Issue #43 October 14, 2003

1. Advice on Upgrading to MS Office 2003

In just over a week or so, Microsoft will officially release the latest version of their Office suite of applications – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook being the most common programs. There will likely be a lot of hype about the new versions of these popular applications. The big question you need to answer is: Should I upgrade? My advice is not yet. I have read many reviews about what is new in Office 2003 and most of the changes benefit large organizations that want to tie into corporate databases (Outlook 2003 is much better than the previous version, but you can’t just upgrade that one application). When I look at any new version of a key application, I consider the four ideas that I outlined in my article about upgrading software on the web site (see the full article at And in this case, the key issue is that there is not really enough in the new version to make me upgrade from Office 2002. And with any new release, I want to wait until the initial problems have been ironed out. If you are currently using Office 97 or Office 2000, I would suggest you consider upgrading to Office 2002 now because the older versions will get less support (I see Office 97 not being supported much longer) and there are enough new features in the now stable Office 2002 to be worth it. If you upgrade before Office 2003 gets released, you will also probably get a coupon for the new version at a greatly reduced price or even free.

2. Cropping Graphics

If you use graphics in Word or PowerPoint, you will want to know about the crop button on the Picture toolbar. This tool allows you to crop, or cut the sides off of, a graphic. This can be helpful if you only want to show a portion of a certain graphic. To get to the cropping tool, click on the picture to select it. If the Picture toolbar does not automatically display, click on the View menu and click on the Toolbars menu item and select the Picture toolbar. The cropping tool is the icon on the Picture toolbar that looks like two plus signs. When you click on it, it turns the cursor into the cropping tool. You can then select a corner of the graphic and move the corner into a new spot, which will exclude any part of the picture outside of the new boundary. When you are done, click on the cropping tool on the Picture toolbar to return the cursor to the normal arrow cursor. I have found this tool better than guessing at the cropping sizes in the Picture properties dialog box.

3. Useful Resource – PC World Fixes for PC Annoyances

PC World recently had a great article on how to solve many PC annoyances. Some of the topics they deal with are: how to recover forgotten passwords and how to watch video files again after seeing them on a web site. Check out all the ideas at:,aid,112027,00.asp