Author Archives: Stephen Allen

What does your email signature say about your business?

Your email signature is your electronic business card – what does yours say about your business?

Your signature is not just a bucket where you stuff your name, some contact details and a standard disclaimer.  It is considered by the recipient to be a statement about yourself or your business.  In a world where first impressions count, are you giving the right impression?

Does the artistic text and pretty picture in your signature really add value to your profile?  Does your disclaimer really need to be that long?  Are you drawing attention away from the content of your email?

How many different signature formats are in use in your company?  To create a strong and professional brand you should decide upon a standard format for all staff.  Over time, even just the shape of your signature will become instantly recognizable, carrying a strong message in itself.  If you use different signatures for different endeavours, you should maintain some commonality across the different signatures to further reinforce your brand and corporate image.

Virtality produces signature templates for its clients which enhances their profile and strengthens their professional image. See our website for further details.

View Excel windows side-by-side

This little tip, how to view Excel spreadsheets in separate windows at the same time, was so useful to me, I’ve reposted it.  All credit and thanks to user heymchr who posted a comment on this webpage.

You need to edit the registry* and modify each of the following two keys, one at a time:

  1. Run regedit.exe and perform steps 2 to 6 on each of the following registry keys:

  2. Backup the registry key
  3. Rename the ddexec subkey to anything else you like
  4. Open the command subkey
  5. Edit the (Default) and command values and replace /e or /dde with “%1″

NB. Don’t forget the quotation marks around “%1”

*Don’t edit the registry if you’re not familiar with doing so.

Encrypted text files

Steganos Locknote

(currently the download link on the Locknote website is labelled “overview”)

To prevent storing sensitive or confidential information in text or word processor files, there is a FREE utility called Locknote (for Windows only), which is basically a Notepadreplacement which encrypts the data along with the program, all in the same single file and is protected by a password of your choosing.  You can take this file to any other Windows computer and open it again from there – with the password.  Don’t lose your password – the encryption method (AES-256) is currently unbreakable.

Encrypted Notepad

For non-Windows users, there is a FREE cross-platform alternative called Encrypted Notepad which behaves in exactly the same way as Locknote, but will work on different operating systems (eg. Mac/Linux and possibly even some mobile phones!).  The FAQ section of the website is amusing and worth a read.  It uses a weaker encryption method than Locknote (AES-128) but that is still currently unbreakable.  However, it also requires Java in order to run, which in itself is a security concern due to the number of Java exploits which have been discovered – even in recent versions.

Browser Password Security


Passwords remembered by browsers are insecure and can be read by anybody with access to the computer on which they’re stored.  Additionally, most people use more than one computer and more than one browser, so a secure method of being able to remember and share passwords is advantageous.  There are many FREE utilities which can do this, one of which is Lastpass.  Lastpass is clever in that it encrypts your password store before it’s uploaded to your online account, which you can also access directly via any web browser.

The premium version (approx. £8 per year) allows you to install the mobile app on smartphones.