Friday, July 24, 2009

Echoes from the Computer Room

Now I'm back in business its time to get my posting back on again.

For those of you that may not know I am tier 1 support for a bank (meaning when bank employees call for help I'm the first response) and working support in nearly any field means you're gonna get calls that just make you I had such a call today that actually encompasses all those words and after spending a few minutes thinking about it and nearly getting angry with the person I reminded myself of the thing that keeps me grounded sometimes and prevents me from flying off the handle.

"Everyone has their specialty so what may be common knowledge to one person may stump another person who doesn't know that field."

Well after thinking about that and doing the bit of blog checking that I can from work I decided that instead of just realizing that I can try to do a bit to share my common knowledge with those who may get stumped on it. So this will be the first entry in an occasional series in which I will describe a help desk call (with no names of course) that I've gotten in which the solution is often something very simple (well to me anyway). So on with it.

Earlier this afternoon I had a call from someone in one of our branch offices reporting that when she tried to open her Microsoft Excel documents she was getting a preview screen with odd gibberish and junk characters. She found this odd because this was happening when she opened the program and then went to "File" (menu across the top of the screen) then "Open" yet when she went to her My Documents folder and double clicking an Excel file it would open just fine.

Solution: "the program" she was opening was not Excel but Word. She was opening Word and then trying to open Excel documents. This is not going to work because despite Excel and Word both being Microsoft products the files you create and edit in those programs are entirely different formats and are not compatible, meanig that you cannot open Excel files in Word and vice versa. The reason it was happening and she didn't notice the difference was because when she went to open a file in Word she had the "File Types" (after hitting "File" then "Open", "File Types" will be at the bottom of the small window that opens up) set to "All Files". This means that all the files in her My Documents folder were showing up as if they could be opened in Word regardless of format. Changing this back to "Excel Files" set so that only Excel format file would show when she went to open a file.

So the small tip here is to make sure that when you are in a program and trying to open a file make sure you looking for the correct format.

Since I'm going to try to limit this to the simplest of things this series may be sporatic at best but I'll be making entries when I can.