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Understanding Default Settings

Revised 12-2-07

"Default" What is it? Is it important to understand it? Can I change it?

First, what is it? Default simply means preset or pregiven conditions. By way of example, When you start a new document without revising any settings, the style of the typing (called font) is preset. In most Windows programs, the font is set at Times New Roman. Various Windows have used Arial, Calibri, Segue UI, or Tahoma

Is it important to understand it?

YES. This question came up because of the way the Internet works. So lets discuss "Default" as it applies to this special case first.

When you visit a web page (this one for example), you can contact the writer by clicking on the E-Mail link if it exists. Many pages like mine have dropped the link because the spammers are abusing it. If the link works, this automatically starts the "Default" E-mail program. If no changes have been made to Windows, your default e-mail is Outlook Express. When you click on the link, Windows automatically starts Outlook Express. If you have not yet configured Outlook Express, you will get the configuration wizard. In Windows 10 the default mail program is called "Mail" DUH!!!

12-07 note: To prevent spamming, clicking on the E-Mail links on this page will start your e-mail program but will not e-mail to me unless you remove the - in front of Many pages will use an address in the form of kg7ka"at" and ask you to replace the "at" with an ampersand but this defeats the windows action.

** Note: Outlook Express is the E-Mail program supplied with Internet Explorer (Included in all versions of Windows). Microsoft Outlook is the PIM program supplied as a part of Microsoft Office. (You can get it seperately also) MS Outlook has an E-Mail componenthat can replace Outlook Express, so you may be using "Outlook" or "Outlook Express". Due to the confusion, you might be using Outlook for your E-Mail & get still get the request to make OE your default.

If Outlook Express is not the E-mail program you use, then you need to work around this problem. This involves a number of factors.

First, what do you use for e-mail? If you use a program in your computer other than OE, like Eudora or Netscape, then they revise the default setting to make them the default E-mail when you install the program. If this is the case, your default has been modified. If you were to start OE, it would show a message stating that OE is not your default client and asks if you want it to be your default. If you don't read it carefully and click the wrong answer, you may make OE the default. The next time you click an
E-Mail link, OE starts instead of your regular program. Then when you open your regular program, it may or may not ask if you want it changed back.

If you use an on-line E-mail like Yahoo or Hotmail, & you have not made it the default client & you click on an E-Mail link, you will get Outlook Express. In order to use Yahoo or Hotmail, you must enter the e-mail address manually. You could just type it in (if you know what it is) or you could use copy and paste (again providing you can see it to copy it).

5-12-05 update: You can make Hotmail the default directly. Yahoo can be done, but not directly. See the note at the bottom for instructions on making Yahoo your default.

What this means is that you must know a little about how links work on the web. When you hold your mouse arrow over a link on a web page, the arrow changes to a pointing hand indicating a link. If your status bar is being displayed at the bottom of the page, the link or E-mail address is displayed. (If the status bar is not visible, click the View menu and see if the menu item "Status Bar" a check mark. If not, click it to check it. If it is checked, something is covering the display. Try taking the window out of Maximize into restore mode and see if it is visible) Try the links on this page and see if you can read the address at the bottom.

At that point, you could just manually type the address in your E-mail program. The problem with this is errors in typing. A much better way is a form of copy and paste. Right click on the link and choose "Copy Shortcut". Then open your e-mail program, make sure the cursor is in the address box and paste the address. (Edit, Paste or Ctrl V)

The name will be preceded by "mailto". Remove this part of the pasted link and you are ready to complete the message.

If you need to change the default e-mail program, go to the Control Panel and open the Internet Icon. In the Internet Properties dialog box, look for the Programs tab and select it. The example on the right is in XP, but earlier versions were similar. As with opening any new window, look around to see what choices you have. The defaults shown here are the Windows defaults. Even though I do not use Outlook as my default (I use Netscape), my default has never changed. For most users, the rest of the default programs have little meaning.

Now lets look at default as it applies to setting preferences in a wordprocessor. There are 3 levels of wordprocessors. Simple ones like Microsoft Wordpad (supplied with all versions of Windows). Medium level programs like Microsoft Works that are included with many name brand computers and can be purchased as a software in 2 different packages. Works basic includes the Works wordprocessor and Works Suite which replaces the basic Works wordprocessor with Microsoft Word. Word is the top level as are Corel WordPerfect and Lotus WordPro.

For a comparison chart of features in the 3 levels of wordprocessors, click here.

Lets start with Wordpad. The default settings include the font style and size, page properties (margins, some print functions, etc.) as shown in the figure on the right.

The defaults are not permanently changeable. You can change them for the specific document, but every time you start a new document, the preset defaults take effect. Sometimes the changes will revert to default during typing. It is better to complete your typing and then set your preferences for that one document after you have completed and corrected the layout.

The second level of wordprocessing program provides more choices, but still has no way to change the presets for all future documents. The figure on the right is the page setup for Works (in XP). It is Works 2000 version 5 for those that are interested.

The top level of wordprocessing does allow changing defaults as shown by the page setup dialog box on the right. This is Word 2000 Version 9 in XP. ( I have not used Word XP at this time). Word has allowed this in all past versions. Notice the button on the lower left that says Default? If you click it, it does not return the program to the original defaults, it changes the current selections to be the future default for all new documents.

You can change the page setup selections and font selections. Choose the Format menu and click Font. Make selections desired for all future docs and click the default button.

In the above 3 examples, notice that a preview window shows what the change will look like.

Here is a tip: If you want to have a different set of preset defaults in any of these programs, create a document with the defaults you want and use it as a template. Works and Word both have premade templates and you can save your own. Wordpad does not allow for the use of templates, but you can use any document as a template.

Default: other uses:

Some programs save the default settings. Windows saves a bunch of information. Any changes you make to the Display settings in the control panel are saved as the current default. Some settings are saved immediately, some only when you shut down. Improper shutdown may lose some selections.

Window opening size may be a fixed default or may be selectable.
Solitaire will always open in a size that allows displaying all seven stacks. This is a fixed default and not changeable. (Actually anything is changeable if you know how to hack the registry, but this is for geeks only).
All 3 wordprocessors will open in the last state it was in when closed. This is true of most programs.
Dialog boxes are fixed size. They do not minimize or maximize.

Note: Making Yahoo your default E-Mail client. I revised this 12-07 to reflect the latest info. The old method no longer works.

How can I make Yahoo! Mail my default email application? The Yahoo! Default Email Application is now a part of the Yahoo Toolbar download that allows you to set Yahoo! Mail as your default email application in Microsoft Windows. For example, in Internet Explorer it lets you access your Yahoo! Mail account from any email link on a web page, as well as from the "File/Send" menu or the "Mail" button on the IE toolbar. It also allows you to send a file using Yahoo! Mail directly from Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It's perfect for Yahoo! Mail power users who would like easier access to their Yahoo! Mail accounts. To install the program got to this page Yahoo as default and follow instructions to do a custom install of Yahoo Toolbar. Be sure to check the box setting Yahoo as the default mail program.

Now in 2016 things have changed again. Maiking Yahoo the default client can be accomplished much easier. See this page for instructions.

The Yahoo! Default Email Application can be installed on a PC running any version of Windows and any version of Internet Explorer.


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