Tip: Adding a Table of Contents in Word 2010

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Make your documents look more professional with a quick and easy automated Table of Contents in Word 2010.

Step 1: Standardize the Headings in your documents.

Standardizing Headings

Standard Headings

Look for the box above on your Ribbon Bar under Home (Default).  As a standard, Choose Title for the title of your document, then Heading 1 as your highest level of organization.  Simply highlight the text you want and click the buttons above.

Use Heading 2 for items that will appear grouped with Heading 1 for sub items.

Formatting the Headings

The section of a document above is formatted for our Table of Contents.  Let’s see how it looks by inserting a table at the beginning of the document.

Step 2: Inserting a blank page to hold the Table of Contents

Scroll to the top of your document and click the Insert tab on the Ribbon bar.  Look for the Blank Page icon and click it.

Inserting the Blank Page

Inserting the Blank Page

Click the References tab on the Ribbon bar and look for the Table of Contents Icon.

Inserting the TOC

The Table of Contents Icon

Clicking on the TOC icon gives you a selection screen.  The first option is usually fine, but try experimenting with the others.

Table of Contents Choices

Once you’ve selected your style, your TOC should be inserted:

Completed Table of Contents

Completed Table of Contents

Step 3: Update your TOC as you add content.  Right Click on the Table of Contents and select Update Field and the sub-option Update Entire Table.

If you’re looking for help with MS Office training in 1 on 1 or group settings, contact us at (316) 337-5628.  We can also provide all your IT service and support needs.

Applications, IT Support, Tips

IT Consulting in Wichita – Moving to College Hill

It’s not a settled deal yet, but Proper Technology Solutions, LLC will likely be moving from South Wichita to a location in the College Hill area of Wichita.  Once the move is finalized, I will post details and new contact information here.

The new location will provide us with much more exposure and we look forward to providing a high level of outstanding IT support service to our new customers at the same location.

If you’re looking for IT services at low rates (starting at $70/hour) with no minimum services fees, give me a call and we can discuss how Proper Technology can help lower your IT support costs (316) 337-5628 or our after hours support line at (316) 210-7112.


Business, IT Support , ,

TIP: Conditional Formatting in Excel 2010

Excel is a powerful tool for creating spreadsheets.  How much of it do you use in your business?
Conditional formatting is one more technique you can use to add value to your spreadsheet and automate tasks.  Lets say we have a spreadsheet where we want to track sales of a product over time.  You want to highlight the days where you only sold ten items or less, to get an idea of which are good days and which are bad.
The slow solution is to go back after the data is entered and highlight the entries by formatting them with a green color if they are 10 or less.
Conditional formatting automates this task.
  1. Highlight the field or area you want to format.
  2. Look for the Conditional Formatting button on your ribbon bar under Home.

    Conditional Formatting Icon

    Conditional Formatting Icon

  3. Select Highlight Cells Rule and then Less than…
    Highlight Cells Rule Option

    Highlight Cells Rule Option

  4. For our example, I’ll type 11 in the box:

    Entering the Condition

    Entering the Condition

  5. Play around with the formatting options on the right or use a custom format.
Once finished, all the data in your highlighted area should be formatted based on your condition.
If you have any questions about any of our IT support tips, feel free to give me a call at (316) 337-5628 or our after hours support line at (316) 210-7112.  We can walk you through this process, or talk to you about saving money on your IT support costs by moving to an affordable IT service provider in Wichita with no minimum service fees.
Applications, IT Support, Tips , , , ,

Acrobat Reader X – The IT Consultant’s View

Take a look at your Adobe Acrobat Reader the next time you open a PDF.  Hit the Help->About and check your version number.  You might be surprised at how far behind you have become.

Is it bad to be behind?  In a word, yes.  Let’s go over some of the reasons:

  1. Security – One of the things that change as the version numbers increase is the level of security.  Is Reader X more secure than Reader 6?  This is a relative point.  X is more secure than 6, simply because the bad element out there has had more time to poke at version 6 to find the holes.  If you are this far behind, there’s a lot of holes that have been patched by updated versions that are still a vulnerability on your machine.
  2. Features – Reader has had to become more functional as time passes.  While Adobe reserved the ability to create PDF files in the past to its paid product, third-party tools to provide that functionality has made it move to the free product.
  3. Compatibility – This one is a double-edged sword.  IT consultants tend to want to upgrade things.  It’s our job.  It’s also our job to make sure we’re not hindering the system.  Some applicatons may create PDF files that are not compatible with the newer version.  The same is true for the reverse.  If you’re seeing PDF files that you regularly can’t open, you might want to check your version.  If you have an older version, upgrade.  If you have the newest version, you might have to swing back the other way.

Overall, I recommend upgrading to Adobe X as soon as your related applications will support it.  If you aren’t sure, it can easily be tested.  The new platform is much more secure and will benefit your organization in the long run.

We can visit your site and give you an overview of your current application levels and make recommendations.  You might just find what all those “you need to update x” popups mean and which ones you can make disappear.  Call us today for onsite IT support in Wichita and surrounding areas at affordable rates starting at $70/hour with no minimums. (316) 337-5628 or our after-hours support line at (316) 210-71112.


Applications, IT Support

Why Teach? IT Consultants, Education and Lifelong Learning

Some of my consulting clients as well as my students often ask me why I teach.  I have been teaching college-level network security classes in Wichita for two years now and continue to enjoy the experience.

The first reason is what’s in it for me.  Every subject that I teach becomes fresher in my mind and stays current.  By teaching a subject, I’m constantly bombarded with the fact that I don’t have all the answers.  Each time a student asks a question for which I have no answer, I’m forced to go outside of my comfort zone and find a solution.  It has consistently made me a better network engineer.

The second reason is what’s in it for them.  Everyone says that real-world experience is the best way to learn.  I try to step outside of the curriculum just enough to make the lesson material relevant, by adding anecdotes from my experience as an IT support consultant in Wichita.  My students learn some of the differences in approaches for engineers working for a company and the approach of consulting.

Overall, the experience has enriched both me and my students and I expect to continue for the forseeable future.  From routing and switching on Cisco equipment to complex installs of Server 2008 and beyond, teaching has been a great learning experience that is not limited to just the students.

If you or your business are looking for Enterprise-level IT support at affordable prices starting at $70/hour with no minimum service charges, give us a call at (316) 337-5628.  Let us show you how to make IT services affordable again.



IT Support

Computer Services: Dell Partnership Announcement – Servers, Desktops, Laptops and SANs

We’ve recently created a partnership with Dell to allow us to provide a wide variety of technology to our IT consulting customers.

Dell Partnership Logo

We recommend four years as a refresh rate for computers in small businesses.  If your computers are performing sluggishly, call us today to discuss an upgrade, or to have a certified technician visit your site to see what upgrades are available.

We have experience with Dell PowerEdge servers, all lines of Dell laptops and desktops, and Dell Equallogic SAN storage devices.

Call Proper Technology Solutions today for affordable computer service rates starting at $70/hour with no minimum fees (316) 210-7112 .

IT Support

Tip: Google Previewing Window

I was searching for something in Google last night and found something that I apparently had not noticed before.  I don’t know if it is a new thing, but I found it highly useful and thought I would post it here.

Google is making it easier to scan through relevant result by providing an in-line preview of the search results.  Look for the little blue triangle next to the top result on a page:

Selecting the result to preview

Selecting the result to preview

You can arrow up and down to select the relevant search result, then press the right arrow key to show a preview window to the right with sample selections highlighted:

Preview for the selected result

Preview for the selected result

A nice little feature, indeed.  This will allow users to go through the search results and not bother visiting sites that are designed strictly to garner ad clicks, parking pages and the rest.  I’ll be sure to point this out to my IT support clients in Wichita to help them save time and effort.

Need IT services in Wichita or surrounding areas?  Call Proper Technology Solutions today at (316) 337-5628 or (316) 210-7112 for after hours or emergency support.  Remember, we offer low rates starting at just $70/hour with no minimum service charges.

Applications, IT Support, Tips

Windows 7 SP1 and the IT Consultant

After writing my review of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 yesterday, I decided to take the plunge and roll out the service pack on the laptop I use primarily to service my IT support customers in Wichita.

Even on a slower wireless connection, the installation and download took just under thirty minutes.   So far, after testing most of my applications, there are no issues.  For the few consulting clients I have that use the Windows 7 operating system, I seem to think that installing the new service pack will be a benefit.  Though some environments will still need testing, most will run successfully without additional testing.



Windows 7 Service Pack 1

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 has been released.  I normally install service packs first on my home computer (with apologies to my wife) to test their stability before I install them on my day-to-day work computer.  As an IT consultant, I’ve learned that I don’t want to be without my laptop for any length of time, so the home provides a nice sandbox environment.

After several weeks, I have no complaints.  All my normal applications seem to be working correctly (Office 2010, Expression 4, misc games and applications).

Though this is a simple test environment, I would recommend a more realistic test for my IT consulting clients.  For the lower cost method, simply choose a subset of machines from each department to test out the service pack.  If all is well after a few days, it should be safe to roll out.

For more critical environments, I suggest a more thorough approach.  Larger customers that I have worked with have opted for a real sandbox environment.  This can be acheived with virtual machines, though VM Player or through actual physical machines built to mimic normal department machines.  Perform the rollout on the test bed to see if there will be compatibility issues on the network.  Be sure to test all the applications users will access.

Reminder, if you’re using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), make sure not to approve the update until you are ready and your testing is complete!

Applications, IT Support

COMPUTER SERVICES – Low Cost IT Support for Wichita KS

I started Proper Technology Solutions in order to offer Wichita businesses professional IT support services at prices small business owners can afford.  Our technicians are college-educated and carry certifications from some of the industry’s biggest organizations.  We strive to present our customers with an IT support staff that they would hire for their own business.

We lower costs to our customers by combining two different measures in comparison to other IT consulting firms in Wichita:

  1. Lower rates – While the average IT services company in Wichita charges $100-$150 per hour, we keep our rates low: $70/hour for most services.
  2. NO MINIMUMS – Most consultants charge a minimum rate for most services.  A normal onsite visit will usually incur a minimum of two hours billing.

With these two measures in place, a 30 minute onsite visit from one of our technicians will cost just $35, versus $200-300 for one of our competitors.

For IT support in Wichita KS, give us a call at (316) 210-7112 for after-hours or emergency support.

Low rates, no minimums, professional computer service.