Finagling finicky formats

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. I’m using Office 2007, but clients who use older versions of Word and Excel tell me they can’t open my files. What can I do about this? Thanks, Mr. M.

A. If you’re using Office 2007 and you want to send a file to someone who is using an older version, it’s best to play it safe and save the file using the older file format.

The new file formats are easy to identify because they have an "x" added to the end of the traditional file extensions (.DOCX for Word, .XLSX for Excel and .PPTX for Power Point).

To save your Word files in the older file format, click File > Save As, then click the pull-down menu in the “Save as Type:” section and choose the “Word 97-2003 Document (*.DOC)” option before giving it a name and clicking the Save button.

If you frequently send files to others who don’t use Office 2007, you can change the default file format to the older .DOC format. To do that, click the Office button at the top left of your screen, then click Word Options > Save. In the right panel, change the option “Save files in this format” from “Word Document (*.DOCX)” to “Word 97-2003 Document (*.DOC),” then click OK to save your change. Follow the same steps for Excel and Power Point, if needed.

Q. How do I know it's safe to transmit my credit card online when I want to purchase something from a merchant or retailer that I trust?

A. If you know and trust a merchant, you're well on your way to conducting a safe transaction. That's certainly an important consideration. Beyond that, in the Address field of your browser, look for the prefix “h-t-t-p-s” in the Web site's address (URL), as opposed to “h-t-t-p.” The “s” lets you know that the Web page is running on a secure server. Whenever you provide financial information online, be sure that “s” appears.

When you arrive on a secure server, your browser and the server agree to encrypt (scramble) all data transmitted, so credit card information, for example, is turned into gobbledygook. In addition to the h-t-t-p-s, look for a little locked padlock icon in the lower portion of your browser.

Q. I get confused whether it's okay to use several anti-virus programs or is it okay to use more than one anti-spyware program?

A. It’s fine to use more than one anti-spyware program to protect your system, but don't have the two programs actually scanning your system at the same time. As far as anti-virus programs, only use one installed program. Anti-virus programs contain snippets of virus code, called “definitions,” that are used for comparison purposes to detect actual viruses. Two or more anti-virus programs can detect each other, resulting in false positive or false negative reports.

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Celebrity Real Names
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Dressed to the Nines
Here you can explore the evolution of the baseball uniform, from its humble New York City origins in 1849, to the sleek synthetic outfits worn by today’s grotesquely over-compensated superstar athlete/morons.

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Northern California's Monterey Bay Aquarium comes to life tanks to this excellent Web site. It’s the next best thing to actually visiting the aquarium. Trust me: Your thoughts about seafood will never be the same.

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