December 2006, V5#12: Computer Saturday, Dec 27 2008 

99.9% of the books we produce are from Microsoft Word. However, it will depend on what the focus of your book is, as well as what software you are familiar with, and how much work you want the software to do for you. For instance, if the book is to contain many charts, a program that is geared toward generating these charts would be important. If you are working toward mainly fact oriented and are hoping the program will organize a manuscript, a program such as Family Tree Maker might be best. If you are looking for word processing and are familiar with the Corel family of products, you may not want to learn Microsoft Office. If you are wanting to go with fancy margins, clip art, photos, charts, tables, graphic elements on each page, etc., Microsoft Publisher may be the way to go. The bottom line, like so many other decisions comes down to you. It’s hard to beat making a wish list (I want the program to be able to…) and then looking for a product that fits best. Other factors, besides current software knowledge may be cost for new software, compatibility (if looking toward a hybrid or e-book).

Overall software we utilize most (remember, this doesn’t mean they are the best for you):

Manuscript: Microsoft Word (other Office programs such as Excel, Access, Publisher, and FrontPage can be helpful or used with Word, depending on project.)

Photographs: Adobe Photoshop

“Genealogy” Program (Charts, etc.): Family Tree Maker

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January 2005, V4#1: Computer Thursday, Dec 25 2008 

Photoshop light photo edit

Do you have a digitized photograph that is nice, but has specks or small cracks in the background? If so, open the file in Adobe Photoshop.  Next, check to make sure your tools toolbar is visible (click “window”, if there isn’t a checkmark by “tools”, click it).  On the tools toolbar there is a clone stamp tool (the icon looks like a rubber stamper) that you click to select. Notice the bar under the pull down menus now reflects all the clone tool options.  Move your mouse near an imperfect spot (the size of the circle is controlled by the brush button at the top).  You may choose to play with the options to get what works best for you and the photo. Caution – in Photoshop you can only undo the last step.  Place the circle over an area that looks generally how the background “under” the imperfection should look.  While holding down the ALT key, left click your mouse.  Now move the circle over the imperfection (or part of it) and click.  A copy/clone of the ALT+click background replaces the imperfection.  You can repeat the steps as needed.  This generally works great with backgrounds because, as a rule, they are not too intricate. This method may also work to some extent on the subjects but is it much trickier.