Monthly Archives: July 2011

Transparent Text In PowerPoint

Transparent text in your PowerPoint presentation lets objects in the background (for example, pictures, SmartArt etc) show through. You can make text have verying degrees of transparency, from completely solid, to 50% transparent (you can see the background but you can also see the shape of the text clearly), to completely transparent (you can’t see the text at all). But you’re not limited to 100%, 50% and 0 – you can have any percentage of transparency you want between 0 and 100.

To make your text transparent, first of all select it by clicking on the border of the text box it’s in, or by dragging your cursor over it. The advantage of dragging your cursor over the text is that you can select only a portion of the text – that is, precisely the text you want to make transparent – whereas clicking on the text box selects all the text inside. Use whichever method gives you what you want.

When your text is selected, you should see the Drawing Tools tab appear in the ribbon, with the Format tab within that. Go to the Format tab and click Text Fill in the WordArt Styles group. When the menu opens, click Gradient > More Gradients.

More Gradients In PowerPoint

When the Format Text Effects window opens, make sure that Text Fill is selected on the left and select Solid Fill on the right. You should see a Transparency slider at the bottom of the window – drag that to the right to make your text more transparent and to the left to make it more solid.

Format Text Effects For Transparent Text

Here is an example of some transparent text in a PowerPoint presentation:

Transparent Text In PowerPoint

In the example above, the text is clearly marked out by the border on it (use the Text Outline button to put a border on text). If you have this kind of a border on your text, you could actually make the Text Fill “No Fill” and you would still be able to read it. Using a semi-transparent colour for the text adds something extra, though.

Disable Add-Ins In Word 2010

An add-in is a utility that you can download and install that adds some functionality to Microsoft Word. New commands that the add-in provides will appear in a new tab that appears in a ribbon. However, sometimes, after installing the add-in, you might change your mind and want to remove it. Perhaps the add-in doesn’t provide you with any benefit and just clutters up the ribbon. Or maybe it just doesn’t work!

Look what happens when I start Word 2010 after having downloaded and installed a “minutes” add-in I thought would be useful.

Error mscorlib

It might be that I installed it incorrectly (actually, this was the reason), or maybe the add-in simply doesn’t work. Either way, I don’t have time to investigate the problem; I just want to disable the add-in for now.

Removing A Word 2010 Add-In

To remove a Word 2010 add-in, click the File tab > Options, and then click the Add-Ins section on the left.

Word Options Add Ins

Click to enlarge

You’ll see a list of add-ins that are currently installed: at the top are the enabled add-ins and at the bottom are the disabled ones. Find the one you want to remove and select it. We’re not really selecting it for any other reason than to determine its type (far right). The one we want to remove in this example is a COM Add-in, so select COM Add-in from the Manage selector and click Go.

COM Add-Ins

Click to enlarge

In the window that opens, you can either uncheck the box next to the add-in to simply disable it, or select it and then click Remove to remove it entirely from Word. If you just disable it, you can re-enable it later, whereas if you remove it you’ll have to re-install it again.

Whichever action you take, the tab that relates to the add-in will be removed from the ribbon.

Snipping Tool For XP

Although Windows XP is now ten years old, many people see it as a reliable operating system and still use it. By default, however, Windows XP does not come with an in-built snipping tool like the Windows 7 Snipping Tool.

If you need a snipping tool for XP, you will need to look at “third party” solutions, and we’ve got two listed here.

The Snippy Snipping Tool For XP

Snippy was made for XP! Once downloaded, the Snippy icon will appear in the taskbar notification area. Clicking on the icon activates Snippy and you can then mark out the region of the screen that you want to copy. Also, if you are cutting out a portion of an Internet Explorer window, the URL will also be copied to the clipboard; this makes it very convenient to select something interesting on a web site and send it out in an email message.

When you initially activate Snippy, the mouse cursor changes to a pen with which you can draw around what you want to snip. If you want to copy a rectangualr area of the screen, you can hold down the shift key while you drag with the mouse.

Gadwin PrintScreen Snipping Tool For XP

The Gadwin PrintScreen Snipping Tool is a step up from Snippy and allows you to set up hot keys to initiate the snip. The Destination tab controls whether the screen prints out instantly, is copied to the clipboard, is saved to a specific folder, or even sent via e-mail. You can perform full screen captures, or capture only a specific window.

You can resize your images and save them to 6 different image formats.

But the best bit about this snipping tool is that it works with Windows XP.

Snipping Tool

Windows 7 comes with a very handy screen capturing tool called the Snipping Tool. You can use the Snipping Tool to capture a screen shot of any object on your screen, and then annotate, save, or share the image.

Screen shots, or snips, are a good way of illustrating what you’re talking about, whether it be in a Word document or an email. Suppose a colleague is having trouble finding the place in Word Options where you turn off the display of the Mini Toolbar. You could navigate there yourself in Word, take a screen shot using the Snipping Tool and then email it to your colleague. You would then attain hero status and never want for friends again.

To run the Snipping Tool, click the Start button and type in “snip”. Click on Snipping Tool when you see it listed. You are now ready to snip!

Run The Snipping Tool

The default snip is a rectangular one – this means that you click and drag a rectangle around what you want to snip. When you release the mouse, what you’ve snipped appears in a new window for you to work with.

Work With Snip

Click to enlarge

Annotating The Snip

Sometimes you might find it useful to highlight certain elements in your screen shot. For example, if you want to point out to the aforementioned colleague where to turn of the mini toolbar in Word, a good thing to do is draw a circle around the option. You can draw a freehand circle with the pen tool, and the pen tool is active as soon as you have made the snip. All you have to do is click and drag on the screenshot to start drawing.

Note: You can’t ctrl-z to undo your work! However, you can use the eraser to delete any annotations you make…

Using the standard blue pen, you can get something like this:

Snipping Tool Blue Pen

You can also highlight using the Snipping Tool to get something like this:

Snipping Tool Highlighter

How you annotate is entirely up to you. You can change the tool you use by using the toolbar (you don’t say!):

Snipping Tool Toolbar

There are four kinds of snips that you can take:

  • Free-form Snip – draw a free-form shape around an object on the screen.
  • Rectangular Snip – drag the cursor over an object to form a rectangle.
  • Window Snip – select a whole window, such as a browser window or dialog box, that you want to capture.
  • Full-screen Snip – capture the entire screen.

To choose which form of snip to use, click the down arrow to the right of the New button.


Four Kinds Of Snips

Alternatively, if you use the same kind of snip all the time you can just click the New button and you’ll be ready to use the last form of snip you took.

Saving The Snip

As soon as you have taken your screen shot using the Snipping Tool, it’s in your clipboard. This is handy because it means that you can paste it straight into your Microsoft Word document or your Outlook email. The clipboard is very clever, too. The annotations you add to your screen shot are also added to the clipboard. So you can take a screen shot, add some highlighting and drawings using the Snipping Tool’s tools, and when you ctrl-v to paste the screen shot into a Word document, it will include all your scribblings. Cool.
Alternatively, if you want to save your screen shot as an image in is own right, you can do that too. Press ctrl-s or click File > Save As, and then name the image and find a location on your computer to save it.