Display Multiple Word Documents

Ask Mr. Modem!

Q. I frequently work with two and sometimes three Word documents at a time. Is there any way to view them together, so I can rearrange them on screen? I dont want ALL my open windows to appear on screen, I just want the Word documents. Is that possible?

A. If you have more than one Word document open, you can view those documents simultaneously and arrange each document window as you wish. With your Word documents open, click Windows > Arrange All. This will subdivide your screen and display an equal portion of each open Word document.

To make any window the active window, so you can work within it, click a document. If you move your cursor near the border of the active window, when the cursor turns into a double-headed arrow, press the left mouse button and drag the windows edge to the desired size, then release the mouse button. You can adjust each windows size accordingly.

Q. When I attempt to enter some sites, there are some weird words that appear in a box next to a field where Im supposed to type them in. I know its for security, but how does typing in those words help security? Maybe its just me, but the letters are so difficult to read, it usually takes me several attempts before I get it right.

A. Those words (sometimes letters and numbers) are called a captcha and are designed to prevent what are called spambots (robotic programs) from flooding a restricted area (such as a Web site) with bogus data.

The words are presented as an image, rather than plain text, in order to prevent a computer script from copying and pasting them into the field, which is something a spambot could easily be programmed to do. The letters are distorted to prevent optical-character recognition (OCR) software from reading them and doing the same thing. That distortion does make the words more difficult to read, but thats the idea: Only the human eye can decipher the words and correctly retype them on the form.

Some sites offer an audio alternative in the form of a link that speaks the words, which you can then type into the form. The theory is the same, though, that only humans will be able to listen to the audio and type in the numbers correctly. (Apparently the creators of this system are not familiar with the capabilities of trained chimps, several of whom write this column when I'm on vacation.)

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week

History of the Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court is composed of nine esteemed justices (often referred to as The Supremes) who are charged with the responsibility of interpreting the United States Constitution. This site provides insight into the history of the highest court in the nation and is a valuable tool for educators, students and citizens.

Jerome Murat
An amazing video of the talented French mime Jerome Murat. This YouTube offering consists of an eight-minute performance by Monsieur Murat that is jaw-dropping, mind-boggling, and totally mystifying. Definitely not your run-of-the-mill Mime in a box, or Mime walking against the wind. Puleeze!

Whip Up
In our modern world of large-scale commercialism, it can be quite comforting, and even fun, to create something handmade, if one has the talent. Whip Up is a blog dedicated to "handcrafting in a hectic world." The site features daily posts about knitting, needlework, ceramics, crochet and many other homespun, heartwarming, artsy-crafty endeavors.

Mr. Modem publishes "Ask Mr. Modem! each week, featuring PC tips, tricks, and plain-English answers to your questions by email. For more information, visit MrModem.com.