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VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism

TECH TIPS
with Mary Lou McNatt

Learn tips and hints to use a variety of electronic and technical equipment to enhance work with volunteers.

Computer Image

~ April 2004 ~ Topics

Making Your Desktop a Powerful Tool

Being organized can be a great tool for your volunteer program. As for myself, it has been brought to my attention that possibly I take it to a degree that others might not. Based on those observations, I want to share with you some organizational tools to help make the Desktop on your computer more efficient and a powerful tool for your volunteer program.

Right after you turn on your computer, the first thing you see when you look at it is your computer screen. This is your computer Desktop. It may be a solid color or have Bill Gate's Windows Cloud picture... this is called "Wallpaper."

  • Arranging Your Icons

    As an organized person I can spend a lot of time just trying to make sure my Desktop is always looking its best and truly functionally for what I need to do. So I am constantly arranging the icons on my Desktop of my computer. The easiest way to arrange your icons and make sure they stay where you want to place them is to:

    • Go to your Desktop computer screen.
    • In Windows, right click with your mouse on any empty area of the Desktop.
    • When the menu pops up, check to make sure Auto Arrange is not checked. With Auto Arrange checked, you will find that all your icons become arranged in columns on the left-hand side of your Desktop no matter where you might try to move them. If it is checked you will not be able to place your icons wherever you choose. By simply clicking again on Auto Arrange you will undo that selection. Once the check mark for Auto Arrange has been cleared, you can then move your Desktop icons to wherever you want on your screen.
Now you can organize access to your most frequently programs in one spot and access to most frequently used files in another and they will stay there until you decide to move them.
  • Creating Shortcuts

    There are certain files and applications that you use more than others. In Windows, you can create a shortcut on your Desktop for quick access to these files and applications. As with most things in Windows, there are a number of different ways to create a shortcut. Two ways you can do this are:

    • Open Windows Explorer and locate the program or file you want to create a shortcut for.
    • Single-click on the program or file you want.
    • Press and hold down Shift and Ctrl at the same time.
    • Keep Shift and Ctrl held down while dragging the program or file icon to the Desktop or to a folder.
    • While dragging the file or program to your Desktop you should notice a little curled arrow appear. That indicates a shortcut. Release and the shortcut appears.
      or you can......
    • Right click with your mouse on the program or file you want.
    • While holding the mouse button down drag the file or program icon to the Desktop.
    • Release the mouse button and choose Create Shortcut from the drop down menu. This will place a shortcut in the same directory where your program or file lives.

Now you can skip going to the Start Menu or searching for a program or file and have access to it right from the Desktop!



Marketing Your Program From Your Desktop

Have you ever walked into someone's office or cubicle and were taken back by what is showing on their computer? The computer is one piece of equipment that everyone happens to notice, especially if they become entranced with your computer's Wallpaper. If that is the case, then why not use this simple tool to market your volunteer program, whether it be to outside guests, volunteers in-house or fellow staff members?

This is actually a very easy process and can be a new marketing tool for you.

There are several different ways that you can change the Wallpaper on your computer. A good set of instructions that cover various options based on your type of computer can be found at the Family Internet at: http://familyinternet.about.com/cs/wallpaper1/l/blwallpaper.htm.

What an extra special place to highlight your program and your volunteers. People are bound to want to know the story behind the picture. Why not try this tool to share your program and its volunteers with others? See what types of responses it brings.

Screen savers can be a bit more complicated and we'll check out the process and share that with you at a later time.

Group of Kids Photo


Mary Lou McNatt has many years of experience working with volunteer programs, advancing our profession and has a passion for introducing the advantages of technology to volunteer programs. She was instrumental in obtaining Ivan Scheier’s body of work on volunteerism and putting it online. She can be reached at mlmcnatt@indra.com.

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