Business Blog

Easing eyestrain from computer screens

Q: I have upgraded to Windows 10 and would like to tint the text area when working with Word. I only have one eye and the bright screen is uncomfortable.

A: To change the background color of a document in Microsoft Word 2013 or in the brand-new Word 2016, hit the Design tab on the Ribbon toolbar and then select Page Color. In the box of sample colors that opens, choose the tint that you would like to use for your page background. If you do not see a color you like, click the More Colors option to create your own. The process is similar for Microsoft Word 2010 and Word 2007, but you start by clicking the Page Layout tab; next, in Page Background, click the Page Color icon.

To remove the tint later, return to the Page Color options and choose the white background. Older versions of Word for Windows – if you happen to have one of those – once included a setting for “Blue background, white text” in the options. (The Mac version of Microsoft Word offered this feature as well, at least in the Word 2008 and Word 2011 editions.)

Windows 10 itself has a high-contrast mode you can use systemwide to reverse the color scheme and switch to a dark background with white text. To turn it on, enter “high-contrast settings” in the search box and make your changes in the window that appears. You can switch between standard and high-contrast mode from the keyboard by pressing the left Alt, left Shift and Print Screen keys all at once.

Starting a Digital Diary

Q: I would like to set up a journal (not a blog) just for my own personal use where I could jot down and save my thoughts and feelings. Ideally, I would like to be able to link it with Android and Apple devices. What is available?

A: A few synchronized note-taking services and apps may fit your needs. For instance, the free Google Docs online word-processor works in a browser and has dedicated apps for Android and iOS.

Evernote is another versatile service, with software for Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. In addition to keeping text notes current across all your devices, it will let you add visual content like photos and website clippings to your files.

Microsoft OneNote is another digital notebook service you can use to sync your thoughts across multiple computers and devices. OneNote has apps for most platforms and works in a web browser, too.

Tip of the Week

Need to do a bit of arithmetic or a basic currency conversion? The search function in Apple’s new iOS 9 software can handle quick calculations – just drag a finger down on the Home screen (or swipe to the farthest left Home screen) to get to the search bar.

Type in your math query (“95 / 4” for a dinner-bill split, for example), or “1 gbp” to see the current conversion rate for British pounds sterling into U.S. dollars. Tap the result to open the iOS 9 calculator app for additional math, or to go to the web for more information about exchange rates.

And the iOS 9 search bar does more. Enter “NY Jets” to see the final score of the most recent New York Jets game, “weather” to see your local forecast or a stock symbol to check the latest share price. If you don’t mind conversing with your phone in public, you can also ask the Siri assistant. The Google Now app for Android and iOS can also make many of the same information shortcuts from its search bar.