Issue #69 October 12, 2004

1. Drawing Perfect Squares or Circles in PowerPoint

In many cases, I want to draw a square or circle in PowerPoint and when I use the rectangle or oval drawing tool, I just can’t get it perfectly square or a perfect circle. I just can’t seem to get it just so. If you have had this problem, I am here to share an easy solution to this issue. As you are drawing the square or circle, simply hold the Shift key down as you are drawing and it will keep the proportions perfect. For example, to draw a perfect circle, click on the oval drawing toolbar button (the drawing toolbar is the one usually located at the bottom of the PowerPoint window). The cursor changes to a plus (+) sign. To draw the oval, position the cursor where you want the oval to start, then hold the Shift key down and click the left mouse button down and drag it to where the other side of the circle should be – keeping the Shift key held down the whole time. You will see the circle drawn as you drag the mouse. When you reach the end point, release the mouse button and then release the Shift key. The circle is now drawn. To draw an exact square, use the same technique of holding the Shift key down while dragging the rectangle drawing tool cursor. Now you can draw a perfect square or circle with ease.

2. Outlook AutoArchive – Yes or No?

I recently got a question from a reader asking if they should use the AutoArchive feature in Outlook. By default, about every 14 days, Outlook asks if you want to automatically archive old items, but it doesn’t tell you why you may want to do this. I do recommend that you use AutoArchive for the following reasons. What it really does is move some of the older items from your calendar, sent items mailbox and the deleted items mailbox to an archive file. This improves performance by making the outlook data file smaller and therefore quicker to load each time. Most people don’t access those old items, so it won’t really impact your productivity at all. You don’t lose access to those items, it just creates another set of folders you will see in the Folder list called Archive Folders. The other major benefit to moving old items into the archive folders is that is makes the outlook data file easier to back up since it is smaller. This makes the backup quicker and take less CDs or DVDs. In terms of how it determines what is “old”, it allows you to determine that. If you click on the Tools menu item and click on the Options menu option, you will get the Options dialog box. Click on the Other tab and you will see a button to set the AutoArchive settings. I think the default is anything older than 6 months, but you can change that if you want. Hope that helps clear up why you want to consider asking Outlook to AutoArchive your old items.

3. Langa List Newsletter

There are thousands of newsletters out there that can help you more efficiently use your computer to achieve your goals. I am thankful for each of you who pass this on to others, that is the best way I grow this list (to almost 4,800 right now). And I also like telling you about other newsletters that I think have high quality ideas that are worth your precious time reading. And Fred Langa’s newsletter called the Langa List is one of these. Fred puts together great information that helps solve tricky problems and lets you know of other great resources you should check out. I find something valuable in almost every issue. I suggest you hop over to and check it out. I am sure you will find it useful and sign up like I have.