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How to Delete a Gmail Account

Maybe you have one Gmail account too many, or tried it out and prefer the service you were using before, or maybe you’re ready to ditch email altogether. If so – Good luck with that one!

The process isn’t hard. You’ll just be asked to click numerous times, of course, and for your password, too. Still, closing your Gmail account and deleting the mail in it is a pretty straightforward a task.

Here’s what to do to cancel a Gmail account and delete the associated Gmail address:

2. Select Delete your account or services under Account preferences.

 

3. Click Delete Products.

 

TIP: You can also choose Delete Google Account and Data to remove your entire Google account (including your search history, Google Docs, AdWords and AdSense as well as other Google services.

4. Select the Gmail account you want to delete.

5. Type the password to the account over Enter your password.

6. Click Next.

7. Click the trashcan icon (🗑) next to Gmail.

NOTE: Follow the Download Data link for a chance to download a full copy of your Gmail messages via Google takeout.

TIP: You can also copy your email to another Gmail account, possibly a new Gmail address.

 

8. Enter an email address different from the address associated with the Gmail account you are closing under Enter an email address in the How you’ll sign in to Google dialog box.

NOTE: Gmail may already have entered the secondary address you used when creating the Gmail account. The alternative email address you enter here becomes your new Google account username.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you enter an email address to which you have access. You need the email address to complete deleting your Gmail account.

9. ClicSend Verification Email.

10. Open the email from Google (no-reply@accounts.google.com) with the subject “Security alert for your linked Google account” or “Gmail Deletion Confirmation”.

11. Follow the deletion link in the message.

12. If prompted, log in to the Gmail account you are deleting.

13. Under Confirm Gmail Deletion Select Yes, I want to delete example@gmail.com permanently from my Google Account.

14. Click Delete Gmail.

WARNING: YOU CANNOT UNDO THIS STEP! After you click this, your Gmail account and messages are gone.

15. Click Done.

What Happens to Emails in the Deleted Gmail Account?

The messages will be deleted permanently. You will no longer be able to access them in Gmail.

If you downloaded a copy, either using Google Takeout or using an email program, you can still use these messages, of course.

What Happens to Emails Sent to My Deleted Gmail Address?

People who mail your old Gmail address will receive back a delivery failure message. You might want to announce a new or alternate old address to the contacts you care most about.

Tschabitscher, Heinz. “How to Delete Your Gmail Account” Lifewire. November 2018

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How Does a VPN Protect You on Public Wi-Fi?

Public WiFi is an especially convenient choice for staying online all the time and is a great alternative to using up your mobile data. We can all agree that it’s great, but are you sure that this free WiFi hotspot you’re connected to right now is safe?

Please note that we strongly recommend that your FIRST and BEST choice is using your personal mobile hotspot!  However, if that is not possible it’s a good idea to know your options which are mentioned here in this article.

 

The main weakness of many free WiFi hotspots provided in coffee shops, airports, hotels, and other public places often lies in poor router configurations and even more frequently – in the absence of strong passwords. The lack of basic protection is precisely what makes WiFi users an easy prey for cybercriminals and other malicious actors that are always on the lookout for gaps in security they can exploit.

Having your credit card details stolen or becoming a victim of identity theft doesn’t sound fascinating, does it? But this is what may happen if you keep connecting your smartphone or laptop to random WiFi networks without taking necessary precautions to keep your data safe.

How and why can hackers attack WiFi networks?

There couldn’t be an easier target for hackers than free unprotected WiFi hotspots: they are super easy to compromise and yet very few people think twice before connecting to them. Once a criminal gets on the same network that you’re on, they can use various techniques to invade your privacy. Here are the most popular ones that require minimum skills and effort:

  • In an Evil Twin attack, cybercriminals use fake access points created to look like the real ones. For example, if a coffee shop provides a wireless guest network named “Espresso_Guest,” hackers could design a similar network of their own and call it “Espresso_Guest_FREE.” The trick is simple, yet effective: once you connect to the evil twin, all your communications become visible to the hacker behind it.
  • Malware injection. Malware is especially nasty – once it infects your device, it can damage or shut down the system, steal your bandwidth, or give cybercriminals complete freedom to access your personal files. As certain types of malware are created to work imperceptibly, it can be extremely difficult to detect and get rid of them. On an unsecured network, malicious code can slip into your device at any time – when buying flight tickets, or having some work done while sipping your morning espresso.
  • In a Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attack, the cybercriminal stands between your device and a website or service you are trying to access. This allows them to monitor your Internet traffic without you having a clue this is happening. From there, they can watch you typing your passwords, read confidential business emails, and even lure you into fake login pages to steal your banking credentials.
  • WiFi sniffing allows hackers to see all the data that is passing through the network. With the help of pretty basic software, which is easy enough to use and legal to get, they can spy on your browsing activities, see the login information that you type, and break into your online accounts to steal more sensitive data or money.

Securing public WiFi: Steps you need to take

Unfortunately, all of these tricks are easy for even an unseasoned hacker, so it’s extremely important to be aware of the possible threats and learn how to protect yourself. Do not forget basic precautions, because even the most advanced security tools won’t protect you 100%, especially if you tend to look for trouble yourself. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do on public WiFi:

  • Accept the fact that anyone can fall a victim of cybercrime. Too many people somehow still believe that they are not interesting enough to be hacked. Remember, that in the majority of cases, criminals are not interested in their targets. This is especially true when it comes to being hacked due to weak WiFi security: anyone who joins an unprotected network has equal chances to get their data compromised.
  • Disable automatic connections. This will prevent your device from automatically joining the networks you have previously connected to if you happen to be nearby but are not planning to use them.
  • Don’t just connect to any WiFi. If you see two similarly looking WiFi names, remember that one of them may be fake. Therefore, it’s better to double-check with a staff member before joining a free public network.
  • Don’t log into sensitive accounts: If you’re on public WiFi, perhaps the safest advice is to simply avoid going into your bank accounts and other sensitive accounts that would be most appealing for hackers. This may also include your work email and social networking sites, as people tend to share private information over these channels.
  • Turn off file sharing and check your firewall. Just to be safe, it’s always best to turn off file sharing on your computer while you’re on a public network. If you have this turned on at home, it will allow you to share files across your devices easily. However, that means it’s also easy to have them shared—without your knowing—on public WiFi, so remember to turn it off before you connect. And while you’re turning off the sharing option, go ahead and check that your firewall is turned on. An easy step, but a crucial one.
  • Get a reliable VPN. If you don’t fancy the idea of someone snooping on your online activities and using your sensitive data for their own benefit, buying yourself a reliable VPN is what you should be doing at this very moment.

You can stop a WiFi hacker with a VPN. Here’s how

VPN is by far the most robust protection you can get to protect your privacy and stay secure on public WiFi at the same time.

Contrary to what many people think, VPN is not rocket science, nor is it a geeky tool. It is a virtual private network, which sends your Internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel, making it extremely difficult to intercept or decipher. Once you have a VPN app on your phone, laptop, or tablet, all you have to do is connect to a remote VPN server, and you can join any wireless network without putting yourself at risk of becoming a hacking victim.

What’s more, VPN allows you to hide your location by replacing your IP address with the IP of their remote VPN server. Not only does this help to protect your identity from hackers, ISPs, and other snoopers, it also allows you to securely access restricted websites. This is particularly handy if you are traveling abroad and want to keep access to your favorite content and social media services.

With a VPN on, you can securely connect to public WiFi provided at your hotel room and enjoy all the entertainment you want as if you were at home.

How to choose the best VPN for WiFi security  – also check out: The Best VPN Services of 2018 by PC Magazine

With the Internet full of VPNs claiming to be the best for your privacy, you may feel a little confused which one to choose. Although getting a free VPN service may seem like a right choice, you may want to know that free VPN providers often make money by collecting and selling their customers’ data. Another disadvantage of such services is that they usually put monthly caps on users’ speed and bandwidth. Therefore, subscription VPN services are always a better option, because you know you get what you pay for.

Here’s what you get when you choose to protect your privacy with NordVPN:

  • Strong encryption is the first thing you want from your VPN. NordVPN secures your traffic with robust encryption, protecting your data from snoopers and hackers.
  • Even stronger encryption for the most security-focused. Use DoubleVPN to encrypt your communications twice.
  • The ultimate freedom of choice. Pick any of the 4500+ servers in 62 countries to enjoy private and secure browsing.
  • Protection against malicious threats. NordVPN’s CyberSec feature prevents you from visiting malicious sites. A nice bonus – due to this setup, fewer ads will disturb your browsing.
  • Support for up to 6 devices. With one account, you can secure all of your devices or share it with your family members.
  • No logs. We strictly keep no records of your activity online, so you can be sure none of your data is being shared with third parties.
  • Easy setup. Using NordVPN is as easy as preparing your morning coffee. No joke – simply download the app, set it up, pick a server and let NordVPN take care of the rest. Go ahead, try it now, and let us know how you like it.

Remember to always be careful on public WiFi. Hackers are hard workers too, so it’s best to remain vigilant.

Lewis Lambert Fox. “How does a VPN protect you on public Wi-Fi” Original content can be found https://nordvpn.com/blog/securing-public-wi-fi/ 2018 July

Lewis is a content writer at NordVPN and a true explorer when it comes to cyber-security. He’s always on a mission to examine the tech world through the lens of privacy and share his findings and useful tips with blog readers.


 

Please let us know if you have any questions about using Public Wi-Fi, Virtual Private Networks (VPN), or other ways to securely access your network remotely. We would be happy to answer any questions that you may have, and  discuss the right solution for your individual needs.

We can have one of our professional network engineers evaluate your needs, and identify any areas that can be improved.  Email us at support@trinityww.com or give us a call at 732-780-8615 to get more information, or to schedule an appointment with one of our trained professionals.

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12 Scams of Christmas: What to Look For and How to Avoid Them

At this busy time of year, you need to be especially vigilant to avoid bogus websites, fake emails, or phone calls that fraudsters set up to take advantage of you or otherwise steal your holiday cheer.

WASHINGTON – Consumers say they will spend an average of $1,007.24 during the holiday season this year, up 4.1 percent from the $967.13 they said they would spend last year, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.  As shoppers set records on spending Better Business Bureau® urges consumers to be prepared for scammers looking to take a bit of your holiday cheer.

BBB® shares the 12 Scams of Christmas and ways to avoid and identify them:

1.     Look-Alike Websites – Many consumers will see an increase in the number of email alerts announcing deals, gifts, and sales. While mailers can look legitimate, the links may lead to look-alike websites meant to trick you into entering private information or give scammers an opportunity to download malware onto your computer. To protect themselves, consumers should:

  • Review the sender’s address, as businesses will often send emails with a proprietary address, like @bbb.org;
  • Look for misspellings throughout the email;
  • Hover over links without clicking to see where they reroute;
  • Only enter sensitive information into a website that begins with “https” as the “s” informs you that it’s secure and information entered is encrypted.

2.     Social Media Gift Exchange – Purchasing one gift and receiving several in return may sound like a harmless way to give and receive presents, but this seasonal scam is a pyramid scheme, which is illegal.

3.     Grandparent Scams – Scammers target seniors posing as a grandchild or other family member and claim they have been in an accident, arrested, hospitalized or another urgent issue. The circumstance often requires money be sent immediately to resolve. Targets should:

  • Verify the situation by calling the family member in question directly;
  • Check with other family members to see if the claims are true;
  • Be wary if you’re asked to wire money or send gift cards in place of making a payment with a credit card.

4.     Temporary Holiday Jobs – Many businesses require a little extra help with the holiday rush and often seek temporary employees, but beware of fraudsters who attempt to glean personal information from applicants. Job seekers trying to avoid this scam should:

  • Apply for to the job in person or by going directly to the retailer’s website (not following links);
  • Be wary of anyone requiring you to hand over personal information over the phone or online before meeting for an interview;
  • Be suspicious of a job that requires you to pay for equipment or software upfront.

5.     Free Gift Cards – Who doesn’t love free stuff especially around the holidays? Scammers hope to take advantage of that fondness through phishing emails and pop-up ads offering gift cards. If you come across one of these offers you should not:

  • Open the email as it can be a phishing attempt but, if you do, don’t click the links. Instead, mark the email as SPAM or JUNK;
  • Share any personal information to receive the card as the scammers will use the information to steal your identity later;
  • Click the ad but close out of the app or program you are using, clear your history and turn on your ad blocker.

6.     E-Cards – Christmas cards are sent out this time of year and while some friends and family may be going high-tech by using e-cards so are scammers. Spot a friendly e-card from a scam by looking for:

  • Whether or not the sender’s name is easily visible;
  • Be wary if you are required to enter personal information to open the card;
  • Avoid opening any suspicious email but if you do and see an attachment that ends in “.exe” which indicates an execute command and could download a virus, do not open it.

7.     Fake Shipping Notifications – Deliveries notifications can often be expected throughout the holiday season as many consumers go online to purchase gifts, but some of these announcements may be phishing scams. These false notification emails often use a legitimate businesses name and logo to trick you into opening the email and allowing thieves to gain access to personal information and passwords. Targets should know:

  • Most online vendors provide tracking information that can be used to verify where your items are and identify the delivery company;
  • You are not required to pay money to receive your package, that payment was made when you make your purchase;
  • Delivery services do not need personal information to deliver your items.

8.     Phony Charities – Charities often get a boost this season as consumers are in the giving spirit but scammers seeking to take advantage can pose as charities or needy individuals soliciting donations. Here are a few tips for spotting scammers:

  • Look for sound-alike names
  • Verify Your Charity at Give.org
  • Review the charities website to make sure they specify their plans for donations and how they will be used to address the issues they claim to combat.

9.     Letters From Santa – Many legitimate businesses offer personalized letters from Santa, but some copycat scammers are only looking to glean personal information from unsuspecting parents.

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited emails offering special prices or packages for letters from Santa.
  • Check bbb.org to verify the legitimacy of any company that offers letters from Santa.

10.  Unusual Forms of Payments – When making your holiday purchases be wary of anyone asking for a strange form of payment as they often can’t be traced or undone. These may include:

  • Prepaid debit or gift cards
  • Wire Transfers
  • Third parties

11.  Travel Scams – Traveling for the holidays can get expensive, and bargains may be tempting, but some offers may be scams that end up costing you more instead of helping you save. To avoid travel scams consumers should:

  • Be cautious when it comes to email offers, especially if it is from an unknown sender or company;
  • Never wire money to someone you don’t know;
  • Ask for references.

12.  Puppy Scams – While a year-round issue, puppy scams hurt families seeking to add a family member to their household for the holidays. Puppy scams are often difficult to avoid as cute pictures, and good deals pull at the heartstrings and wallet. To prevent this fraud, consumers should: 

  • Do an image search online of the photo given of your pet. If multiple websites pop-up, it’s probably a scam;
  • Know what prices to expect because if the cost seems too good to be true, it probably is;
  • Search bbb.org for accredited breeders and rescue shelters;
  • Never pay using a money order or via the Western Union or Moneygram, instead use a credit card, which will give you the added protection of being able to dispute the charges.

 If you come across any of these scams this holiday season help protect yourself and others by:

Better Business Bureau www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/16505-the-12-scams-of-christmas-what-to-look-for-abnd-how-to-avoid-them 2018

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How to Find All the Photos Stored on Your Windows 10 PC

Have you ever transferred some pictures to your PC and then forgot where you stored them? Or, maybe you’ve got a few storage hard drives and don’t want to search them manually? Here’s a simple way to get windows to search for all your photos on your computer.

Unfortunately, pictures get stored in different places on your PC depending on the where they come from. Windows itself stores images in your “Pictures” folder. Some syncing services try to respect that, but you’ll often find pictures transferred from things like DropBox, iCloud, and OneDrive in their own folders. If you transfer pictures from your camera or another device directly to your PC, those pictures also can end up in different places depending on the transfer method. And if you download pictures from the internet, they’ll usually end up in whatever download folder your browser is set to use.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to search for your photos manually, the first two places you should look are your “Downloads” and “Pictures” folders, both of which you’ll find in the “Quick Access” section of the pane on the left of a File Explorer window.

A Better Way: Let Windows Search Find All Your Photos

File Explorer has a quick trick for searching for different types of documents. It’s not exactly hidden, but most people never bother with it.

Open up File Explorer and navigate to the location you want to search. You can search your entire PC by selecting the “This PC” entry in File Explorer’s navigation pane.

You can also search a particular hard drive or folder. For this example, we’re going to search our C: drive.

Next, click the search box at the top right of the window. Doing so will display the otherwise hidden “Search” tab at the top. Switch to that tap, click the “Kind” button, and then select “Pictures” from the drop-down menu.

That inserts the following operator into the search box. If you prefer, you can also type it there yourself to get the same results.

As you can see, the results return everything from pictures used by the system to personal pictures contained within the folder and all its subfolders. The search includes images saved in JPG, PNG, GIF, and BMP formats, which are the most common formats used. If you’ve got pictures stored in another format, like RAW, you’ll have to find them another way.

The search I ran on my C: drive came back with 27,494 pictures.

Once you’ve located the picture(s) you were looking for, you can right-click it, then select “Open File Location” to open the folder where it’s contained.

After you’ve located all the photos stored on your computer, you can move them to a more specific folder–like Pictures– or back them up on an external storage device where they hopefully won’t get lost and forgotten again.

Gavin, Brady. “How to Find All the Photos Stored on Your Windows 10 PC How to Geek, 2018 November

 

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7 Signs You Have Malware and How to Get Rid of It

Is your PC acting strange? Look for these signs you have malware, but don’t freak out if it turns out that you do. Our tips can help you get rid of it.

When your PC slows down or acts weird, you don’t always know the cause. Most often, it’s probably just a glitch. But it could be an outward and visible sign of an inward and terrible malware infestation. Review the seven warning signs below. If any of them match your experience, malware may well have compromised your system’s security.

The fact that you’ve got malware protection installed doesn’t mean you can ignore these warning signs. Software isn’t perfect, and sometimes a brand-new malware attack can slip past your security.

1. Popup Ads Start Popping Up Everywhere

While not as common as they used to be, adware programs bombard their victims with advertisements. Sometimes they’re ads for legitimate products, netting an affiliate fee for the adware perpetrator. Other times they contain links to malicious websites that will attempt to drop more malware on your PC.

2. Your Browser Keeps Getting Redirected

Not every site redirect is malicious, but if you find that trying to reach Google takes you to an unfamiliar search site, you’ve got a problem. Sometimes the redirection is less noticeable. For example, a banking Trojan might divert your browser to a fraudulent site that looks just like your bank’s real site. In that case your only clue is the unfamiliar URL in the Address bar. Redirection attacks often rely on browser extensions, so if you suspect a problem, dig into your browser settings and disable or delete any extensions you didn’t install deliberately.

3. An Unknown App Sends Scary Warnings

Creating and distributing fake antivirus programs is a lucrative business. The perpetrators use drive-by downloads or other sneaky techniques to get the fake antivirus onto your system, then display scary warnings about made-up threats. Naturally you have to register a payment before the fraudulent tool will “fix” the problem. And of course, scanning for malware with the fake AV is super-fast, since it’s not actually doing anything.

4. Mysterious Posts Appear on Your Social Media

Malware focused on Facebook and other social media sites propagates by generating fake posts. Typically, these posts include an inflammatory statement of some kind, like “OMG were you really that drunk? Look at this picture!” Anyone who falls for the fake and clicks the link becomes the malware’s next victim.

5. You Get Ransom Demands

Some malware programs literally hold your PC or data for ransom. Overt ransomware threats may encrypt all your pictures and documents and demand that you pay to get them back. Others try to obscure what they’re doing. For example, they may display a warning, purportedly from the FBI or another agency, stating that your computer was used to send spam or view porn, and demanding that you pay a fine before you’re allowed to use it again. Of course, even if you do pay, you may not get your documents back. Antivirus apps and security suites should protect against most malware, but you can also double down on safety with dedicated ransomware protection software.

6. Your System Tools Are Disabled

A smart user, suspecting the presence of malware, might launch Task Manager to investigate, or check settings using Registry Editor. If you suddenly find that trying to use these or other system tools triggers a message saying your Administrator has disabled them, it may well be an attempt at self-defense by malware on your system.

7. Everything Seems Perfectly Normal

That’s right. Some types of malware do their best to hide all activity, leaving no visible traces. Even when you don’t notice anything unusual, it’s possible that a bot on your system may be quietly awaiting instruction from its command and control system. A Remote Access Trojan (or some other form of spyware) may be harvesting your personal information.

So, You’ve Got Malware. Now What?

If you think that malware has taken up residence your PC, install a powerful antivirus application or security suite immediately. Already got one? Then apparently the malware got past its protection. Make sure your antivirus is fully up to date, and run a full scan.If you still have an unwanted app your regular security software can’t get rid of (or you just want to be doubly sure your system is clean) you can scan your PC again with an on-demand cleanup tool, such as Malwarebytes. Do whatever it takes to get that nasty, malicious program out of your system as soon as possible, before it invites friends to make your security problems even worse.

Rubenking, Neil. “7 Signs You Have Malware and How to Get Rid of It” PC Magazine. 2018 August


Right now, we are offering a complementary Dark Web Scan for your business’s email domain. This report will immediately reveal if you or any of your employees have been compromised within the last 36 months.

If nothing turns up, you’ll have peace of mind and you can take preventative actions to make sure it stays that way. On the other hand, if the report reveals a compromise, you are in the best position to take the next logical step towards protecting your business!

You can always contact us at CyberSecurity@Trinityww.com or by calling (732) 780-8615 if you have any questions about what you can be doing to put your business in the best position to avoid a cyber security breach

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Nine Good PC Habits You Should Have

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Forget Passwords! It’s Time for Passphrases!

 Mr. Henry Williams is a deputy editor for The Wall Street Journal in New York, and he reported on something we just also recommended. Here is an excerpt with a link to the full article at the end. You should forward this to your C-suite:

Two researchers say they have come up with a system that makes passphrases more secure and practical.

We all know the drill: When signing up at a website, you’re told to choose a password. It has to be at least a certain number of characters. It must contain letters and at least one number and perhaps at least one special character. Oh, but some special characters aren’t acceptable.

The death of complicated passwords—which are both hard to remember and not that secure—has been forecast for years, but reality hasn’t quite caught up yet.

Now, however, two researchers have developed an idea for replacing passwords with more-secure passphrases that people will actually remember and use.

Kevin Juang, a former doctoral student at Clemson University, and his co-author and adviser, Joel Greenstein, have created a working prototype of an online system for websites and their registered users to replace passwords with randomly generated passphrases that in theory, in combination with other cues, will be much easier to remember and to enter accurately.

Passphrases have been discussed in online-security research for over 30 years, but most websites and apps still use passwords. Partly, that’s because long passphrases are harder to type, leading to more log-in failures, but it’s also because users tend to pick phrases from common sources, likes song lyrics, making them easy for hackers to figure out. People also sometimes use a passphrase on more than one website, or use a certain word repeatedly to make the passphrase even easier to remember.

Williams, Henry. “Forget Passwords. It’s time for Passphrases” The Wall Street Journal. 2018 September

Wall Street Journal Article: “Forget Passwords It’s time for Passwords”


This is only one aspect of our layered security strategy that our cybersecurity team has been recommending to our customers. To see how fast any of your complex passwords can be cracked, go to www.passfault.com.

A good place to start is to see if your employees credentials (email and password combinations) are on the Dark Web.

Right now, we are offering a complementary Dark Web Scan for your business’s email domain. This report will immediately reveal if you or any of your employees have been compromised within the last 36 months.

If nothing turns up, you’ll have peace of mind and you can take preventative actions to make sure it stays that way. On the other hand, if the report reveals a compromise, you are in the best position to take the next logical step towards protecting your business!

You can always contact us at CyberSecurity@Trinityww.com or by calling (732) 780-8615 if you have any questions about what you can be doing to put your business in the best position to avoid a cyber security breach

Posted in: E-mail, IT Support, Security, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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10 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations

“Oh no! Not another boring PowerPoint presentation! My eyes, my eyes…!!!”

How much does it suck to be in the audience for yet another drawn-out, boring, lifeless slideshow? Worse yet, how much does it such to be the one giving it?

The truth is, bad PowerPoint happens to good people, and quite often the person giving the presentation is just as much a victim as the poor sods listening to her or him.

Here are ten tips to help you add a little zing! to your next presentation. They are, of course, far from comprehensive, but they’re a start. Feel free to share your own tips in the comments.

1. Write a script.

A little planning goes a long way. Most presentations are written in PowerPoint (or some other presentation package) without any sort of rhyme or reason.

That’s bass-ackwards. Since the point of your slides is to illustrate and expand what you are going to say to your audience. You should know what you intend to say and then figure out how to visualize it. Unless you are an expert at improvising, make sure you write out or at least outline your presentation before trying to put together slides.

And make sure your script follows good storytelling conventions: give it a beginning, middle, and end; have a clear arc that builds towards some sort of climax; make your audience appreciate each slide but be anxious to find out what’s next; and when possible, always leave ‘em wanting more.

2. One thing at a time, please.

At any given moment, what should be on the screen is the thing you’re talking about. Our audience will almost instantly read every slide as soon as it’s displayed; if you have the next four points you plan to make up there, they’ll be three steps ahead of you, waiting for you to catch up rather than listening with interest to the point you’re making.

Plan your presentation so just one new point is displayed at any given moment. Bullet points can be revealed one at a time as you reach them. Charts can be put on the next slide to be referenced when you get to the data the chart displays. Your job as presenter is to control the flow of information so that you and your audience stay in sync.

3. No paragraphs.

Where most presentations fail is that their authors, convinced they are producing some kind of stand-alone document, put everything they want to say onto their slides, in great big chunky blocks of text.

Congratulations. You’ve just killed a roomful of people. Cause of death: terminal boredom poisoning.

Your slides are the illustrations for your presentation, not the presentation itself. They should underline and reinforce what you’re saying as you give your presentation — save the paragraphs of text for your script. PowerPoint and other presentation software have functions to display notes onto the presenter’s screen that do not get sent to the projector, or you can use notecards, a separate word processor document, or your memory. Just don’t put it on the screen – and for goodness’ sake, if you do for some reason put it on the screen, don’t stand with your back to your audience and readit from the screen!

4. Pay attention to design.

PowerPoint and other presentation packages offer all sorts of ways to add visual “flash” to your slides: fades, swipes, flashing text, and other annoyances are all too easy to insert with a few mouse clicks.

Avoid the temptation to dress up your pages with cheesy effects and focus instead on simple design basics:

  • Use a sans serif font for body text. Sans serifs like Arial, Helvetica, or Calibri tend to be the easiest to read on screens.
  • Use decorative fonts only for slide headers, and then only if they’re easy to read. Decorative fonts –calligraphy, German blackface, futuristic, psychotic handwriting, flowers, art nouveau, etc. – are hard to read and should be reserved only for large headlines at the top of the page. Better yet, stick to a classy serif font like Georgia or Baskerville.
  • Put dark text on a light background. Again, this is easiest to read. If you must use a dark background – for instance, if your company uses a standard template with a dark background – make sure your text is quite light (white, cream, light grey, or pastels) and maybe bump the font size up two or three notches.
  • Align text left or right. Centered text is harder to read and looks amateurish. Line up all your text to a right-hand or left-hand baseline – it will look better and be easier to follow.
  • Avoid clutter. A headline, a few bullet points, maybe an image – anything more than that and you risk losing your audience as they sort it all out.

5. Use images sparingly

There are two schools of thought about images in presentations. Some say they add visual interest and keep audiences engaged; others say images are an unnecessary distraction.

Both arguments have some merit, so in this case the best option is to split the difference: use images only when they add important information or make an abstract point more concrete.

While we’re on the subject, absolutely do not use PowerPoint’s built-in clipart. Anything from Office 2003 and earlier has been seen by everyone in your audience a thousand times – they’ve become tired, used-up clichés, and I hopefully don’t need to tell you to avoid tired, used-up clichés in your presentations. Office 2007 and non-Office programs have some clipart that isn’t so familiar (though it will be, and soon) but by now, the entire concept of clipart has about run its course – it just doesn’t feel fresh and new anymore.

6. Think outside the screen.

Remember, the slides on the screen are only part of the presentation – and not the main part. Even though you’re liable to be presenting in a darkened room, give some thought to your own presentation manner – how you hold yourself, what you wear, how you move around the room. You are the focus when you’re presenting, no matter how interesting your slides are.

7. Have a hook.

Like the best writing, the best presentation shook their audiences early and then reel them in. Open with something surprising or intriguing, something that will get your audience to sit up and take notice. The most powerful hooks are often those that appeal directly to your audience’s emotions – offer them something awesome or, if it’s appropriate, scare the pants off of them. The rest of your presentation, then, will be effectively your promise to make the awesome thing happen, or the scary thing nothappen.

8. Ask questions.

Questions arouse interest, pique curiosity, and engage audiences. So ask a lot of them. Build tension by posing a question and letting your audience stew a moment before moving to the next slide with the answer. Quiz their knowledge and then show them how little they know. If appropriate, engage in a little question-and-answer with your audience, with you asking the questions.

9. Modulate, modulate, modulate.

Especially when you’ve done a presentation before, it can be easy to fall into a drone, going on and on and on and on and on with only minimal changes to your inflection. Always speak as if you were speaking to a friend, not as if you are reading off of index cards (even if you are). If keeping up a lively and personable tone of voice is difficult for you when presenting, do a couple of practice run-throughs. If you still can’t get it right and presentations are a big part of your job, take a public speaking course or join Toastmasters.

10. Break the rules.

As with everything else, there are times when each of these rules – or any other rule you know – won’t apply. If you know there’s a good reason to break a rule, go ahead and do it. Rule breaking is perfectly acceptable behavior – it’s ignoring the rules or breaking them because you just don’t know any better that leads to shoddy boring presentations that lead to boredom, depression, psychopathic breaks, and eventually death. And you don’t want that, do you?

Wax, Dustin. 2018 January, 10. “10 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations” Lifehack (https://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/10-tips-for-more-effective-powerpoint-presentations.html)

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

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Microsoft OneDrive Can Now Backup and Protect Your Folders

The online service’s new folder protection will back up your documents, desktop, and pictures to your OneDrive storage space.

Microsoft OneDrive users now have a new option for backing up critical folders and files.

Currently rolling out to OneDrive on Windows, the service’s folder protection lets you add your documents, desktop, and pictures folders to OneDrive. Any files contained in those folders will be backed up to your online storage and synced to other computers and devices running OneDrive. As such, you’ll be able to access those folders and files from anywhere.

Microsoft OneDrive is a handy way for Windows users to back up, sync, and share folders and files. Until now, Microsoft required you to move any folders and files you wanted to back up into a special OneDrive folder on your computer. The new folder protection feature removes this limitation to some degree as it supports your desktop, pictures, and documents folders in their default locations.

Folder protection had already been available for OneDrive for Business users; now it’s starting to hit OneDrive personal accounts. The feature is just kicking off for personal accounts, so you may need to wait a bit before it pops up on your computer.

When the feature is ready, you’ll see a prompt to set up folder protection, according to Microsoft. Just click the prompt to get started. If you miss the prompt, you’re still in luck. Right-click the OneDrive icon in the Windows system tray and select Settings. Click the Auto Save tab. If folder protection is available, you’ll see a new section to Protect your important folders. Click the button to Update folders. By default, Desktop, Pictures, and Documents will be included in the back up. Deselect any folders you want to exclude. Click the button to Start protection. You can now close the OneDrive window while the folders are being backed up.

There are some caveats. Folder protection won’t back up certain files such as Microsoft Outlook PSTs and Microsoft OneNote files that aren’t already stored in OneDrive. You can’t sync files larger than 20GB. The folders themselves also must be in their default locations for the backup to work. Microsoft’s support page on folder protection offers further details on how to set it up and fix potential problems.

Whitney, Lance. 2018, August “ Microsoft OneDrive Can Now Backup and Protect Your Folders” CNET

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

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Getting the most from OneNote, Part I: A hidden Office gem

The more information you put into OneNote the more useful it is. You can tag, flag, recognize, record and search just about anything.

Microsoft’s cross-platform notebook tool OneNote has long been a hidden gem in Office. In the last few years its success in the education market has prompted Microsoft to invest more in the application. As well as adding specific Learning Tools. Microsoft is bringing the Mac and web versions closer to parity with the desktop Windows version of OneNote, improving the iOS and Android mobile applications and building a brand-new Windows Store OneNote app that will soon replace OneNote 2016. It’s also making OneNote notebooks part of every SharePoint team site and Teams team. But what can you actually do with OneNote and how do you make it useful?

OneNote is ideal for storing unstructured information — not just the notes you take in lectures or meetings, or digital versions of Post It notes, but also photos, videos, receipts, emails (and attachments), web pages, PDFs, presentations, your optical prescription in case you break your glasses, the frequency for your favorite radio stations in cities to which you travel. In short, anything you can print, write down or photograph and might need to refer to one day.

Individual notes live in the sections of a notebook; you can have multiple sections in multiple notebooks that you keep private or share with colleagues and sync across devices. You can open a notebook that someone else has shared with you and have it fully synced on your own device, making it easy to collaborate. As you can rename and move all of these, you don’t need to get the perfect structure straight away. Instead, the first step of making OneNote useful is to put as much information that you might need later as possible in there, so that you can search for it.

Send everything to OneNote

You can type, handwrite, record audio and video, and paste in text, images, video and other content in OneNote. You can even do simple math in OneNote; just type in the equation, followed by ‘=’ and OneNote will work it out for you. You can also share and print from other applications straight into OneNote, but the different tools give you slightly different results.

OneNote 2016 has a snipping tool (trigger it from the toolbar, the Windows system tray or make a keyboard shortcut for it) that lets you drag to select an area and choose the notebook section or even individual page where you want to save an image of what you snip. You can find the section or page by searching for the title, so you don’t have to scroll through long lists of sections and pages.

In the Windows 10 OneNote app, you can use the Windows snipping tool, then either find the note you want and paste in by hand or open the Screen Sketch tool then use the Share charm (which can only target the current page or notebook section).

You can print from any application using the OneNote printer drivers. The OneNote 2016 printer driver is automatically installed and can print into any page or notebook section, which you choose in the same snipping dialog. The OneNote Store printer driver you have to install yourself from the Store, and can only print a new page into notebook sections, which you have to painstakingly navigate to rather than being able to search for. Both drivers save images of the individual pages you print. You can also import files into the current page in OneNote 2016 as printouts or attachments. Outlook on Windows (and Mac for Office 365 users) has a Send to OneNote button that copies email text and attachments, or the details of meeting attendees, into OneNote. You can also grab the details of an Outlook meeting that you want to take notes on from inside OneNote 2016 and OneNote 10, to get the list of everyone who’s there quickly.

If you use the OneNote Web Clipper extensions for Edge, Chrome and Firefox, you get the editable text and images (you can choose whether to clip the whole page or just the main content); you can clip into any notebook section that’s stored in OneDrive or OneDrive for Business (even ones that are shared with you) if you don’t have the notebook open on your device, but again not into existing pages. If you have a lot of notebooks and sections, having to scroll through the alphabetical list is much slower than the OneNote 2016 word wheel search. You can’t clip PDFs, so if you’re viewing them in a web browser, print them to OneNote instead.

OneNote is also a share target in the iOS and Android browsers, although that saves a printout rather than the editable text of the web page.

Microsoft’s Office Lens app on iOS and Android (and Windows Phone) can save images directly into OneNote sections, which is a good way of capturing whiteboards, presentations, business cards and documents. (The Office Lens feature is also built into OneNote on iOS and Android, so you can snap photos on your phone and have them show up in the right place in a note you’re editing on your Mac or PC).

OneNote is also an  “If This Then That” target  (IFTTT) so, you can do things like archiving tweets, RSS feeds, Reddit posts, DropBox files, starred Gmail messages or articles from Pocket, Feedly or Instapaper into OneNote. This isn’t always reliable and high-volume archiving will quickly hit the size limit of OneNote sections, but it’s very convenient when it does work.

If you record audio or video into OneNote (on Windows or Mac), any notes you take while recording or playing back the recording are time synced, so you can easily jump to the most important section of a meeting or lecture. (OneNote can also record unlimited audio on iOS, but you can’t take notes at the same time.) The audio is also searchable in OneNote 2016, but as it’s just matching the sounds of words it’s not very accurate.

Searching in OneNote

OneNote 2016 has one search box and two keyboard shortcuts for searching: Ctrl-E searches across all your notes (or a subset that you choose), while Ctrl-F searches within the current note. OneNote for Windows 10 has the same keyboard shortcuts, although they select from a unified search dropdown. Either way, that makes it easy to find the right note and then the right sentence. Both versions of OneNote use the same Ctrl-M shortcut to open a new window, so you have multiple notes open at once.

You can also see a list of recently edited notes, as a way of getting back to what you were working on recently. In OneNote 2016 you can pick multi-time periods (from ‘today’ to the last six months or even a chronological view of all notes in the section) or search for changes by specific people.

If you have a digital pen, or a touchscreen PC or iPad, you can draw and handwrite notes, and OneNote uses handwriting recognition to make them searchable even if you don’t convert them to text. If you want to draw with your finger, turn that on in the Draw toolbar — and then turn it off again when you want to go back to using your finger for scrolling. If you want more space for drawing, both OneNote 2016 and OneNote 10 have a full-screen mode that hides all the toolbars and other controls.

Images in OneNote are automatically OCR’d, so you can search for text shown in an image or a printout. You can also right-click on them to copy the recognized text to use elsewhere, making this a quick way of scanning paper documents.

Image OCR and handwriting recognition work locally in OneNote 2016, which also gives you the widest choice of where to store notebooks — in OneDrive, on your local PC or on a network file share. Notebooks stored in OneDrive can sync automatically to your other devices and you can share them with colleagues for live co-editing. Content syncs right into the page, marked by the initials of the person adding it. Notebooks stored on a network file share can sync onto other PCs that have access to the network, including over a VPN, but you can’t open them on other devices.

Branscomb, Mary. “Getting the most from OneNote, Part I: A hidden Office Gem” TechRepublic July 30, 2018

Posted in: Mobile Computing, MS Office Tips and Tricks, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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