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How to Insert a Watermark in Microsoft Word (Or Remove One)

The humble Microsoft Word watermark says a lot about a document. The most frequently used “Draft” watermark tells everyone that this is an early copy. The “Confidential” mark alludes to something hush-hush.

A watermark is just a faint or washed-out text or a picture behind the text. It can be a branding or a warning.

That it can say a lot sitting behind the main content suggests its importance. It is so easy to insert watermarks in Word. Let’s learn how.

The screenshots below are from Microsoft Office 365.

Insert Watermark in Word

Word supplies four default watermarks like “Confidential”, “Urgent”, “ASAP”, and “Do Not Copy” in text form. If they are all you use, then it’s almost a single-click operation to insert them in your document.

1. Launch Microsoft Word. Select the Print Layout from the three icons at the bottom right of Word.

2. Go to the Ribbon > Design tab.

3. Click on Watermark in the Page Background group to expand the options under it.

Insert watermark in Word

4. Choose any of the default watermarks from the choices Word provides, but do make sure it is appropriate for the document.

5. Word places the faded watermark on the document just behind your text. Again, the watermark is only visible in the Print Layout view.

An inserted watermark in Word

How to Use a Custom Watermark

The default watermarks are there when speed and convenience matter. But there may be occasions when the limited choices on Word don’t work for you. You can use make your own watermark and use it with the document.

Custom watermarks are of two types:

  • Text watermark
  • Picture watermark

Follow the same steps as above but choose Custom Watermark under the dropdown menu.

Insert custom watermark in Word

How to Insert a Custom Text Watermark

Custom watermark ideas can include your organization’s logo, your name, a copyright symbol, or anything that’s relevant to the document.

Here’s how to create a text watermark.

The Printed Watermark Window in Word

  1. The Printed Watermark window opens.
  2. Choose the Text Watermark option. The fields are self-explanatory
  3. Type the text you want to use as a watermark into the Text box. Configure the options for language, font, size, color, and orientation. Select the Semi-transparent box if you want a lighter shade of the text, or de-select it if you want to go darker.
  4. Click Apply and OK when you’re done.

How to Insert a Picture Watermark

You can get really creative with picture watermarks because images used well can say a thousand words. For instance, with casual documents, you can use a funny image or the number of minutes it will take to read the page.

You can even make a pattern that repeats across the whole page. Set it up with these steps.

Use a Picture Watermark in Word

  1. In the Printed Watermark window, select the Picture Watermark option and then click on the Select Picture button.
  2. You can upload an image file from your desktop, search Bing for an image, or source it from your OneDrive folder on the cloud.
  3. Click on Insert if you upload an image from your computer. For the other two online options, just click on Apply to use the watermark.
  4. You can tweak the appearance of the watermark. The “Scale” is set to automatic by default, but you can use the dropdown to select a specific percentage.
  5. The Washout option displays a watermark the way it is supposed to be—faded into the page. You can disable this to bring out the actual image, but it can overpower the text on top of it.

Select and Customize Your Watermark

Just adding your own text or a picture isn’t the only way to customize your watermark. The basic ones are all pale gray. Word also allows you to click the appearance by changing its color, size, and position on the page manually.

But how do you select the watermark when it is in the background?

The watermark is part of the header in the document even though it appears in the middle of the page or repeats across the entire page. All you have to do is open the header by double clicking somewhere near the top of the page.

With the header section open, click the watermark to select it like any other object on the page. Move the cursor over the watermark until the cursor turns into a four-headed arrow.

Select and Customize Your Watermark

Then, you can customize it in four ways after selecting it:

  • Drag the watermark to any part of the page.
  • You can add different watermarks to the different sections in your document.
  • If it’s a text watermark, you can use the WordArt Tools tab to customize the text.
  • If it’s a picture watermark, you can use all the options in the Picture Format tab to adjust the image or apply effects.

Change one watermark and the customization will automatically reflect in all the pages of your document.

How to Remove a Watermark

There are two ways to remove a watermark.

  • Open the Header and Footer area as explained above. As the image or text watermark is now editable, you can select it and hit the Delete key.
  • Go to the Design tab > Click the Watermark button > Select the Remove Watermark option.

Just like moving or resizing a watermark, deleting one removes it from every page of your document.

A Few More Tips on Word Watermarks

There are a couple of more things you can do with watermarks to speed up your productivity in any documents that follow.

1. Save a watermark to the gallery and reuse. You can customize a watermark and select it. Then from the Watermark menu in the design tab, just select Save Selection to Watermark gallery. Give the watermark a name, and click OK.

Save Watermark Gallery

Try this out: On a blank Word page, insert your own text and customize its size and appearance. Select and save it to the watermark gallery.

Select it under General in the gallery of watermarks and apply it to any other document. 

2. Insert watermark in Word on just one page. Word automatically places a watermark on all pages of your document. If it’s an overkill, just apply the watermark to the first page of your document.

Place your cursor on the right page. Go to Design > Watermark > Right click the watermark you want >SelectInsert at Current Document Position. The watermark is displayed within a text box which you can then move, rotate, or resize.

Insert watermark at current document position

Use Watermarks for Both Work and Personal Use

A watermark can be just one of those little things that amp up the professional look of your document. But as we suggested above, don’t let that stop you from using it on personal documents.

It is one of those overlooked features in Microsoft Word

10 Hidden Features of Microsoft Word That’ll Make Your Life Easier

10 Hidden Features of Microsoft Word That’ll Make Your Life Easier

Microsoft Word wouldn’t be the tool it is without its productive features. Here are several features that can help you every day.
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that make makes your life easier.

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6 Ways to Remove DRM From Ebooks You Own

Many ebooks come with digital rights management (DRM) protection. Thankfully, it’s possible to remove DRM from ebooks. Several different tools make the DRM removal process simple and straightforward. And here are the ways to remove DRM from ebooks.

What Is DRM and Why Is It Bad?

In theory, DRM prevents the unlicensed copying and distribution of ebook files, thus safeguarding the commercial interests of the various parties involved.

However, DRM is a nightmare for consumers. It can prevent you from reading an ebook on all of your devices, even if you’ve bought it legitimately.

For example, if you buy an ebook on the Kindle Store, you will only be able to read it on Kindle ereaders or the Kindle app. You’ll face issues, therefore, if you decide to switch to an ereader from a different manufacturer or if you want to use an alternative ereader app on your smartphone.

The solution is to use a DRM removal tool. Don’t worry; doing so is not illegal. Here’s a rundown of some of the best DRM removal apps available today.

1. Calibre

calibre drm removal

Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux

Calibre is the best app for organizing and managing your ebook collection. You can use it to edit a book’s metadata, convert an ebook into different formats, and even download news and magazine articles onto your ereader device.

Download: Calibre (Free)

Thanks to the presence of plugins, you can also use Calibre to remove the DRM from any ebook you own

How to Remove the DRM on Every Ebook You Own

How to Remove the DRM on Every Ebook You Own

No one likes DRM. We all understand why it exists, but that doesn’t mean we’re ready to embrace it. Therefore, this article explains how to remove the DRM from every eBook you own.
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epubor drm removal

Available on: Web

Epubor is a free online tool that removes the DRM from your ebooks. The service only works with ebooks from the Kindle Store. If you want to remove the DRM on ebooks from some of the other ebook stores

Where to Buy Ebooks? The Best Online Ebook Stores

Where to Buy Ebooks? The Best Online Ebook Stores

There are plenty of places to buy ebooks online other than Amazon’s Kindle Store. Here are the best online ebook stores.
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, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

To use Epubor, you will need to know your Kindle e-reader’s serial number. You can find it by firing up your Kindle and going to Menu > Settings > Device Options > Device Info. When you enter the serial number into the tool, omit any spaces and hyphens.

Next, you need to connect your Kindle to your computer using a USB cable. You can then drag-and-drop the ebooks from your Kindle directly into the web app’s interface. If you wish, you can drag several books and remove the DRM in bulk. Alternatively, you can download the desktop Kindle app, sync your ebooks, and drag them into Epubor directly from your hard drive.

DRM removal will begin automatically. When the process is complete, you will see a Download button appear. Click on the button to save the DRM-free books onto your computer.

3. ePUBee Kindle DRM Removal

epubee drm removal

Available on: Windows, Mac

ePUBee has made a name for itself as one of the best online ebook converters

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5 High-Quality Online Ebook Converters for Every Format

Ebooks with their multiple formats can be confusing. These faultless online ebook converters will serve your every need.
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. However, because you cannot perform an ebook format conversion if the book in question is DRM-locked, ePUBee has also developed an accompanying desktop app to help you remove DRM from your ebooks.

Like Epubor, this tool only works if you want to remove DRM from Kindle ebooks. Books from other stores are not supported. In total, six ebook file types are supported. They are AZW, AZW3, AZW4, TPZ, MOBI, and PRC.

To the use ePUBee app, you will need to authorize it with your Amazon ID. Some people may be uncomfortable with the security and privacy implications of doing so. You will also need to download your Kindle books onto your hard drive using the official Kindle app.

Once you’ve synced your ebooks, just drag-and-drop them into the ePUBee app as needed.

Download: ePUBee (Free)

4. Other ePUBee DRM Tools

Available on: Windows, Mac

ePUBee has developed two other DRM removal tools. One is for removing DRM from PDFs, while the other lets you get rid of the DRM on EPUB files.

Like the Kindle DRM tool, both of these apps are free to download and use.

Download: ePUBee EPUB DRM Removal (Free)
Download: ePUBee PDF DRM Removal (Free)

5. Any eBook Converter

any ebook convertor drm removal

Available on: Windows

If you want a single tool to remove the DRM for ebooks that you’ve bought from lots of different stores, you might need to pay for the privilege.

One of the best apps for the job is Any eBook Converter. It can remove DRM restrictions on books from the Kindle Store, Adobe, Nook, and Kobo. In total, 24 different ebook formats are supported. They include EPUB, PDF, MOBI, AZW, TXT, KFX, PRC, HTMLZ, and DOC. The app supports bulk removal.

In addition to its DRM removal capabilities, Any eBook Converter also has a few other useful features.

For example, you can edit an ebook’s metadata (including the title, author, publisher, data, identifiers, and language. You can also convert your ebooks into different formats, allowing you to read them on whichever ereader device/app you use. Editing and conversion can only be performed after you’ve removed the DRM restrictions.

Download: Any eBook Converter ($30, free trial available)

6. AzwSoft eBook DRM Removal

AzwSoft drm removal

Available on: Windows, Mac

A free (though less polished) app for removing DRM protection on ebooks from lots of different stores is AzwSoft eBook DRM Removal. It works with Adobe ADE DRM, Kindle AZW/MOBI DRM, and Nook DRM. And, unlike Any eBook Converter, the tool is also available on macOS.

AzwSoft eBook DRM Removal supports all the major ebook formats, including EPUB, PDF, AZW, AZW3, MOBI, and PRC. Several less common niche formats are also supported.

The DRM removal process is fairly similar to the other apps we’ve looked at. You need to drag-and-drop the respective ebook files into the app’s main window, then click the Start button to begin. The DRM-free ebook output is automatically saved on your computer’s hard drive.

Download: AzwSoft eBook DRM Removal (Free)

What’s the Best Way to Remove DRM From Ebooks?

The apps we’ve discussed here should be able to remove the DRM on almost any ebook you own. But what’s the best way to remove DRM from your ebooks?

We rate Calibre the highest; having a single app that can take care of all your ebook management needs is advantageous. However, from a DRM removal standpoint, Calibre is the hardest to get up and running. If you’d prefer a more straightforward solution, the Epubor web app is the winner. And for people who need to perform DRM removal regularly, a desktop app might be preferable.

To learn more about DRM, check out our analysis of whether DRM is a threat to your computer’s security

Is DRM A Threat To Computer Security?

Is DRM A Threat To Computer Security?

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How to Remove Smart Tags from a Workbook in Excel

Excel Logo

Smart tags can be very useful in Excel to quickly change the action a spreadsheet performs on your data. They appear automatically as you work in Excel, but each smart tag can be removed if you do not use them.

What Are Smart Tags?

A smart tag is a small button that appears as data is entered or selected on a spreadsheet. This button provides actions based on the data in the cells. The image below shows the Paste Options smart tag that appears when data is pasted.

The Paste Options smart tag

When the smart tag is clicked, different paste options are provided.

Paste Options provided after pasting

All smart tags work in this way. The options you see will be dependent upon the smart tag and the data in the cell(s).

They provide a quick way to change the action that Excel performed on your data. Excel has a few available smart tags: Paste Options, AutoFill, Flash Fill, error checking, and Quick Analysis.

Smart tags are only temporary. They appear immediately as you select, type, or paste data into a cell. They disappear as soon as you perform another task.

How to Remove Smart Tags in Excel

If you don’t use smart tags, you can remove them. Removing smart tags will stop them from appearing in Excel until they’re switched back on again. This change affects all workbooks and not just the one that’s currently open.

Each of the smart tags in Excel has its own individual setting that’s required to be disabled. This is great because you can disable specific ones that you don’t use without having to remove them all.

Let’s look at how to remove each smart tag. All smart tags can be removed from the options window in Excel. To open this window, click File > Options.

Paste Options and AutoFill

To remove the Paste Options button, click “Advanced” and uncheck the “Show Paste Options Button When Content Is Pasted” box.

Prevent the Paste Options from appearing

This setting removes the smart tag for both the paste and autofill options.

Flash Fill

By default, Flash Fill is set to occur automatically. As you type, Flash Fill might offer suggestions on your data entry.

Flash Fill automatically offering suggestions

If Flash Fill performs the action, the smart tag appears so that you can undo the suggestions.

Undo Flash Fill behaviour

If you don’t want this automatic Flash Fill behavior to keep happening, you can turn it off. From the “Advanced” category, uncheck the “Automatically Flash Fill” box.

Stop automatic Flash Fill happening

Error Checking

Excel runs some basic error checks as you write formulas, and if they believe you made an error, a green arrow and smart tag appear.

Error checking smart tag

This doesn’t necessarily mean you made an error. Excel is querying the formula because it might be inconsistent or unusual in the way it was used.

From the “Formulas” category, uncheck the “Enable Background Error Checking” box.

Prevent background error checking

Quick Analysis Tools

The Quick Analysis options smart tag appears when you select a range of values on your spreadsheet. It offers a quick way to create a chart, apply a Conditional Formatting rule, or use other analysis features.

Access quick analysis tools through the smart tag

If you don’t use this feature, you might find it frustrating and want to remove it. In the “General” category, uncheck the “Show Quick Analysis Options on Selection” box.

Stop Quick Analysis options from appearing on selection


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How to Remove Shadows From Photos

If you shoot a lot of photos in natural light you’ll know the kinds of problems that can cause.

When it’s cloudy the light is flat and your shots look boring. And when the sun’s out it casts deep, ugly shadows over large parts of your photos.

Fortunately, this second problem is easy to fix. You can do it in Photoshop, and sometimes in more simple editing apps. Let’s look at how to remove shadows from photos.

How to Remove Shadows From Photos Using Adobe Photoshop

Shadows are often a problem when you’re shooting in very contrasty conditions, especially in bright sunlight. Since it’s harder to recover detail from overexposed areas, it’s better to expose your shot for the brightest parts, such as the sky.

shadowy photo

This will often leave you with dark shadows in the foreground. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to fix them. Here’s how to do it in Photoshop.

First, hit Ctrl + J on Windows, or Cmd + J on Mac, to create a copy of your image on a new layer. This will enable you to remove the changes if you need to, simply by deleting this layer.

fix shadows photoshop

Go to Image > Adjustment > Shadows/Highlights. You might find the default settings do a good enough job straight away. If not, click Show More Options to tweak them.

shadows sliders photoshop

First, under Shadows, adjust the Amount slider. Move it to the right to brighten the shadows, and move it to the left to darken them.

Move the Tone slider to the left to reduce the range of shadows that you can adjust, and move it to the right to increase it. For instance, setting it to 10 will see only the darkest areas of your image changed, while setting it to 90 will see some of the mid-tones also being brightened.

When you’re happy, click OK to save the changes.

fixed shadows photoshop

How to Remove Shadows From Photos Without Photoshop

You don’t need expensive software to remove shadows in contrasty images. You can also do it in GIMP, the free photo editing app. Just go to Colors > Shadows-Highlights and drag the Shadows slider left or right to make your changes.

remove shadows in gimp

Google Photos often fixes the contrast in your photos automatically. If not, you can do it manually by going to Edit > Basic adjustments > Light then using the Shadows slider.

And in Apple Photos you can carry out the same adjustments using Edit > Light > Options > Shadows.

In fact, virtually all basic image editing apps will be able to carry out this simple fix. Where there’s a Shadows slider, it’ll work in the same way as we’ve described.

For harsher shadows, and more complex edits, you will need Photoshop, GIMP, or another full-featured photo-editing app.

How to Remove Harsh Shadows on Faces

Harsher shadows on a person’s face, or on the wall behind a subject, are harder to fix. They can be a problem when you’re shooting in hard light like bright sunlight, or with a flash pointing front on.

It’s difficult to remove these shadows completely, but you can reduce them to a level where they become a less distracting part of your photo.

harsh shadows face

We’ll do it by using the Mask tool to paint in some selective shadow adjustments.

Load up your image in Photoshop. In the Adjustments panel, click Levels. This will create a new adjustment layer above your image.

adjust levels photoshop

Click the middle tab below the Levels graph and drag it to the left until the shadows have reached the level of brightness you’re looking for. Don’t worry if other parts of the image are too bright—that’s only temporary.

Now, with the Levels layer selected, click the Mask button. Invert the mask by pressing Ctrl + I on Windows, or Cmd + I on Mac. Your image will revert back to its original dark level.

Select the Brush tool, and set the color to white. In the Options bar at the top, set the Hardness of the brush to a low figure, around 5 to 10 percent. Also, set Opacity to around 30 to 50 percent. Experiment with different brush sizes as you go.

paint out shadows photoshop

Now start brushing over the shadows in the image. Where you brush, the shadows will brighten. Where you don’t they will stay the same.

Because we set the opacity quite low the effect will be subtle. Brush over the same area several times to build up the effect.

remove harsh shadows

If you accidentally brighten areas you want to be dark, change the brush to white and repaint over those areas.

How to Avoid Unwanted Shadows

Rather than trying to fix unwanted shadows in your photos, you’re better off trying to avoid them in the first place.

Nailing the exposure is one of the most important things in photography. Our article full of photography tips for beginners

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7 Key Photography Tips for Absolute Beginners

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explains the principles of the “Exposure Triangle”—understanding that is the first step to getting it right every time.

It isn’t easy, though, because you often don’t have control over the light you’re shooting in. But there are a few things you can try:

  • When you’re shooting on a phone turn on Auto HDR mode. This will help to reduce contrast and shadows whenever the conditions call for it.
  • Some mirrorless and other dedicated cameras also have an HDR mode. If yours doesn’t, try using the Exposure Bracketing option instead. This shoots three separate images at different exposures so you can pick the best (or merge them all in Photoshop).
  • If possible, use an off-body flash so you can control the direction of the light. A flash attached to the camera will produce harsh shadows and glare on the subject.
  • When you have to use a front-on flash hold a sheet of white paper or card below it or to the side. This bounces the light off the ceiling or wall to create a more flattering effect. Alternatively, hold white tissue in front of the flash to diffuse it and make the light softer.
  • When shooting faces in harsh sunlight, hold a piece of white card or paper angled towards the face to reflect the light and soften the shadows.

And if your snaps still come out darker than you’d like, it’s easy to learn how to lighten underexposed photos

5 Easy Ways to Lighten Dark Underexposed Photos in Photoshop

5 Easy Ways to Lighten Dark Underexposed Photos in Photoshop

We all shoot underexposed photos from time to time. If you’re shooting in low-light or high-contrast conditions it can be unavoidable. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix in Photoshop.
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. Our guide has all of the information you need.

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How to Remove Activation Lock on an iPhone

The Lock screen on an iPhone XS.

The Activation Lock makes iPhones less attractive to thieves. When you set up an iPhone, it’s associated with your iCloud ID. Even if someone steals it, they can’t set it up and use it unless you remove the Activation Lock.

Unfortunately, criminals aren’t the only people frustrated by Activation Lock. If you buy a used iPhone and don’t realize it’s locked, for example, you might end up locked out of your new phone. Here’s how to bypass it.

What Is Activation Lock?

When you first activate your iPhone, Apple makes a note of the device’s unique identifier and your Apple ID. It then ties your iPhone’s unique identifier to your Apple ID. This is to prevent any other Apple IDs from using the device. Without the username and password combination for your Apple ID, your iPhone cannot be reset and used by another person.

You likely won’t notice the presence of Activation Lock until you reset your iPhone or install a major iOS upgrade. At that point, you have to sign in with your Apple ID to verify your identity and activate the device.

The Activation Lock screen on an iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

This security feature is closely tied to another called Find My iPhone, which helps you locate a missing device. If you enable Find My iPhone on your device, you also enable Activation Lock. By default, both are enabled on all iPhones and should remain so.

If you want to see if Find My iPhone (and Activation Lock) is enabled, head to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Find My iPhone, or log in to to see your device’s current location.

While people most often encounter issues with Activation Lock on used iPhones, the feature is also on iPads and Apple Watch. Just like it does on iPhones, Activation Lock locks an iPad or Apple Watch to the Apple ID used to set it up.

How to Recover Your Apple ID Password

To activate an iPhone, you simply log in with your Apple ID. You do have to know your email and password. If you use two-factor authentication, you can tap “Unlock with Passcode,” and then type the single-use numeric code Apple sends you instead.

If you don’t know your Apple ID email address, you can look it up on Apple’s iForgot website. If you’re unsure what your password is, or you want to reset it, you can also do so on iForgot. In addition to activating your device, you also need your Apple credentials to set up the App Store, FaceTime calls, and iMessage.

The input page on

If you can’t reset your Apple ID password or recover your email address, call Apple Support. If you’re in the U.S., the phone number is 1-800-APL-CARE. And you don’t have to have an Apple Care plan to call.

Ask Apple to Remove Activation Lock for You

If you still can’t activate your iPhone, there’s one more thing you can try. Apple will remove Activation Lock from a device for which you have a valid proof of purchase. You can do this in one of two ways:

  1. Make an appointment at your local Apple Store. Take your device, your proof of purchase, and your best smile.
  2. Call Apple Support and explain the situation. Ask the rep to remove Activation Lock from your device remotely.

We called our local Apple Store, and both these options were explained to us. The representative told us the removal of Activation Lock from devices (both in-store and over the phone) usually “falls within the sphere of our free services,” so, you shouldn’t need Apple Care for either.

The rep will warn you that there’s a good chance your iPhone will be erased during this process. The support staff we spoke to said not all iPhones end up erased, but you do have to sign a waiver for any work Apple performs.

This is just one reason why you should always have an iPhone backup.

Avoid Activation Lock When Buying a Used iPhone

One of the biggest drawbacks of Activation Lock is how it affects second-hand sales. Many people don’t realize their devices are locked to their Apple IDs when they sell them. Likewise, many buyers are unaware of it when they purchase a second-hand iPhone.

If you buy an iPhone through a service like eBay, you should be covered by buyer protection for anything you cannot use. Unfortunately, this protection doesn’t extend to face-to-face transactions. Here are some ways you can avoid buying a device you can’t activate:

  • When you turn on the iPhone, you should see the “Hello” set up screen inviting you to “Set up your iPhone” for the first time. This means it’s activated and not locked to another Apple ID.
  • If the device asks for a passcode, it hasn’t been erased. Ask the seller to go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings and erase the device. After this is done, the “Set up your iPhone” screen should appear.
  • If the device asks for an Apple ID and password, it’s locked and worthless to you in its current state. Ask the seller to log in with his Apple ID and password to activate the device. He’ll also need to go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings to erase the device. Again, if this was done, you’ll see the “Set up your iPhone” screen.

If the seller refuses to do any of the above, walk away from the sale. After you’re satisfied the device is unlocked (and that it works), proceed with the sale.

Be extra careful if you decide to purchase a second-hand iPhone over the internet—particularly from classified sites, like Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, and GumTree. These websites offer little to no buyer protection, so you’re far more likely to get stuck with an expensive paperweight.

Ask a Seller to Disable Activation Lock Remotely

If you already purchased an iPhone that’s locked, all hope is not lost! In a perfect world, the seller merely forgot to disable it or didn’t realize the feature existed in the first place. Luckily, the seller can remove the device from her account remotely.

You have to communicate with the seller for this to work, so don’t burn your bridges too soon if you feel like you were scammed. To untangle the device from the previous owner’s Apple ID, the seller needs to complete the following steps:

  1. Login with her Apple ID at
  2. Click “All Devices,” and then select the relevant iPhone.
  3. If “Remove from Account” is available, she should select it;
  4. Otherwise, she can click “Erase iPhone,” and then “Remove from Account.”

The "Remove from Account" option on

The iPhone in question should no longer be locked to an Apple ID. You might have to restart the device before you see any changes.

Third-Party Services That Offer to Unlock Your Device

Many third-party services will unlock your device for a fee. However, some do so to exploit vulnerabilities in Apple’s software, and others are used by law enforcement. None of them are official, and there’s no guarantee they’ll work.

Some “divorce” your device from Apple to circumvent Activation Lock. This allows you to access the iPhone, but Apple will likely blacklist it. This means it won’t receive any future iOS updates, nor will you be able to use iMessage, make calls over FaceTime, or download apps from the App Store.

The iCloud Removal Service website.

The only legitimate and trustworthy methods to unlock your iPhone are those we covered above.

Selling Your Old iPhone? Disable Activation Lock

Before you sell your iPhone, you should do two things: disable Activation Lock and erase the device back to factory settings. The first ensures the seller can use your device, and the second keeps your data private.

Follow these steps to disable Activation Lock:

  1. In Settings, tap your name at the top of the list.
  2. Tap “iCloud,” and then tap “Find My iPhone.”
  3. Toggle off “Find My iPhone,” and then type your Apple ID password.

You can now follow these steps to reset your device:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Reset.
  2. Tap “Erase all Content and Settings,” confirm your decision, and then wait for the procedure to complete.

When you see the “Hello” screen that says, “Set up your iPhone,” you can sell your device.

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How to Remove Slide Numbers from PowerPoint Slides

powerpoint logo

Slide numbers are a great way to navigate to a specific slide on your PowerPoint presentation quickly. In the event that the slide numbers are no longer necessary, you might want to remove them. Here’s how.

Remove Slide Number from One or All Slides

First, open the PowerPoint presentation that contains the slide numbers you want to remove. The slide number appears in the top-left corner of its respective slide.

Slide number 2

Next, head over to the “Text” group of the “Insert” tab and select “Slide Number.”

Slide number option in text group

Once selected, the “Header and Footer” dialog box will appear. In the “Slide” tab, uncheck the box next to “Slide Number.” If you want to remove the number from only the selected slide, then select “Apply” (2). If you want to remove the numbers from every slide in the presentation, then select “Apply to All” (3).

Remove numbers from the slides

Remove Slide Number from Title Slide

You might want to remove the slide number from the title slide only. Numbering that slide probably isn’t necessary as most understand the title slide is the first slide of your presentation.

To remove the slide number from the title slide only, select “Slide Number” in the “Text” group to open up the “Header and Footer” dialog box again. This time, check the box next to “Don’t Show on the Title Slide.”

If you happened to be on the title slide when you opened the dialog box, then select “Apply.” However, if you were on any other slide, you’ll need to select “Apply to All” for it to work.

Don't show slide number on the title slide

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How to Remove a URL’s Trailing Underscore in Chrome

Trailing underscore logo image.

Google Chrome lets you add custom search engines to search any site with a special keyword. However, sometimes Chrome adds a trailing underscore to the URL, which can cause problems if you try to enter it in the address bar.

Why Does This Happen?

Although it’s uncertain why this happens, it seems as though Chrome adds a trailing underscore to some URLs that use a custom search or keyword to query a website.

RELATED: How to Search Any Site from Chrome’s Address Bar

One theory is that somewhere along the line when you add a custom search engine, it gets duplicated, and instead of throwing an error and breaking, Chrome appends the keyword with an underscore and continues as if nothing happened.

The main problem with this is the keyword looks a lot like a properly formed URL—only with an underscore at the end. When you start to type a URL in the Omnibox, Chrome suggests this underscore-containing URL, and then you could either hit Tab or Enter to complete the action.

If you chose to press Tab, you can enter a search term to query that website—great! However, if you decide to hit Enter, Chrome tries to look up that website’s IP address; when the DNS probe can’t find anything, you get an error stating, “This site can’t be reached.”

Page error if you hit Enter.

Unfortunately, there’s no rhyme or reason as to why this bug affects only certain URLs, but here’s an easy fix that only takes a minute or two.

How to Remove Trailing Underscores

While you could just use Chrome’s Shift+Delete keyboard command to remove this particular entry from the Omnibox suggestion, this method only deletes the entry in your browser’s history. You need to find the actual search engine keyword in the Search Engine settings for Chrome.

Go ahead and fire up Chrome, click the three-dot button in the top-right corner, and then choose “Settings.”

Click the menu button, and then click Settings

Scroll down until you see the Search Engine section and then click on “Manage Search Engines.”

Click on "Manage search engines" under the section Search Engine.

If you don’t know the exact URL to search for, you can scroll through the list or type an underscore (_) in the search bar at the top of the window. As any Query URL that contains an underscore is included, pay attention to the keyword of each entry.

Type an underscore in the search bar to locate any instances of a keyword containing one.

Next, click the three dots next to the troublesome search engine. If you want to remove it completely, click “Remove from List” to delete it. Otherwise, if you want to keep it and just remove the underscore, click “Edit.”

Click the three dots, and then click on "Edit."

Now, remove the underscore from the keyword or enter a new name and then click “Save.”

Remove the underscore or change the keyword completely, and then click "Save."

If you have more than one case of a trailing underscore in a URL, repeat this process for each in the “Manage Search Engines” settings page.

Although this bug may not affect everyone, this is a quick and simple way to remove a trailing underscore and fix the custom search engine’s keyword string. Now, you’ll be able to enter the URL without being sent to an error page in Chrome.

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All the Useless Windows 10 Features Microsoft Should Remove

Microsofts logo on a building.

It’s 2019, and Windows 10 has too many useless and annoying features. Don’t get me wrong: Windows 10 has gotten better and, overall, I love it compared to Windows 8. But some things just need to go.

The People Icon Without Any People

The My People feature lives on Windows 10’s taskbar by default. Click it, and you can chat with people on a variety of different services. You can even pin your favorite contacts to the taskbar and have one-click access to your favorite people!

That’s how it’s supposed to work. In reality, My People has integrated with very few services: In the default Windows installation, it only works with Mail and Skype. You might expect that People would be integrated with other Microsoft applications like Microsoft Teams, LinkedIn, Yammer, and Xbox Live Chat, but you’d be wrong. It doesn’t even work with the SMS features built into the Your Phone application. Does Facebook’s Windows 10 app integrate with it? Of course not.

Microsoft hasn’t even adopted My People for its services, so it’s unsurprising that only a handful of apps have integrated with it. The list of available apps for My People in the Store is tiny and extremely sad. Microsoft needs to get rid of this feature. Thankfully, Windows 10 users can disable the People icon until then.

The 3D Objects Folder No One Uses

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of seeing the “3D Objects” folder under This PC in File Explorer. How many Windows 10 users actually use this folder? Is it really that important?

The 3D Objects folder was added to Windows 10 as part of Microsoft’s 3D obsession back in the Creators Update days, when Windows 10 also received features like Paint 3D, Mixed Reality (actually just virtual reality) headsets, and 3D printer support. Microsoft talked up the idea of converting Minecraft worlds to 3D models and then printing them.

Those features are cool, I guess, but they’re not important to most PC users. At least you can easily uninstall apps like Paint 3D. You have to use a registry hack to hide the 3D Objects folder.

Thanks to telemetry, Microsoft has to know how many people use this feature—and it can’t be many. Microsoft said it removed the Start button from Windows 8 because of low usage, but the 3D Objects folder sticks around?

Microsoft Edge’s Horrible News Feed

Microsoft Edge’s new tab page is a mess. By default, it shows as news feed full of clickbait articles about the world’s wealthiest celebrities, credit card offers, shopping advertisements, and dental implant information.

You can hide the news feed, but it’s full of junk, and I wish Microsoft would remove it entirely. No such luck, though: The news feed is already part of the New Tab page in the new Chromium-based version of Microsoft Edge. Ouch.

All the Ads. So, So Many Ads

While Windows 10 has become better in many ways, the advertisements keep multiplying. Every update seems to add a new form of advertising to Windows users. Microsoft may have bashed Google for being an advertising-centric company with the Scroogled campaign, but Windows 10 has more built-in advertisements than Google’s Android and Chrome OS do.

There are advertisements on the lock screen, in the taskbar, and in your notifications. Ads pop up from the taskbar in bubbles, and Cortana bounces for your attention. Banner advertisements appear in File Explorer, and the default live tiles advertise apps and games Microsoft wants to sell you. It’s all just too much, and disabling these advertisements involves a scavenger hunt.

It’s more annoying that many of these ads are baked into useful features. Don’t want to see ads for video games on your lock screen? You’ll have to turn off those pretty background images provided by Windows Spotlight. When Huawei does it, it’s a scandal people are upset about. When Microsoft does it, it’s business as usual.

At least Microsoft backed off on ads in the Mail app.

RELATED: How to Disable All of Windows 10’s Built-in Advertising

Bing Search That Gets in the Way

Attacking Cortana would be easy. Microsoft is already backing off on Cortana and making it easier to integrate Windows 10 with other voice assistants like Alexa. It’s fine.

Here’s what really gets in the way: Bing search in the Start menu. Do you want to see suggested searches and even embedded Bing web pages when you search your system via the Start menu? Does the Start menu need a SafeSearch option that enables the viewing of “adult images” from the web in your Start menu?

Bing often gets in the way. Sometimes, you’ll search your system and Windows will only return web-based results rather than applications, settings, and files in your system.

The original versions of Windows 10 let you disable this integrated Bing search, but Microsoft removed that option. The Bing division must have needed more users.

It’s still possible to disable Bing in the Start menu, but you have to do some registry hacking. It should just take a few clicks.

RELATED: How to Disable Bing in the Windows 10 Start Menu

The Messy Timeline

Windows 10’s Timeline lives in the Task View interface, making what should be a simple view of your open windows and multiple desktops more confusing and complex.

The Timeline is designed to show your recent “activities,” showing you which files, applications, and websites you used at specific dates and times. You can go back to the tasks you were performing previously. It even syncs between your devices with your Microsoft account, so you can resume tasks you were performing on their PCs. Microsoft has even extended Timeline to phones.

If this all sounds pretty complicated, well, it is. Not every application has integrated with it, and that makes it even more complicated. Chrome doesn’t show web pages you’ve visited in the Timeline. Many other apps don’t show activities you’ve performed and files you’ve opened in the Timeline either. Why open a messy interface that might not even have what you’re looking for?

Even if the Timeline was super useful, there’s no way to hide some applications from the Timeline, so it might get cluttered with things that don’t matter to you. More control would be nice if this were a serious feature.

Sure, maybe some people love Timeline. But it feels like yet another half-baked Windows feature that not enough applications integrate with—just like My People. Thankfully, you can disable the Timeline and clean up the Task View interface.

S Mode, Which Would Have Cost You $50 to Escape

Can Microsoft just give up on S Mode already? S Mode is the successor to Windows 10 S, which was the successor to Windows RT back in the Windows 8 days. They all have one thing in common: No one wanted them. Who wants a Windows PC that can’t run standard Windows applications?

Like its successors, a PC in S Mode will only let you install software from the Store. Some PCs come in S Mode: Microsoft’s original Surface Laptop, for example, and the Surface Go.

S Mode has some other ridiculous limitations: A PC in S Mode won’t let you change your default search engine from Bing to Google or any other search engine. Even Apple’s Safari on an iPad lets you do that! Even “Windows 8.1 With Bing” didn’t force you to use Bing.

Thankfully, you can leave S Mode. Initially, Microsoft planned to charge $50 for the convenience of leaving Windows 10 S, essentially adding $50 to the cost of these PCs for anyone who needs to install their own software. Thankfully, Microsoft backed down. You can now leave S Mode for free, although bugs sometimes get in the way.

Candy Crush Saga (You Knew It Was Coming)

No list of useless junk on Windows 10 could be complete without Candy Crush Saga, FarmVille 2, and whatever other games Microsoft is installing by default these days.

I can hear the response from Redmond right now: “Aha!”, they’re saying. “We’ve got you! These aren’t part of Windows 10—they’re actually downloaded after you set up Windows 10. And many of them are just tiles that download the apps after you click them. They’re not technically included with Windows 10!”

Whether or not these are included with Windows 10 or automatically downloaded after you set up Windows 10 doesn’t matter to most people. They’re even downloaded automatically on Windows 10 Professional, so you have them to look forward to even if you spend $200 for your operating system. They’re part of the “Microsoft Consumer Experience,” which only Windows 10 Enterprise and Education users can disable.

Beyond games, the Microsoft Consumer Experience has been used to automatically push applications like the Keeper password manager, made by a company that sued a journalist who wrote about its security vulnerabilities, onto the PCs of Windows 10 users. Maybe we should be happy if Candy Crush is the worst of it.

Can you please stop installing apps on our PCs without asking, Microsoft?

Technically Gone: That Ad-Filled Solitaire Game

Remember when Microsoft removed the beloved Solitaire game from Windows and replaced it with a new Solitaire game full of 30-second video ads and a subscription fee to disable them?

I would wish that Microsoft would remove the Microsoft Solitaire Collection from Windows, but it kind of has. It’s now an optional download from the Store, helping Microsoft avoid criticism about shipping a built-in card game with a subscription.

The price has even gone up over time! At launch, Microsoft charged $1.49 per month or $9.99 per year. Now, Microsoft charges $1.99 per month or $14.99 per year. Really, Microsoft?

Microsoft Minesweeper has a separate subscription, too. And, as the app so helpfully notes, paying for a Solitaire subscription won’t grant you a Premium subscription in the Microsoft Solitaire apps for Android, iPhone, and iPad. Gross.

I still wish Microsoft would replace Solitaire with a more classic experience that isn’t full of ads and subscriptions. Does every little part of Windows need aggressive monetization?

For now, we host our own ad-free solitaire and minesweeper games on the web. How-To Geek isn’t a $1 trillion company like Microsoft is, but somehow we can afford to give them away for free. Enjoy!

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