Using Your Touchscreen with Windows Ink

Windows Ink has been a part of Windows 10 since late 2016. The Windows Ink Workspace is a set of apps designed for touch-enabled devices. Combined with an active stylus, or pen, you can quickly jot down notes in the Sticky Notes app, sketch ideas in the Sketchpad app, or makes notes on screenshots in the Screen Sketch app.

You don’t need to have a device with a pen, like a Surface Pro 4. You can use Windows Ink Workspace on any Windows 10 PC, with or without a touchscreen. Having a touchscreen allows you to write on the screen with your finger in the Sketchpad or Screen Sketch apps.

Here is our hands-on guide to using Windows Ink Workspace on your Windows 10 PC or device. We didn’t have a pen to test on our Windows 10 touchscreen laptop.

Open the Windows Ink Workspace

If you have a Surface Pro device, press the button on the pen to open the Windows Ink Workspace. If you’re using a Windows 10 PC with or without a touchscreen, but no pen, you may need to add the Windows Ink Workspace button to the Taskbar.

The button looks like script capital “I” and would be on the right side of the Taskbar next to the time and date. If you don’t see the button, right-click on an empty area on the Taskbar and select Show Windows Workspace button from the popup menu.

windows ink workspace button

To open the Windows Ink Workspace, click the button that now appears on your Taskbar.

windows ink workspace

Jot Down Notes and Create Reminders With Sticky Notes

Sticky Notes has been part of Windows for a while, but the Windows Ink Workspace links your sticky notes to Cortana. When you enter a reference to a day or time, like “tomorrow,” you can let Cortana remind you of the event you write on the note. If you enter a flight number, Cortana will fetch the flight status from Bing. If you’re using multiple Windows devices, your Sticky Notes will be synced across them.

Here is our hands-on guide to using Windows Ink Workspace on your Windows 10 PC or device. We didn’t have a pen to test on our Windows 10 touchscreen laptop.

Open the Windows Ink Workspace

If you have a Surface Pro device, press the button on the pen to open the Windows Ink Workspace. If you’re using a Windows 10 PC with or without a touchscreen, but no pen, you may need to add the Windows Ink Workspace button to the Taskbar.

The button looks like script capital “I” and would be on the right side of the Taskbar next to the time and date. If you don’t see the button, right-click on an empty area on the Taskbar and select Show Windows Workspace button from the popup menu.

windows ink workspace button

To open the Windows Ink Workspace, click the button that now appears on your Taskbar.

windows ink workspace

Jot Down Notes and Create Reminders With Sticky Notes

Sticky Notes has been part of Windows for a while, but the Windows Ink Workspace links your sticky notes to Cortana. When you enter a reference to a day or time, like “tomorrow,” you can let Cortana remind you of the event you write on the note. If you enter a flight number, Cortana will fetch the flight status from Bing. If you’re using multiple Windows devices, your Sticky Notes will be synced across them.

Click the Ruler tool on the toolbar. You’ll see a ruler display on the sketchpad at a 45-degree angle. If you have a touchscreen, you can move the ruler around with one finger and change the angle by twisting two fingers around on the ruler.

If you don’t have a touchscreen, use the mouse to click and drag the ruler around. To change the angle without a touchscreen, move the mouse cursor over the ruler and use the scroll wheel.

Once you’ve positioned the ruler, draw along the edge of the ruler with any of the drawing tools. You’ll find even if you stray away from the edge of the ruler, the line you’re drawing will stay straight.

windows ink sketchpad

The middle section on the toolbar allows you to turn Touch Writing on or off, undo and redo actions, and crop your sketch.

The buttons in the right section of the toolbar allow you to clear the entire sketchpad, save the sketch as a PNG file, copy the sketch to the clipboard, or share your sketch through Windows 10’s sharing center.

Close the Sketchpad using the red X button on the right side of the toolbar. Your sketch remains in the Sketchpad app until you clear it.

Annotate Screenshots With Screen Sketch

The Screen Sketch app allows you to take a screenshot of whatever’s currently on your screen and then draw on it using the same tools available in the Sketchpad app. It’s like Edge’s Ink feature, but you can draw on the entire screen, not just on a web page.

To use Screen Sketch, make sure what you want to capture is active on the screen. Then, click the Windows Ink Workspace button and click Screen Sketch.

windows ink screen sketch

The app captures the screen and presents it for you to write on. Use the drawing tools and the ruler to draw or write what you want using a pen, your finger, or a mouse.

You can save, copy, or share your screenshot just like you can do with sketches in the Sketchpad app.

windows ink screen sketch

Open a Pen-Enabled App

Recently used pen-enabled apps are listed towards the bottom of the Windows Ink Workspace, whether or not you have a pen.

For example, you can click the Edge icon.

windows ink pen enabled

Then use Edge’s Ink feature to write on a web page. Some of the same tools you’ll recognize from the Sketchpad and Screen Sketch app are also available in Edge’s Ink feature. You can also save and share your annotated web page.

windows ink pen enabled

Get More Pen-Enabled Apps

The Get more pen apps link on the Windows Ink Workspace opens the Windows Store and shows you all the apps in which you can use your pen.

windows ink pen enabled

Customize the Pen Settings

If you’re using a pen, you can customize it in the Windows 10 Settings app by clicking Pen & Windows Ink settings at the bottom of the Windows Ink Workspace. As we mentioned, we don’t have a pen to test, but you can learn about the Pen settings on Microsoft’s support site.

windows ink pen settings

Organize Your Ideas and Life With Windows Ink

Try out the Windows Ink Workspace to take notes and create reminders for yourself, sketch your ideas, or annotate a screenshot. You can also share your sketches and screenshots with others.

If the Windows Ink Workspace doesn’t quite meet your note-taking needs, give OneNote a try.

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Temp Files Explained

Image result for temp files pngChances are you have some useless files sitting around on your computer, like junk in the Recycle Bin that you haven’t emptied in weeks. But one of the biggest wastes of space on your PC are the Temp folders in the Windows and AppData directories.

As the name suggests, Windows uses these folders to store files that are only needed for a short time: error logs, images, cached files, etc. Their presence helps your computer run smoothly during your current session, but you rarely need them after a reboot, or even after closing a program.

You can easily delete these temporary folders to free up space on your computer. But using the Disk Cleanup tool only deletes temporary files that are older than seven days. Even the new Storage Sense feature in Windows 10 won’t automatically clear temp files all the time.

Apps that you’re using create temporary files for a purpose. Whether you’re downloading something, editing a picture or video, or just want to quickly access data in the app thanks to cache, it needs these temporary files. Windows doesn’t know whether every application is done with its temporary files when you run the Disk Cleanup, so it errs on the side of caution. Most people won’t need an app’s temporary files for more than a week.

For instance, let’s say you were working on a large video in and decided to delete every temporary file on your PC while you had the video player open. This would very likely cause issues because you removed files it needed while it was still working with them. But three days later when you’re done with that Premiere session, you can safely delete those files.

Unless you have a tiny hard drive, temporary files don’t take up enough space to become a problem. If you want to clear them automatically, you can easily set up Windows to delete these temp files when you shut down.

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Saving Your Battery in iOS 11

Like many people, I noticed a decrease in battery life after I installed iOS 11 on my iPhone.

This is actually a very common problem on all iOS versions. However it does seem that each new version of iOS brings complaints about faster battery drain. Some say it’s because you’re using the phone more as you explore all the new features and updates. I have also heard the argument that the new OS is doing a bunch of rewriting or caching or something, and that battery life will even out after the first couple days.

Image result for iphone email settings ios 11

With iOS 11, however, there may be another culprit.

Email Drag

If you’ve ever searched for tips on prolonging iPhone battery life, you’ve almost certainly encountered this one: turn off email fetch. The reasoning is that battery life suffers if your phone automatically checks for new mail every 15 or 30 minutes.

That’s why I always kept my accounts set to “manual,” as I prefer to retrieve mail when I want to retrieve mail.

However, after installing iOS 11, I noticed there were frequently new messages waiting for me each time I opened the Mail app. So I checked my email account settings (which, incidentally, are no longer found in Settings > Mail and, sure enough, all my accounts had been set to Fetch!

Needless to say, you are better off disabling Fetch. Here’s how: tap Settings > Accounts & Passwords > Fetch New Data and change it to Manually. You can also change this to check for email hourly, every 30 minutes or every 15 minutes. Try one of these if you iPhone battery is suffering.

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Viewing Your Credit Report for Free

With the recent Exuifax security breach now is a great time to start monitoring your credit. What is often considered to be an expensive and confusing task is actually quiet easy. In addition to many credit card company’s offering free credit monitoring services there are also straight up credit monitoring services like Credit Karma that do a great job that are free and can help you even improve your credit score.

Image result for credit security

With all of these regular security breaches your best bet is to keep an eye on your own credit reports and scores and make sure nothing is going on there that you don’t already know about. In this article, I’m going to show you how to get your credit report for free, which you can do once a year. Secondly, I’m going to show you how to get your free credit score, which you can get pretty much on a daily basis.

While there are many ways to get a free credit report my favorite option today is Credit Karma.

Credit Karma uses the VantageScore which seems to be becoming more popular than FICO.

Credit Karma gives you the score from both TransUnion and Equifax. If you click on View score details, you get all kinds of details on the credit factors that are helping and hurting you. These include credit card usage, payment history, derogatory remarks, credit age, total accounts and hard inquiries. You also get two full credit reports, so it’s a really nice service that is completely free.

Credit Karma also has a great mobile app for both iOS & Android so you can have access to your credit history, two of your credit reports, access to credit alerts and more from wherever you are – on whatever device you are using.

I have been exclusively using Credit Karma to monitor my credit reports, help me improve my credit score and even apply for and receive very reasonable loans.

You can learn more about Credit Karma here.

Note: I am not affiliated with Credit Karma in any way. I am just a big fan of their service and with security breaches all around us I wanted to share this with all of you, my dedicated readers.

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Creating Email Signatures

Creating a professional email signature can be daunting, from figuring out which details to include to how to format it. But with the right online tool, the process can be extremely easy. That’s good news because email signatures are perfect for sharing contact information and promoting your company.

One of the easiest and most straightforward (and completely free!) tools is MySignature. There are no upgrades you have to pay for, no extensions you have to install, and you don’t even have to create an account to use the service.

MySignature has five small tabs where you can fill in your information. These tabs are:

  1. General: Name, phone, mobile, website, Skype, email, and address.
  2. Photo: Upload a photo, which you will have to crop into a 1:1 image.  You can adjust its size and shape (square, rounded corners, or circle).
  3. Company: Company name, position, and department.
  4. Style: Choose a theme color, text size, and typeface. Typeface choices are limited to Georgia, Arial, Courier New, Lucida Console, and for reasons we cannot understand, Comic Sans.
  5. Social: Add buttons to 12 online platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

There are also five templates to choose from, some of which override some of the style options. The templates change the placement of the social media icons and the formatting of your text.

Once you’ve got your signature looking how you want it, you can simply copy and paste it into the email program or platform of your choice. We found that some of the formatting such as font size was lost in desktop apps like Outlook, but worked flawlessly in online options like Gmail.

Adding a few additional features, like the ability to add custom fields (e.g. for disclaimers) or some basic HTML, would make MySignature an even more handy tool to keep in your online arsenal. But even without, it’s excellent.

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Twitter’s Desktop Night Mode Arrives

Twitter today rolled out Night Mode for its desktop site. We have known that it was coming since a Twitter spokesperson confirmed it was testing the feature last month, but now it seems to be rolling out more widely.

You can see that I turned on “night mode” today and it looks pretty darn nifty.

To access Night Mode on desktop, click your profile image on the top right corner of the screen (see above), and go down to the bottom of the drop-down menu. The Night Mode option has a crescent moon icon next to it, just in case the name wasn’t enough of a giveaway.

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Viewing Your Activity on Facebook

You know that feeling when you’ve liked a link on Facebook but can’t find that link again? Luckily, it’s really easy to find every link, post, and even comment that you’ve liked.

There are quite a few ways you can find anything on your Facebook timeline, but to find everything you’ve ever liked on Facebook, the easiest way to do this is to head over to your profile and click View Activity Log. In addition to seeing your likes, you can see pretty much everything you’ve done on Facebook: what you’ve posted, commented on, saved, and more.

If you want to drill down just to your likes, there’s a menu on the left that allows you to view just one type of interaction. In this case, you’ll want to click Likes. A small submenu will appear that allows you to drill down even further to either posts and comments or pages and interests.

Using the calendar to the right of the screen allows you to view all the content on Facebook you’ve liked from the day you joined the social network.

You can also use the activity log to unlike content without having to go back to someone’s profile or page.

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Saving Data Usage with Facebook

Are you a Facebook addict? Aside from needing to break the addiction as soon as possible (seriously, it’s not a healthy way to live your life), you should give some serious consideration to your data usage. Facebook like other apps just loves to use data – even when you are not looking at the app.

If you’ve had a few “shock” bills from your carrier, Facebook could be to blame. Between high-resolution images and auto-playing videos, the app can burn through data in no time.

Of course, you can turn off auto-playing videos by going to More (the three horizontal lines in the top right-hand corner of the screen) > Help and Settings > App Settings > Auto-play.

But there’s a better way: use the Data Saver tool.

What Does Data Saver Do?

Data Saver not only prevents videos from playing automatically but importantly, it also reduces the resolution of any images in your feed.

To set it up, head to the More menu in the top right-hand corner or your screen. Scroll down until you find Data Saver. It’s in the Help and Settings section.

On the next screen, make sure you slide the toggle next to Data Saver on into the On position. When you enable the setting, a new option will appear. It allows you to disable the Data Saver feature while you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Other Options to Save Data

To further reduce your data usage, there are a couple of other hidden settings you might find useful.

Go to More > App Settings and turn off the toggles next to Upload photos in HD and Upload videos in HD.

As a last resort, you can install Mobile Protect. Navigate to More > Mobile Data to get started.

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Reading Aloud with Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word has a new trick up its sleeve, and it should help anyone who struggles with the written word. The new feature is called Read Aloud, and it’s a significant improvement on the previous text-to-speech offerings in Word.

Image result for microsoft word read aloud

Most of us can look at a word and immediately tell whether it’s spelt wrong. Or look at a sentence and tell whether it’s structured correctly. However, some people struggle with these things. Which is the main reason why Microsoft has upped its text-to-speech game with Read Aloud.

Microsoft Word Can Now Read Your Documents Aloud

 

Read Aloud is a new feature which has arrived as part of the latest Office 365 updates. Read Aloud does exactly what you’d expect it to do, with Word reading your document back to you. However, Word can now highlight each word as it’s read aloud right from within your workflow.

In its blog post detailing all of the new Office 365 updates Microsoft states that Read Aloud “makes it easier to recognize and correct errors as you write, improving reading and editing accuracy for everyone, especially users with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.”

Read Aloud, which is listed under the Review tab, is currently only available to Office Insiders. However, Microsoft promises it will become widely available to the general population “later this year”. Which, in Microsoft parlance, means anytime between now and December 31st.

Let’s Make Typos a Thing of the Past

Not everyone will need to make use of the new Read Aloud feature in Word. However, for those who struggle with spelling for whatever reason, this is sure to be useful. And if Read Aloud makes typos a thing of the past then people like myself will be able to sleep more suondly soundly.

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Organizing Your Folders in Outlook 2016

Would you rather spend less time searching and scrolling in Outlook and more time composing and replying? Then you need to learn about the benefits of folders and subfolders.

Image result for outlook tip

Read on to get started with folders.

Folder management

By default an Outlook account will present the following folders:

  • Inbox — The inbox is the primary location for incoming messages.
  • Drafts — Drafts are messages that have been either completely or partially composed but have not been sent yet. Drafted messages are still able to be opened and edited before sending.
  • Sent Items — A copy of each message you send will be saved in the Sent Items folder. They are not visible in the inbox folder.
  • Deleted Items — As a message is chosen to be deleted, it’s moved to the Deleted Items folder. These messages will be automatically purged after 30 days unless the Retention Policy is changed. Users can also choose to empty the folder of its contents at any time.
  • Clutter — Messages that are considered low priority will be redirected to the Clutter folder. Outlook recognizes which messages are read and determines the unread messages to be of little importance.
  • Junk Email — Messages that seem to exude the appearance of junk mail will be redirected to this folder.
  • Archive — Archiving older messages moves them from the main .pst file into a separate archive.pst file.

Depending on your organization, you may see additional folders created by an administrator or by other services, such as Skype or Yammer. Now understanding the folders that are first presented to you, you should know that you cannot delete these folders. You can, however, create folders of your own and delete them, as well.

How to create a folder:
  1. Locate where the new folder should live on the left pane.
  2. Right-click on the location.
  3. Select New Folder.
  4. Input a name in the resulting Name box.
  5. Press Enter to create.
How to delete a folder:
  1. Right-click on the folder to be deleted.
  2. Select Delete from the command menu.
  3. Select Yes to confirm.

Folder creation and deletion are parts of the overall folder management options found when you right-click on the left pane of the Outlook interface. Keep in mind that many of the actions are grayed out for default folders. Here are the options that are presented:

  • Open in New Window — This opens another Outlook 2016 window with the selected folder opened.
  • New Folder — Creates a folder or sub-folder.
  • Rename Folder — This allows you to rename any folder or subfolder that you created.
  • Copy Folder — This copies the selected folder as a subfolder. You can then choose the destination folder in the resulting Copy Folder pop up box.
  • Move Folder — You can move the folder into any existing folder from inside the popup box.
  • Delete Folder — This option moves the folder and its contents to the Deleted Items folder.
  • Mark all as Read — All messages and other items in the folder will be marked as read.
  • Clean up Folder — Duplicate or redundant messages will be automatically moved to the Deleted Items folder.
  • Delete All — All items in the folder will be deleted. If you choose this action with a folder that contains subfolders, the sub-folders will be removed as well.
  • Show in Favorites — Choose to add this folder to the Favorites section, which is located near the top of the left panel.
  • Remove from Favorites — This option appears when right-clicking in the Favorites section. It removes the folder from Favorites but does not delete it.
  • Sort Subfolders A to Z — All sub folders within a folder will be listed alphabetically.
  • Move Up/Down — Folders and subfolders can be moved up or down the list, one entry at a time.
  • Properties — This action takes you the properties menu of the folder. A series of settings are presented such as selecting the folder policy, permissions and viewing the folder size.
Search folders

searching folders

Those who need Outlook to retain a large volume of messages could potentially have difficulty retrieving information. A Search Folder aims to eliminate the needle-in-a-haystack scenario. It presents messages that match search criteria determined by the user. It doesn’t matter if the messages are stored in various folders. As long as they are contained within the same .pst file, they will be found.

How to create a customized search folder:
  1. Select the Folder tab from the ribbon.
  2. Select New Search Folder.
  3. Select Create a custom Search Folder from the Select a Search Folder list.
  4. Click Choose.
  5. Enter the name of the folder in the name box.
  6. Click Criteria to pick your options from the following sections:
    • Messages – Choose to search for specific words from the subject or body, specific contacts or recipients.
    • More Choices – This offers more criteria such as specifying read or unread items, attachments and level of importance.
    • Advanced – This gives the user the option to create finely tuned criteria to narrow down result. This provides a list of criterion and allows you to choose conditions and values.
  7. Click Browse to select a specific folder to include in the search.
  8. Click Ok on each dialog box to confirm your selections.
How to create a pre-defined search folder:
  1. Select Folder from the ribbon.
  2. Choose New Search folder.
  3. Select a folder type from the Select a Search Folder list.
  4. Select Criteria under the Customize Search Folder section.
  5. Select Ok to save the search folder.
Folder sharing and delegation

sharing folders

Your Outlook folders can also be a place for collaboration. Depending on the necessary tasks, you can either choose to share a folder or delegate one. To delegate is to allow someone to act on your behalf, such as responding to emails or managing items in your folders. Sharing folders is commonly used to promote collaboration.

How to delegate a folder:
  1. Click on File.
  2. Click on Account Settings under Account Information.
  3. Click on Delegate Access.
  4. Click on Add.
  5. Search and select the individual.
  6. Click Add
  7. Select the permission level for the individual under the Permissions box.
  8. Right-click on the account.
  9. Select Folder Permissions.
    • Reviewer – Users can read items but cannot delete them.
    • Author – Users can read and create items.
    • Editor – Users can read, create and modify items.10.Click on the name of the person.11. Select the Permission Level. (then select OK)
How to remove a delegate:
  1. Click on File.
  2. Click on Account Information.
  3. Click on Delegate Access.
  4. Select the name of the current delegate.
  5. Click Remove.
  6. Click Ok.
How to share a folder
  1. Click on the Folder Tab in the ribbon.
  2. Click on Folder Permission in the Properties section
  3. Click on the Permissions tab in the Inbox Properties box.
  4. Click Add to add a user.
  5. Locate the person in the address list.
  6. Click Add
  7. Click Ok.
  8. Select an option from the Permission Level list.
    • Owner – Change permission levels for others who have access. Create, read, modify and delete contents of a folder.
    • Publishing Editor – All contents that the owner has created can be read and deleted. Content and subfolders can be created as well.
    • Editor – All items can be created read and modified.
    • Publishing Author – Items can be modified, deleted, created and read. Sub-folders can be created as well.
    • Author – Allows users to read and create items that the owner has created.
    • Nonediting Author – Owner created items can be deleted. Can create and read items.
    • Reviewer – Can read items but cannot delete them.
    • Contributor – Users can only create items.
  9. Select specific permission in the provided fields.
  10. Click Apply.
  11. Click Ok.
How to stop sharing a folder:
  1. Access the Folder tab from the ribbon.
  2. Select Folder permissions.
  3. Click on the name of the individual.
  4. Select None to suspend sharing.
  5. Select Remove to stop sharing.
Wrapping up

Being able to effectively manage folders enables you to be more productive in your communication. It also allows you to make Outlook both personal and comfortable.

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