Productivity Tips From Hassle-Free PC

Choose Where to Save Downloads in Firefox 3

By default, Mozilla Firefox 3 saves downloaded files to your desktop. But what if you want to save, say, a photo to your pictures folder, or a program to your programs folder? Firefox doesn't give you the option: It just dumps everything to the desktop and forces you to manage your downloads from there.

Fortunately, there's an easy fix. Click Tools, Options, and then click the Main tab. In the Downloads section, you'll see that "Save files to Desktop" is selected. If you like having a default download location but want to choose something other than the desktop, click Browse and select the desired folder. Otherwise, enable "Always ask me where to save files," and then click OK.

That's it! The next time you download a file in Firefox, you'll get a prompt asking where to save it.

Make Adobe Reader Remember Where You Left Off

If you work with a lot of PDFs, especially e-books or other lengthy documents, you probably find it annoying that the files always open at page 1, not the last page you were viewing.

Thankfully, there's a simple way to make Adobe Reader 8 remember your page (as well as your selected zoom and pan settings):

  1. Click Edit, Preferences.
  2. Choose Documents.
  3. Check the box marked "Restore last view settings when reopening documents."

That's all there is to it!

If, like me, you prefer speedy, lightweight Foxit Reader to slow, bloated Adobe Reader, here's good news: There's a similar setting in that program. Just click Edit, Preferences, General, and then enable "Restore last view settings when reopening."

Add a Word Count Button to Word 2003

If you're a writer, student, or anyone else constrained by word counts, you're probably a regular user of Microsoft Word's handy Word Count feature (which is accessible in the Tools menu). Wouldn't it be even handier if it had its own toolbar button?

I think so, which is why I've added it to my Word 2003 toolbar. Here's how you can do likewise.

  • Click Tools, Customize, and then click the Commands tab.
  • In the Categories section on the left, click Tools.
  • In the Commands section on the right, scroll down until you see Word Count.
  • Left-click Word Count, hold it, and drag it up to any desirable spot on any of Word's toolbars. If you're not happy with the spot, just drag the new button somewhere else.
  • Click the Close button.

That's all there is to it! As you might have guessed, you can add other Word features to your toolbars using the same method. You can also drag unwanted buttons off a toolbar to minimize clutter.

Increase the Font Size in Your Browser

So this morning we pulled up a pumpkin-pancake recipe on the kitchen laptop. Just one problem: My wife couldn't read it from where she was mixing. "Can't you make it bigger?" she asked. (Go ahead, insert your own "that's what she said" joke here. No class.)

The horror: My own wife didn't know one of the world's best (and simplest) browser tricks! Bad tech-savvy husband. Bad! Anyway, all you do is hold down the Ctrl key and slowly turn the mouse wheel to enlarge or shrink browser text. No wheel? Hold down Ctrl and tap the + or - key.

This works in Firefox and Internet Explorer alike.

Rick Broida writes PC World's Hassle-Free PC blog. Sign up to have Rick's newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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