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AOL Tips & Tricks Part 1

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AOL Tips & Tricks Part 1
(v1.1 - 8/13/94)

These tips and tricks were compiled to help you use AOL more productively. All but those listed in the last section can be used without any additional software. None are guaranteed, however, and no lifeguard is on duty so please "use-at-your-own-risk." Many are lifesavers, though! Watch for ($) tips which may save you money. 

If you've got a good tip or trick, please e-mail "Jennifer." Enjoy! 

Please note that none of the information provided here is endorsed by America Online. AOL Technical Support staff cannot troubleshoot problems arising from the use of this information.

   Signing On
      * Access Numbers
      * Long-Distance Access Solutions ($)
      * The Guest Account
      * Updating AOL Software
      * Updating Screen Names
      * SOS:  Finding Help
      * Password Protection
      * The Art of Logging ($)
      * Creating a Custom Profile
      * Making the Most of Multiple Screen Names
      * The Name Game:  Creating Pseudo Screen Names
   Moving About
      * Keywords ($)
      * Keyboard Shortcuts ($)
      * Text Editing Shortcuts ($)
      * Stop Incoming Text ($)

      * Sound Off:  Chat Sound Command
      * To Die For:  Rolling Dice
      * What A Character:  Special Chat Characters
      * IM Shortcuts
      * IM Screen Saver
      * IM Blockades:  Turning IMs On and Off
      * Chattering Ram:  Getting Into Full Chat Rooms ($)
      * Chat Room Backdoors:  Bypassing the Lobby
      * An Annex Of Your Own:  Creating Custom-Numbered Public Rooms
      * Line-Jumping:  Moving to Rooms Quicker ($)
      * Mail Shortcuts ($)
      * Address Memo
      * Squeezing Addresses
      * Blind Carbon Copying
      * Keep An Eye On It: BCC Yourself
      * Multi-Colored Mail and Documents
      * Wildcards ($)
      * BOOLEAN Expressions ($)
   Files & Downloading
      * Ban Hard Returns!
      * Retaining Formatting
      * Sending GIFs:  Mac -> PC
      * No Wait for Transferring Frequently-Sent Files ($)
      * Viewing File Descriptions Offline ($)
      * Reorganizing the Download Manager 
      * Changing Your Default Directory

      * Internet Mail Management
      * Gopher Veronica Searching
      * TCP/IP Connection
      * Stock Portfolios and Tracking
      * Starting a New Forum or Service
   Money Savers ($)
      * Features Available in the Free Area ($)
      * Give Yourself Some Credit:  Credited Time Options
   AOL Information and Add-Ons
      * AOL Information
      * Add-On Libraries Available
      * General Enhancements
      * Chat Enhancements
      * Control Enhancements
      * Download Enhancements
      * Mail Enhancements


* Access Numbers
While you can always get a list of access numbers online at keyword: ACCESS, usually if you need a new number you can't get online at all! There are a number of ways to get access numbers offline:
- Sign on with the "New Local#" (WAOL) or "Get Local#" (Mac AOL) option in the "Set up and sign on" window. For Mac users: If you are calling from a hotel and need to input a dialout string, like an 8 or a 9, select that from Setup *before* selecting the 800# locality. The Setup button is greyed out once the 800 number is selected on the Mac.
- Delete all your numbers in Setup; AOL will automatically call the 800 number and give you a list of access numbers.
- Phone the network: You can call Tymnet at 1-800-336-0149; SprintNet at 1-800-877-5045 ext. 5 and SprintNet's automatic access number listings at 1-800-473-7983.
- Dial up SprintNet's Local Access Numbers Directory. Using a telecommunications program, you can call in to any SprintNet node directly. Once connected, type "@D" and hit the <Enter> key twice. At the @ prompt given, type "c mail" and hit <Enter>, then type "PHONES" for the username and "PHONES" again for the password. You can look up any local SprintNet number available.
- Call America Online's Customer Service Hotline at 1-800-827-6364 (within U.S.A.) or 1-703-893-6288 (from Canada or overseas), open from 9 am to 2 am ET M-F and noon to 1 am on weekends. 
- Call AOL's FAXLink service at 1-800-827-5551 and request a list of access numbers be faxed to you. An automated voice menu will guide you through the choices. 
- Dial up AOL's Customer Service BBS with a standard telecommunications program at 1-800-827-5808 [settings: 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit, up to 14.4K].
- Keep a list of access numbers handy. Download them from keyword: ACCESS or 9600. Mac users may also find the AOL Drop List convenient -- a DA with the latest access numbers listed. You can find the AOL Drop List by going to keyword: FILESEARCH and searching for "AOL and access" (no quotes).
--===*Thanks to BenF7 for his contributions to this entry!*===--

* Long-Distance Access Solutions ($)
- Out-of-state: If you don't have a local access number, call your long distance operator (dial 00 on your phone) and ask about the cheapest rate. It is a sad but true fact that most of the time you'll pay less if you call out-of-state than if you call in-state long-distance.
- Canada, Alaska or Hawaii: If you live near the U.S. border in Canada, it may be cheaper to use an access number in the U.S. and avoid the Datapac surcharges.
- Hotels: If you are calling from a hotel and need to use a calling card, go to your Set Up screen and insert the following in the Phone Number field:
<Long distance carrier number, if needed> + 0 + <area code> + <access number> + ,,,,, + <calling card number> + # (optional)
For example: 10333-0-313-665-2900,,,,,12312312341234#
Notes:  The long distance carrier number may be needed to override the default carrier for the phone you are calling from -- AT&T is 10288 and Sprint is 10333. Call waiting may cause problems with this procedure, so disable it if you are having difficulties.
- Tips for Travelers and general help on getting access outside of the continental U.S.A., Alaska Tymnet Access, Canadian Datapac and Tymnet Access, and Changing Locality are all available under the "Help" menu.

* The Guest Account
--> Mac users only <--
If you use two or more screen names on a regular basis, you will have discovered that switching between names causes your unsaved mail windows to close. If you get a lot of mail and like to keep mail open rather than saving or replying to every one before switching, try signing on under "Guest" *everytime*. Since you'll never be changing screen names, mail and document windows will remain open until you close them or you quit. You will lose access to your Flashsession and Download Manager features, but if you don't use these that often, "Guest" can be a real lifesaver.

* Updating AOL Software
Got the latest and greatest AOL software update but you aren't sure how to install it without starting a new account? Simple! Install it according to directions, but when you get to the screen where it asks for your certificate number and password, enter your own screen name and password. All your screen names on that account will be placed in the new software. Other things like files in the Download Manager or Address Books will *not* be transferred with this method. There is another option for Mac AOL users:  choose the "Update" option in the installation set-up. You won't be asked for the certificate number and password; rather you will be asked to locate your older copy of AOL and the data from there will be copied. Existing FlashMail and Address Books, as well as your screen names, will be retained.
--===*Thanks to BenF7 and BoatLover for their contributions to this entry!*===--

* Updating Screen Names
If you keep your AOL software in more than one place and want your screen names updated in all copies, you can reinstall the software as detailed above in "Updating Software," but there may be a better way for you! If you've got less than five screen names, try this trick. Create a new screen name on your account with the software that needs updating; choose a nonsense name like "z10jh4t6." Delete it immediately after creating it. When you sign off, you'll notice that it has completely updated your screen name information in the software you are used. 
--===*Thanks to BenF7 for his contributions to this entry!*===--


* SOS:  Finding Help
There are many resources for AOL and other concerns available!
- AOL Software and Service Problems. Free live help from AOL staff in the Tech Help Live area. Free. Keyword: CSLIVE.
- AOL Software and Service Problems, as well as platform-specific assistance. Live help from Guides in People Connection Help Rooms. Keyword: PEOPLE > AOL Help Room.
- AOL Software and Service Questions. Free e-mail based service from AOL staff. Keyword: HELP > Email to the Staff (icon)
- AOL Software and Some Service Questions. Free AOL Customer Support BBS. See information under the "Access Numbers" entry in the "Signing-On" section of this document.
- AOL Software. Free document-based help. Check the "Help" menu in your software.
- AOL Customer Service Support -- AOL Software, Service, and Account Questions. Toll-free phone based service from AOL employees. 1-800-827-6364 or 1-703-893-6288 (from Canada or overseas)
- AOL Software Support. Toll-free fax based service from AOL's FAXLink. 1-800-827-5551.
- AOL General. Free message board; Members Helping Members. Keyword: MHM.
- Access Number Information. See "Access Numbers" entry in the "Signing-On" section of this document.
- Billing Questions. Help documents and e-mail service. Keyword: BILLING > Get Answers to Billing Questions > Write to Billing (icon).
-> Connection Help. Toll-free phone based service from AOL employees. 1-800-827-3338.
- Downloading Assistance. Help documents and practice library. Keyword: HELP > Members Online Support > Technical Support > Downloading Help (icon)
- Internet Help. Help documents and e-mail based service by AOL staff. Keyword: INTERNET.
- 9600 Baud Assistance. Help documents and e-mail service. Keyword: 9600
- New Member Help. 
   --> For Mac and Apple users:  Beginners' Forum -- Message board, file library and document-based help with a nightly help room. Keyword: BEGINNERS.  
   --> For PC users:  PC Help Desk -- Message board, file library and document-based help. Keyword: HELP DESK.  
   --> For all platforms:  Live help by experienced hosts nightly. Keyword: PEOPLE > New Member Lounge.
- Specific Library Help. E-mail based support from forum staff. Click on "Comment to Staff" (Mac) or "Ask The Staff" (PC) button available in the file description of any library.
- Specific Subject Assistance. Databases, message boards, e-mail and a weekly help room available in the Reference Desk. Keyword: REFERENCE.

* Password Protection
Choose your password carefully. Things to avoid are your screen name, your real name, anything in your profile, and any common word that could be found in a dictionary. Instead, use a combination of letters and numbers for your password and change it frequently. Keep in mind that passwords should be treated with the regard you show your ATM card and PIN number. Never give them to anyone, online or offline. Not even someone who claims to be an AOL employee because *no* AOL employee or staff member will ever ask for your password. For more information on ways to safeguard your password go to keyword: PCSTUDIO and read the document titled "About Your Passwords." 
--===*Thanks to America Online for their care and dedication to this important community issue!*===--

* The Art of Logging ($)
Use your logging feature! These are available on every platform under the "File" menu. Here are some uses:
- Use the Chat log (Conference Log on PC/GEOS) to record a chat or conference; you can read the same information faster later on at your convenience.
- Use the System log (Session Log on the PC platforms) to record posts in a message board, file descriptions in a library, member names in the Member Directory, e-mail (PC only) and everyone's screen name in a chat/conference room (Mac only). 
--===*Thanks to ScFiMarci and Patterner for their contributions to this entry!*===--

* Creating a Custom Profile
Did you know that you can put special fields like "Aspirations:" or "Favorite Breakfast Cereal:" in your profile? It's simple. Just select "Edit Your Online Profile" in the Members menu, cut the text from one of the fields, open a new, blank file, paste the text in, add a return after the text, type your new line, copy the new line and the old text together, and paste everything back into the field you originally took it from. That's all there is to it -- AOL accepts the carriage return characters in your profile! Keep in mind that if you create a new field for your profile the spaces won't line up when viewed on all platforms, but you can get them to line up on your screen and it'll be close on the others. Try adding a couple returns and a short line or your favorite smiley in the bottom field.

* Making the Most of Multiple Screen Names
As you've probably discovered already, AOL allows up to five different screen names on one account. If you haven't a large family to take advantage of these, multiple screen names can be very helpful even for one person! To create new screen names, go to "Edit Screen Names" under your Members menu or try keyword: NAMES. Here are some examples of uses for multiple screen names:
- If you use AOL for business and personal reasons, use one professional-sounding screen name (i.e. DaveJD) for business-related communications and an individual one (i.e., DaveGoBlue) for those which are more personal.
- Use another screen name to download files or browse documents/posts so you aren't disturbed by IMs.
- If you are interested in subscribing to an Internet Mailing List (at keyword: INTERNET), use another name to receive them since they can generate prodigious amounts of mail!
- Another screen name can also be useful in tracking a second stock portfolio if you prefer using the graphical interface of StockLink to the more powerful, but text-based, TradePlus service.
--===*Thanks to BenF7 for his contributions to this entry!*===--

* The Name Game:  Creating Pseudo Screen Names
Is there a screen name you really want but isn't available? Would you like to use a "copy" of your regular screen name on another account? If you've got a screen name with o's, i's, l's, 0's (zeros) or 1's, you can simulate another screen name. Just substitute zeros for capital O's and uppercase I's or 1's for lowercase l's (and vice versa). Here's a theoretical example: Julie's regular screen name is "JulieOnyx." She has a lot of friends and often gets IMs when she is signed on. She also likes to read message boards and post occasionally, but if she uses a different screen name to avoid the IMs, she doesn't feel comfortable posting. So she creates "Julie0nyx" where the uppercase O is actually a zero. With this name, she can comfortably sign on, peruse the boards without interruption and post messages under her regular identity. If she likes, she could also create "JuIieOnyx" where the lowercase l (L) is actually an uppercase I (i). Keep in mind that the the font WAOL uses can often see these psedo-names easily and if a Mac AOL user has changed their font preferences they will also see the odd character(s) readily.
Note:  Responsibility is requested with this technique, both when using and sharing this information. You shouldn't create a pseudo screen name if the original name isn't yours. Some members would consider "copying" their screen name impersonation, possibly constituting harassment and warranting an AOL Terms of Service (TOS) violation. Plus, because a lot of people have trouble seeing the difference between real and pseudo screen names, there can be confusion with mail. Play it safe -- don't create a pseudo screen name if it is similar to someone else's.
--===*Thanks to BoatLover for her contributions to this entry!*===--


* Keywords ($)
Know where you want to go but don't want to "tunnel" through all the icons and windows? Keywords can "beam" you exactly where you want to go quickly! The most up-to-date list is available by searching for "keyword surf" (don't include the quotes) at keyword: FILESEARCH.

* Keyboard Shortcuts ($)
You can use key combinations to navigate and use AOL quicker and easier! For an example of some useful keyboard shortcuts, see "IM Shortcuts" and "Mail Shortcuts" below. The full list is available by searching for "shortcuts" at keyword: FILESEARCH.

* Text Editing Shortcuts ($)
We all know the click-and-drag method for selecting text, but you can also select text just by clicking with your mouse. 
All platforms:
   - A double-click will select a word.
PC/GEOS & Mac users only: 
   - <Shift> + <left arrow/right arrow> highlights one letter at a time in the direction indicated.
   - <Shift> + <up arrow/down arrow> highlights one line at a time in the direction indicated.
PC/GEOS users only:
   - A triple-click selects the entire line.
   - A quadruple-click selects the entire paragraph.
   - A quintuple-click selects the entire text.
   - <Shift> + <Home> highlights everything from the left of the cursor to the beginning of the line.
   - <Shift> + <End> highlights everything from the right of the cursor to the end of the line.
   - <Shift> + <Ctrl> + <Home> highlights everything from the cursor position to the beginning of the document.
   - <Shift> + <Ctrl> + <End> highlights everything from cursor position to the end of the document.
   - <Ctrl> + <Insert> copies text into memory without cutting it.
   - <Shift> + <Delete> cuts text that is highlighted and saves it in memory. This will not work on read-only text.
   - <Shift> + <Insert> pastes text that has been saved into memory.
   - <Shift> + <Control> + <Backspace> deletes everything from the cursor position to the beginning of the line.
   - <Ctrl> + <Backspace> deletes one word to the left of the cursor.
--===*Thanks to OGFDiamond and Patterner for their contributions to this entry!*===--

* Stop Incoming Text ($)
There are many times that you come across an article or list that just seems to go on and on. If you don't need to reach the bottom, you can stop it immediately. On the Mac, hold down <command> + . (period); on PC/GEOS, hold down <Ctrl> + x, and on WAOL hit the <Esc> key. Note that if issued a command to AOL's host computer (i.e., requesting a profile or sending an IM), this text interrupt command cannot stop it.