The Best Tricks and Shortcuts for Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word has become synonymous with document creation in businesses, schools and pretty much anywhere that wants to create electronic text documents. Despite more than one billion users worldwide, several of its most useful productivity features are still unknown to the average consumer. Here are some ways to utilize functions like Find and Replace and Track Changes to expedite and simplify your writing tasks.

Writing Outside the Box

Not all of your documents are simple line-by-line writing, and even the ones that are might require a bit of unique formatting. We’ve all wrestled with text boxes, customized margins, and indents, but did you know that you can write anywhere on a Word document simply by double clicking wherever you’d like to insert your text? No more counting how many times you pressed the spacebar, no more spending 10 minutes formatting your text box, just double click and start typing.

Customize your AutoCorrect

No matter how often or how much we write every day, there are still words, phrases, and special characters that we can’t seem to master. Increase your typing speed by personalizing AutoCorrect to fix your commonly misspelled words without prompting you. Most of these are preprogrammed into Word (pretty much any ‘i’ before ‘e’ mixup), but customizing your own settings can solve issues like accented letters that are missing from your keyboard, or replacing short abbreviations with verbose technical terms. Just go to the File menu, click on Options, select the Proofing tab and click on the AutoCorrect options to explore all of your options.

Apply Document Formatting to Pasted Text

No matter how original your content is, there will always be reasons to copy from an outside source and paste to your own. You may need a quote, a piece of data or just an outside voice to your writing. When using the copy and paste function, you may need to remove formatting carried over from the original source. Although the icons and interface of this feature have changed throughout different versions of Word, Microsoft has been careful to always leave it as an option for users. Simply adding the Windows key to your copy shortcut (Ctrl+Windows Key+V) will integrate the copied material into your content. Default paste options can be further customized in the Options menu.

Collaborate with Review tab features

After the content has been written, you may want to invite others to edit your document with Microsoft’s Track Changes function. Once selected, anything altered in the content will be timestamped, highlighted, and underlined in a color that changes in accordance with each editor. This allows you to see the original text along with suggested edits from colleagues. If an edit seems too drastic or risky, users have the option to leave comments or suggestions attached to the document, like a virtual sticky note. After the collaborative process is over, changes can be accepted or rejected individually, or en masse. All of these features can be found under the Review tab along the top of the screen.

Find and Replace

Most users know about using the Ctrl+F shortcut to find text in their documents, but not as many are aware of the Replace function. There are several hypothetical situations when you may need to replace several uses of an incorrect word or phrase. In a technical document you may realize late in the writing phase that you’ve misused a term, or in a marketing piece you may decide to change the name of a product or service; regardless, there is a simple one-step solution. After opening the Find window, simply click on the Replace tab and type the original word or phrase into the top field and the corrected word or phrase into the bottom field. From there you can choose to automatically replace all instances, or review them one by one. In addition to using this trick to fix errors, you can also use it as a shortcut to typing difficult and complex phrases by initially writing a shortened version and replacing it with the full phrase after you’ve finished writing.

Undo and Redo

Almost everyone knows the shortcut for undoing nearly any action in Microsoft Office – Ctrl+Z. Far fewer people know, and actively employ, the redo shortcut. This is a quick solution for viewing and comparing different formatting and layout options, and with a tracking history of 100 actions you’re pretty safe from changing so much that you can’t return to where you started.

Microsoft Word is one of the most universal document editing programs in the world. Don’t let creative, design, and formatting speed bumps slow the development of your content when there are existing solutions tucked just a few menus away. An up-to-date understanding of Word and its functions can drastically alleviate the headaches of editing and formatting your files. If you’d like to know more about Word and other Microsoft Office products, shoot us an email.

Image Uploader Security Flaw Discovered

Unfortunately, we’re confronted with new web security threats every day, and today is no different. Experts have exposed a flaw in ImageMagick, one of the internet’s most commonly used image processors, that could put your site in harm’s way. By learning more about this vulnerability you’ll take the first step toward better protecting your content.

What is ImageMagick?

ImageMagick is a tool that allows sites to easily crop, resize, and store images uploaded by third parties. Vendors continue to improve user interfaces and experiences by consolidating functions into all-in-one packages, which means administrators are becoming increasingly unaware of what specific services they are actually utilizing. ImageMagick is deeply integrated into countless web services and many webmasters may not even be aware they are using this unsafe software.

How Can an Image Make My Site Vulnerable?
Recently, it was discovered that images can be uploaded that force ImageMagick into executing commands and permitting attackers to remotely insert harmful code into vulnerable sites. Images are actually made up of complex code that is translated into photos, icons, etc. Different file extensions use what are called “Magic Numbers” to define their file types. Manipulating these numbers allows attackers to exploit a flaw in ImageMagick. The service scans the uploaded file and attempts to decode the source information whenever it detects the file is not what it claims to be. Scanning that code and attempting to rectify the file misappropriation can then trigger whatever was hidden inside the image and result in remote command of your site.

How Should I Protect My Site?
ImageMagick has admitted knowledge of the security flaw and promised to release a patch very soon. Until then, experts advise implementing multiple workarounds to keep your systems safe. However, if you’re not well acquainted with your web server and its code, then it’s wise to consult an expert instead of attempting these changes on your own.

For those who are familiar, follow these steps:

The first is to temporarily incorporate lines of code that preemptively block attackers from exploiting these holes. Those lines of code, and where to insert them, can be found here.

The next step is double checking that any image files utilizing the ImageMagick service aren’t hiding any harmful information. This can be accomplished by opening an image file with a text editor, and checking for a specific set of letters and numbers at the beginning of the text that define what type it is. The list of these “Magic Numbers” can be found here, and will reveal if an image is hiding its true purpose. Ideally, administrators will halt all image processing via ImageMagick until a patch is released from the developers.

Data security is one of the most crucial aspects of any SMB, however, keeping up with the constant flow of security exploits and patches can be overwhelming for administrators of any ability level. Why not contact us at 800-421-7541 to learn more about keeping your network secure and protected from exploits like this one?

Build Your Workforce Using Human Cloud

If the classic image of a startup was a couple of guys in a garage (think of Amazon, Apple, Disney), the emerging picture is a workforce of cloud collaborators using desired skills to deliver on your white-collar piecework. By eliminating barriers associated with traditional workspaces, the human cloud offers cost-effective solutions that may be a win-win for both employers and employees. Let’s take a look at how this platform is revolutionizing the modern workplace and what benefits are gained from having virtual workers.

Foundr Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Nathan Chan was sick and tired of hearing about how entrepreneurs were killing it in life and business. He set out with ‘a passion project’ that led him to interview some of the most influential entrepreneurs around the world, and shared his findings through a cool monthly digital publication known as Foundr Magazine. For Nathan, the launch of this successful project would not have been possible if it wasn’t for a human cloud service like Elance, which allowed him to leverage overseas talent and build a solid team of graphic designers, audio/video editors, and writers. All tasks and projects for each issue of his magazine are run via the platform, which conveniently auto direct debits and pays for his contractors.

Just like Nathan Chan, business owners are beginning to shift their labor demands from local to global. According to an online survey by Wrike, a social project management platform provider, close to 44% of business owners are already predicting a rapid shift to distributed teams in their companies. For them, technology can make their virtual workers just as efficient as if they were collaborating in one office. Remote collaboration via the the human cloud is indeed a game changer that benefits companies such as startups who are inclined to spend fewer resources to build their business infrastructure. Before we get into these advantages, let’s acquaint ourselves briefly with the human cloud paradigm.

What is the “Human Cloud”?

For those who are already familiar with cloud technology and services, you may know that the modern workforce no longer has to be tied to a physical office. Gone are the days of commuting and trudging along with the herds to get to cube farms or bullpens, which some employees may regard as productivity-fighting and soul-killing places.

In the new world of the human cloud, work is a digital cloud space where staff perform white-collar tasks from any location and on any device. Collaboration, file sharing, or discussions on projects are done effortlessly and efficiently in a flexible and productive manner, rewarding team members solely for their output — regardless of their location, education, gender, or race. For employers, it’s not hard to see the promise of the human cloud as a greater and more visible assurance of on-demand worker supply. Although having a virtual workforce has a few challenges, knowing how to overcome them can yield great benefits for small firms, SMBs, and particularly, startups.

Benefits of Hiring on the Human Cloud

Low cost. The human cloud eliminates time and money wasted on traditional employment processes. Hiring is fast and easy; you pay for the skills you need on a transactional basis — as opposed to paying a high monthly wage on physically hired talent who may have too much idle time. No overhead. Hiring on the human cloud requires no overhead for office space, thereby enabling firms to stay lean and profit-focused. By becoming “virtual”, teams can work independently from their homes or coffee shops. Get skills on-demand. Employers can contract for micro tasks such as copying text from business cards to larger tasks like selling products for a fee. Others may benefit from human cloud talent sourcing for more complex project work such as software design and programming. Global talent pool. Today, every organization or startup can be ‘multinational’, i.e., they are no longer limited by geography in finding key talent with specialized skills. A good idea can come from just about anywhere and can be performed and delivered from anywhere. Easy collaboration. Using an online platform gives SMBs the ability to manage projects through virtual workrooms. Wrike’s survey revealed that to a significant extent, collaboration software is important and even mission-critical for remote teams to work efficiently.

As more startups and SMBs become familiar (and comfortable) with the advantages of human cloud, the future of work means that location is not the most important factor in determining who will contribute to your business’s success. A worldwide network of online contractors is now ready to serve you with the qualifications, skill sets, and shared enthusiasm you seek to turn ideas into valuable products or services. For more information on how to leverage cloud technologies or collaboration software, please get in touch with any of our cloud specialists by calling 800-421-7151.

Server Administration 101: Temperature

In this day and age almost every business employs some type of server management. If yours is hosted locally, temperature management could mean the difference between running smoothly and running into the ground. Understanding how to properly cool your servers prevents data loss and ensures the longevity of your hardware’s life.

How Does Temperature Affect My Servers?

Extreme temperature in server hardware can result in different forms of damage. Most SMBs see total failure as the most concerning outcome. A server that completely crashes for any reason results in costly data loss and service interruptions, but the unbiased advisory organization Uptime Institute warns about overheating that doesn’t result in total failure. Every 18 degrees higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, hardware reliability decreases by 50%. This decrease in reliability can be just as, if not more, expensive for your hardware budget in the long run.
Cooling methods can’t just be implemented and forgotten, they must be closely monitored to ensure the health of your server hardware–both short and long term. Options for temperature management range from simple low-budget solutions to expensive outsourced alternatives; determining your server management budget will greatly depend on what types of methods you intend to implement at your firm.

Cooling Methods

Which system you use to cool your server largely depends on how much power your hardware is using. The higher the watt, the harder it’s working. It will be easier to determine the scope of your temperature management needs when you have a thorough understanding of your power consumption.
PCWorld advises that simple conduction management is adequate for any equipment operating at less than 400 watts. This means simple solutions like positioning your server away from walls, low ceilings, cable clusters and anything else that can block hot air from dissipating naturally.

For watts between 400 and 2,000, strategic ventilation becomes a necessity. Adding passive ventilation is viable up to 700 watts, but fan assisted ventilation will be required above that up to 2,000 watts. With the increased power consumption, temperatures will rise and air movement needs to be more closely managed. At this stage simple vent and oscillating fans will suffice.

Anything higher than 2,000 watts needs to utilize dedicated cooling solutions. This means air-cooled units to actively reduce server room temperature. Depending on the size and arrangement of the space, a simple self-contained unit may be enough to reduce rising temperatures back into acceptable ranges. However, if you’re not sure, you should schedule a consultation with a trusted vendor to consider more drastic cooling and monitoring methods.

Keeping your servers running at ideal temperatures means smoother data operations, lower hardware budgets, and one less thing to worry about at your firm. As your business continues to grow and develop, keep close tabs on increasing server loads; it could save you from a devastating data loss. We always recommend at backup solution as well, which we offer. If you’d like more detailed advice about server management or have any other questions about your hardware setup, contact us today at 800-421-7151.

Will Microsoft’s New App Strategy Work?

Apps. We need them for entertainment, organization, and for work. In the 21st century, more businesses need more apps to stay ahead of the competition. As iOS and Android phones continue to dominate the market with popular apps, the lack of services available for Windows phones put Microsoft in a tough spot. Here is a quick rundown of the problem facing Windows smartphones today and what they’re planning to do to fix it.

The Problem

Since its release, Windows 10 Mobile has not been getting as much traction as Microsoft had hoped. One of the biggest factors to this is due to Windows 10 Mobile struggling to get popular apps like Instagram or Snapchat onto their platform. This would mean that customers would have to settle for third-party services that were usually quite obscure and had a higher chance of shutting down since developers cannot maintain the app running for long without proper funding.
Furthermore, because of such a small market for Windows 10 phones, fewer apps were being developed. No app creator was going to spend time making an app for a platform that is constantly overshadowed by iOS or Android devices. The only thing the Windows 10 Mobile had going for it was its lower price point, but with barely any apps to make the entire device worthwhile, customers were going elsewhere for more popular alternatives.

The Solutions

So clearly Microsoft needed to reevaluate their strategy to get people’s heads turning back to their devices. In pursuit of a larger user base for Windows phones, here are some of the features that Microsoft are planning to deploy:

Cross compatibility apps: In order to get on the same playing field Microsoft has been trying to make apps that were only available on iOS and Android compatible with Windows devices.

Universal Windows Platform: Microsoft’s best solution for a lack of apps on the Windows 10 Mobile is to allow apps to run in several platforms. This means apps that were initially developed for PC, Xbox and Internet of Things (IoT) powered devices can also run on your phone. Instead of getting limited services from one device, you have access to all the apps available for any Windows 10 product.

Will this work?
We’re still uncertain if these strategies will make you want to run out to the nearest store and pick up the newest Windows Phone model, but it seems promising. Companies like Apple and Google have not been successful in unifying their apps for different devices. However, Microsoft’s large PC customer base and available apps can hopefully change that. It also gives Windows phones a unique selling point, other than their competitive pricing, which is sure to attract some customers.

These days, users are working with more than one device at any given time and as we begin to lose track of all the apps installed on our devices, a unified app platform can be just what we need for the future. So do you think you’ll be picking up a Windows phone anytime soon?

Want to stay up to date with the latest developments from Microsoft? Contact us today at 800-421-7151.

4 El Capitan Problems and How to Fix Them

El Capitan has been a popular update for those using Mac computers. However, that’s not to say Apple’s latest OS is without its problems. If you’ve been using El Capitan for a while now, you may have bumped into a few pesky issues. Here are some of the most common ones and the solutions you need to fix them.

Application Freeze

Worse than a brain freeze from a slushy, application freezes on your OS oftentimes last much longer and leave you frustrated watching the pinwheel of death spin on and on. For those once-PC users who’ve made the transition to Mac, your tried and true solution of pressing Control-Alt-Delete unfortunately doesn’t apply here. Instead, you can try these two options when an app freezes.

Press and hold command > option, then hover over the problem-application on the dock, and hold down the left button on your mouse. Now navigate to Force Quit in the box that appears, and release your finger from the mouse.

If you can’t access the dock, then press and hold command > option, then tap the escape key. A menu with the option to Force Quit any app that’s running will appear. Simply select the app you’d like to quit and click Force Quit.

Mac is Running Slow

Almost every Mac user’s system starts to run slow at some point in time. While sometimes you can just be patient and the problem will correct itself on its own, other times the slowness becomes a consistent nuisance at which point it’s time to look closer at the issue. Usually the culprit has to do with the memory, which means you should check which applications or processes are using most of it. This is where the Activity Monitor comes in handy.
To find the Activity Monitor click on Finder > Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor. Alternatively you can simply search for it with the Spotlight tool.

Once you’ve opened Activity Monitor, click on Memory. To see which applications are eating most of it, make sure the arrow next to Memory is pointed downward. Doing this will display apps in order from highest memory consumers at the top to lowest at the bottom. Now that you can easily see the biggest memory hogs, consider closing these apps.

Printing Problems

No one likes waiting on an unresponsive printer. So if your printer is slow to respond or completely unresponsive, go to System Preferences > Printers & Scanners and select Print. Then press and hold ctrl, click on the problem printer and then Reset printing system. After you’ve done this, restart your Mac and Printer.

Slow Spotlight Functionality

As handy as Spotlight is, some users have experienced a slowdown in the application after updating to El Capitan. One way to resolve this issue is to simply be patient, because as usual the app just needs some time to do its job. However, if you’re in a rush or the slowdown is a persistent problem, you can take matters into your own hands. Click System Preferences > Spotlight > Search Results, and then narrow down the areas Spotlight searches by unchecking them. For example, if there’s no need for Spotlight to check the thousands of images stored on your hard drive, simply uncheck Images.

These four tips should help you resolve some common El Capitan issues that are known to give users headaches. If you’d like to learn more about optimizing your Mac OS or any of your other Apple products, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

10 Things You Must Do Now to Prevent a Costly Data Disaster

When it comes to Internet abuse by employees, in less than 60 seconds, you are about to learn 10 things that could save you days – or even weeks – of downtime, not to mention the undue stress on your company, and potentially thousands of dollars lost, due to a data disaster…

Use this article as your checklist in a conversation with your IT company to assure that your business has the right plan in place to get back up and running quickly if and when disaster strikes.

Keep a written plan. Simply thinking through in ADVANCE what needs to happen when things go south on you, and documenting it, can go a long way toward getting your network back up and running quickly if it gets hacked, flooded or compromised by human error or equipment failure.



Outline the types of disasters that could happen, and a step-by-step recovery process. Be sure to include a budget, what to do, who should do it and how. Store printed copies along with key contact information and login details for essential websites 1) in a fireproof safe, 2) off-site at your home, 3) at each key employee’s home and 4) with your IT consultant.


Hire a trusted professional to help you.
Trying to recover data after a disaster without professional help is business suicide. One misstep can result in weeks of downtime, or permanent data loss. To improve your odds of a quick recovery, work with a pro who has experience in both setting up your plan and helping you recover when a loss occurs. 


Have a communications plan.
What if your employees can’t access your office, e-mail or phone system – how should they communicate with you? Make sure your plan details the alternatives, including MULTIPLE ways to stay in touch.


Automate your backups.
THE #1 cause of data loss is human error. If your backup system depends on a human being doing something, it’s a recipe for disaster. ALWAYS automate your backups so they run like clockwork.


Keep an off-site backup copy of your data.
On-site backups are a good first step, but if they get flooded, burned or hacked along with your server, you’re out of luck. ALWAYS maintain a recent copy of your data off-site.

Be able to access and manage your network remotely.
You and your staff will be able to keep working if they can’t get into your office. Your IT manager or consultant can quickly handle an emergency or routine maintenance. And you’ll love the convenience!

Image your server. Storing your data off-site is great – but bear in mind, if your system goes down, the software and architecture that handles all that data must be RESTORED for it to be of any use. Imaging your server creates a replica of the original, saving you an enormous amount of time and energy in getting your network back in gear. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about losing your preferences, configurations or favorites.


Document your network.
Network documentation is simply a blueprint of the software, data, systems and hardware that comprise your company’s network. Let your IT manager or consultant create this for you. It’ll save you time and money in the event your network needs to be restored. 



It also speeds up everyday repairs and maintenance on your network when technicians don’t have to waste time figuring out where things are and how they’re configured. Plus, it may help with insurance claims in the event of losses due to a disaster.

Maintain your system. While fires, flooding and other natural disasters are certainly a risk, it’s ever more likely that you’ll experience downtime due to a virus, worm or hacker attack. That’s why it’s critical to keep your network patched, secure and up-to-date. And don’t forget: deteriorating hardware and corrupted software can wipe you out. Replace and update them as needed to steer clear of this threat. 


Test, test, test!
If you’re going to go to the trouble of setting up a plan, at least make sure it works! Hire an IT pro to test monthly to make sure your systems work properly and your data is secure. After all, the worst time to test your parachute is AFTER you jump out of the plane.

Need help getting this implemented? Contact us by May 31 at 800-421-7151 or info@wamsinc.com for a FREE Backup And Disaster Recovery Audit.

4 Different Types of Hackers

Hackers come in all shapes and sizes. From kids trying to gain notoriety on the Internet to political groups trying to send a message, the motives for a cyber attack vary widely. So how can you protect yourself? It all starts with getting to know your enemy a little better. Here’s a profile of four different types of hackers.

“Script Kiddies”

When it comes to skill level, Script Kiddies are at the bottom of the totem pole and often use scripts or other automated tools they did not write themselves – hence the name. With only an elementary level of technical knowhow, Script Kiddies usually don’t cause much damage…usually. The Script Kiddy virus known as the Love Bug which sent out an email with the subject-line “I LOVE YOU” fooled millions of people, including some in the Pentagon, in the early 2000’s. The virus reportedly caused around $10 billion in lost productivity and digital damage.
So who is a Script Kiddie? Most of the time they’re simply bored youth looking for a thrill or notoriety. Many never evolve into a full-time hacker, and instead just use their skills as a hobby. Oddly enough, many Script Kiddies find a career later on working in the security industry.

“Hacktivist”

If you’ve heard of Anonymous, LulzSec or AntiSec, then you’re familiar with Hacktivists. These groups are made up of members of varying skill levels, all the way from Script Kiddies to some of the most talented hackers in the world. Their mission is largely politically motivated as they aim to embarrass their targets or disrupt their operations, whether that be a business or government body. Two of the most common ways they attack their target are by stealing sensitive information and exposing it or denial of service (DDoS) where a server is overloaded till it finally crashes.

As a small or medium-sized business owner you are not necessarily immune to Hacktivist disruption. If your business or a company you’re associated/partnered with participates or provides services that can be seen as unethical, such as Ashley Madison (who fell victim of a major Hacktivist attack last year), then you too may be targeted by Hacktivists.

“Cyber Criminals”

Often talked about in the media and well-known by most SMBs, cyber criminals are after one thing: money. Their targets run the gamut, including everyone from individuals to small businesses to large enterprises and banks. But what do these targets usually have in common? They either have a very valuable resource to steal or their security is easy to exploit…or a combination of both of these. Cyber criminals can attack in a number of ways including using social engineering to trick users into providing sensitive information, infecting an organization/individual with ransomware or another form or malware, or exploiting weaknesses in a network.

“Insiders”

Perhaps the scariest type of hackers are the ones that lurk within your own organization. Insiders are made up of disgruntled employees, whistleblowers, or contractors. Oftentimes their mission is payback; they want to right a wrong they believe a company has perpetrated toward them, so they’ll steal sensitive documents or try to disrupt the organization somehow. Edward Snowden is a prime example of an insider who hacked his own organization – the US government.

Now that you know what motivates your enemy, you’ll hopefully have a bit of an idea as to whether or not you’re a target. To learn more about how to secure your business from these types of hackers, get in touch with our experts today at (800)421-1624.