Friday, 11 October 2002

Newsletter Issue 51, October 2002

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 51, October 2002
Hi guys,
For those of you who find managing and viewing contacts difficult, check out Using Outlook Categories below.
Some of you may have heard about the furore around the Word security hole. I have a fix for this from Bill Coan called Hidden File Detector
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Using Outlook Categories

How many of you are using Categories to manage items in Outlook?
You can view and organise items by creating your own useful category lists. Foe example, I have deleted the Category list that came built into Outlook and replaced it with one that is useful to me - such as one category for each of my major clients, "clients" for general clients, "suppliers", "private", "Christmas List", "Cellphone" (as in, their number is stored in my cellphone) etc etc.
You can customise your own Outlook list by;
  1. Clicking on the Inbox
  2. Going to the Edit menu and selecting Categories
  3. Clicking the "Master Categories List" button
  4. Either click & hold the first item on the list , scrolling to the end, Shift & click on the last item to select them all & click the Delete button; or Ctrl & click through the list to leave some items & click the Delete button
  5. Enter the Categories you want to see
  6. Click OK
  7. Click OK
To use your categories, start with your Contacts, and work your way through them. You can add multiple categories to each contact, so one person can show up in a number of lists when sorted by category (eg, Major Client, Supplier, Cellphone, Christmas List).  
When you go to the sort "By category" view in your Contacts folder, you will immediately see who hasn't been assigned a category, and know that they are new. Makes it much easier to manage and to send emails to groups where, unlike distribution lists, you can see ALL the email addresses and edit them before clicking the Send button. Read on...
You can create a new message addressed to everyone in a category very simply;
  1. Go to the the "By Category" view in your Contacts folder
  2. Drag the grey Category grouping bar (the one that reads "Categories: Private (193 items)") and drop it onto any inwards mail folder (usually the Inbox is easiest)
  3. A new message is created with the email address in the To: line of the message for everyone that is in that category 
  4. You can edit or delete people as you want to (and see all their names at once) or cut and paste all the addresses into the BCC field if you want to send to Recipient List Suppressed
It is easier to look at a Contact and think "What lists should this person be on?" than to look at a list and think "Which people should be in this list?". And it has the added bonus of being a very versatile way of also managing your tasks, your email and your notes.

Hidden File Detector

For those of you who haven't heard, there is a security hole in Office 97, 2000, or XP that allows - I think - fields/macros inside a Word document mailed to you, to pick up files from your PC and mail them back inside that same Word document when you return it. In August 2002, a guy called Alex Gantman upset Word users around the world by releasing information on this "Document Collaboration Spyware". So far, Microsoft hasn't come up with anything to plug it (in fact, hardly anything has been heard from Microsoft at all). 
A chap linked with Woody's Office Watch & Woody's Windows Watch, Bill Coan, has created a programme called Hidden File Detector(TM), which is available from or
The software is very easy to download and install. Take the time to do so, and you can then select it from your Tools menu and run the software on any Word files that you are sent and you'll be able to detect any fields hidden in those Word docs & prevent your information going public.
NB: If you have trouble getting onto the servers, try again later. The sites will be very busy with people from all over the Word trying to protect their intellectual property.

Tips on Making Websites User-Friendly

Websites are very interesting. Effectively they are the CV of your business. They represent the business in the absence of the owner and the staff.
This article is dealing with the user interface and page design.  While structure - or site architecture - is the most important thing to get right (the flow of the pages in a logical and easily navigable sequence), we will look at architecture in a later article. 
However, despite the fact that websites are clearly an advertising medium, there are a lot of things that are annoying on what should be very professional websites; sites that have obviously had quite a bit of money thrown at them can have annoying things that effectively add up to a bad customer service experience.
Here are some dos;
  • Communication - Remember that the most important thing is to COMMUNICATE with your customers and suppliers. This must come before fancy design. Focus on making things as easy as possible for your audience to get the information they need
  • Contact details - Make it very, very easy for your customers to get in touch with you. Have your contact details in your page template so it's on every webpage. have lots of email click links
  • Email Subjects - You can build in an auto-fill subject line on all email hyperlinks so that you know that the customer enquiry was generated from the website
  • Forms - Try to avoid forms if possible, as lots of customers WON'T fill them out. Have email buttons regularly so that people can click & send queries
  • Optical Space - Make your website clean & easy on the eye so that people can actually read what is on your pages & not get visually overloaded. Be sure your site has lots of white space and flows logically
  • Headings - Headings prepare the reader for what is to come. Have headings next to the text and use the same, logical wording throughout (not jargon). Use a "contact details" heading for "contact details"! 
  • Use Tables - Tables are a really easy way to align and organise both images and text so that you get good spacing (not as good as Word, though!). You can chop large images into segments and have them load one by one into table cells to make page loading faster.
  • No Orphans - Ensure every webpage on your site navigates to somewhere else in the site. Because not all your browsers will know to hit the back key, don't have pages ("orphans") without the ability to go back
  • Navigation Buttons - Ensure navigation (back & forward) buttons are built into the page template so that they show at the same height & place on each page. If you use images for your buttons, keep those images consistent to make it easy for users
  • Be Colourful - Apparently there was a survey recently that found that colour on websites was the most important attribute for roughly 41% of women and 34% of men. Dunno how true that is, but hey; it can't hurt! NB: don't use backgrounds that make things hard to read tho'
  • Cut the Techy Stuff - Don't use flash/sound or animation more than you have to. It slows things down and annoys a lot of users. At least give the user the option "to flash or not to flash" on a home page
And while there are some things on this list that you may want to incorporate onto your website, just remember that your website is not for you; it is for your customers. But if your customers want it, then go for it. Have fun! 

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • WABAW, With All Bells And Whistles. A very fancy PC/notebook indeed
  • EOM, End of Month. Usually used to define reporting periods, and mainly used by Finance departments. Also commonly used; EOY (End of Year), EOW (End of Week)

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
All the Function keys for you again, but this time we are shifting as well - all you can do with Alt, Shift, Ctrl & F2;
  • Access "To invoke a Builder" CTRL & F2 
  • Access "To save a database object" ALT & SHIFT & F2 
  • Access "To open the Save As dialog box" ALT & F2 
  • Access "To open the Zoom box to conveniently enter expressions and other text in small input areas" SHIFT & F2 
  • Excel "Save the active workbook" ALT & F2 
  • Excel "Display the Save as dialog box" ALT & SHIFT & F2 
  • Excel "Edit a cell comment" SHIFT & F2
  • Outlook "Open print preview." CTRL & F2 
  • PowerPoint "Carry out Save As command" ALT & F2 
  • PowerPoint "Carry out Save command (File menu)" ALT & SHIFT & F2 
  • Word "Print Preview" CTRL & F2
  • Word "Open" ALT & CTRL & F2 
  • Word "Save" ALT & SHIFT & F2
  • Word "Copy Text" SHIFT & F2
Hot Linx
For those of you who used to use Datafellows as their arbiter of Antivirus hoaxes and viruses, their name has changed to F-Secure. They are viewable at 
Looking for information about food ingredients? Then you can't go past the Manufactured Food Database, supplying information to Hospital Dieticians at 
Looking for US consumer information? Try the Federal Consumer Information Centre's website in Colorado at 

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here