Convert text to image, and image to text

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

When he isn't bicycling, prowling used bookstores, or watching movies, PC World Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema.
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Arcticsid asked the Answer Line forum about turning text into a .jpg. I'll also explain converting an image back into text.

Double-click any word in this paragraph. Your browser will select the word, and you'll be able to copy and paste it into your word processor or email program. But try double-clicking a word in the picture above (or in any of the other pictures in this article). It doesn't work. In the digital world, there's a big difference between real text and an image that looks like text--even if it's not always obvious to the user. Fortunately, there are ways to turn either one into the other.

[Email your tech questions to answer@pcworld.com.]

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The best Windows 8 Start menu programs

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

When he isn't bicycling, prowling used bookstores, or watching movies, PC World Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema.
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TTGSteve asked the Windows forum to recommend a good Start Menu program for Windows 8.

Like a lot of people, I have a very low opinion of Windows 8's user interface. And one of the things I like least about it is the lack of a Start menu. That's hardly a unique opinion.

(And yes, the image above is a fake. I know of no program that can put the Windows 7 Start menu over the Windows 8 Start screen.)

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How to find a lost message in Gmail

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

When he isn't bicycling, prowling used bookstores, or watching movies, PC World Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema.
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Vicki Pen lost three important messages from her Gmail inbox. I help her find them.

I know of only three ways to completely and permanently destroy a message in Gmail:

  1. Mark the message as spam, then empty the Spam folder.
  2. Delete the message, then go to Trash and delete it again.
  3. Delete the message, then wait 30 days, after which Gmail will automatically erase it.
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Overclocking: Why you should and should not do it

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

When he isn't bicycling, prowling used bookstores, or watching movies, PC World Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema.
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Arcticsid asked the Answer Line forum to explain overclocking, and why it is, or is not, a good idea.

When you overclock a hardware component--usually the processor--you trick it into working faster than the manufacturer's recommended maximum speed. Every processor is packaged and priced to run at a particular clock speed--for instance, 3100 MHz.  But that speed is an estimate, and usually a conservative one. You can usually bump it up a bit without causing problems. Sometimes, you can bump it up quite a bit.

[Email your tech questions to answer@pcworld.com.]

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Improve your prose with a word processor cliché detector

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

When he isn't bicycling, prowling used bookstores, or watching movies, PC World Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema.
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Darthdusty asked the Other Software & Services forum about software that will "detect and alert" him when he types certain phrases.

It sounds like you need a cliché detector--software that can catch a word, a phrase, or even a piece of punctuation that you use too often. This can be a valuable tool.

If your word processor has an Autocorrect feature, you can use it to catch certain words or phrases. A number of word processors, including the ones in LibreOffice and Google Docs, have Autocorrect. The specific instructions below are for Microsoft Word 2010 and 2013, but the general idea will work in other programs.

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Run an old program on a new PC

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

When he isn't bicycling, prowling used bookstores, or watching movies, PC World Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema.
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John P. wants to continue playing a game he bought when running Windows 98.

That's a pretty old game. Realistically, there are limits on how long you can keep using old software. Eventually, operating system designers have to choose between backward compatibility and future capabilities.

And yet, if your program was created with Windows 98 primarily in mind, it has a reasonable chance of working in Windows 7 or 8. But if it was already old in 1998, or was written to be backward compatible back then, it will have problems with most current computers.

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Find and watch free TV on the Internet

Lincoln Spector Contributing Editor, PCWorld

When he isn't bicycling, prowling used bookstores, or watching movies, PC World Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema.
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Lucyer asked about Web sites where you can watch television programs for free.

Generally, you have to pay for copyrighted material. The people who make TV shows expect to be paid for their work--just like you and me.

Some Web sites offer free, bootlegged copies of TV shows. I don't use those sites and I don't recommend them. There's a lot I don't like about current American copyright law, but without it, you wouldn't have any new television shows, books, music, movies…or articles in PCWorld.

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