Issue #78 February 22, 2005

1. Selecting hidden objects

When drawing a diagram or using images, many times we layer items on top of each other for a number of reasons. You may have two photographs placed on top of each other, one of a young person and one of how they look today. The animation is set to display the current photo over the younger one. Or you may have two objects in a diagram overlapping to show a part of a process or structure. In both cases, selecting the object that is in the background can be difficult or impossible. Most people move the object on top out of the way to select the object below and then have trouble putting the top object back in place where it was. Well, there is an easier way. PowerPoint allows you to cycle through every object on the slide by selecting one object and then using the Tab key to cycle through every object - text or graphic - on the slide. You can also use the Shift+Tab key combination to cycle backwards through the objects. So just click on any visible object, then start pressing the Tab key until you see the underlying object selected, then you can work with it. I have also used this technique to discover objects that have been placed way off the visible part of the slide when working on slides in consulting assignments.

2. Researching Products

I recently realized a way to do better research on buying most electronic products that just may save you a lot of time. I was looking for MP3 players and went to a store and looked a number of models before settling on one that I thought would meet my needs. I got it home and before opening the package, I noticed that one of the important features was not described the way I had originally thought it was. I wanted to know if this feature worked the way I wanted, but I didn't want to open the package in case I needed to return the item to the store for a refund. What I did is what I suggest you consider before you even go to the store (I wish I had thought of it before I went to the store). I went to the manufacturer's web site and viewed the user manual for the product I had bought. I could then read to see if the feature worked the way I wanted and discovered that no, in fact it did not work that way. I was then able to return the unopened product and get a full refund. I suggest before you go to purchase a product, view or download the user's manual from the manufacturer's web site to make sure that you are getting what you think you are getting. If you are in an electronics store and are unsure of the answers you are getting from the sales staff, go to their computer department and look up the manual from one of their Internet connected PC's to ensure you are getting the right answers. Hope that tip saves you time and hassle when buying electronics.

3. Useful Resource - Windows XP resource

One of the sites that I keep seeing mentioned as a great resource for Windows XP is Kellys Korner. It has lots of info on questions, setup and troubleshooting for the operating system that so many of us are using. Check it out at: