Trails End Computer Club

Bulletin for the week of NOVEMBER 30, 2014

EACH Wednesday 

Program or Lesson 9:30 - 10:30 AM
One on One Help 10:30-?
In the Library


If you would like to meet in a small group to discuss special computer related subjects or form a Special Interest Group lets discuss it.

Our bulletin is also available on line by visiting and clicking on bulletin.

Our weekly program or lesson is intended
to be of interest to all computer users.
Following the program an allotment of time will
be available for one on one help to those
who want a better understanding of something done
 during the presentation.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday DECEMBER 3, 2014 Meeting
 9:15 AM Set up your computer
 9:30 AM Presentation:  Trails End WiFi. Demonstrations include 3 devices and how they improve your WiFi internet experiences. Lesson 12 will be fully discussed.
10:30 AM One on One help

Merging Photos

By Larry Piper, President, Midland Computer Club, MI

April 2014 issue, Bits and Bytes Newsletter    webbyte (at)

Ever see a row of photos at the top of a Facebook or website page? I'll bet it crossed your mind that this would be a good idea for one of your own projects.

I'll bet your next thought was that it would take a powerful photo editing tool, most likely Photoshop, to accomplish this horizontal photo montage'. Sure enough, when you did some cursory checking, words like 'layers' and 'flattening' began to appear. Or maybe you found how-to ideas for creating a photo collage', which is NOT what you had in mind.

I too went down this same road. I also discovered that the most recommended solution is to use Paint, a free program that comes with Windows. I found the Paint solution not very intuitive and a little time consuming to use. Then I discovered another solution that had been right in front of me for a number of years. It is also a free program, IrfanView. This little utility has been around since the days of Windows 95. It will open virtually every graphic file type—as well as most sound and video file types. I use it as a fast image resizer. But right there in the opening screen under the Image drop-down menu is the choice Create Panoramic Image. Perfect!


IrfanView gives you the choice of horizontal or vertical merging of photos. You add the photos you want, rearrange their order and then hit the Create key. Save the resulting photo-merge, give it a name and you are good to go. You could even resize the final image if it is too big or too small for your application.

So what about merging photos of different pixel size or resolution. No problem. I ran a few tests where the height dimensions were five times different. IrfanView makes the horizontal photo montage' a constant height. The same thing occurred when merging photos of very different resolution. Again, the merged photos were a nearly constant total pixel size. The overall picture quality has been reduced substantially, but who cares when it is being viewed over the Internet.

IrfanView is the product of Irfan Skiljan, who lists himself as graduate of Vienna University. Be sure to get the latest version which is 4.37 as of this writing.

The Hidden Tabs in Microsoft Office

By Nancy DeMarte, 1st VP, Sarasota PCUG, Florida     ndemarte (at)

Unless you are a frequent user of programs in Microsoft Office version 2007 or later, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the commands on the Ribbon. Well, I have news for you. Those tabs along the top of the ribbon contain only the tools that were determined by studies to be used most often for everyday tasks. There is a whole other group of tabs in Office programs which appear only when needed. Called Contextual tabs, they are one of the most useful additions to the newer Office versions.

A contextual tab is a hidden tab that is displayed on the right end the tab row of the ribbon, but only when an object in the workspace is selected. Depending on what kind of object is selected, one or more tabs may appear. Above these tabs is their title, such as Table Tools or Drawing Tools, or, as shown in Figure 1, Picture Tools. Note that these titles are always colorful, perhaps to attract your attention that they are available. Tools on the Picture Tools Format tab can help you set a specific size for the photo, apply styles or special effects like shadow or glow, and do simple photo editing.


Figure 1: Partial View of the Picture Tools Format tab in Word 2010

Sometimes you have to click the actual tab to open it. Other times, as in Figure 1, it opens by itself. As soon as you move away from the object, the tab disappears. For example, if you insert a table into a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or PowerPoint presentation, the title Table Tools and two new tabs show up at the right end of the ribbon: Design and Format. You must click one of the tabs beneath the title to reveal the applicable tools. Figure 2 shows part of the contextual Layout tab which is open in a Word document that contains the table you have selected.


Figure 2 Partial Table Tools Layout tab in Word 2010

This Layout tab gives you a variety of options, including aligning text and objects within the table, “auto fitting” the table to its contents or the window, and splitting or merging cells. Clicking the Design tab presents a group of tools for formatting the table with borders, styles and shading. These two tabs contain almost every command you need to work with a table except basic font and paragraph options, which are on the Home tab.

This concept extends to any objects that are inserted into Office programs. For example, in Excel, if you insert a Pivot Chart, four contextual tabs appear, entitled PivotChart Tools.


Figure 3: PivotChart Tools with Design tab open in Excel 2010

Some contextual tabs are found in several Office programs, such as Picture, Drawing, and Table. Others are program-specific, such as Excel’s PivotChart Tools. Excel has other exclusive tabs, too, such as Link Tools, Sparkline Tools, and Equation Tools. Even Microsoft Paint, part of the Windows operating system (not Office), has a Text tab under the title, Text Tools, which appears when you click the text icon (A) on the Home tab. Word and PowerPoint share many of the same contextual tabs, such as those described above, plus SmartArt Tools and Header and Footer Tools. PowerPoint, the slide presentation program, has a few unique tabs, such as Audio Tools, shown in Figure 4. Almost anything that can be inserted into an Office file has contextual tabs.


Figure 4: Audio Tools Playback tab in PowerPoint 2010

Here are three advantages to this system of contextual tabs that I have observed:

  1. The critical tools for working with inserted objects are located on these tabs, so you don’t have to search for them.

  2. You don’t have to do anything to make them visible. They pop up automatically when you select an object.

  3. Because they hide when not needed, they don’t clutter the screen.

The commands on these contextual tabs include some of the newest and best tools that have made Microsoft Office a leader in the Office suite world. I’m not sure I have even found all the contextual tabs yet, but I have used many of them and have appreciated their convenience. I think these hidden tabs were one of the most creative and helpful improvements in Office in a long time.

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