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.


  • Zach Smith // September 17, 2007, 6:37 AM PST

    How do I... Catch system level events in C#?


  • Mark Kaelin // September 19, 2007, 5:27 AM PST

    How do I... Add and customize sidebar gadgets in Microsoft Windows Vista?

    <img src="" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />Microsoft added sidebar gadgets to the <a href=";s=0&amp;o=1&amp;q=microsoft+windows+vista" target="_blank">Windows Vista</a> interface with the intention it would enhance the overall user experience. However, the gadgets that actually ship with Vista do not exactly fill that promise. But, as it happens so often, users, developers, and the generally ingenious have filled the gap with a plethora of gadgets, widgets, and gizmos, one of which, at least, is sure to add a desired function to your desktop. This How do I... shows you how to find and add Windows Vista sidebar gadgets to your desktop interface.


  • Susan Harkins // September 24, 2007, 4:47 AM PST

    How do I... Print a label for an individual record in Microsoft Access?

    <img src="" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />Printing labels is a common task and simple enough if you use the <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft Access Label</a> wizard. You can print thousands of labels at one time. What isn't as easy is printing a label for a single record. You have to identify the record and pass it to a label report. Fortunately, the process is simple. <em>This blog post is also available in PDF form as a <a href="" target="_blank">TechRepublic download</a>.</em>


  • John Lee // September 27, 2007, 1:48 AM PST

    How do I... Convert an MPEG video file into Flash video?

    <img src="" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />In a previous <a href="">How do I... blog entry</a> I showed how easy it was to create your own custom Flash Video player using Adobe Flash's new video components and a few lines of ActionScript. The example I wrote featured a sample Flash video file (FLV) from a royalty-free stock video site. This time, I will show you how to convert your own MPEG, AVI or QuickTime files into the FLV format.<br /><br /> Converting an MPEG, AVI or QuickTime video is a simple process that involves using Adobe's Flash Video Encoder, a separate program which installs on your hard drive in conjunction with the installation of Flash CS3 itself. If you already have Flash CS3 on your computer, you can open the Flash Video Encoder from the Start Menu.


  • Melonfire Staff // October 4, 2007, 5:19 AM PST

    How do I... Perform translations with Perl and Babel Fish?

    You can add real-time translation to your Perl application through a neat CPAN module called WWW::Babelfish. This article shows how you can use WWW::Babelfish to translate text between 15+ language pairs and create an interactive translation tool for ad-hoc text strings.


  • Zach Smith // October 1, 2007, 5:24 AM PST

    How do I... Serialize a hash table in C# when the application requires it?

    <img src="" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />Unfortunately the <a href=";s=0&amp;o=1&amp;" target="_blank">.NET Framework</a> does not allow serialization of any object that implements the <em>IDictionary</em> interface. This restriction includes, but is not limited to, hash tables. I, like many developers have run into this restriction head-on and been disappointed about the inability for serialization on hash tables. There are many ways to approach this problem -- some prefer to simply find an alternative to <a href=";s=0&amp;o=1&amp;q=%22hash+tables%22" target="_blank">hash tables</a>, others implement the IXmlSerializable interface in a custom object and wrap it around the hash table. My approach is to use a generic <em>List&lt;T&gt;</em> object as a base and implement the standard features used in a hash table within that object. The <em>List&lt;T&gt;</em> derivative can then be serialized.


  • Nicole Nash // October 2, 2007, 4:32 AM PST

    How Do I... Manage folders and spam in Mozilla's Thunderbird?

    <img src="" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />One of the main allures of <a href=";s=0&amp;o=1&amp;q=thunderbird" target="_blank">Thunderbird</a> (beside its price) is the ability to easily manage e-mails using folders and <a href=";s=0&amp;o=1&amp;q=spam+filters" target="_blank">intelligent spam filters</a>. Thunderbird's spam filters do take some time -- generally around a week -- to achieve full functionality on any given user's e-mail. This is because the spam filter learns from how you tag each e-mail and what you do with it. The easy-to-set filters and comprehensive spam filtering has many people migrating to Thunderbird from other e-mail clients.


  • 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.


  • Zach Smith // October 10, 2007, 1:15 AM PST

    How Do I... Implement Drag-n-Drop in C# applications?

    <img src="" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />Windows users have grown accustomed to the Drag-n-Drop convention, where you click on an item and drag it to another location/program to either move, copy, or modify it. If you are an <a href="" target="_blank">application developer</a> for the Windows environment using the <a href=";s=0&amp;o=0" target="_blank">.NET Framework</a>, you need to know how to program Drag-n-Drop functionality.


  • 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.