Create mini toolbars from your go-to Tools panel selections (Illustrator CS6/CC/CC 2014/CC 2015/CC 2017)

February 13th, 2017 No comments

With advancements in customized software, there’s something to suit everyone’s work style these days! Take for example detachable tools! The Tools panel in Illustrator has so many tools to choose from, many of which you may never use. But you might be working on a project for an extended amount of time and need to keep handy a certain tool—and all of its sub tools. That’s why Illustrator offers the option to detach many of the tools along with their sub sets so you can have the tools you need visible, as opposed to cycling through the one tool spot on the panel to access each individual tool. To do this, click and hold on a tool in the Tools panel that you want to detach, such as the Pen tool. Click the long vertical bar with the arrow on the right side of the tool pop-up panel, and Illustrator will detach a smaller panel with just that tool set! (Note: Not all tools carry this functionality.)

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Use the Rotate View tool for more fluent image editing (Photoshop CS6/CC/CC 2014/CC 2015/CC 2017)

February 13th, 2017 No comments

If you’re looking for a handy tool to make your image editing easier, try the Rotate View tool. With the Rotate View tool you can rotate your image preview (but not the image), so you can access your image from different angles, making touch up work less cumbersome. To try it out, select the Rotate View tool from the Tools panel. (It resides in the same tool spot as the Hand tool, so if you don’t see it, click and hold the Hand tool then choose the Rotate View tool from the pop-up.) Click on the image and drag in a circular motion to rotate the image preview. Notice the preview in the Layers panel is still in the original position! Edit your image, clicking and dragging the image to rotate more if needed. When you want to put the image back to its original position, press Escape. Or, if the Rotate View tool is still selected, click the Reset View button on the tool options bar.

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Categories: Tips & Tricks

Enable Custom Slide Shows

February 10th, 2017 No comments

Custom slide shows allow differing collections of slides to be presented for different purposes without saving multiple files.
1. Slide Show Tab > Start Slide Show command group > Custom Slide Show
2. Click the New button
3. Name the show
4. Select slides on the left side
5. Click the add button to move the slide to the right side (to be included in the presentation).
6. Click on Show button to present the custom show.

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Categories: Tips & Tricks

How to Create a Chart in Word from Table Data

February 10th, 2017 No comments

1. Select data within the table to chart. Copy the data – not the totals. Click outside the table where the chart will be placed.
2. Insert > Illustrations command group > Chart.
3. A chart gallery appears. Select a chart type. Click OK.
4. A sample series spreadsheet “Chart in MS Office Word” appears.
5. Clear the data in the sample chart. Click in A1 to paste the original data into the spreadsheet, replacing the existing sample data. If you don’t clear the sample data, it may be necessary to delete sample data rows or columns.
6. A chart redraws in Word to reflect the original data. Close the spreadsheet window.
7. Resize the chart as needed, stretching or shrinking with the corner handles.
8. To edit the spreadsheet data, click once on the chart to activate it. Click on the Edit Data button (Chart Tools contextual tab > Data command group > Edit Data).

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Six myths about IT interviews

February 10th, 2017 No comments

It’s easy to find career advice online or from well-meaning souls. However, much of what people say about how to perform in interviews doesn’t necessarily correspond with the realities of applying for a position in IT or software development. Here are some of the common myths:
Myth #1: “When they ask you tough questions, they really just want to see how you think.”
This is true if you happen to get the sort of open-ended brain teaser questions that were particularly popular among high-tech companies a few years ago. But if you’re asked a technical question about syntax or port numbers, most likely the interviewer has a specific answer in mind (even if he or she tells you that memorization isn’t important). Thinking out loud might appear as fishing for the answer. For this kind of question, you may be better off calmly thinking hard to recall the correct answer and confidently stating your best response. Better yet, study for interviews by practicing the skill of recall under pressure. Research actually shows that we learn better by recall exercises (e.g., quizzes and flash cards) than by just reading or cramming.
Myth #2: “Going ‘above and beyond’ in an answer earns you extra points.”
In certain cases, this is true. If you’re being interviewed by a non-technical manager, offering relevant advice can be particularly helpful. Also, in coding exercises, interviewers may want to see how you handle subtle edge cases relevant to the problem. But for straightforward technical questions, stating additional information that’s true but different from the expected answer may sometimes actually count against you.
Myth #3: “You can’t tell beforehand what they’re going to ask.”
If you look carefully at the job description, you can get a good idea of what interviewers might ask you. Focus your efforts on required skills over optional ones. Look online for commonly asked questions in those areas.
Myth #4: “You’re expected to know everything you can about the company.”
Technical interviews for non-managerial positions rarely involve questions about the company’s business, although it’s certainly to your benefit to mention some knowledge you’ve researched about the company when relevant to the discussion.
Myth #5: “Impress them with how smart you are.”
For certain types of interviewers, showing the range of your intellectual skills may help you. But for most interviewers, you’re better off demonstrating that you fit into the role and the company’s culture.
Myth #6: “Cater your resume to each position.”
To an extent, you may need to do this; but overall, you’re better off with a resume that sells what you’re best at and applying to those roles that really fit. In technical IT-related roles, specialists are in greater demand than generalists. If your expertise involves a combination of multiple technologies, seek positions that require integrating them.

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Finding the most hassle-free data import approach in SQL Server

February 10th, 2017 No comments

When importing or exporting data to/from Microsoft SQL Server, you have many options: bcp, .NET’s SqlBulkCopy class, SSIS, linked servers, OPENROWSET, and BULK INSERT. Each of these solutions tends to perform faster than other approaches that are further removed from SQL Server. Nevertheless, choosing the right solution from this list depends on your situation. In particular, these approaches differ markedly in terms of the setup requirements.
Generally, OPENROWSET and BULK INSERT are used for one-off or on-the-fly queries that access an external data source. However, they can be a problem in custom applications if there’s a reason why the application shouldn’t have the elevated privileges required to execute them. To make these work, the ad hoc distributed queries option must be set:
sp_configure ‘show advanced options’, 1;
RECONFIGURE;
sp_configure ‘Ad Hoc Distributed Queries’, 1;
RECONFIGURE;
GO
Furthermore, OPENROWSET and BULK INSERT syntax both involve specifying a “provider” that will actually read the external data. For this to work, certain dlls have to be found on the machine. Many of the examples posted online involve outdated 32-bit drivers, and it’s not guaranteed that any given syntax will work in your environment.
Linked servers use the very same “provider” syntax but set up a permanent linked to an external data source. The ad hoc distributed queries option isn’t required; so, to a degree, the requirements for linked servers are a little lower. Also, in addition to using sp_addlinkedserver to create a linked server, you can also create one in GUI fashion right from the SQL Server Management Studio. A possible disadvantage of linked servers, however, is that applications that rely on them may fail if the database is transferred to another server. The problem is that details such as linked servers often get missed when it comes to knowledge management, so future staff may not know that a linked server needs to be set up for a certain application to work properly.
SSIS is a very popular tool for data import, because of its power and drag-and-drop GUI interface. Another advantage is that many people have been trained on SSIS, facilitating future support for any solution that uses it. However, a number of components need to be installed to develop SSIS packages and have them work properly in development mode.
Bcp, which stands for Bulk Copy Program, is a single executable to which you pass parameters. While it’s much older than SSIS and has some limitations, in many ways it’s the simplest option for performing basic imports and exports. Another simple option is .NET’sSqlBulkCopy class, which is designed for fast-performing import/export operations integrated directly in one’s application code. If your code reads in data from an external source, this class facilitates fast import into SQL Server, with just a connection string and a DataTable.

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Categories: Tips & Tricks

Make an Impact: Be the Hero This Valentine Season

February 10th, 2017 No comments

The start of a new calendar is exciting for everyone. It’s a time to reflect on the previous year – the relationships, the experiences, even the decisions – and set goals for the coming months. With the trial month of 2017 already in the past, how’d you fare compared to what you set out to do? Are you still going to the gym, cooking more during the week or going to bed earlier at night? What about your goals in the work place? Is this the year you learn a new skill? Or are you the boss and want to be a better leader?

Well, with Cupid ready to draw his arrows, the season of love and appreciation is the perfect time to make an impact on your team. Although dropping off a box of candy hearts at everyone’s desk might be a fine gesture, what if you could give them a tool that improves the overall efficiency and productivity of your staff? Ultimate power move. Am I right?

Back in August, we launched a brand new service, Knowledge Ninjas. This Microsoft Office helpdesk will grant individuals and companies access to interact with Microsoft Office experts in real-time to resolve questions regarding the application software. This service is uniquely designed to assist the needs of everyone whether it is a single user, department or team or an entire company. Knowledge Ninjas will also assess whether additional computer training or consultative services are needed.

“We at New Horizons are excited to be able to offer our clients and customers a support solution that will improve productivity and efficiency,” says Jamie Fiely, president of 22 New Horizons Computer Learning Centers franchise locations. “Aligning with the training we currently provide, our Knowledge Ninja experts will be accessible to answer questions regarding use and functionality when using Microsoft Office technologies in real-time.”

Not only is this service unique and easily accessible, but there are a myriad of other benefits that encompass it. These benefits include:

  • Real-time answers
  • Access to subject matter experts with training experience
  • Increased knowledge of Microsoft technologies
  • Improved efficiency with a simple, productivity-boosting resource
  • Support on applications used in the office every day
  • Affordable packages, ranging from single user to entire company accounts

Share the Love
There’s not a better moment to illustrate gratitude to your squad then now. Distribute Feb’s love amidst your employees by providing them a tool that’s proven to cultivate a more productive environment. It’s time to truly embrace 2017 and accomplish what you’ve set out to do.

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Customize Training the Way You Want It, When You Need It

February 10th, 2017 No comments

Everyone and everything in our world today has needs. Children need guidance, we all need shelter, and of course, your dog needs to hang its head out of the car window. In the work realm, we have needs too: coffee, if you have a pulse, analytics if you’re a boss and no matter who you are, training on how to do your job properly.

As practical as the latter sounds, the challenge of discovering adequate and effective training when it is convenient for your team can be difficult. Thankfully, there is a solution.

Custom Learning and Development is a training solution to fit any criteria. Whether you’re looking to improve processes and productivity, reduce response times or provide a custom software training solution, Custom Learning & Development is tailored to your explicit needs.

Create your custom training now!

At New Horizons, we have the abilities and resources to fulfill any training needs. We can create new or update existing content. Also, should you not have any instructors to deliver the content we have created for you, we maintain a team of highly-skilled instructors. So we can guarantee you receive the exact training desired. This characteristic greatly separates New Horizons from other custom learning organizations.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the other prominent features CL&D has to offer.

Capabilities
Our focus and attention has been dialed in on four main capabilities: videos, creating customer courses, learning management system (LMS) implementation, and upkeep and project management.

Even with the landscape of the workforce being more multi-generational than ever, video training continues to reign as the most popular delivery method. One of the best ways we deliver video training, particularly targeted toward younger generations, is through a series of micro-learning videos. The idea is to correlate the prevalent micro-learning process with our traditional video instruction, by segmenting an entire course into a series of 2-5 minute videos. Each video teaches and discusses one procedure at a time. This trending method provides easier access of information to the student. Too, if your training is static (or if your preference), full-length videos are also available and will elucidate the education just as effectively.

Next, creating custom courses is the primary capability of Custom Learning and Development. It’s your objective to decide who to train, what your training needs are and when you need it. New Horizons will deliver and handle the rest.

Think it’s time for a learning management system? Would you like for your current LMS to be evaluated? Say no more. Implementing and taking excellent care of your company’s new or existing LMS is important, and it’s a proficiency of our Custom Learning and Development team.

Lastly, if you and/or your team have a plan in place but no one to lead, New Horizons can make available a consultant to carry out and execute it.

Deliverability and Educational Approaches
Multiple methods of delivery permit Custom Learning & Development to be as flexible and unique as you need. The main approaches include:

  • Instructor-Led Training
  • Custom eLearning (Storyline 2, Captivate, Camtasia, iSpring)
  • Training Videos
  • Facilitator & Student Guides

An important aspect of Custom Learning & Development is the way in which it is taught. Although we provide a plethora of educational approaches, including collaborative, gamification, asynchronous/synchronous and micro-learning, our most prominent style of schooling we’ve embraced and pride ourselves on is flipped learning.

Image: YouTube

Without having to relive the grueling boredom experienced in Business Ethics 101 back in college, here, the ball is in your court. This adult learning theory relieves the instructor of preparing lackluster lectures. Instead, they’ll concoct a wide array of learning opportunities throughout the session. No more are the days of attempting to follow along in class. Now the student practices applying the skills and key concepts with instant attention and feedback.

Results You Want
Our goal is to ensure the training we’ve provided will make an immediate and positive impact. It’s imperative you obtain the results you want. Providing the implementation of new business processes, IT solutions or anything that can’t be tackled with an off-the-shelf resolution, Custom Learning and Development is the absolute answer.

So, when you and your team are ready, think about us. Ask not what you can do for team or organization; ask what New Horizons can do?

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It’s a Beautiful Day to Go to The Fair

February 10th, 2017 No comments

State Fair of Texas Media Gallery

Every autumn, in Dallas, Texas, one of the utmost exciting events takes place – the Texas State Fair. During the span of 24 days (usually), people from all over the world congregate to experience the pure ecstasy of biting into a fried Oreo (amongst other amazing selections of fried cuisine), exchange in a friendly “Howdy” with Big Tex, and witness one of the greatest rivalries in college football. Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “What’s a state fair have to do with an IT blog?” There are a couple of similarities between the state fair and New Horizons that you may not be aware of. Both have to do with money, sort of.

Keep the Change?
At the state fair, the accepted method of payment is in the form of tickets. No booth, ride nor exhibit accepts cash or card. Scattered throughout the fair are booths where one can exchange hard earned Franklin’s for these tickets to use as payment.

Although New Horizons doesn’t accept tickets, one thing we do take vendor-authorized training vouchers. Think of these as tickets used at the State Fair of New Horizons. Your vouchers won’t get you a ride on a Ferris wheel, or entry into a petting zoo, but they will get you training on Cisco, Citrix, Microsoft and VMware.

How Do I Get the Goods?
These prepaid training dollars are obtained when you purchase a particular product or sign a new agreement (i.e. SQL Server, vCloud, Cisco ASA) through a partner or client, or bought on your own. Depending on the vendor, these vouchers pose as either an actual dollar amount or a specific number of training days.

What’s the Point?
There are numerous benefits when expending these training budget solutions towards instruction. They allow flexibility to satisfy the needs and demands of your company. They are sometimes included with the purchase of a particular product (like a discount). In some cases, New Horizons will even match the dollar amount. Other benefits include reducing operational and support costs, securing a training budget upfront and realizing a fast return on the investment.

70% of pre-purchased training dollars go unused every year. You wouldn’t waste a ticket at the fair, would you? So, why waste your pre-purchased training opportunity? Take advantage of the benefits today.

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Faster way to get back and forth between different files

January 17th, 2017 No comments

A faster way to get back and forth between different files, in fact different workbooks is Ctrl+Tab back and forth. Now, when you have only two files open, that’s particularly fast. If you have a third file open, Ctrl+Tab takes us to the next one, the next one and then back to the current one and so on.

So the more files you have open, the less efficient that is. But nevertheless, it’s still a reasonable easy thing to want to get to, that idea of switching between open workbooks.

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Categories: Tips & Tricks