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How to get QuickTime, PowerPoint to talk

Q. I want to insert a video clip that I took with my digital camera into a PowerPoint file. The movie is in QuickTime format, which doesn't work with my PowerPoint for Windows. Is there a way to make this work?

Microsoft's PowerPoint for Windows does not play nicely with most versions of Apple's QuickTime multimedia software, but there are at least a couple of ways to get your camera's movie clip working in your PowerPoint.

One way is to convert the QuickTime clip into a format like AVI that works with the Windows version of PowerPoint. While QuickTime Pro can do this for you, upgrading from the free QuickTime Player to the more full-featured edition of the software costs $30.

A Web search for “quicktime to avi” or “.mov to .avi” brings up plenty of downloadable software, and most shareware sites have a few video-conversion programs on hand. (When downloading software from the Web, it's a good idea to have fully updated antivirus and spyware programs in use.)

One free program that may work for you is the RAD Video Tools at www.radgametools.com/ binkhlp2.htm. You can find a detailed explanation of how to use the software on the Pain in the Tech site at snipurl.com/2e51q. The open-source program MediaCoder (mediacoder.sourceforge.net) may also work for you.

Q. I have so many programs on my PC that it takes me forever to find them in the Windows XP All Programs menu. Is there a way to customize the order they appear?

Although the list of programs usually arranges itself in the order you installed each piece of software, you have free rein to move things around and sort them more logically.

For example, if you'd like to put all your programs in alphabetical order, go to the Start menu to All Programs, right-click on a program's name and choose “Sort by Name.”

You can also organize your programs based on how often you use them – and move the more frequently used applications closer to the top. To do so, go to the All Programs menu and drag the programs or program folders around the menu into the order you want.

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