Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts

SAN FRANCISCO (04/19/2000) - Some Web pages take ages to print from Netscape Communication Corp.'s Communicator 4.7 and earlier, and they may not print at all if you surf to another page before the dialog box that reports the progress of printing or print spooling has appeared. Gabriel Dorado of Cordoba, Spain, found a way to print much more quickly. Immediately after clicking the Print button in the Print dialog box, take Netscape offline by clicking the small plug icon in the lower left corner of the browser window. On some Web sites, Netscape may display an alert complaining about being offline, but you can simply click OK and ignore it. After printing or print spooling finishes, click the plug icon to go back online.

Archiving E-mail

Q. I would like to know how I can save e-mail messages from Microsoft Corp.'s Outlook Express 5.0 before deleting them from folders such as Sent and Read.

Sergio Avendano

Long Beach, California

A. The Macintosh E-mail Resource Page ( offers several

utilities and AppleScripts that archive e-mail from Outlook Express and other

programs. For example, Outlook Email Archive ($10 shareware by Stefano

Cappello) saves each archived message as a text file in its own folder and organizes message folders by time and date. You can index and search the archived messages, using Sherlock, and read them one at a time, using SimpleText or another program capable of opening a text file.

This approach to archiving is simple and works well if you're dealing with a relatively small number of messages. If you archive hundreds or thousands of messages, however, you'll find that under Mac OS 9 and earlier, files and folders make an inefficient database system, even with Sherlock's help.

Another solution, the free eMessage Keeper, by John Carlsen, archives messages from Outlook Express, Claris Emailer, and Eudora to an elaborate HyperCard stack. Once you get comfortable with the crowded interface, you can browse, search, and sort archived messages quite efficiently. At this writing, this program didn't handle empty folders gracefully.

You can also archive messages from Outlook Express or Claris Emailer to a free FileMaker Pro database, Emailer Archive, created by Dan Crevier and David Cortright. You do this with a free set of AppleScripts, Emailer Archive 3.1b2 Scripts, by Dan Crevier. However, this version of the scripts was designed for Outlook Express 4 and does not archive some of the information about each message that's available in Outlook Express 5.0, such as the date and time received.

None of these solutions keeps track of all the information your e-mail program stores for each message. They all record the subject, date, from, to, and content, and some report the status (such as read or untouched), message history, and flag. None of them records the message color you can assign in Outlook Express. The HyperCard stack and FileMaker Pro solutions keep track of each message's folder but not the folder's place in the hierarchy of folders you can set up in the e-mail program. In fact, if you have two or more folders with the same name but at different locations in your e-mail program, they'll be archived together.

Compacting E-mail Files

Q. The file in which Outlook Express 5 stores all my messages is huge-over 50MB-probably because I once imported all my messages from another e-mail program and then deleted many unwanted messages. Since new messages are added to this file daily, I end up backing up the entire file repeatedly, which is a waste of space and time. Is there any way to reclaim the unused space in this file? (Qualcomm Inc.'s Eudora and Communicator both have this capability.)M. Morgan ConnAmherst, MassachusettsA. You can compact the mail and database files to reclaim space that was occupied by deleted mail. To do this, quit Outlook Express and then hold down the option key while opening it again. A dialog box asks whether you'd like to compact the database. Click Yes, and a progress indicator tracks the process.

(If you click No, another dialog box asks whether you'd like to do a complex rebuild of the database.) This process renames your original database and message files by appending .old to their names, and you can put them in the Trash when you're satisfied that the compacted files work OK.

People who still use Claris Emailer 2.X can follow the same procedure.

Mac to TDD

Q. Is there Mac software that will let me connect via telephone and modem with my deaf aunt's Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD)?

Jim Bradley

Westmoreland, Kansas

A. You may be able to connect by accounting for the differences between your modem and the TDD. TDDs, also known as TTYs (Teletypewriters), send and receive text by using a code known as Baudot, whereas your communications software and modem send and receive text by using a different code, ASCII. Some newer TDDs are able to use ASCII, but they communicate at a speed of 300 bps, which is slower than some of today's modems are capable of operating. If your aunt's TDD can use ASCII, you can try using a communications program set to 300 bps, 8 bits data, no parity, and 1 stop bit. In an AppleWorks 5 communications document, for example, you'd adjust the settings in the dialog box that appears when you choose Settings: Communication.

If these settings don't work, you can experiment with different parity and stop-bit settings. It would probably be more efficient in the long run-and a lot easier-to introduce your aunt to e-mail, instant messages, and chat.

Diagnostic Recomposition in PageMaker

TIP After placing and updating some independent graphics in a 12-page Adobe System Inc.'s PageMaker 6.5 document, I found that any attempt to print the document or use the Links command resulted in a "Bad record index" error message. Eventually I learned that this type of error can often be fixed by a diagnostic recomposition, which checks for and repairs some inconsistencies in internal document structure.

Before starting this procedure, make sure your computer's sound is turned on, so you can hear the number of beeps that indicate the procedure's results. Now make a copy of the document, open it, and click the pointer tool in the toolbox to make sure nothing on the page is selected. Begin the dynamic recomposition by holding down the shift and option keys while choosing Type: Hyphenation.

When the routines are finished, your computer will beep. One beep means that PageMaker found no repairs to make, two beeps mean that PageMaker successfully repaired the problems it found, and three beeps mean that PageMaker could not repair the problems it found or ran out of memory before completing its diagnostics.

Gary A. Horton

Reno, Nevada

During diagnostic recomposition, PageMaker fixes minor errors in style sheets, stories, the index, and links and then recomputes line breaks throughout the publication. For details, see document 311417 in the Adobe Support Database ( For workarounds to minor problems that can occur during diagnostic recomposition in PageMaker 6.0, but not 6.0.1 and later, see article 314579 (

Hiding Ads in Sherlock 2

TIP The workarounds I've tried for hiding banner ads in Sherlock don't work with Mac OS 9's Sherlock 2. So here's what I recommend: expand the size of the Sherlock 2 window to be so tall that the ad pane is off the bottom of the screen. You can do this because Sherlock 2 is one of the applications that lets you slide its window up under the menu bar, then enlarge the window by dragging its lower right corner down, and finally slide the window down. If you size the window just right, Sherlock 2 uses the entire screen height but the ads are hidden below the bottom of the screen.

Patrick McClure

Santa Monica, California

You can make this maneuver quickly and precisely with the AppleScript applet shown in "Banish the Banners."-L.P.

Rounding to Two Significant Digits

TIP You can convert numbers to two significant digits in a Microsoft Excel worksheet or AppleWorks spreadsheet with a formula such as this:


In this formula, the number to convert is in cell A1, and in place of n you must enter the number of significant digits. For example, with n replaced by 2, the formula would convert 12,423.52 to 12,000.00, 327 to 330, and 2.3587 to 2.40.

Juan C. Quevedo

Miami, Florida

Multiple-User Desktops

TIP When I set up multiple users with Mac OS 9, I noticed that items that had been on the desktop were available only to the owner. To make these items available to users with Normal accounts, I put the items at the root level of the startup disk and put an alias of each one in each user's Desktop Folder (inside the user's folder in the Users folder on the startup disk).


Oregon, Wisconsin

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