How To Turn Your Address Bar Into A Customized Search Engine

When searching the web on a daily basis, you naturally expect to waste more than a few minutes. You’ll spend time going to Google, finding the site, and then clicking on the site’s link to search the site itself.

Well, here’s a tip that can speed things up: customize and change your address bar search engine.

Doing so will allow you to skip Google and the homepages. Combine it with a keyword shortcut and you can start searching a website instantly from your address bar. This is perfect if you need to go through specific databases, reference sites or tutorial resources on a regular basis.

So were doing it the hard way all this time? If so, here’s a look at how to customize 4 of the most popular browsers and their search engines.

Adding A Search Engine In Firefox

1) In Firefox, click on the dropdown arrow in the search engine box.

Accessing Firefox Search Engine

2) Go to Manage Search Engines…

3) To add other search engines, click on the Get more search engines… link in the dialog and you’ll be directed to Mozilla’s search add-ons page. 

4) Select and install the search add-on provider of your choice.

5) Once installed, select a search provider and  click on Edit Keyword.

Editing Firefox SE Keyword

Customizing a search engine’s keyword will make searching through the address bar faster. So change the keyword to something quick and easy to remember, like using a “w” for Wikipedia, for instance.

5) Click on OK.

6) Repeat these steps for every search provider you want.

7) When you’re done, click on OK in the main dialogue.

Using a keyword shortcut to call up a search engine can be faster than using the standard toolbar search box. You won’t have to keep clicking to reset the specific search engine first:

Firefox Address Bar Search

Adding A Search Engine In Opera

In Opera, the process is basically the same, but you can also manually add websites. To add extra sites or search engines to your list with Opera:

1) Go to the Opera tab (upper left hand corner)> Settings> Manage Search Engines.

2) Click on Add new search.

Managing Opera Search Engines

3) Fill in the name and keywords of the site you’d like to use.

4) For the Address field, you can get the required URL by going to the site you’d like to add and performing a test search.  Use a search term you can easily identify.

Opera SE Test URL

5) Delete your search term—in this case “TEST,” and replace it with “%s” as specified to get:

www.investintech.com/resources/blog/?s=%s

6) Paste this in the URL field, set your keyword, and click on Save.  (You can decide if you’d like to search for pages using the POST method, but we skipped that step for this tutorial).

The result:

Opera Address Bar results

Adding A Search Engine In Chrome

In Google Chrome, you can change up your keywords and search engines easily. Here’s how:

1) Go into Chrome’s Menu (upper right hand corner)> Settings> Manage search engines.

2) To edit existing search engines, click on the keyword and edit it to what you want.

3) Click on Done  (this will close the entire dialogue box).

To add new sites:

1) Scroll down to the end of the list in the dialogue box.

2) Fill in the fields using the same URL method mentioned for Opera above.

Customizing Chrome Search Engine

Great bonus tip: if you use Google Drive, you can create a custom search for it, too. Use the URL:  https://drive.google.com/#search/%s

Note that when you use the search for Google Drive, you need to be signed into the account for the drive you wish to search and be logged into it as the default user.

Adding A Search Engine In Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer, like Firefox, offers the services of search providers as an add-on. You can pick from a number of search providers and add them to your address bar. Follow these steps:

1) Go to the drop down arrow in the IE address bar.

2) Click on Add and you’ll be directed to the Internet Explorer Gallery.

IE Gallery Search Providers

3) Install the search provider you want by clicking on Add to Internet Explorer and confirming the installation.

4) To access your search provider, type up a keyword in the address bar.

Adding IE Search Engine

5) Click on the drop down arrow and select the site’s favicon.

If you can’t find a site or search provider you want in the gallery, you can add your own with EnhanceIE. This is a handy tool that allows you to add a custom search provider to IE 7 and later.

Just follow the directions in the form. Once you have all fields filled out, click on Install, which is the quickest and simplest method. You can then access your new search engine in the same manner as above.

Adding IE Search Engine

Investintech Launches New Microsoft Office for iPad Tutorials

When Microsoft finally came out with an iPad version of their popular document processing suite, MS Office, there were over 12 million downloads in the first week.  If you were one of them, then you’ve probably been exploring and getting oriented with the apps since then.

But working on an iPad is completely different than working on a desktop which makes it a bit difficult to adjust.  Well, you’ll be happy to know that there are resources out there to help—ours included.

We just launched our new resource page for Microsoft Office for iPad tutorials!

This resource is designed to help you keep your productivity levels up while getting the most out of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on your iPad.  From working with the edit menu and typing on the keyboard to inserting charts and transferring files, our resource page has everything you need to get started.

Take a look!

Quickly Discover Tips For A Specific App

To help you get started, we’ve categorized tips by app—Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You’ll find new ways to improve the way you work with each specific app whether for school, work, or your own personal use.

To boot, we included some extra tips you’ll find extremely handy. For example, we dug up tips on using Office for iPad for free. So even if you don’t subscribe to the apps, you can still work effectively with them.  In addition, we included a General Tips category as well. This is the perfect spot for any new users looking for basic guides on using the apps.

Office for iPad Categories

Just click on the app or category you’re interested in and you’ll find a list of available tutorial cards. Click on any one of them and you’ll be directed to the main tutorial page.

Head Straight To The Answers You’re Looking For

If you’re trying to find a specific tip, you don’t need to sift through each tutorial. Because some of these tutorial topics are general and thorough, they can cover a number of related tips.  To help you locate what you need, we broke the tutorials down into sub-sections.

Locating Specific App Tips

So when you’re in a category, like Word for example, you’ll see a little paper icon on a couple of tutorial cards. This indicates a tutorial with multiple sub-sections.  Click on the icon and a menu will appear, giving you direct links to each sub-section of the tutorial. This eliminates having to scroll through the entire tutorial page.

Discover The Most Popular Office for iPad Tips

Looking for a common tip? For convenience, we’ve pulled up the most popular tutorials on Office for iPad so you can quickly access the help you need most.

Office iPad Popular Tips

Keep checking in with us as we’ll be updating the page constantly with handy tips. And we always love getting your input. So don’t worry if you can’t find what you’re looking for. Let us know and we can look into adding it to the page.

Working on your iPad isn’t quite the same as working on your desktop. But with the help of a few of these tutorials you can start putting your iPad to work! Check them out!

 

How To Convert Your Handwriting To A Font

Writing With PenPhoto Credit: vidalia_11 via photopin cc

As the personal web grows, so does our need to customize the content we share on it. You need to add pictures to social profiles, select themes for your online accounts, and set up your preferences just right.

Your online presence is a representation of yourself, which you undoubtedly want to personalize as much as possible. This is simple enough with photos and graphics, but it’s a different story when you want to share or publish content with your own writing.

The closest you can come to digitizing your handwriting is to take a picture of a piece of paper with your message handwritten on it. While this adds a personal touch in photos, it still doesn’t really achieve the same effect for the content you create electronically from scratch.

Well, in case you didn’t know, it is indeed possible to get your handwriting on-screen with tools like MyScriptFont.com, PaintFont.com, and Font Panda, which can create a font from your writing.

Using ​MyScriptFont​ Interface

All three of these tools are similar in nature except:

  • With My Script Font, you get to select between generating a True Type Font, Open Type Font and an SVG Font.
  • Paint Font, a new improved version of My Script Font, includes special characters and character sets for different languages.
  • The template you print up with Font Panda includes international characters in their 2-page template and space for a “Fun Doodle.” As an added bonus, this service will allow you to generate revenue from your font by making it available for download.

Other than that, the process is the pretty much the same and very straightforward.

Getting Started

When you get to either one of the sites, all you need to do is print up their template and enter, by hand, each letter of the alphabet in your writing.

Scanning Handwriting Font Template

Once you’re done, scan and save the completed template into the format specified by the service (usually an image format).  Then upload the saved file directly to the site and submit it. The site will generate a font file for you which you’ll have to download and save to your computer.

Using Your Personalized Font

Installing Your Handwritten Font

To use the font simply install the file. In most cases, it’s as simple as right clicking on it and selecting “Install.”  But head over to font resource and forum DaFont.com for more details. They have everything you need to know on installing fonts on Windows, Mac and Linux computers.

Once the font file is successfully installed, you can use it in programs, like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, where you can elect to use different font sets.

Select Your Handwritten Font

And that’s it! It was pretty neat to see my own writing digitized as a font. Here’s a sample (click to enlarge):

Writing ​Converted To Font

Content Ideas And Suggestions For Your Font

When would this come in handy? The ideas are endless! You can work on projects, images, and documents that are made to order. Some ideas:

  • Adding a personal touch to e-Invitations
  • Informally signing internal documents and memos
  • Using it for digital scrapbooks and journals
  • Creating one page poster pin-ups for classrooms
  • Tailoring PowerPoint presentations, Publisher material, and OneNote notebooks
  • Writing personal letters
  • Branding your content (brochures, posters, postcards)
  • Creating funky and shareable quotation memes
  • Editing images with text

….and no doubt you can think up a whole lot more! Why not put it to the test and give it a try. See how much your own writing can improve and enhance your content.

How to Create Your Own Customized Tab In Microsoft Word 2013

No doubt that when you create a Microsoft Word document, you have one or two tools that you always use. But if those tools span a wide range of functionality, they’ll be scattered across the ribbon, forcing you to click and toggle between tabs and bury it back into the Ribbon every time.

To solve this issue, you can customize the Quick Access Toolbar and even create a few shortcuts for your formatting functions. But why not take your productivity even further and create your own tab?

You can easily get your most commonly used functions on one single tab in Microsoft Word 2013. This way every command you need is right at your fingertips without having to go back and forth between different tabs. Here’s how.

1. Right click on any tab and select Customize the Ribbon.

Customizing the Ribbon

2. In the following dialog, click on New Tab.

Creating New Tab

To label it, right click on it and select Rename. Click on OK

3. Next, create a group to organize your commands by functionality (eg. Formatting, Editing, etc.). To do this, click on New Group. You can rename and add icons for each group by right clicking on it and selecting Rename. Do this for each group you want on your tab.

Creating New Group

Now you can start adding commands to them.

4. To add commands to a specific group, ensure that the group is selected and highlighted. Then in the Choose Commands from column, find and select your favourite command. Click on Add. Or you can drag and drop the command directly into the group. Repeat this for every command you want to include.

Adding Commands to Tab

If you’d like to change the order, simply rearrange them by moving them up or down the list.

5.  Click on OK when you’re finishedand your customized tab will be added to the main Ribbon.

New Tab in Ribbon

There are a number of ways to get Microsoft Word customized to your liking. Getting your very own tab set up is one of the easiest ways to do it. What other ways do you have MS Word 2013 tailored to your needs?

 

5 Handy Tips On Using Social Media For Research

Social Media Word CloudPhoto Credit: daniel_iversen via photopin cc

Are you using social media for research? If not, you could be missing out. Social media networks are always crawling with data: statistics, linked studies, social sentiments, background information, news reports, trends, official commentary—the list goes on.

As you can guess, however, the one real problem with using social media is filtering out all that research in order to analyze it properly.  Are you scraping information together as efficiently as you could?

Good news is that you don’t need to be a research specialist to do so. If you need an effective way to search the web and gather your data at the same time, we’ve got 5 tips to help you narrow down and convert social media posts into research you can easily sift through.

1. Track Tweets On Twitter

To start, there’s Twitter. Everyone’s used it for updates. Twitter is extremely helpful for getting news updates during a major conference, an event, or covering social trend.

However, instead of using Twitter’s search box to locate related mentions and tweets, use Topsy. It allows you to organize results by links, tweets, photos, videos, and influencers. You can also conduct an advanced search, specify time ranges, and select a language to narrow down your results. These features make it the most straight forward way to simplify your Twitter research.

2. Use IFTTT To Help Automate Web Page Collection

One downside to using the web for research is accumulating more web pages than you know what to do with at the moment. To help keep your bookmarking research in order, why not automate the process with a social bookmarking service like Pocket and the DIY  automated web service, IFTTT?

Pocket Google Drive Recipe

There’s an IFTTT recipe already available which you can use to record your Pocket saves to a Google Drive spreadsheet. Once your saved links are in a spreadsheet via Pocket, you can read through them later using Google Spreadsheet’s sorting functionalities. Use Pocket specifically for your research topic and you end up with a highly focused resource of links.

3. Track Mentions On The Web

To cast an even wider net for better data prospects, try tracking mentions for keywords on social media. With basic tools like Social Mention, you can simplify the tracking process. Like Topsy, it pulls all mentions for the keyword you specify.

However, this tool allows you to search across more than just Twitter and the usual social networks. You can search questions, bookmarks, news, blogs, events, images, video, comments, networks, and audio. Moreover, you can even export your search results into either Excel or CSV.

4. Convert Facebook Feeds To RSS

It’s a common thing these days to use Facebook for researching people and brands. Facebook provides companies and public figures with a quick way to update their fanbase, post related news links, or issue comments and statements. Thus, by monitoring any activity happening on their page, you set yourself up with a great resource for putting your research into context.

Facebook Wall RSS​ Feed

To simplify things, you can get Facebook Wall updates delivered to you as an RSS feed. Go to FBRSS.com and connect your Facebook account. Once hooked up, FBRSS will create RSS feed links for all the pages you Like and the people you follow. So all you have to do is add the feed to your RSS aggregator of choice and you’re set.

5. Collect Data Using Google Forms And Google+

One of the most obvious ways to get raw data on a topic is to ask the right people, and using a Google Form is an easy way to do so.  All you need is a Google account to create a form in Google Docs. After you’ve created your form, choose to receive responses directly within a Google spreadsheet and get your data in one place.

Sharing Forms on GooglePlus​

Then when it’s created and all set up, click on Send Form and send it out to your Google Plus network. Sharing the form with specific Google Plus circles and niche communities will give you highly targeted data.  

Using social media as a research tool is one of the most powerful ways to collect information. Just one single network can churn out some interesting data. Combine that with a productivity hack or two and your research job gets significantly easier.