New Feature Makes for Stunning PowerPoint Slides

If you’re design-challenged like me, PowerPoint can be a painful experience for everyone. I can select a presentation template to make sure there is a cohesive theme for the slides, but I’m pretty much limited to the layouts provided in the template. Any deviation tends to look unpolished. Then, I learned about the new Designer feature. It’s a game-changer.

Designer takes the content you’ve entered in a slide and suggests different ways to lay it out and use the theme colors. The end result is a much richer variety of slides that make it look like the creator has an eye for good design. Unfortunately, Designer is only available with an Office 365 subscription, not a perpetual license version of PowerPoint.

To get design ideas, select a slide and then Design>Designer in the top menu. If Designer does not appear in the options, go to File (top menu)>Options (bottom left menu)>Scroll to PowerPoint Designer and check these two boxes:

Screenshot showing PowerPoint Designer options with "Automatically show me design ideas" and "automatically show me suggestions when I create a new presentation" checked.

The folks at Tech-Talk have created an article and short video about what Designer is and how to use it in Office 365. This is a great place to start learning about how to use Designer.

If you still have questions after visiting the Tech-Talk article, this page from Microsoft goes into a bit more detail: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/create-professional-slide-layouts-with-designer-53c77d7b-dc40-45c2-b684-81415eac0617.

Are you using the Designer feature in PowerPoint? Let us know how you like it!

How to Find Your Lost Device – Android Edition

If you have ever experienced the acute trauma of losing your smartphone, you may be wondering if there is a way to track it when it is out of your sight. The answer is yes! If you use Apple or Android devices, you can set them up to be tracked in the event you cannot find them. Last week, we highlighted how to find Apple devices. This week, we’re shining the spotlight on Android’s Find My Device app. This app will help you find, lock, or erase Android phones, tablets, and Wear OS devices. We should probably note that your device must be running Android 8.0 or later to use all of the features of the Find My Device app.

Setting Up Find My Device

Before you can use Find My Device, there are some setup steps that need to be taken on the devices themselves. Some of these will probably already be done, like being signed into a Google account.

  • Make sure your Android device is logged in with a Google account.
  • Turn location on (Settings>Location>Toggle on)
  • Turn on Find My Device (Settings>Security and privacy>Find My Device>Toggle on.). If Find My Device is not already installed, install it from the Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.adm&hl=en&pli=1
  • Google states that “Store recent location” needs to be on so your device can be found if it’s offline. However, this is a relatively new feature that I have yet to find on my Pixel 5. According to their instructions, this toggle should be found in Settings>Security>Find my device.
  • Make sure your device is associated with your account on Google Play, or it won’t show in Find My Device. To double-check, find your device list here: https://play.google.com/library/devices. In the upper-left of the screen, make sure the “show in menus” box is checked.
  • Double-check that Find My Device works on the device by going to https://android.com/find and logging in with the same Google account as the device. You should see your device in the upper-left of the screen. If you have multiple devices associated with the account, you may need to toggle between them.
  • If you want to be able to lock or erase the device remotely, you must create a 2-step verification backup code. To get backup codes, log into your Google account and select security from the left menu. Scroll down to “How you sign in to Google” and click on the “Backup codes” section. You may be prompted to enter your password again, but then you can create codes to print and use later.

Find a Lost Device

In order to use Find My Device on one of your devices, it must have power (even if turned off), be connected to Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection, and be prepared using the setup steps above to enable the Find My Device app to work. If you would prefer to watch a video on using Find My Device, there is one embedded at the end of this article. To continue with text instructions, read on!

When you log into Find My Device and select a device, notifications will be sent to the device before you select any options. If the notifications don’t help, here are your other options:

  • “Play a sound” make the device ring for 5 minutes, even if it’s set to silent.
  • “Secure device” will lock the device and sign out of your Google Account. You can optionally display a message or phone number on the lock screen in case someone finds (and wants to return) your device. You can still locate the device, and after finding it, you may need to log in again.
  • “Erase device” is the nuclear option. It will erase all content from the device and keep it from being re-registered to a different account. You won’t be able to find it on the map after erasing it, but if it gets returned, you can reclaim it by signing in with the Google account to which it is registered.

Find Using a Browser

To find a device using a browser, go to https://android.com/find and sign in using the Google account your device is registered to. If you have more than one device listed on the same account, you may need to toggle between them. It will show how much battery is left and what network the device was last seen on.

Options for playing a sound, locking the device, or erasing the device are in the left menu, while a map indicating the location (or last known location) of your device is in the main part of your screen.

Screenshot of browser version of Find My Device showing device selection in the upper left, an action menu below that, and a map indicating the phone location in the main part of the screen

Find Using the Find My Device App

When using the app, you have the option of using a friend’s device that isn’t registered to your account. Whether using your own or someone else’s device to find another device:

  • Open the Find My Device app on another Android phone or tablet.
  • Sign in
    • If your own device is lost, select “Continue as [your name]”
    • If you’re helping a friend, select “sign in as guest” and let your friend sign in.
  • From the listed devices, select which device to locate.
  • Follow the steps from the browser above.
  • You may be prompted to provide the lock screen PIN for the device you want to locate. If it does not have a PIN, you may be prompted for your Google password.
Screenshot from app showing a map with device location on top, the device name and details in the middle, and the options at the bottom.

If you want to use the Wear OS watch to find a device, there are instructions here: https://support.google.com/wearos/answer/6166506?authuser=2.

Video Instructions

If you would prefer to watch a short video on using Find My Device, check this out:

Summary

Find My Device is an extremely helpful tool if you are ever unfortunate enough to need it. The flexible action options allow the user to disable the phone in the event it can’t be found, which acts as a deterrent for the resale of a stolen device. Have you ever had to use Find My Device with your Android device? If so, let us know how it went in the comments.

How to Find Your Lost Device — Apple Edition

It’s a moment of panic we’ve all had at some point. You reach for your phone or device and it’s not there. You try to call yourself from another phone but you don’t hear your phone ring. Fear not! There is a way you can locate your device, even if it’s in a different location.

Apple has an app called Find My. By default, it comes pre-installed on all devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch).

Setting Up Find My on an iPhone or iPad

There are various ways you can access Find My. The first step is to make sure that it’s enabled on your device.

On an iPhone or iPad, go into the Settings app, and then tap on your name at the top.

Screenshot showing the selection of your name on the settings app.

From there, tap on Find My on the next screen.

Screenshot showing app list with Find My as the third item

Next, you can verify if Find My is on for that particular device. You can also choose to turn it off if you’d like. If you have more than one Apple device, it will show which device is sharing your location with friends and family you have chosen to share your location with. If you are sharing your location with anyone, they will be listed below underneath family (if you have set up Apple Family Sharing) or friends.

Screenshot showing Find My settings.

Tapping on Find My iPhone/iPad gives you more options, including the option to turn off Find My (note you will need to enter your Apple ID password if you want to turn it off). Find My Network lets you locate your device even if it’s offline. Send last location sends the location of the device to Apple if the battery is very low.

Screenshot showing advanced options in find my app settings.

Setting Up Find My on a Mac

To set up Find My on your Mac, click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of the taskbar and then click on System Preferences. Next, click on Internet Accounts. On the left panel, click on iCloud and then scroll down to Find My. Click on the Options button next to Find My. The options below apply to Mac OS Monterey and later.

Screenshot showing how to view find my options on a Mac.

Here you can see if Find My Mac is on and you can also choose the option to locate your Mac even if it’s offline. You have the option to turn both of these off. Keep in mind that to turn off Find My Mac, you will need to enter your Apple ID password.

Screenshot showing find my Mac and find my network are turned on.

Setting Up Find My on Apple Watch and Other Devices

By default, Find My is automatically set up on an Apple Watch when you pair it with your iPhone for the first time. For more information on using Find My with your Apple Watch, Apple has written up a great how-to article.

Additionally, Find My is automatically turned on when you pair your AirPods with your iPhone or iPad for the first time.

Using Find My

Now that it’s been set up, you can easily locate your missing devices in several ways. On an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can open the Find My App, which has an icon that looks like this:

Find My app icon.

On a Mac, the Find My app is located in the Launch Pad by default.

When you open the app, you will see a map, along with a dock on the bottom. On the bottom dock, tapping the people icon shows friends and family who have shared their location with you and their locations. The devices tab shows mini icons of your devices and their locations on a map. Your family’s devices are also displayed if you have set up Apple Family Sharing. The items tab is for Find My compatible items such as AirTags. The Me button (on an iPhone and iPad) shows your location and from which device the location comes, as well as the option to turn off sharing your location. On a Mac, these tabs are located on the top left.

Screenshot of Find My App showing a map and bottom dock.

Finding a Device on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac

To find a device, tap on the devices tab and then tap on the name of the device you want to locate. It will zoom into the device’s location on a map and give you the address of your device. You’ll have the option to play a sound, which may help if you are near your device’s location.

Screenshot showing find my app detail for a particular device.

Finding a Device with a Web Browser

If you only have one Apple device, don’t worry, there is another way you can locate your lost device. Go onto a web browser on a laptop, desktop computer, or another mobile device, and navigate to iCloud.com. Next, click or tap on sign in. Log in with your Apple ID and password. Don’t worry if you have two-factor authentication enabled, simply click or tap the Find Devices on the lower left.

Screenshot showing how to log in without having access to a second device for two factor authentication.

Enter your password again, and then a map will appear. Click on all devices in the top center, and select a device to locate. A map will zoom into the location of your device. There are options to play a sound, put the device into lost mode, or remotely erase the device in the case of an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch.

Screenshot showing device detail on iCloud.com in a web browser.

Putting a Device into Lost Mode

If you cannot find your device, or if it has been stolen, there is also the option to mark the device as lost or remotely erase it. Marking the device as lost causes the following to happen: you will receive a notification on your other devices when its location is available, the activation lock will be enabled so no one can reset your device and link it to their account, a passcode will be required if they try to turn it on, any payments (such as Apple Wallet or Apple Pay) will be suspended, and you will have the option to leave a message on your device displaying a phone number where you can be contacted.

Screenshot showing the option of what happens when you put a device into lost mode.

A device can be put into lost mode from any of the Find My apps or on iCloud.com.

Finding a Device with Apple Watch or with Siri

To find a device with your Apple Watch, check out this helpful article from Apple. If you are in the same location as your device but aren’t sure where it is, you can ask Siri to find it if you have a second Apple device. Simply say, “Hey Siri, where’s my [device name]?” If it’s nearby, she will respond, “your [device name] is nearby, pinging it now” and she will play a sound on the device you’re looking for, including AirPods. If your device is not within range, she will say she can’t find it and suggest that you use the Find My app.

Have you used Find My to locate a device? Let us know in the comments!

Use This Tool to Share Videos In a Kid-Safe Way

YouTube is an excellent learning tool for people of all ages. To make it profitable for the platform and content creators, videos often contain ads, suggested content, and comments from other users that may or may not be appropriate for sensitive users. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a tool that could strip that all away when you share a video? There is! And it’s legal.

Introducing VideoLink

VideoLink is a free service that “cleans” the extraneous clutter from a video to provide a distraction-free viewing experience. They do have paid tiers available for advanced sharing and saving an unlimited number of links, but for most purposes, the free version is enough.

If you want the sanitized links to last for longer than an hour, you will need to create a free account to save them.

Using VideoLink

To use VideoLink, paste a YouTube link into the entry field on their home page and click “generate link.”

After a moment, the page will redirect and you will see your YouTube video embedded in a VideoLink page. But you still have options to configure.

Below the video, there is an edit tab where you can change the title or description, make it a private video, hide buttons, or add it to a VideoList (like a YouTube playlist). When you are done editing, save and preview.

If you have not already, saving a link prompts you to create an account. When I tried this from the converted video screen, I kept getting a weird message about needing to allow third-party cookies in order to log in. I had to go back to the home page to successfully create an account. You may want to create yours before pasting your first link in.

To view your saved links and lists, click on your name in the upper right corner and select the option. This is also where your account settings live.

How Would You Use This Tool?

Does this tool have a use case for you? If so, let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear how you are using it.

Access 20+ Free Tools to Enhance Your Online Presence

If you create online content, whether for fun or profit, you know there are lots of tools out there to help you design and secure your creation. Some are free or low-cost, while others can be staggeringly expensive. While in search of free tools to help me with simple graphic design, I stumbled upon a treasure trove of them in a variety of categories.

Experte.com

When I needed one, I found a background remover for images on Experte.com’s design tools page. I found it so helpful, I blogged about it. That page also revealed some other tools I thought may be of use, such as an image cleaner that could help remove unwanted elements from an image. Of course, all of these tools are available in software like Photoshop and GIMP, but sometimes you just want a simple tool to do a simple job.

After finding the design gems, I poked around Experte.com to see what else was on their site. I was really impressed with the number of website tools on offer, and I have made use of several of them. Google, W3C, and other providers offer free tools for testing your site’s speed, validating your code, checking mobile compatibility, etc., but Experte.com has put several of these website tools on one page for easy access. Using these in conjunction with other, similar tools may help you get a more complete picture of how your website is functioning.

Experte.com also offers tools for IT security and business. To access any of the tools on this site, hover over a menu item (e.g., Design) and select the sub-item at the bottom of the list labeled “tools.” There is a page of tools for each top-level menu item (except About).

Summary

Lots of free tools exist from a variety of sources on the internet to assist online content creators in putting their best foot forward. Experte.com helpfully gathered many key tools in one place for their users. Have you tried any of the tools at Experte.com? Let us know what you thought in the comments.