1. Keeping Your Computer Safe - Backups

This is the start of a series of tips I will share over the next few months all aimed at keeping your computer safe from the multitude of things that can happen to it. The first item I want to address is the issue of regular backups. I suggest you do a full backup of your important data files at least every month. By data files I mean your documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. not your applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Include in that list your e-mail folders so that all those e-mails are backed up. To be safer, you can do an incremental backup every week (see the May 13 issue of the newsletter for a good way to do this). This incremental backup catches only those files you have changed since the last backup. The best way to store backups today is to copy the files onto a CD, called burning them to a CD. Windows XP includes a utility to do this, but you can also use products such as Nero or Roxio's Easy CD Creator. In my opinion, it is only a matter of "when" you will need to access your backup, not a matter of "if" you need to access the backup. You do have a current backup of your files, don't you? Next in our series are tips on keeping safe from computer viruses.

2. Excel filtering

If you have a series of data that you need to report on, Excel can be a wonderful tool. In addition to the usual calculations such as sum, count and others, Excel includes some great tools that work very well with database files. You can actually access an Access or dBase file and use the sorting, subtotalling and filtering tools in Excel. Filtering allows you to specify criteria and it will select which records meet the criteria. I have found this a powerful reporting tool. You can read more about the filtering capabilities of Excel by searching the help file for "filter". Or you can check out my e-book called "The 20% You REALLY Need To Know About Data Analysis Using Excel", which explains these techniques with a step-by-step process including detailed instructions and screen prints. To check out this e-book, click on the following link: http://www.communicateusingtechnology.com/dataexcel.html

3. Useful Resource - www.brainybetty.com

With a web address of BrainyBetty, one would initially wonder what this site could contain. Well, it is another of the PowerPoint sites I suggest you check out. It has a bunch of tips for using PowerPoint and quite a collection of backgrounds that just may be the design you are looking for. You can visit the site at: http://www.brainybetty.com.