Technology Q&A


Key to Instructions
To help readers follow the instructions in this article, we used two different typefaces:
Boldface type is used to identify the names of icons, agendas and URLs.
Sans serif type shows commands and instructions users should type into the computer and the names of files.
Q. I want to place a footer that includes the file name and path on most of my Excel workbooks. What’s the easiest way to do that?

A. I would suggest you create a default template that generates a custom-formatted workbook every time you open a new Excel file. But since you don’t want to customize all your workbooks, you can create a template that you can call up selectively. I’ll take you through both processes.

First let’s tackle the default template. Deep within Windows is an XLStart folder. To find it, evoke Find in Explorer and search for XLStart (see screenshot below). Note the location.

Now create an Excel file to be the model for the template with the footer. Open a new Excel workbook and click on File , Page Setup and the Header/Footer tab. Then click on Custom Footer (or Custom Header if you want headers) and choose whether you want the footer on the left, right or center by placing your cursor in one of those locations (as shown in the screenshot below) and then click on the folder icon. Finish by clicking on OK .

Now that we have a model for the template, save it in the XLStart folder by clicking on File and Save As , making sure to select Template (*.xlt) as the type of file (see screenshot below). Click on Save .

That takes care of your immediate goal: to have the default format include the path and file name in the footer of your workbook. Now we’ll create a template without the path and file name.

Once again open a new workbook. If we were successful in getting Excel to default to a workbook with the path and file name, we will have to remove the footer for the new template. Click on File , Page Setup and the Custom Footer tab and erase &[Path]&[File] . Save the file as a template (*.xlt) but this time give it a descriptive name such as No Footer.xlt and click on Save .

Now when you want a workbook with the path and file name as a footer, simply open a new file. If you don’t want a footer, open Excel and click on New . On the left side of the screen, the New Workbook screen will open (see screenshot).

Under Templates , click on the Excel icon that’s next to On my computer and then on your No Footer.xlt icon and the template will appear. Click on it and you’re in business.

Q. I confess: I tinker with the buttons on my computer. Sometimes I tinker with the wrong ones and create problems. That’s how I lost my beloved Quick Launch Taskbar , and I’m handicapped without it. Can you figure out how I lost it and how I get it back?

A. TJoin the club. I also like to tinker. I find it’s often a good way to learn. I can easily guess what you did because there’s just one way to hide the Quick Launch Taskbar (see screenshot below).

You must have right-clicked on an empty space in the toolbar (the entire bar across the bottom of the screen) and then clicked on Toolbars , which evoked this screen:

And finally you must have unchecked Quick Launch . So just check it.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, Quick Launch is the superfast tool to launch applications no matter what’s open or what you’re doing on the computer because it always shows on the screen. Any time you want to insert an application’s icon so it’s always available in the toolbar, just drag it onto it.

Q. I finally retired a clunker of a computer that ran on Windows 98. But old as it was, it could remember my folder settings in Explorer. Now that I’m using Windows XP, I can’t get Explorer to remember some settings. When I click on the button that commands Excel to remember them it recognizes only some of the settings. What’s the deal?

A. I’ve also struggled with this. I’m sorry to say I don’t have all good news to report. But first, here’s some background.

Explorer gives you the ability to custom-format its appearance and, theoretically at least, to instruct it to remember your last settings when you reopen it. To find the button that issues that order, open Explorer and click on Tools , Folder Options and View . Then, under Advanced settings , you have a long list of options (see screenshot below) to choose from. Notice I have checks next to Remember each folder’s view settings and Restore previous folder windows at logon . Either one should restore the view, but neither does.

For example, you have the choice of showing some files as thumbnails, tiles, icons, a list or details.

Generally I show them as a list to save space. But I also like the folders in one column and files in the other for easy access (see screenshot below), so I click on Folders in the toolbar.

Explorer remembers to display the files as a list, but the Folder command has amnesia. No matter how often I place a check next to Remember each Folder’s view settings , Explorer displays just the one column of folders.

Now, for the bad news. This amnesia in Explorer goes back at least to Windows 95 and none of the upgrades has cured it. From time to time people have suggested performing “surgery” in the Register. I’ve tried a few of these remedies, but none worked. If I find one that does I’ll be sure to share it. In the meantime I’d be happy to hear any solutions readers have discovered. E-mail me at .

There is some good news, too. I did an Internet search for a utility to replace the underpowered Explorer and found quite a few. The one that captured my heart is FileAnt ( ). In addition to being free, FileAnt can be arranged in multiple configurations and is far more versatile than Explorer. It even remembers its settings from session to session. The screenshot below shows FileAnt formatted in three columns: One shows my folders and the other two display the files in two different directories.


Q. Excuse me while I date myself: Remember when we could print the contents of a directory—oops, I mean folder? It was very handy when assigning tasks, deciding which files to keep or keeping track of updates; in other words, it was invaluable for managing documents.

A. I remember it well—and as it turns out we’re not alone. There’s a market for third-party software to perform some of the functions that were lost with each Windows upgrade. Most vendors charge, but there is one free product ( ) that can print out the contents of a folder (see screenshot below).

Built into the program are several other functions. It can shred (completely destroy) or encrypt a file, copy the path of selected folders or files, quickly and easily rename multiple files in multiple folders or copy selected files in the same directory.

STANLEY ZAROWIN, a former JofA senior editor, is now a contributing editor to the magazine. His e-mail address is .

Do you have technology questions for this column? Or, after reading an answer, do you have a better solution? Send them to contributing editor Stanley Zarowin via e-mail at or regular mail at the Journal of Accountancy , 201 Plaza Three, Harborside Financial Center, Jersey City, NJ 07311-3881.

Because of the volume of mail, we regret we cannot individually answer submitted questions. However, if a reader’s question has broad interest, we will answer it in a Technology Q&A column.

On occasion you may find you cannot implement a function I describe in this column. More often than not it’s because not all functions work in every operating system or application. I try to test everything in the 2000 and XP editions of Windows and Office. It’s virtually impossible to test them in all editions and it’s equally difficult to find out which editions are incompatible with a function. I apologize for the inconvenience.


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