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Computing With Bifocals
by Nancy Carroll Gravley

A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....

Keeping Up With Friends And Family
January 14th, 1999

What is it about the new year that brings up thoughts from the past? It happens to me every year. This year it occurs to me how much my family is loosing touch. When I was growing up my immediate family (father, mother, sister, brother, me) lived in Texas. All the rest of my parents extended families lived in Georgia or Mississippi. Because of that we were a fairly self-contained unit and always knew what was going on. Now my parents live in one town, I live in another, and my brother and sister in yet other areas of the state. My twin sister has 4 children and somewhere around a dozen grandchildren. I couldn't name all of them (or recognize them) on a bet. I don't even know the exact number. So you may well be asking, “what does this have to do with using a Macintosh?” I'm so glad you asked.

With my Mac I can produce family newsletters that will keep everyone up to date. I spent several hours on the net trying to find any shareware or freeware programs for creating newsletters. I did this because I assume not everyone has ClarisWorks on their machine. I was really surprised to find not one option. Not one. I guess I kept looking because I couldn't understand why there was nothing there. The editor, when I finally asked him, said it was probably because most word processing programs currently in use have the ability to create newsletters. Incidentally, while I was on my scavenger hunt I did find a really cool site which is referenced at the end of this column. But on to newsletters - if you have ClarisWorks 5.0 (or AppleWorks 5.0 which is the dame thing, but with Apple's name on it) a newsletter almost creates itself. Earlier version are probably very similar. Here is how.

Open the program and click on the File pull-down menu, move the cursor to new and release. A large options box will open, offering you the chance to choose what kind of document you want to create. On the right will be two choices. One says create a document and the other says use assistant or stationary. Click on the assistants button and you will get another option box. Scroll down the choices until you get to newsletter, highlight it and click OK in the bottom right hand corner of the box. You will have accessed the assistants program for making a newsletter. As a side note, once you have worked through this process you should be able to use any of the assistants with ease. Click on next and the first instruction you see will be to tell the program if the newsletter is for information and training or for news and general information. Click on the second option and click on next. The second box lets you determine a couple of things. First, there is a pull-down menu that offers you 4 choices of style. They are basic, business, new age, or post modern. If you hold down the mouse and highlight each one, you will see a format for that style displayed in the box on the left. To choose one you simply highlight it and unclick the mouse. The one you have chosen will show in the pull-down menu box. Then you are asked to choose the kind of paper you will be using. The choices include a basic piece of 8-1/2 by 11, a folded sheet or legal size. Click the button to the left of the one you will be using and click on next.

The third box concerns the title of your newsletter. You will be asked to type it in a box and then you should click next.

If, when you actually get the first page up you decide the font is too big, you can change that by clicking anywhere over the words which will cause the outline of a box to appear with a cursor at the beginning of your title. Hold down the mouse button and highlight the title. Leave it highlighted and go to the Size pull-down menu and choose a different size type until you get one that you are happy with. At this same time you can change the font if you want to.

The fourth box has 3 choices, the frequency of your letter, when you want to date the start of it, and what kind of numbering you want to use. On the right will be a pull-down box for frequency. You can choose, annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, or other by highlighting your choice and clicking once. Under that will be the date box with the current month and year, season and year, etc., already typed in to match your choice of frequency. You can change it by deleting and typing over the words you want included. Either leave it or change it as needed. On the right is another pull down menu that allows you to choose to number your letter with a volume # and issue #, just the volume #, just the issue #, or other. Which ever one you choose by highlighting and clicking once, will appear in the box below the pull down menu and you can type in your number choices. When you finish all of that click on next.

The fifth box asks if you want a table of contents and you select yes or no and click next. The sixth box asks if you want an editorial column and you choose yes or no and click next. The seventh box asks you to choose the number of pages you want to include. Your choices are 2, 4, 6, or 8. Make your choice and click next. The eighth box allows you to specify formatting for an address label. You can choose none, one-third page, or one-half page and click next. The newsletter will then be formatted so you can fold it and attach a mailing label.

The last box tells you that you are “done” and once you click on next for the last time, the template for your newsletter opens up. (See the enclosed sample of a typical first page set up.) The title you have chosen will appear along with various sizes of boxes for articles and photos, depending on how you have set it up. There is also a tool box on the left of your screen that allows you to individualize your newsletter to your hearts content.

You should now have something that looks at least a little like this screen shot (click on the small image to see a larger version)

Click on this image to see a larger version

From here you can customize your newsletter with whatever content you want. Claris Works provides Clip Art with recent releases, so you can use that to spice up your newsletter. When you are finished, just print it out and send it to whomever you want! Easy!

Oh yeah, about that cool site. The site is called MacPicks and every week there are reviews of new shareware that are considered above average by the web master.

If you have any tips, hints, or thoughts on these topics, make sure you write me so that I can share your thoughts with other readers.

Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions  for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping.   To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.

Post your comments below.
Check out Nancy's complete index of all her columns for the most complete list of tips anywhere. The list is categorized and is a great reference when you are looking for help!

A Capacious Catalog Of Computer Tips

Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color, covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.

Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.

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