Ginny Abushanab wrote to say she emails a monthly American Association of University Women newsletter, but that not all recipients can open the attached MSWord file. Ginny added that copying the document directly into an email badly distorts her formatting, and asked if I had any suggestions.
Well, most computer users do have MSWord, but some have other programs such as WordPerfect or the MSWorks word processor. Nonetheless, WordPerfect users can open MSWord documents by clicking File>Open and choosing MSWord from the "File Type" list. MSWorks users will choose MSWord from "Files of Type."
Furthermore, users of the free
OpenOffice word processor or Google's free online
Docs & Spreadsheets programs
can open MSWord Files. Also, WordPad (which comes with all versions of Windows) can open most MSWord files. Finally, a free "MSWord Reader" can be downloaded from www.microsoft.com.
Occasionally, MSWord files with very complex formatting — or that were created with an older or newer MSWord version than the vintage of a recipient's program — may not appear exactly as they were created, but the inconsistencies are usually negligible.
Another way to have documents open in a program other than the one in which they were created is to save them in "Rich Text Format." Do this by choosing RTF from the "Save as Type" or "File Type" menu. RTF files are compatible with all word processors.
However, if a newsletter is created with relatively simple formatting, just putting it directly into an e-mail is usually the best way to ensure legibility for all recipients.
Back to Ginny's newsletter, I think the subject of the April 21, 2007 presentation in Escondido scheduled by Andrea Bell, Ph.D., "Everyone Has a Story — Writing One’s Memoir" should be of interest to most computer users.
Back when writing was done with pen or pencil, or even with a typewriter, producing a memoir could be a formidable task. Today's word processing technology makes writing a story wonderfully easy — complete with built-in spelling and grammar checking. In fact, it seems almost incomprehensible that in 1980 businesses paid $7,500 for stand-alone word processing machines, such as the
Wangwriter from Wang Laboratories, Inc.
As for your story, you can have it made into a book by a "vanity publisher" or a "print on demand" publisher, who can produce as few as one or two copies for you.
You can also tell your story online by creating a Web site. Most ISPs, such as
www.cox.net offer subscribers free personal sites, complete with helpful templates which make creating a home page relatively simple. What's even easier is to post your story on one of the many "social networking" sites, such as MSN or Yahoo Groups.
One of the advantages of cyber over print biographies is that your story can contain links to other Web pages which may be pertinent to your story. However, many books are still being read centuries after they were first printed. You might consider both platforms.
And if you're not a latent Mark Twain, I have a friend who is a great ghostwriter.
Blurb about William Hammett (Billy) to be filled in here...
© - Donald Ray Edrington - 2007 - All Rights Reserved
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