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Free PDF driver - create PDF files rather than print to paper   http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp
CutePdf Professional is only $50 and enables you to get advanced control over PDF document output. Easily add comments, security, stamps, headers and footers, create interactive form fields, create booklets or n-Up pages, combine files, rearrange pages, and much more.
 
EditPad Lite - opens in less than a second. Great for making notes for both you and your client. I'll open this when talking to a client so I can take notes on the issues, or to take meeting notes, or jot down idea and for most everything!  Advantage over Notepad: You can have multiple notes open at the same time and includes shortcuts to the last 15 documents you created.   I set this or notepad up in every clients quicklaunch so as I'm speaking to them, I'm taking "to do" notes for them.
http://www.editpadpro.com/editpadlite.html
 
Copernic Desktop Search - Set the preferences to search both your local drive and any drive on your network! Client calls and say he wants to sell a business? Instantly find e-mails, documents filed on your hard drive or e-mails sent to previous clients on the topic.  Client says he sent you an email? Retrieve it and any other e-mails or documents from the client
http://www.copernic.com/en/products/desktop-search/index.html

I've not seen recent editions of Google desktop search nor have I compared this with Microsoft Vista search but I've heard that Copernic seems to just do things quicker.
Read this review for more details: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13880_3-9882699-68.html

Quick Launch- FAST ONE Click ACCESS to your most popular applications without closing windows

what is QuickLaunch

Have the most frequently used software available for instant access by adding QuickLaunch to your task bar.
1. Right click on your task bar > Select Properties > place a box in "show Quicklaunch" and UNCHECK "lock the taskbar"

how to set up QuickLaunch

2. Remove from the Quicklaunch those icons you never use by right clicking on the icon and then selecting delete. Don't worry, you are not removing these software packages, they will still be accessible in from your start menu.

3.Add those software packages you use frequently.

  • First place the icon on your desktop. From your start menu, select the software, right click and select
    send to ... choose desktop
  • From the desktop drag the icon to the quicklaunch pad by clicking and dragging the icon, when you see the bar, let go
    QuickLaunch for Beginners

4. Software that is handy in QuickLaunch:  Microsoft Excel, Word, NotePad, Windows Explorer, QuickBooks, etc. Email Customize the width of the Quicklauch pad by dragging the right margin to the left margin, your additional icons will be displayed by hovering over the  >>

 

 
Links - Add a one click icon to your most frequented websites within Internet explorer.  My clients love this.  When I am providing training in bank recs or payroll tax return preparation, I will set up links to their bank's website, Eftps, NJonline filing (or Prompt tax for NY) and sales tax.  I set up links for my most frequented sites and also to help me remember what I should be looking at (as I see them everytime I open Explorer)

Step 1 :Open internet explorer > tools > toolbars > uncheck lock the toolbars & check Links
Step 2: Next drag the bar to the left of Links and drag it further to the left (or up or down) to your desired width and location

Step 3: delete the unwanted links by right clicking on a link and selecting delete
Step 4: Visit the website you want to add to your links, click and hold on the icon in the address bar and drag it to Links bar and release your grip on the mouse.  Right click and choose rename to shorten the name of your link.

 
Keyword Search in QuickBooks - Find any data in any data field by doing a search. Even if do know know what field you used to type that data, This search tool will find it. This handy dandy tool will search them all including customizable fields and memos and the body of your invoice without having to install and load Googlesearch (which can slow down your system)
Download from  http://intuitlabs.com/ click on Apps and scroll to the bottom of the page for keyword search
The following was a search on part of an address which returned 5 customers and 1 sales receipt

 
FREE Screen Capture 
Want to impress your clients?  Send a screenshot of what you are talking about in your email.  One Hotkey (default is F6) will allow you to select the region (or full screen) you want to capture. Open Word or other software that accepts pictures and Right Click and Paste
http://www.download.com/ScreenHunter/3000-2192_4-10063246.html?tag=lst-6-1&cdlPid=10732691
 
GMail As  a Spam filter
Google’s Gmail is a free email service that also includes a well respected spam filter. It is possible for anyone’s email address to take advantage of this spam filtering as well.
The benefits - downloading spam is not just annoying in your inbox but also takes up valuable computer resources making you sit and wait as it downloads. 
The detriments - Its filter is so good you need to go to GMail and search the spam box for keywords such as you first name, and topics ( I search for Linda and Quickbooks)
http://gmail.google.com


a. Sign up your own free Gmail email account at “http://gmail.google.com”. To get started, click on the hyperlink at “Sign up for Gmail” at the bottom right hand side of the “http://gmail.google.com” web page. Create a new email account name that is meaningful to you: if you existing email account is “john@yourfirm.com”, you might create a complimentary Gmail email account of “john.yourfirm@gmail.com”.

b. While at Gmail, you will need to go to the “settings” page (click on it at the upper right top of your Gmail page). When there, click on the “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” tab. On this page, look for the “POP Download:” section and click on the “Enable POP for all mail (even mail that's already been downloaded)” selection. Then click on the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page.

c. At the email server you use to send and receive your “john@yourfirm.com” email, have all your received email forwarded (redirected) to your new Google email account to “john.yourfirm@gmail.com”. How you do this will be dependent on your email server and you may need to get technical support from the email server’s staff. The way you send your email from “john@yourfirm.com” will not change.

d. Your forwarded “john@yourfirm.com” email to your Gmail will be automatically scan and filtered for spam. Gmail provides a subdirectory to view what email was caught as spam, and, it can be trained to recognize which spam is really legitimate email by clicking on the legitimate email and marking it as not spam – Gmail will remember the sender’s email as not a spam source, and will “un-spam” the current email as well.

e. How you do the setup for receiving your redirected email from your Gmail email into your current email client (i. e., Outlook, Outlook Express, AOL, etc) depends on the email client itself, however, it will need the following information. This information will be replacing your existing your “john@yourfirm.com” email receiving information:

i. Incoming mail server (POP3): pop.gmail.com

ii. Logon Information:

1. User Name: john.yourfirm@gmail.com

2. Password: [your Gmail email account password]

 
:
Timer - In my Quicklaunch I have a timer so when I get on the phone with the client I start the stopwatch and when I get off I stop it (at least that is what is supposed to happen). I find that I use the timer on my telephone in most cases but this is very helpful when I've been doing a bit of "chatting" that I dont want to bill for.  I'll start the clock as soon as we start discussing business. http://www.springcreeksoftware.com/
 
Transfer large files
http://www.sendthisfile.com/
Free accounts: When you transfer a large file using SendThisFile®, the file is stored on their server for a 3 day pick up period. They  send the recipient an email with a link to the file. The recipient clicks on the link to download the file. This avoids problems with email attachment size limits, proxy servers and FTP servers.
Paid Accounts have a longer Pick up period,  ability to load more than one file and more

http://www.yousendit.com/
Choose who you want to send a file to. It can be anyone with an email address. You can specify multiple email addresses separated by commas.  Select a file to send. You can send photos, audio, documents or anything else. Your file will be stored by YouSendIt without ever filling up your recipient's mailbox. Click on the Send button. YouSendIt will automatically email your recipient a link to your file stored on our server. Your file will be deleted after 7 days or 25 downloads, whichever occurs first.

 
Convert a MS Word or Excel 2008 to 2003 edition
If someone has sent you a file and forgot to ask which version of Microsoft Office you are using, here is a convenient link www.zamzar.com.  Converts Picture files too (from gif to bmp or visa versa and more)
 
Windows Explorer - The  "Table of Contents" of my computer, I  place an icon on my desktop and Quicklaunch and its the first thing I add to a clients computer when I begin to work with them. Plus I  tweak it by defaulting the view to display details (as opposed to icons). Here is the entire procedure:
1.  Start Menu > Program Files >   Accessories > Right Click on Windows Explorer and choose "send to desktop" From the Desktop > open Windows explorer (double click on icon) >  View Menu > Click on  "details".
:2. Tools Menu >Folder Options > View Tab >Click on "Apply to All Folders" button

Alternatively, Right Click on   the Start menu and choose Explore to bring up the same window
 
PowerDesk
PowerDesk is a freeware software product that provides all the functionality of Windows Explorer with extensions that save time. For instance, where Windows Explorer present a single display of directory subtree and files, PowerDesk presents two, so files can be dropped and dragged between the two displays. Included as a feature is the Archive and Unzip feature. This very easy to use tool will condense a file size or unzip a zipped file/folder with one click access .  The commercial version, PowerDesk Pro further extends this functionality by providing image file viewing and FTP capabilities.
Drag a file will Move the file
Control + Drag will Copy the file
Freeware version: http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/downloads/2128843/powerdesk
Commercial version:
http://www.avanquest.com/USA/pc-tools/utilities/desktop-tools/PowerDesk_Pro_7.html
 
Folder Guide
Folder Guide is freeware that provides fast access to your frequently used and favorite folders.
With Folder Guide, you no longer need dozens of mouse clicks to navigate to your desired folder! Quick access to folders in the Open/Save As/Browse dialogs in most software programs. This program has the potential to take hours off your work time.
http://www.freeware365.com/desktop/folderguide.htm
 
PhraseExpress
PhraseExpress automatically expands abbreviations into text of your choosing. For instance, the expression “BTW” would be expanded to “by the way”. This is particularly useful where boiler plate text is used in reports and other documentation and the need is to quickly insert it without figuring out where the boiler plate text is stored. It is also similar to the way that Outlook offers you email addresses to recipients based on the first few letters of their name or email address.
http://www.phraseexpress.com/
 
Not Free, but something to think about:
Virtual Machine, or, Virtual PC.
Wikipedia's definition of a virtual machine:

"In computer science, a virtual machine (VM) is a software implementation of a machine (computer) that executes programs like a real machine. A virtual machine provides a complete system platform which supports the execution of a complete operating system (OS) and any programs running within it. An essential characteristic of a virtual machine is that the software running inside is limited to the resources and abstractions provided by the virtual machine -- it cannot break out of its virtual world"

We simply refer to it as a computer within a computer. The advantages include:
1. Have several remote employees share 1 computer
2. Install all your software just once, then backup, now you have a completely virgin machine that has not been corrupted by processes, viruses, or badly written scripts. Keep a copy of this computer handy so when you buy a new computer or find that you need to "start over"  there is no need to reinstall all your software. Starting over becomes a few hours rather than a few days.

Examples of virtual machines include
VMWare’s VMware Workstation 6.0 http://www.vmware.com/products/ws/
Microsoft’s Virtual PC
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/virtualpc/default.mspx

 
Shorten the links you send through e-mail
When links extend beyond one e-mail line, they rarely open unless the receiver copies & pastes
the remaining link into the URL.  Here are 2 Free tools that takes seconds to create a more manageable link.

TINYURL.com URLs can be very long. In fact a very long URL pasted into an email may not open if it appear on more than one line.  So when I want to send that neat article or link to my customers, I'll copy the link into my clipboard with a Right Click Copy and then I'll visit http://www.tinyurl.com and paste it into that tool, I add a special name to the link and it is now the new link in my clipboard.

Bit.ly Provides the same results, a small, manageable URL . http://www.bit.ly/
 

 
PDF-Crack Tool - cant highlight and copy a paragraph from a pdf? Use this nifty tool!
 http://www.ensode.net/pdf-crack.jsf - Some PDF documents prevent the user from copying and pasting or printing it's contents. This sometimes presents a problem since the author of the PDF might have used a font that is not available in the system trying to read it. This page contains a free online utility that allows you to upload a PDF, once uploaded, a version of the PDF without printing or copying/pasting restrictions is displayed in a new browser window.
To unlock a PDF file, enter it's location in the "PDF file to unlock" field, by either typing it in the field or clicking on the "browse" button, then navigating to it's location.  
 
Free Remote Access
Need to leave work but would like to continue after dinner?
www.logmein.com has a free version which will allow you to log into your computer from anywhere on any computer in the world by logging into your free account and entering a password.  Test it out while you are at work. Download and install on the computer you would like remote access to. Then go to your neighbor's computer in your office an log into your PC from their PC.  The free version does not permit printing at your remote location, but you can upgrade for an inexpensive price of approx $60/year.  And the support is terrific. Last time I checked it was still here in the USA.  We use it here for our customerservice rep to work from the state of Washington on a Virtual PC here in our office.
 
Free Online Conferencing
www.mikogo.com - For one on one conferencing from "Beamyourscreen"
www.dimdim.com  plus Free telephone conferencing with www.freeconferencecall.com  
OR

Not Free- but terrific tool for online meetings which includes telephone or Voip conferencing is www.gotomeeting.com
 
Want the menu's back in Excel 2007?

 Finally freeware that will help you navigate (actually ignore is a better word) the redesign of Microsoft Office 2007.  With this software, all office software will now have a MENU tab mimicking the menus of Office 2003.

http://www.ubit.ch/software/ubitmenu-languages
 

 
Email out of control?
No, we have not found that magic bullet, but for e-mail you have no time to deal - forward to 24@hitmelater.com and they will resend it in 24 hours.  Change the 24 to 4 and you'll get it back in 4 hours.  You can snooze up to 5 emails a day for up to 24 hours for Free.  For $12/yr  you can snooze unlimited emails up to a month and $30/year snooze up to 1 year unlimited emails.
 
Shortcut Keys that you should commit to memory!

Explorer:
F11 switches Explorer to Full Screen Mode and F11 switches back to original size window

Explorer 7.0
Win + Home: Minimize all windows except the one that's currently active.
                    Hit it again to restore the windows.
Win + Up Arrow: Maximizes the active window.
Win + (+/-): Enables the magnifier and zooms in/out.
Win + Left/Right Arrow: Moves the window that is active the left or ride side of the monitor
Win + Space: See through Open Explorer windows to the desktop.
Win + P: Opens Windows' settings so you can adjust display settings for another monitor or a projector


Desktop/Windows
Win + D: Minimizes all open windows


Windows Explorer
 Windows + E - Opens Windows Explorer . This is much quicker than right-clicking the Start button, then selecting Explore.

Most Software includes these shortcuts

Ctrl-Right/Left Arrow: Places the cursor immediately to the left/right of the next word
Ctrl-Shift-Right/Left Arrow: Selects the word immediately to the right or left of the cursor.
Shift-Home: Selects all text from the cursor's current position to the beginning of the line.
Shift-End: Selects all text from the cursor's current position to the end of the line.
Ctrl-C: Copies selected text to the clipboard.
Ctrl-X: Cuts (deletes) selected text and copies it to the clipboard where you can Ctrl-V.
Ctrl-V: Pastes whatever text has been copied to the clipboard.
 

 

 

 
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