How to Remove the Background from an Image

After we wrote our post on using the browser tool remove.bg, we got some feedback about another great tool, as well as questions about how to remove image backgrounds using Canva and Word.

Another Browser-Based Tool

First, I’d like to talk about a suggestion we received for a background remover at Experte.com. This tool is simple and elegant while having fewer restrictions than other free browser-based background removers. If you are a webmaster, you may be interested in some of their other tools. I plan to write another post featuring the full suite of tools in the near future.

Microsoft Word/PowerPoint

Given how often we use images in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, it would be great if there was a way to remove an image background without leaving that platform. Great news – there is! It’s not always very accurate, but Microsoft has built this functionality into their Office software. Tech-Talk wrote a great article about removing backgrounds using Office software to guide you through the process. Note that instructions for Office 2007 are different than later versions. Unfortunately, Google Docs does not have an equivalent tool onboard.

Canva

Canva is another popular image editing tool that we were asked about. While Canva does have a background remover available, it is a paid feature. If you have access, here is how to remove an image background:

  • Click on the image you want to edit.
  • In the toolbar above the editor, click Edit image.
  • From the side panel, click BG Remover.
  • Wait for the background to be processed.
  • To apply the changes, click Apply on the bottom of the side panel.

Even on a paid plan, you are limited to using this feature on 500 images every 24 hours.

Conclusion

Thanks to those readers who reached out with questions and suggestions about removing backgrounds from images. If you have any other feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

How to Master Custom Tabs in Word and Google Docs

Have you ever tried to set or edit a custom tab in Word/G-Docs and it just didn’t work like you thought it would? Or, have you been asked to edit a document where someone tried to use spaces to indent rows, making an inconsistent indent and significantly complicating the editing process?

It can be frustrating to work with tabs if you haven’t had much practice. Thankfully, the folks at Tech-Talk have written an article with an accompanying video to help clarify the types of tabs and how to use them to make your document readable, well-formatted, and easy to edit.

How to Remove Misspelled Words from Your Digital Dictionary

Have you ever accidentally misspelled a word, and then your digital dictionary assumes you want to spell it that way for the rest of your life and keeps suggesting you change it every time you type it? It’s a small thing, but it can be annoying.

Sometimes the tools designed to help us end up making things harder. Digital dictionaries and autocorrect, are perfect examples of that. While the dictionaries have evolved to learn new words as you text and deny autocorrect suggestions, given the speed at which we text, that can result in a dictionary full of misspelled words. Luckily, digital dictionaries installed on the most popular platforms allow you to customize your dictionary to ease the frustration.

Android

If you use an Android tablet or phone that uses the Gboard keyboard, you are able to access your device’s dictionary and delete misspelled words individually.

To delete a learned word, follow these steps:

  • Open Settings (gear icon in your app list).
  • Scroll down and select System.
  • Tap Languages & input, then Virtual keyboard, then Gboard.
  • Tap Dictionary, then Personal dictionary.

You can either select all languages or pick a language to view only that language. This will bring up a list of saved words. Select a word and tap the trash can icon in the top-right corner of the screen. Repeat as needed.

If you a typing a message and you see a word suggestion appear that you want to remove from the dictionary, tap and hold the suggested word until Remove suggestion pops up. Tap that to remove the word from the dictionary.

iOS (Apple Devices)

While this feature used to be available on iOS devices, Apple has removed the option to edit individual dictionary entries with an update. There is a workaround that will let you force predictive text to offer you a specific word as you type by creating a manual shortcut.

To create a manual shortcut:

  • Open Settings, and tap General.
  • Tap Keyboard.
  • Tap Text Replacement.
  • Tap +.
  • Enter the correct spelling in the Phrase field.
  • Enter the incorrect spelling or suggestion in the Shortcut field.
  • Predictive text will no longer give the wrong suggestion when you type the word from now on. Instead, it will be automatically highlighted and then replaced when you tap space.

However, if you are a long-time user and your dictionary has amassed a number of misspelled entries, you may want to consider resetting your dictionary. This will return you to the dictionary that shipped with the phone, forgetting any word it has learned from you.

To reset your iOS dictionary:

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap General.
  • Tap Transfer or Reset Phone.
  • Tap Reset.
  • Tap Reset Keyboard Dictionary.
  • Enter your PIN if prompted.
  • Tap Reset Dictionary.

If you inadvertently accept an incorrect suggestion from predictive text, you can undo it by tapping backspace and selecting the correct one. If the iPhone doesn’t make the right suggestion, continue tapping backspace and manually type the word you wanted.

Word/Google Docs

If you’d like to learn how to add and remove words from your Word or Google Docs dictionaries, check out this article from Tech-Talk, a technology help resource provided by the library.

Conclusion

While digital dictionaries can sometimes seem to waste more time than they save, most platforms offer a way for the user to customize the dictionary to minimize the hassles that can arise when your device learns to misspell words. Is there a platform where you’re experiencing this issue that we haven’t covered? Let us know in the comments and we’ll investigate.

Excel/G-Sheets Tips For All Users – From Novice To Expert

Getting Started

Learning new software can be intimidating. It’s hard to know where to start if you don’t have guidance from a tutorial or class. When you have a basic understanding of that software, you naturally start to wonder about what shortcuts or features may be available that you haven’t used yet. In that case, it is impossible to search for information on things you don’t know exist. How do you take it to the next level without skipping steps in between?

Another thing to consider when looking for instruction is how you prefer to learn. Some folks will check out a “for dummies” book from the library and read it cover to cover. Others prefer to stop by the library and get instruction in person or connect to a web training so they can ask questions. Yet another subset of folks would rather watch videos or read articles online to get their information without involving another person.

The Library Has You Covered

The library offers drop-in tech help and virtual classes, books, e-books, and DVDs about Excel and Google Sheets, and a fantastic resource full of articles, videos, and interactive learning opportunities called Tech-Talk. Let’s take a closer look at the kinds of Excel/Google Sheets help Tech-Talk offers. These links should log you in automatically. If not, or if you are signing up for a webinar, use the username eglibrary and password eglibrary.

This quick reference guide is handy for users of all levels. Here is a collection that includes all of their Excel content, with the most recent articles and videos first. When possible, their information about Excel also includes a section for achieving comparable results on Google Sheets.

For Beginners

For Intermediate and Advanced Users

Major Cool Factor

I have always found Excel useful for organizing and sorting basic information, but I never got fancy with it. Recently, I attended a Tech-Talk webinar about creating dashboards using Excel and I was really impressed. If you want a quick peek at what dashboards are and how they can enhance your data, check out this short video and article.

We Can All Use a Little Help

Whether you enjoy playing around in spreadsheets, use spreadsheets because you have to, or are forced to use spreadsheets under duress at work, everyone can benefit from the tips and tricks offered at Tech-Talk. Which sort of Excel user are you? Let us know in the comments.

Unsure How To Stay Safe Online? Help Is Available!

Given today’s online climate, cybersecurity is more important than ever. Our recent technology survey revealed that this was one of the top concerns among our library users, prompting us to plan more events and education on that topic. Even if you’ve had security training in the past, security recommendations are changing all the time. As the person in charge of technology security at the library, I can tell you it’s no small feat to secure a network and online services from intruders. Even if you put all of the proper measures in place, all it takes is one user to click the wrong link or open an unknown attachment and the worst-case scenario could happen.

As such, the best line of defense is to make sure individual users know how to recognize and avoid traps and how to practice good technology hygiene (like keeping your computer and its software up-to-date). Once upon a time, it was easy to spot a scam. You knew no Nigerian prince would contact you looking for help, and those weird characters in the middle of the word to trick spam filters were a dead giveaway. These days, criminals are getting a lot better at spoofing emails and other communications to make them look legitimate.

Even if you think you know everything about cybersecurity, you still have more to learn. Fortunately, there is a reliable online resource that can teach you general concepts and help you with your cybersecurity questions, presented by the National Cybersecurity Alliance. There is a lot of information there, so I would suggest starting with these two sections of the website:

One of my favorite things about this resource is that the topics are broken down into short, easy-to-understand parts with practical advice. As an example, one of the longer articles is an 8-minute read called How To Tell If Your Computer Has a Virus and What To Do About It. Dating scams, travel tips, hacked accounts, smartphone security, and many other topics are represented in articles all estimated to take less than 10 minutes to read.

One drawback to this resource is the fact that almost all of their education resources are written. If you prefer your education in video format, try this Tech-Talk collection or GCFLearnFree.org.

What are your biggest cybersecurity concerns? Let us know in the comments. Until then, stay safe!