How Do I...

TechRepublic writers solve perplexing technical questions with step-by-step guides and practical tutorials that demonstrate specific tasks.

  • Susan Harkins // February 11, 2008, 5:01 PM PST

    How do I... Create and manage PowerPoint table data?

    Tables are great for communicating and organizing data in a meaningful way. They're also efficient. However, in Microsoft PowerPoint, tables can be a bit troublesome because space is limited. Too much data on one slide can be worse than no data at all. Susan Sales Harkins shows you how to get creative and improvise how you display tables in PowerPoint.


  • Steven Warren // February 11, 2008, 5:49 AM PST

    How do I... Create an image mask when using Sony Vegas?

    Sony Vegas is an image editing and manipulation application geared toward the average amateur editor, but it is still a very powerful and capable tool. Creating what is commonly known as a mask in Sony Vegas requires the use of an applet called Cookie Cutter. Steven Warren shows you how to create a mask using this tool inside of Sony Vegas.


  • Mark Kaelin // February 11, 2008, 3:44 AM PST

    How do I... Receive podcasts from RSS feeds using Outlook 2007?

    For IT professionals, acquiring new technical information is the life blood that keeps them ahead of the next crisis. One of the more efficient ways of receiving that new information is through podcasts delivered via RSS feed directly to your Outlook 2007 inbox. Mark Kaelin walks you through the setup process.


  • Susan Harkins // February 7, 2008, 3:04 AM PST

    How do I... Add items to an Access combo box on the fly?

    On occasion, an application developer working with Microsoft Access may need a list control that's a bit more flexible by allowing users to update the control's list. Handing over a bit of control, in the right circumstances, can be helpful for everyone, including you. Susan Sales Harkins shows you how it is done.


  • John Lee // February 4, 2008, 2:58 AM PST

    How do I... Use CSS to manipulate a background image?

    CSS allows you to use background graphics in a wide number of tasteful and versatile ways. Not only can graphics exist as backgrounds to entire pages, but you can also employ CSS to assign a background image to any CSS rule. John Lee shows you just three of many popular ways that Web designers use background images to create dynamic and visually rich pages.


  • Jack Wallen // February 1, 2008, 4:47 AM PST

    How do I... Install plugins for Firefox in Linux?

    For many, one of the biggest obstacles in Linux is installing applications. Because the computing world has grown so accustomed to click and install, the idea of having to manually install something is very foreign. Installing plugins for the Linux version of Firefox isn't that difficult once you know what you are doing. Jack Wallen shows you how.


  • Steven Warren // January 28, 2008, 5:59 AM PST

    How do I... Make a glass button for a Web page using Adobe Illustrator?

    Adobe Illustrator can be used to create buttons and other images for use on Web pages just like Photoshop. The finished product is very similar but how you get there is slightly different. Steven Warren shows you to make a glass button using the tools available in Illustrator.


  • Susan Harkins // January 25, 2008, 12:10 AM PST

    How do I... Reject alpha characters in a SQL Server character column?

    Enforcing your data's integrity is probably the single most important issue you face when designing a database. Validating user input is one way of keeping bad data from making its way into your analysis and reports. It only takes one piece of bad data to throw everything off. Susan Sales Harkins explains how to use CHECK constraints in SQL Server to control user input.


  • Zach Smith // January 24, 2008, 3:05 AM PST

    How do I... Use threading to increase performance in C#? (Part 1)

    Bad threading logic can actually slow down an application, or worse, cause an application to have inconsistent exceptions. There really isn't much to be worried about though if you plan ahead and take the correct precautions. Zach Smith shows you some examples on how to use threading in C# and how to protect yourself while using threading.


  • Susan Harkins // January 23, 2008, 4:12 AM PST

    How do I... Display multiple values in an Access value list control?

    You can populate a list control with an explicit list of values and generally, that list consists of one column, although you can display more. Creating a multi-column value list control is the easy part -- using and updating it takes a bit more effort. Susan Sales Harkins shows you how it works.


  • Greg Shultz // January 18, 2008, 5:32 AM PST

    How do I... Build and configure an external hard drive enclosure?

    Do you have an old hard drive, which still works, lying around and gathering dust that you’d like to put to good use? If you answered yes, then chances are good that you’ve thought about using your old drive as an external hard drive. Fortunately, building an external hard drive is an easy task. Since you already have the hard drive, all you need is an enclosure, a screw driver, and less than an hour of your time.


  • Jack Wallen // January 17, 2008, 5:28 AM PST

    How do I... Create desktop icons in KDE and GNOME?

    Most Linux installs include thousands of applications, but not all those applications get an icon on either the KDE or GNOME desktop. If you want to launch one of those applications from the desktop you are going to have to create an icon for it. Jack Wallen shows you how.


  • Susan Harkins // January 17, 2008, 12:37 AM PST

    How do I... Pass data over a network using disconnected recordsets?

    Dragging only the data you actually need and only when you need it is the key to working efficiently across a network, but there's more. In Microsoft Access, you can also retrieve data using a disconnected recordset, which keeps the data on the client side, so objects respond quicker. Susan Harkins shows you how to set it up.


  • John Lee // January 14, 2008, 11:15 PM PST

    How do I... Use Zoomify to improve my digital images in Photoshop CS3?

    Photoshop CS3 has a way to put your photo online and it will still download quickly with all of its high-resolution glory intact. It's a dirty little secret called the Zoomify function. The Zoomify function actually creates a finished Flash file from within Photoshop. John Lee shows you how it works.


  • Zach Smith // January 9, 2008, 5:29 AM PST

    How do I... Modify Word documents using C#?

    Accessing Word components from C# isn't quite as straight-forward as many other features of C# and the .NET Framework. With that said -- it's not rocket science either. You simply need to know what to reference and how to use the components. Zach Smith lays out exactly what you need to do.


  • Mark Kaelin // October 26, 2007, 5:19 AM PST

    So you think you know how to do something?

    <img src="" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />The TechRepublic How do I... blog is all about showing TechRepublic members how to accomplish a specific task, but it has occurred to us that perhaps our members actually know how to do something. And it is further possible that what you know how to do would be interesting or helpful, or both, to other TechRepublic members. Therefore, we are introducing the <a href="" target="_blank">Blog Submission Tool</a>, which allows TechRepublic members to submit blog posts for the How do I... blog.


  • John Lee // November 29, 2007, 12:27 AM PST

    How do I... Create a customized JavaScript jump menu in Dreamweaver CS3?

    <img src="" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />If you are in charge of <a href="" target="_blank">maintaining a Web site</a>, one of your recurring tasks is likely accommodating a committee of supervisors or clients that want to add links to the site on a continuing basis. This can often lead to a cluttered navigation interface, if it doesn't destroy your layout altogether. One of the more practical solutions to an ever-expanding list of navigation links is a <a href=";s=0&amp;o=1&amp;q=javascript" target="_blank">JavaScript</a> "jump" menu, which is a pull-down form menu that automatically directs the user's browser to another Web page as soon as they select an option from the menu.


  • Melonfire Staff // September 16, 2007, 5:12 PM PST

    How do I... Stress test MySQL with mysqlslap?

    The mysqlslap utility makes it possible to benchmark and compare MySQL performance on different hardware, as well as accurately quantify the effect of a change in database design. This tutorial shows how you can use mysqlslap to run tests involving multiple clients, custom queries, different table engines, and much more.


  • Erik Eckel // October 8, 2007, 8:52 AM PST

    How do I... Configure and use LogMeIn Pro remote access software?

    <img src="" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />Remote access may well be the greatest innovation in computing since the mouse. Unfortunately, the remote access configuration process is daunting. Everything from antivirus programs to flaky modems to firewalls can single-handedly derail remote connection attempts. <a href="" target="_blank">Remote connection alternatives</a> try to overcome these obstacles with ease of use and tighter security. One of the most popular options is LogMeIn. Erik Eckel explains how to configure LogMeIn Pro's features and maximize the usefulness of this remote connectivity platform.


  • Mark Kaelin // October 4, 2007, 1:33 AM PST

    How do I... Configure and use shadow copy in Microsoft Windows Vista?

    <img src="" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />Let's face it -- sometimes things go wrong, especially when you are dealing with computers, networks, <a href="" target="_blank">electronic gadgetry</a>, and the people who use them. When it comes to saved files on a hard drive, users have been known to delete, modify, and otherwise render useless important documents and then want them restored to their previous condition. The <a href=";s=0&amp;o=0&amp;q=%22shadow+copy%22" target="_blank">shadow copy</a> feature in Microsoft Windows Vista goes a long way toward making that restoration just a few mouse clicks from reality. That is, if you have turned shadow copy on and have it configured properly. Configuring and using Vista shadow copy is not complicated, but it does require some specific knowledge about where these features are located.


  • Susan Harkins // October 11, 2007, 1:40 AM PST

    How do I... Retrieve a random set of records in Microsoft Access?

    <img src="" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />We usually think of data in sets of related values, but not always. Occasionally, you may need to supply someone with a set of unrelated records, retrieved completely at <em>random</em>. Perhaps a manager wants to predict future growth or an auditor is looking for anomalies. Now, it would be nice if Access offered a random query option, but it doesn't. If you are using <a href=";s=0&amp;o=1&amp;q=microsoft+access" target="_blank">Microsoft Access</a>, the good news is that a random set of records is just a simple expression away.


  • Susan Harkins // January 3, 2008, 3:37 AM PST

    How do I... Transfer data from a Word form to an Access database?

    <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />Although Access forms are powerful interface objects, your users might not be familiar with them. However, your users may be very familiar with Word forms. Susan Sales Harkins shows you how to use a Word form to collect data and then transfer that data to an Access table. The technique requires an Access database, a Word form, and a bit of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) code.</p>


  • Nicole Nash // November 2, 2007, 3:22 AM PST

    How do I... Subscribe to RSS Feeds with Mozilla Thunderbird?

    <img src="" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />Many Web sites offer RSS feeds as a way for readers to quickly and easily view new material. Mozilla's Firefox Internet browser offers RSS tracking via the use of live bookmarks. However, this is still a lot like Web-browsing and therefore is a bit time-consuming, especially if you check multiple sites a day. Adding RSS feeds to your Mozilla Thunderbird inbox is the more efficient way to track those feeds -- here is how you set it up.