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Check out all the technical news, views, tips, and tricks, from the The Tech Lounge team based in Basingstoke, Hampshire

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Mark Dalton - Monday, February 17, 2014

How do you really want to finish a conversation?  Read More

How to resize an image easily.

Mark Dalton - Monday, February 10, 2014

Making your images fit isn't always easy.

By Mark Dalton

Mark Dalton
Quite a few of you noticed that my photo in the last newsletter looked a little squashed. Now I would love to try and convince you that this was the result of a rapid diet but I know you're smarter than that. So I'll come clean and admit it was a huge oversight on my part and offer my apologies.
 
I'm sure I'm not alone in making this type of mistake however and it got me thinking about this weeks tip. How to resize an image quickly and easily.
 
How many time have you been working on a document, email or newsletter (cough) and thought this would look better with an image. More than once I'd bet.
 
So you find the perfect image and drop it in only to find it's a little tall or a little wide or just doesn't look quite right. No problem you think, I'll just resize it.
 
Now if the image is of equal proportions then this may not be much of an issue, depending on the subject matter of course. If however your image is like the one above, which is obviously taller than it is wide. Resizing the image in this way can have less than desirable results.
 
The problem occurs because the content of the picture doesn't change. The only thing that changes is the space that content needs to fit within. So if I was to simply make the image shorter it would sill need to fit me in it and the net result might be something like this.
 
Mark Dalton ShortYou should be able to see that I've suddenly gained a few pounds. This is because the picture of me hasn't changed. All that has changed is the size of the space that the picture of me has to fit in. So in effect I've been squashed. I didn't feel a thing I promise.
 
If I had reduced the width of the image I would be squashed from the side instead making me appear thinner but stretched out.
 
 
So what can we do to prevent this I hear you ask. Well what we need to do is resize the whole image including its contents rather than just the frame it fits within.
 
We're quite lucky at The Tech Lounge to have quite a bit of very expensive software that allows us to do this type of image manipulation but it can be rather complicated and isn't for the faint hearted.
 
There are however a whole bunch of websites that will do this for you free of charge and do a rather good job of it. One that we quite like is http://www.picresize.com/
 
This site allows you to quickly select an image from your computer or elsewhere on the web and resize it. You can also apply special effects and save it to a variety of common image formats.
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Getting to Grips with Excel

Mark Dalton - Monday, January 20, 2014
Getting to Grips with Excel
 
This week I wanted to tell you about a little problem we had here at The Tech Lounge and how we found a great resource that we have fallen in love withMicrosoft Excel that helped us get around it in no time at all.
 
It all started out when a customer sent us a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet had a lot of information in it and on the whole was very well arranged. The only problem was the names contained within it were contained within a single cell.
 
We needed all the names in First Name, Surname format and with over 500 records really didn't fancy manually splitting out every single name.
 
So I reached out to a friend of mine by the name of Mike Thomas who responded telling me all about a new website he had setup to help people get to grips with Excel and directed me to a step step walkthrough that enabled us to quickly split the names out as we needed. Well I wanted to share this great resource with you all, and help you get more from your spreadsheets.
 
The site is called The Excel Trainer and provides a wealth of free tutorials that really help you get more from Excel. Mike has also provided a number of great video tutorials that make it even easier to achieve great results in no time at all.

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How to reclaim your disk space with Disk Cleanup.

Mark Dalton - Monday, January 13, 2014

Free up space and improve your PC's performance.

By Mark Dalton.

While computer hard drives are getting bigger so is the amount of data we want to store. 

Computers store a lot of data that they really don't need long term, copies of web pages and log files for example. These all take up disk space. We need to delete these in order to be able to use the space, but how do we know what is safe to delete and what's not.


Well there is a not so well known tool provided by Microsoft in Windows specifically designed for this job called "Disk Cleanup".


Launching Disk Cleanup


Disk Cleanup is fairly well hidden but can be launched by searching for "Disk Cleanup" is the Windows search dialogue box or by navigating to All Programs > Accessories > System Tools.

Once open you will be given a list of items its safe to delete. Enter a tick in the corresponding box to select the item or remove the tick to unselect it.

Once you're happy with your selection simply click the OK button and Disk Cleanup with remove the unnecessary files for you, freeing up disk space. 

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