Home » Posts Tagged "tricks"

HTML & CSS Cheat Sheet

Download the HTML & CSS Cheat Sheet for FREE! The Digital Workshop Center provides free cheat sheets on many popular software applications. If you are looking for a quick HTML and CSS reference sheet, then we’ve got just the thing for you! The HTML5 & CSS3 cheat sheet includes basic concepts and common elements to help you be more efficient and confident while working in code. Several of these concepts and elements are included in our hands-on Web Design with HTML and CSS training class, so if you need more HTML & CSS help please contact the Digital Workshop office.  Stay tuned for more cheat sheets coming soon! Click the link to download the cheat sheet in PDF format: HTML & CSS Cheat Sheet...

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5 Reasons To Use MailChimp For Your Business

In the frenetic world of online marketing, it can be challenging to stand out as a small business owner. You may be overwhelmed with all the options out there for promotion and find yourself confused on which avenues to invest in to bring in clients and sales. Luckily, as time goes on, more user-friendly and effective solutions are being brought to the market and with a little research and learning, you can grow your business with less effort and more style! One of the greatest ways to reach your audience is through email-based marketing. Let’s face it, most people are constantly connected to their email accounts throughout the day, tapping messages on their smart phones or toggling between browser tabs at work. It’s easy to bring your business to someone’s mind when all they have to do is open an email that is right in front of them. And hands down one of the best options out there today is MailChimp, featuring an easy to read interface, simplified design process, and sophisticated tracking options. If you are looking for a clean and simple way to send newsletters, coupons, and other offers, look no further than this amazing program. Here are just five perks you’ll enjoy when you use MailChimp for your small business. Save money There are a handful of different services to keep in contact with your customers, but most of them require subscriptions and can really eat into your profits, especially when you are first starting out. But MailChimp is absolutely free to set up and free to use if you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers! And for many entrepreneurs, it takes quite a while to build up that kind of subscriber base- so why not save money during those first slow months and put that cash towards inventory or other marketing? No design background necessary We are all aware of the impact of great design- we ourselves tend to only click on and peruse websites/newsletters/posts that are clean, colorful, simple, and easy to read. Other mail-integration marketing companies can make it hard to put together something that comes off as such, and you may end up with cluttered and archaic-looking emails that simply get deleted. Don’t waste that opportunity when your business is sitting in someone’s inbox by putting forth a substandard product. MailChimp is incredibly clean and simple, while allowing you to control things like color schemes and fonts, and brings appealing design to the forefront. Smaller time investment For a small business owner, every moment of every day is worth money and it’s hard to do it all and still maintain some semblance of work/life balance. So the less time you can spend cobbling together a newsletter or coupon, the better. Luckily with MailChimp, there are several pre-made design templates to choose from and you can simply click, insert a bit of text, add a picture or two, and you’re off and running! It’s also easy to create a custom, regularly-used template (think monthly newsletter) and save it for later- then when you’re ready to send a new campaign all you need to do is swap out your current info and media. Then you can use that time you saved to brainstorm new ideas, squeeze in a workout, or spend time with the kids. Tracking made easy Getting detailed feedback is crucial to learning what works and what doesn’t, anticipating your clients’ interests, and promoting your services. MailChimp’s integrated tracking reports allow you to watch everything from open rates and click rates, to when and where your clients are opening their email campaigns. You also...

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Are You Making These 3 ISO Mistakes?

When a photographer makes the courageous leap away from the “auto” setting on their camera, they have to keep a dozen things in mind every time they compose a shot. Shooting in manual mode allows for individual control of shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and focus point (among other things), and often takes a while to get the hang of. One must master the concepts and execution of all the technological aspects of digital photography, but once that happens the quality of work can improve exponentially. Of the main pieces that go into making a digital image is the ISO, which represents your camera’s sensitivity to light. It has a direct correlation, meaning that a low ISO reflects a low sensitivity and a high ISO indicates a high sensitivity. Taking that one step further, an image shot with a low ISO is going to be darker than one shot with a high ISO. Most digital cameras on the market today have an ISO range of 100-6,400, and since it is an international standard, you can know that a setting of 800 is the same everywhere, whether your camera came from China, Russia, or anywhere else in the world. Many photographers understand the basic function of ISO, but fail to really grasp its nuances and fail to finesse its settings to give more depth and quality to their images. Regardless of whether you’re a brand new beginner or a semi-pro, chances are good that you’ve made at least one of these mistakes. Using the same setting regardless of light conditions Yes, there are plenty of people out there who focus all their time and energy on the shutter speed-aperture relationship and ignore their ISO altogether. Sadly, this third component is so crucial in balancing everything out and resulting in a more deliberate photo quality. When you leave your ISO at say, 1000, your outdoor images may be grainy and your indoor images may still be too dark. This puts a lot of burden on the aperture and shutter speed to try and make up the difference here, and the results are rarely nice. Don’t be afraid to move around your ISO and find the right balance where you can still get the action or movement you need and the depth of focus you want. Never touching this setting is a surefire way to disappointment. Only using extremes Some new ‘photogs’ only consider light in its two extremes: bright sunlight and dark; or more simply, outdoors and indoors. And while those two light environments will require vastly different camera settings, much of our lives happens somewhere in the middle. Most places are neither bright nor completely dim, so it’s important to know how to use the middle swath of ISO to best complement these scenarios. There are a lot of beginners who think the lowest setting of ISO100 is the only one appropriate for outdoor work, while the highest possible ISO (3200 or 6400, typically) is what’s needed for any kind of indoor photography. Both instances are wrong and can lead to poor image quality and yet many people immediately jump to how they could have changed their aperture or shutter speed in order to have avoided it. But ISO has more power than people think- don’t get stuck in the “all or nothing” game with light sensitivity. Learn to play around in the middle.  Don’t assume that every house party needs an ISO of 6400, and don’t assume that every landscape shot is bright enough to get away with an ISO of 100. Relying on post-processing to fix it There are...

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Don’t Let Wrist Pain Keep You Down  

You’re kicking through project reports, you’re busting out spreadsheets, and you’ve designed new logos – all before lunch. It’s an incredibly productive morning, and perhaps one out of the many this month already, but your body is starting to complain. For the desktop warriors of the world, taking good care of our wrists, shoulders, and backs is crucial to being able to continue the work we love (or at least the work that pays the bills!). Even if you are among the millions of us who cannot afford a custom workstation, there are plenty of choices you can make and options you can find to maintain good ergonomics, which can save you from soreness and injury. Because, let’s face it, no matter how new and fancy your computer is, if it’s painful to use it, you will be neither a productive nor a happy human being. This week we’ll be focusing on the wrists – one of the most overused and underappreciated joint areas in the body, especially in computing. However, it is also one of the most often injured ones, with maladies ranging from muscular strain and bone bruising to the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome. Luckily, there are ways to prevent pain and loss of function, even for the most heavy of online users. Pay attention to these three tips to keep your hardworking wrists happy and healthy! Fine tune your workstation In the corporate and academic worlds, there is a staunch uniformity in function that simply does not work for the majority of individuals: desk sizes and heights, chair shapes, lighting angles, and office accessories are often exactly the same. However, all humans are definitely not the same – our bodies operate differently, with different angles and abilities, and vastly different comfort levels and preferences. If your company boss allows you to personalize your desk or cubicle, take them up on it. Begin by raising or lowering your desk height in order to find the sweet spot where you can easily reach everything without strain, but one that is high enough where you don’t slump over. Then examine your chair – is it wide enough? Does it have lumbar support? Is it padded in the right places? If your seat is simply too uncomfortable, look into investing in a nice new one that cradles your body in a natural and supported position. Lastly, arrange your monitor, keyboard, and mouse (or laptop) so you can reach them with minimal effort. Efficiency is key to preventing injury. Utilize pads, gels, and supports In nearly any computer store, you will be able to find accessories to make your work zone a more comfortable place: padded keyboards, ergonomic mice, desktop gel mats, and much more. Generally, they are inexpensive so you can afford to try several to choose the best fit. If you type a lot, look for a gel pad that supports your wrists in front of your keyboard (some are built-in and some are separate), and if you do heavy-mouse design type work, shell out the cash for a gel-infused mouse pad. If you have had previous wrist injury or pain, you may want to consider wearing braces while working. These can be found in drugstores everywhere (or you can have a custom one made through your doctor’s office) and are instrumental in immobilizing the wrist as to prevent strain and sprain. For those with less finicky joints, soft compression wrist sleeves are available and some even come with heating and cooling features. Rest and stretch! Hands down (pun intended) the most important thing you can do to ease...

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7 Mac Hacks To Boost Your Productivity

Whether you think it’s for better or for worse, we live in a society that values productivity and efficiency above all else; those who accomplish the most in the shortest amount of time often are often those who receive promotions and bonus checks. In this day and age, every minute counts (especially if you’re trapped in a cubicle!), so mastering shortcuts in your workflow can be incredibly helpful, especially when you’re on a deadline. Just like the millions of journalists, nurses, and stenographers who employ well-honed shorthand to squeeze more information into a smaller amount of time, more and more average professionals are opting for the quickest way from point A to point B. Enter the modern keyboard shortcut. We’ve all heard of them, and probably have a few tucked into our muscle memories, but, out of the thousands of options, there may only be a few dozen that are truly helpful. But where to start? How do you know which ones are worth memorizing and practicing? Which shortcuts actually save time and make our lives easier? Well, here’s our quick roundup of seven Mac keyboard shortcuts that will slash your work time, getting you out from under those fluorescent lights just that much sooner! There are definitely more out there, but we think this is a good place to start. Get rid of that pesky formatting when pasting text Also known as “paste special”, this handy shortcut prevents a mish-mash of crazy fonts and sizes from content copied all over the web. It makes everything smooth and easy to read, without you wasting time highlighting and clicking ten different things in your formatting toolbar. Block out distractions           See that little icon in the very top right corner of your computer? Click on it and it will bring up your notifications bar, where you can access things like RSS feeds, Twitter, Calendar reminders, and other awesome info. But when you’re trying to focus, all those pop-ups and chimes can really interrupt your flow. So scroll up to the top of the bar and turn on the “Do Not Disturb” function; this will silence all notifications for the entire day (or until you turn it back off). Take advantage of Spotlight Search Two little keys stand between you and the entire informational universe. This command brings up a search bar that will comb everything on your Mac, the App Store, iTunes, and the entire Internet. You can even use it as a calculator. Don’t believe me? Give it a try! Type special characters in 2 seconds flat Ever had to stop what you were doing to scour your word processor for that umlaut or that accented “e”? This little trick will save you tons of time and is extremely helpful for anyone who works in multiple languages or writes about culturally diverse topics. Just hold down whatever letter you need and a tiny menu will appear for you to choose from. Beyoncé will not tolerate your excuses anymore! No more printing your signature For anyone who works with any kind of legal paperwork, gathering signatures is a hefty portion of the job. Even most of us average people have experienced the hassle of printing out forms, signing them, scanning them, and sending them back to whence they came. Well, thanks to the Mac’s Manage Signatures function, you can sign online in a snap! Open up Preview and its Preferences. You should find a button to Manage Signatures, which brings up a window where you can either sign using the track pad or take a picture...

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