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Computer assistance and advice

Computer advice We are often asked advice relating to both computer hardware and software; so below you will find hints and tips which may assist you. Please feel free to send us your own suggestions to add to this page.

Scam Phone callsSuspicious Phone Calls - Would you give a stranger your house keys or your wallet? Probably not, because you don’t know them. It’s the same on the phone – you can’t be sure who you are talking to! Here are a few tips on how you can protect yourself and tell a genuine phone call from a scam.
21st July 2017


StripMail is a FREEWARE utility that:

  • Strips the characters ">" and "|" from forwarded e-mails.
  • Formats the text into paragraphs, making it easier to read.
  • Changes the text's right margin, by indenting.
  • Can be used with any e-mail client.

Click here to download the .exe file - There is no need to install, simply save to your Desktop
and run when you need to remove those annoying >>>>>>>>>>>>> and 1. 2. 3. etc from emails.
More instructions here.
Basic email courtesy tells us to NEVER SEND MESSAGES IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. All caps are fine for SMALL headlines or other key phrases, but are much harder to read when used throughout a lengthy letter. Also, ALL CAPITAL LETTERS give recipients the feeling they are being shouted at!

Changing CAPITAL LETTERS (upper case) case text to lower case and back again in Ms/ Word
Is there an easy way to convert it to traditional upper and lower case sentence structure.
Yes - By selecting the target text and pressing F3 while holding down SHIFT, all the caps will change to lower case. Press F3 again, while still holding down SHIFT, and the first letter of each sentence will be capitalized. Another SHIFT + F3 will return everything to all caps. However, other capitalization - such as names, places, and titles - will still need to be edited separately.

Tip: If you don't have Microsoft Word, then you can do the same job by going to this web address.
Contributed by Phil Davies - Harlech, North Wales - Jan 2012
Are you a frequent user of Microsoft Excel?
If the answer is yes then there is free software available to make life so much easier for you.
You can download the latest Add-on by clicking here. If you are a home user, then it's free!

More FREE Programs and services - All you need is time to read and try them out!
Emailing to 'Multiple Addresses' without using BCC.

When we send out an EMail to multiple EMail addresses without hiding them, we're contributing to spam. How? Those EMail addresses are worth the price of gold to spammers! The following website explains all about BCC (Blind Carbon Copy), how to use it and the advantages of doing so.

When someone sends you an EMail with cc's (carbon copies) or bcc's (blind carbon copies) to a hundred other people, DON'T make the mistake of replying to the person who sent you the EMail by clicking the Reply All button. Not only will the 'sender' get your EMail, but so will every single other person that received the original EMail. Instead, be sure to click the Reply button so that ONLY the sender of the EMail gets your reply.
Free alternatives to Microsoft Office
- Buyers Guide
OpenOfficeWinner - Open Office More here...

Free Antivirus - Buyers Guide More here...

Printer InkInkjet printers have now become very cheap to buy but the manufacturers recoup the loss by selling very expensive ink cartridge refills. As a result, there are now many sources of cheap compatible ink suppliers. Listed below are some recommended sources.

Internet-ink Based in Nottinghamshire (Freephone tel)

NB. Don't forget, using compatible ink may invalidate your 12 months guarantee. How the manufacturer could prove that you are not using their own branded ink is open to speculation! Tip: Just keep your used empty original ink cartridges in case the printer has to be returned under warranty!

Tip: Beware of buying ink cartridges from Ebay, no matter how much of a bargain you are tempted with. If you are not dealing with a reputable seller, you may get stung!!

Continuous ink supplyAn even cheaper way of printing is to use a Continuous ink system, very useful if you regularly use your printer for printing large colour photographs. These ink reservoirs can save up to 90% printing cost. CISS solutions is just one example of a company which supplies this new revolution in printing.


PDF stands for Portable Document Format and it was created by Adobe to ease document exchange - (smaller file sizes). It's now quite common to find PDF programmes installed on most new computers. The beauty of these programmes is that the finished file size is very much smaller than the original, (for example Microsoft Word document) and also it retains the exact original format. One main favourite of course is Adobe reader but this programme can be quite cumbersome and can take up valuable recources, thus possibly slowing down the computer.

Foxit reader There are many alternatives but there is another FREE program which stands out above the rest. This PDF reader, an alternative to Adobe Reader is called Foxit and can be downloaded by clicking here. Note: Make sure you choose the FREE VIEWER and also, when installing, choose CUSTOM setting unless you wish to download unwanted 'extras'. Note: Look carefully at the already ticked boxes!!


When converting from Microsoft Word to PDF
, why not use another FREE program called
DoPDF, which does a superb job and can be downloaded here. It does NOT read PDF files but simply converts them from doc files to pdf files.

When installing, it sets itself up as a 'printer driver'. To use, choose the document you wish to convert, then select File/Print and select DoPdf as the 'printer'. The converted document will then open as a pdf file, ready to be saved.

newDo you want to modify an existing PDF file?
Convert PDF to Word Simply upload your PDF file here.
You will then be presented pdf to wordwith a converted Microsoft Word document to download. After editing, simply change it back to a PDF file once more by using the free program DoPDF as mentioned above. This transformation from PDF to Word is amazingly accurate!

Tip: When creating a Word Document, (using the top menu), try using file/insert picturefor a photograph instead of using file/paste. You will find that this makes a huge difference to the resultant final file size. (Try it and see, you will have a surprise at the difference) Very useful, especially when sending attachments via email.

TipsWhen did you last save your important files?
Remember, computer hard drives are mechanical devices and can fail without any warning.
If you hear a grinding sound, it may already be too late!

Answer: Save your important photographs, word documents etc, etc externally, to a CD, DVD,
external hard drive or flash drive. Takes literally seconds and may save you a load of worry and grief if your computer fails. Flash memory sticks and external USB hard drives are now very cheap
and are ideal for saving copies of your precious photographs and documents.

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Please note that the above advice is to be used at your own risk.
We cannot be held responsible should things go wrong!

Jeff Davies
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