PC Doctor November 18, 2010

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Dear PC Doctor:

            I made a database of my mailing addresses in Excel, but for some reason the zip codes are displaying only 4 digits (leaving off the first zero).  So instead of 01331, it is showing up as 1331.  I go back and type in the zero and yet it disappears when I hit the enter key.  It’s so frustrating, what am I doing wrong? Oh I am using Excel and XP.


Dear Jay:

            The problem is that Excel is looking at that number as an actual number and in accounting you would not need a leading zero so it automatically gets rid of it.  It thinks the number you have typed is 1,331 instead of 01331. 

            So we’ll have to change a setting for that particular cell that is holding the zip code.  Open up your worksheet and if the zip codes are all in the same column, just highlight the whole column (click on the letter at the top of the column and it will highlight the whole column).  Then go up to the upper blue menu bar and select ‘Format’ and from the drop down menu, choose ‘Cells’.   A window will open up and you want to click on the number tab.   On the left hand side you will see a ‘Category’ section and a list of items.  You have two choices to fix your problem.  If you click ‘Text’ then it will treat whatever you have in those highlighted cells as text instead of numbers.  Or you can click on ‘Special’ and another window will open up where you can choose ‘Zip Code’ or ‘Zip + 4’.  Either one will do the trick.  Click the OK button and this should solve your problem.

                   PC Doctor

Dear PC Doctor:

            I don’t like the Windows sound that comes up when I turn the computer on.  Can that be changed?                                                      


Dear Dick:

            Yes, go to the ‘start’ button on the tool bar, select ‘control panel’ and then double-click ‘sounds’.  (If you have your control panel set to ‘category view’, then you would choose ‘sounds, speech and audio devices’ and then ‘change the sound scheme’).   From the ‘sounds and audio devices properties’ box, chose the sounds tab and look under ‘program events’  Scroll down until you come to ‘start windows’ and click on it.  In the ‘sounds’ box underneath, click the down arrow and a multitude of choices become available, just select the one you are interested in.  Note when you choose one, a little button will appear to the right of the down arrow and if you depress it, you can hear the sound before you apply it.  If you have downloaded a particular sound that you wish to use, click the ‘browse’ button and search for it.   Also note that you can change the sound for a variety of functions.  Finish your selections, click ‘apply’ and then ‘ok’.  Hope you find one that appeals to you!

                  PC Doctor


Until next time… happy computing!