 10’s action center by checking those checkboxes. windows10 theme 4colors

You can also change the Lock screen background image and Start menu settings here, but these aren’t saved with your theme.

4. Click Themes in the Personalization window, then Theme settings.

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This will open up the personalization settings in the Control Panel. windows10 theme 6controlpanel

5. Right-click on the Unsaved Theme and select Save theme. The Unsaved Theme appears in the My Themes section and contains the the settings you just adjusted. windows10 theme 7savetheme

6. Give your theme a name in the window dialog box and hit OK.

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Your new theme will be saved and you can switch between it and other themes easily by going to the personalization options in the Control Panel. Once your theme is saved, you can also right-click on it and save the theme for sharing as a .deskthemepack file.

Microsoft doesn’t offer a built-in way to create more complex themes than this (e.g., changing app icons or default sounds), but there’s an app in the Windows App Store called Theme Creator that promises to let create a complete Windows theme package. The app crashed on me when I tried it, but you might have better luck.

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How to Add a Home Button to Chrome

Browser home pages have been replaced, usually with new tab pages that show you pages you recently or commonly browsed. If you use one site a lot, though, you may still want a single button that will bring you back. Chrome doesn’t feature the Home button by default anymore, but by rummaging through its settings, you can bring it back.

Here’s how to add a Home button to Chrome:

1. Type “chrome://settings” into the Omnibox.

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2. Check “Show Home button” under the Appearance section.

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3. Click “Change” to set your own home page.

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4. Type the URL for the home page you want and click “OK.”

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The home button will appear next to the Omnibox.

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Office Guide: How to Mail Merge in Office 2016

Mail merge lets you easily turn one document into several personalized, unique versions of it. You can use mail merge in Office 2016 to create form letters or address labels, certificates with unique names, and more. Here’s how.

With mail merge, you create a document in Word that has the information that you want to be the same in each version (such as the return address on an envelope or the main content of your email). You add fields as placeholders in the document for the unique information that you want to be updated (such as the recipient’s name or address). Instead of having to manually create new versions of the same document and replace those fields, Word does all the work, pulling in information from your Outlook contacts, an Excel spreadsheet or other data source to run the mail merge.

top mail merge envelope

In this example, we’ll be using mail merge to create a letter for multiple recipients.

1. Make sure your contacts list is ready. It’s best to have your spreadsheet or Outlook contacts prepared before you start creating the document so the mail merge goes smoothly. For example, whether you’re using Outlook contacts or an Excel spreadsheet for your data source, make sure none of the data is missing for the fields you’ll be pulling in. If you’re using Outlook and have a large number of contacts but only want to use mail merge for specific contacts, you’ll make the process easier by selecting those contacts and copying them to a new folder. (To do this, select the contacts, right-click, choose Move and then Copy to Folder…)

outlook copy to folder

Make sure you change the contact folder’s properties so it will be shown as an email address book (Right-click the new contacts folder, go to properties, and check “Show this folder as an email Address Book”)

outlook folder address book

2. Create a new blank document in Word.

3. Navigate to the Mailings tab.

4. Click the Start Mail Merge button and select your document type. We’ll start with the letter first.

word start mail merge

5. Click the Select Recipients button and choose to create a new list, use an existing list, or choose from Outlook Contacts. The “Type a New List… ” option creates a new data table in Word, but you’re better off using an external source like a spreadsheet or the contacts list in Outlook so the data is readily available to other programs and other purposes.

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6a. If you choose “Use an Existing List…” you’ll be asked to browse to the file on your computer and then confirm the data table.

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6b. If you choose “Choose from Outlook Contacts…” you’ll be asked to choose the Outlook contact folder and then add or remove recipients from the merge. (This is why we advised in step one to create a new contacts folder for your mail merge: You won’t have to scroll all of your contacts in this small box.)

word select recipients outlook

word select recipients outlook contacts

7. Create the content for your document and insert the placeholders. When you get to the part where you get to information that needs to be personalized from your data source, insert a placeholder with either the Insert Merge Field button or one of the two shortcuts Word offers for common fields: Address Block and Greeting Line.

8. Use the Address Block shortcut. As the name suggests, the Address Block button creates a placeholder for a name and address–useful when creating letters or mailing labels or envelopes. With both the Address Block and Greeting Line shortcuts, you’ll be able to specify what gets inserted and preview what it will look like.

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If the preview seems to be missing information, as in the address preview above, click the Match Fields button to tell words where the data is for the missing fields.

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When the preview looks okay, click OK, and Word will insert the address placeholder.

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9. Use the Greeting Line shortcut. The Greeting Line button adds a salutation that you can format. The dropdowns will let you select to include the full name (by default), the full name with the title (e.g., Mr. Joshua Randall Jr.), title and last name, just a first name, a nickname, and other variations.

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As with the Address Block shortcut, preview the results of the mail merge and use the Merge Fields… button to correct make sure your fields match if they don’t in the preview.

10. Insert other fields into your document. For other placeholders you might need, click on Insert merge field and select the field you want to insert at that point in the document. In this case, I have a unique account number in my database that I want to add to the letter, so I choose the Account Number field and click Insert.

word insert merge field account number

11. Preview the merge results after you’ve finished the document and inserted all your fields by clicking the Preview Results button.

word preview mail merge

You can format any of the placeholder text, such as adjust the line spacing, by selecting the text and formatting it as you would any other content. In the Mailings tab, use the forward and back buttons to check all of the mail merge results.

12. If all looks good, click on the Finish & Merge button and you can print individual documents, send them as email messages, or editing each individual document if you would like.

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Repeat this for other types of documents you’d like to use mail merge for. In addition to letters (which can be any sort of document, including certificates and coupons), you can choose emails, envelopes, labels, or directories as the document type. Word also has a Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard (found under the Mailings tab > Start Mail Merge button), which basically walks you through the process above.

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Windows 10’s Start menu: It’s not really a secret.

Guess what? Windows 10 has a “secret” Start menu. I say “secret,” because it’s not really a secret — it’s not something you have to turn on, it’s just a little trick that makes accessing important features, such as the Command Prompt, the Control Panel and the Task Manager much easier.

To access the ‘secret’ Start menu, all you have to do is right-click the Windows icon/Start button. You’ll see a pop-up menu with a variety of administrative tools, as well as shutdown options and a Desktop link for quickly viewing the desktop (you can also do this by clicking the small, sectioned-off part at the very right side of your taskbar).

These are the options you get inside of the “secret” Start menu. Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

If you’re using a touchscreen, you can access this menu by tapping and holding the Start button for a couple of seconds. You can also access this menu with the keyboard shortcut Windows key + X.

I’m a big fan of this shortcut menu, because it lets you access tools that you would normally have to go through multiple menus to get to. For example, the Event Viewer, System information as well as the disk and computer management tools can be found in Start > All apps > Windows Administrative Tools, while the Command Prompt, Control Panel, Task Manager and Run command are found in Start > All apps > Windows System. The “secret” Start menu puts all of these handy tools right at your fingertips in one click.

You can replace the Command Prompt link in the secret Start menu with a link to the Windows PowerShell. Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

If you happen to be an avid Windows PowerShell user — and you don’t have much use for the Command Prompt — you can replace the Command Prompt link in the secret Start menu with a link to the PowerShell. To do this, right-click the taskbar and click Settings. Under Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell in the menu when I right-click the start button or press Windows key + X, turn the switch to On.

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