How to download local maps for offline use in Windows 10

Sometimes you just can’t get an Internet connection. Maybe you’re unlucky enough to be on an airplane with no Wi-Fi or just driving through a section of the United States where connectivity is as infrequent as the next gas station. Sometimes a lack of connectivity isn’t a big deal, but on other occasions it can be a problem—especially if you need a map.

Sure you can get offline maps on your phone, or go old school with a paper version, but viewing a searchable map on a large screen Windows 10 tablet or laptop is a much better way to go.

That’s where the built-in Maps app for Windows 10 comes in.

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Onetastic add-in for OneNote puts your notes in a calendar

Microsoft’s OneNote is a great tool for keeping random notes, research, shopping lists, and whatever else you feel the need to jot down. But it doesn’t really have a great way to extract notes based on date. That's where a fantastic add-in called Onetastic can help.

Built by Microsoft developer Omer Atay, Onetastic adds a calendar, called OneCalendar, to the Windows desktop version of OneNote (Windows Vista SP2 and up).

Onetastic also adds other features such as desktop quick links to specific pages and an easy way to add macros. Many of these extra features are worth exploring, but we’re only going to focus on OneCalendar here.

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How to use voice dictation in Google Docs

Before you ask, no I did not use voice dictation to create this column on how to use Google Docs’ voice typing, but I could have. The service is actually very accurate and quite flexible thanks to Google’s recent addition of basic formatting and editing commands.

Still, there's an inherent lag between the issuing and execution of a command that makes the feature less than ideal for longer forms of content where there could be lots of text or formatting changes—unless you have unlimited patience. But it's a solid tool for creating documents like notes, agenda items, meeting summaries, or even first drafts of emails. 

Getting started

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Clear out your PC's junk files with Kaspersky Cleaner Beta

Every so often it’s helpful to clean out all the log files on your computer to free up hard drive space. More often than not, people turn to Piriform’s CCleaner for this job. CCleaner is great but the program can be overwhelming for new users since there are so many options. A new alternative is Kaspersky Cleaner Beta from security firm Kaspersky.

The new program doesn’t have the complexity of CCleaner—nor its vast feature set. Instead, it quickly analyzes your PC, figures out what needs to be done, and takes care of it with just one click.

Getting clean

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Three easy ways to paste plain text into Word

Formatting is easily one of the biggest annoyances when copying text from the web into a local document. That’s not a problem if you’re using a plain text editor like Sublime Text, but it becomes a big hassle in programs like Microsoft Word.

Here are several ways you can make sure you get plain text and not words in bold, italics, or a different font every time you paste text.

Word 2013 and 2016

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How to turn your screencast into a GIF with Recordit

I have a love/hate relationship with animated GIFs. They’re often funny, but they can also be annoying—thank goodness Twitter banned them from profile pictures. There are times, however, when GIFs can be incredibly useful. Take, for example, when you have to demonstrate an action on a PC.

Instead of uploading and editing a screencast video, a far easier path is to transform a few short videos into animated GIFs to create step-by-step instructions. This is helpful if you need to make a PC support document at work or just show your dad how to turn off his computer. GIFs are helpful because they endlessly repeat their animation, as opposed to a video that has to be restarted each time you want to view it.

One really easy way to turn screencasts into GIFs is to use a free desktop program called Recordit for Windows and Mac. This simple program lets you record a screencast then automatically uploads it to the cloud where you can share it with others or turn it into a GIF with one click.

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