Tech Xpress

Combine any Files to single PDF File

Loop PDF is a pretty useful web application which combines files of different formats, images, web pages and converts them into one pdf file. This stuff is free.
Registration is required to use this application; and that is free. Just upload your documents or images and click the 'Combine all' button. The converted and merged pdf file can be downloaded. Plus, you can also specify the page order in the merged pdf file.

Currently, Loop PDF accepts files in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Web Pages, Images, Xml, Visio, Plain, Rich text formats etcetera.
Check it out.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Wednesday, January 28, 2009
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Password Protect Word, Excel and PowerPoint Files

Sometimes, you got to have additional protection while emailing documents that are confidential. Encrypting them with a password is an option. More often than not, email attachments include Word documents, Excel spreadsheets or Powerpoint presentations. Here are the ways to encrypt them with a pasword.

Password Protect Word, Excel and Powerpoint files
1. Go to Tools >> Options. In the Options box, click the Security tab.
2. There are two password text boxes :
a. Password to Open. (Required to open the file.)
b. Password to Modify. (Required password to edit the file.)
3. Click Ok and confirm the password again when prompted.
4. Save the file. The file will now be password protected.

Note: The above steps were tested with Office 2003.
An alternative way is to put the files in a zip or rar file that requires a password to open. This is how I use to protect files. An advantage of this method is you can put files of any format into the archive.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Tuesday, January 20, 2009
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Email .Zip Attachments without being Filtered

Most companies block or filter email attachments depending on the type of files that are attached. Usually, the filters remove executable files, zip, rar files from the message. Sometimes, this can be a bit annoying, especially when you want to send zip files.

More often than not, we are required to send a compressed zip file to clients. And not surprisingly, those attachments are filtered out. But with a few little tweaks, those filters can be bypassed.

1. Put all your files in a Zip file. Let's assume the name of the file is abc.zip.

2. Change the extension of the zip file to doc i.e change abc.zip to abc.doc.
Here's how you can change the file type in Windows -
a. Open a folder.
b. Go to Tools >> Folder Options. Click on the View tab.
c. Uncheck Hide file extensions of known file types. Click Ok

3. Now rename abc.zip to abc.doc. A warning box pops up. Just click Ok.

4. Email filters will recognize abc.doc as a Microsoft Word file and not as a zip file.

5. Attach the file and send the email.

Note: Don't forget to tell the email recipients on how to open the file.
Right-click the file and select the option to open it with Winzip, if installed, or other archiving software.
Another way is to follow the same steps above to change the file extension to .zip.
Also, you may want to revert the steps mention in point 2 in your machine.

Off course, there are much better ways to send zip files; like FTP, file sharing sites or sending the attachment to the recipients personal email. Use the above method only if you have no other choice.
Enjoy!

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Wednesday, January 14, 2009
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Remove Hidden MetaData from Word and Excel Files

There is no doubt that Word documents and Excel spreadsheets are used almost everywhere. What many people don't know is MS Word and Excel files contain information, called metadata, that can be very sensitive. This metadata includes comments, document revisions, author name, username, email headers etc.
In short, all things modified or deleted by you can still be seen by people who have access to that file. This is the kind of thing that can break potential business deals. Scary, isn't it?

The good thing is there's a solution; Office 2003/XP Remove Hidden Data Add-in.
It's a free add-in for Office 2003 and XP that clears hidden data from Word, Excel and Powerpoint files forever.

After installation, the feature can be accessed from File >> Remove Hidden Data.
This creates a new version of the document, without hidden metadata off course.

[Download Remove Hidden Data Plugin]

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Thursday, January 08, 2009
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Make MP3 Files Louder (or Quieter)

The sound output of some MP3 songs on my computer are just too low. Increasing the MP3 player's volume hasn't really helped. This is a very common issue with mp3 files; some sound too low, some are too loud. Here are some ways to increase the sound output of an mp3 file i.e to make them louder.


Using a Software - MP3Gain
MP3Gain is a free software to adjust the sound of mp3 files. We'll use it to increase the volume of low sounding mp3 files.
1. Download and install MP3Gain.
2. Start the application.
3. Use the 'Add Files' button to add the mp3 files for which you wish to up the volume.
4. Set the volume you want to apply in the 'Target volume' box.
5. Click 'Track Analysis'. This displays the current volume of the file.
6. Hit 'Track Gain' button to change the volume of the mp3 file to what is specified in step 4.


Using a Web Site - Vloud
If you are looking for an easier way to increase the volume, head over to Vloud. It's free and there is not need to install anything.
Vloud has just four options - light, loud, louder, loudest. Select the one your prefer and upload the file.
The file can be downloaded after the changes are applied. Apart from mp3, Vloud also supports wav files.
One caveat though; only files upto 10 MB can be uploaded.

Also, Vloud seems be very inconsistent at times. I personally prefer MP3Gain.
Enjoy!

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, January 05, 2009
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