Sunday, January 24, 2016

Open Windows Explorer to Default Folder

Howto: Open Windows Explorer to your favorite default directory.  These steps work for all versions of Windows, Windows XP - 10.  Article updated for Windows 10 on 2016.01.24.



Have Windows Explorer open to a default data-folder of your choosing, saving you from having to tunnel.  I like to arrive at C:\Data, but you could arrive at any folder, such as users\Documents or a server drive. 

The steps vary for each version of Windows. 
Scroll down for your version.


Windows 10

1.  From the Start Page, launch File Explorer (Windows Explorer) and set these preferences:

     On the ribbon, click the VIEW tab
     Select View, "Details"
     then
     Check [x] File Name Extensions
     Check [x] Hidden Items

     Close File Explorer



2.  On the Start Page, locate any File Explorer tiles
     "Other-mouse-click" the File Explorer tile,
     Choose "Unpin from Start"

     Similarly, unpin any File Explorer icons from the Task Bar.

     Reason: These icons and tiles cannot be modified.  New ones will be built in a moment.

3.  From the Start Menu (the tile menu),
     search for File Explorer by typing "File Explorer" in the Start Menu's search bar:




4.  Re-launch File Explorer
     Within File Explorer's left-nav (tree-view),

     Tunnel to folder "This PC"
     Tunnel to C:  ["OS (C:)"] the main hard drive
     Tunnel to the "C:\Windows" folder

5.  In the C:\Windows file-list, scroll and locate "explorer.exe" (note the .exe extension)

     Other-mouse-click, choose "Pin to Start". 
     This puts a different File Explorer tile on the Start Menu
     and it will look exactly the same as the one deleted in step 2..



6.  Return to the Start Menu (Tiles).
     Find the newly-built File Explorer icon
     "Other-mouse-click" (right mouse click) the new icon.
     Chose More, "Open File Location"


7.  In this list (which is different than the last File Explorer file-list;
     note it does not say "Explorer.exe"),
     other-mouse-click the Explorer.exe icon, choosing "Properties"


8.  In the Properties screen, edit the target, typing this:

  C:\Windows\explorer.exe /e, "C:\data"

    where slash-e comma is required and C:\data is the folder of your choice
    - use quotes around the "C:\data" path.


     Many choose their documents folder:

  C:\Windows\explorer.exe /e, "C:\Users\youraccount\Documents"

     where "youraccount" is your account name. 
     Find your account name by using File Explorer and browsing to C:\Users.
     Look for a likely-mispelled variant on your name.
     For example, mine shows up as "trayw" or "tray0001"

G.  Click OK, saving the Property changes

H.  From the File Explorer file-list, highlight the same "Explorer" icon
      Select Pin to TaskBar

I.  Close all Explorer Windows and return to the Start Menu

Test: Clicking the File Explorer Tile.  Confirm it opens to the expected folder.  If it does not, you typed the path incorrectly; return to step 7. 



Windows 7, Vista, XP:
(see below for Windows 8.1)

1. From the Start Menu Bar, locate the Windows Explorer icon.
These same steps can also be made on the Windows Explorer Start-Menu menu-item.

a. "other-mouse-click" the Explorer Icon
b. "other-mouse-click" the "explorer.exe" menu choice
c. Select "Properties"










2. In the Properties Window, modify the Target to read

 %windir%\Explorer.exe /e, "c:\data"
 %windir%\Explorer.exe /e, "C:\Users\yourname\Documents"

   Replacing "C:\data" with your favorite default directory (H:\projects, etc.). Use quotes.



  Note: In Windows XP, I believe you use a semi-colon:
  %windir%\Explorer.exe /e; "c:\data"
  %windir%\Explorer.exe /e; "C:\Users\yourname\Documents"


3.  You should delete/modify all other Start Menu and desktop icons that also launch Explorer, and re-build with this same change. 



Windows 8.1 Steps:

In Windows 8.1, Microsoft made this more complicated.  You will need to find the underlying icon, change its properties, then delete and rebuild the icons on the TaskBar and Start Page. 

Note: Microsoft changed how these operate from Windows 8.0 to 8.1.  These instructions are for 8.1; version 8.0 is not documented here.


Note: Microsoft now calls this program "File Explorer" but under the hood, it is still called Explorer.exe


Start Page:

A.  From the Start Page, launch Windows Explorer (File Explorer)
      and set these preferences:

     On the ribbon, click the VIEW tab
     Click "Details"
     Check [x] File Name Extensions
     Check [x] Hidden Items

     Exit File Explorer

B.  On the Start Page, other-mouse-click the File Explorer tile,
      Choose "Unpin from Start"

C.  From the Start Page, click anywhere on the background and begin typing the words "File Explorer".  Re-launch File Explorer from the list.



D.  Within File Explorer,

     Tunnel to "This PC"
     Tunnel to C:  (the main hard drive)
     Tunnel to C:\Windows

E.  In the file details, scroll down and locate "explorer.exe"

     Other-mouse-click, choose "Pin to Start".
     This puts a different File Explorer tile back on the Start Page.

F.  Return to the Start Page.

     Locate the new File Explorer tile on the far-right of the Start Panel
     Other-mouse-click the tile, choose "Open File Location"



G.  In this list (which is different than the last File Explorer file-list),
      Other-mouse-click this explorer icon, choosing "Properties"


F.  In the Properties screen, edit the target, typing this:

  C:\Windows\explorer.exe /e, "C:\data"

    where slash-e comma is required and C:\data is the folder of your choice
    - use quotes.


     Many choose their documents folder:

  C:\Windows\explorer.exe /e, "C:\Users\youraccount\Documents"

    Find your account name by using File Explorer and browsing to C:\Users.
    Look for a likely-mispelled variant on your name.
    For example, mine shows up as "trayw" or "tray0001"

    Click OK and return the Start Page.

Test: Clicking the File Explorer Tile.  Confirm it opens to the expected folder.  If it does not, you typed the path incorrectly; return to step F. 


For the Desktop Start Bar Icon:

1.  Do the steps directly above, particularly steps G and F.



2.  On the Task Bar, other-mouse-click the File Explorer icon and "unpin from taskbar"

3.  Return to the Start Page.
Other-mouse-click the newly-built File Manager tile from the steps above, choose "Pin to Task Bar".

You are done.


Related links:
Windows 7 Explorer Recommended Tricks

Friday, January 22, 2016

Stop Excel Active Hyperlinks

Problem:  Excel displays email and web URL addresses as hot hyperlinks.  Clicking the cell launches the browser or email client.  This article discusses how to stop this behavior.


Disable the Hyperlink Feature in Excel

Stop the original data entry from constructing a hyperlink
Steps (Excel 2013) and probably older versions


1.  From any Excel sheet, select File, Options

2.  Select left-nav [Proofing]
     In the Proofing menu, select button [AutoCorrect Options]

3.  In [Autoformat As You Type]
     [  ] Uncheck Internet and network paths with hyperlinks

4.  OK, OK, to close the File options menu



Results:  Newly-entered cells will not activate hyperlinks.  Cells that were previously formatted with hyperlinks remain hot.  This change takes effect on this sheet and all subsequent sheets, but does not affect previously-built sheets or cells that were previously formatted with hyperlinks.  See below.

I recommend this setting for all Excel users.



UnFormat Existing Hyperlink Cells

A.  Highlight the cells or columns.

B.  "other-mouse-click" (context menu click), chose "Remove Hyperlinks"



Manually Create Hyperlink, Overriding  the AutoCorrect Bypass from above

A.  In the normal, non-formatted cell, type the web or email address into the cell as normal text.
      Press ENTER to accept.
      e.g.  www.keylinercsharp.com

B.  Copy the text (copy the address)

C.  Re-highlight the cell. 
     With the context menu (other-mouse-click), choose "Hyperlink"
     Paste the copied address

Click for Larger View


Avoid Hyperlinks on Existing Formatted Cells

To avoid hyperlinks on an existing cell, but to leave the hyperlink active, click in the white area on the right-side of the text.  This allows you to select the cell, but not activate the link.  This annoying.

Similarly annoying:  Click and hold on the cell to select the cell without activating.



Opening an Address when a Hyperlink is not formatted

I do not know a direct way to do this.  Once the hyperlink format is removed, excel does not give a way to manually re-engage the link unless the cell is re-formatted.  Too bad a ctrl-click does not work.


Vaguely Related articles:
Stop Excel 2013, 2016 Cursor and Screen Animations
Keyliner - Excel User-Defined Functions

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Vista Print Business Cards

Keyliner is now a repeat customer with Vistaprint. Three years ago, I logged in to their website, designed a business card, accepted the proof, and the order a few days later. 250 two-sided cards with graphics on both sides. They specialize in real offset printing with small production runs and fast turn-arounds. I was pleased.

With this batch, I wanted cards with Keyliner's new branding and I wanted a QR code ($0). As before, it is a blast designing cards. It took about an hour dinking around with graphics, fiddling with fonts and what-not - with most of this time playing.  


You should do this for no other reason than it is fun handing people a card.
It beats telling them your phone number or email address.


I wanted to correct three mistakes from the first batch of cards. Always order heavier card-stock, adding about $2. Secondly, I switched from matte to glossy paper, mostly because of the photograph ($0). Finally, a QR code seems like a good idea ($0). 

Compared to three years ago, the price is roughly the same: $35 (including shipping).  However, in early January, 2016, they had an online promo code "NewYear", which pops-up on the site -- bringing the price down to $24.  

(There almost always seems to be a promotion of some type or other, or there is free shipping.  I think this makes the real normal price for 250 front-side cards about $24 - $30, depending on paper stock, etc. Doubling the order to 500 cards is $3 more - makes sense because they already have the press running.

Here were the cards from 2012:

The only issue I had was at checkout. It is a full-court-press, offering everything from branded pens to tee-shirts, coffee mugs, magnets, websites, scratchpads, dogfood -- you get the idea.



The gauntlet is easy to navigate, but there are four or five screens to skip before you can complete the order. On the plus-side, it was interesting at how quickly the graphics were generated, all using my artwork. But my art did not include text (which was over-layed using the site's design tools) and this made for humorous product placements. I'm sure this is all fixable. For example, you can see my graphic wrapped around a pen.

Final opinion:
Fun. Easy-to-use.
Reasonably priced. Quality product. Recommended.



Related article: 
Keyliner - Generate your own QR code (not needed, nor required by Vistaprint)