December 13, 1999

By Karen Kenworthy


Yuck. It's cold and rainy outside. And I had to get out in that mess to take my van to my mechanic. Something about a "heater core." Not sure what that is, but it means that the old girl's heater doesn't work. And it sure would've felt good today.

But I'm back at my workshop, all snuggly and warm. Wearing my slippers that look like giant bear paws. Hot soup for supper. All's right with the world again ...

The Missing Link

I received a lot of email last week. Many of you pointed out that I goofed when uploading new versions of the Directory Printer and Snooper. Actually, I uploaded the files to my web server correctly but I forgot to change the links to those files on my Web pages.

As a result, early visitors to the site received the old versions of the programs, rather than the new. If that happened to you, I apologize. I've since fixed the links and all should be working correctly now. To get the latest versions of Karen's Snooper, visit The new Directory Printer lives at

Punching Holes

Reader Walter Kast was able to download the new Directory Printer. After he tried it, he wrote: "I would like to add additional space to the left margin of the printout (gutter) so that I can loose-leaf punch the pages for reference. Is this possible?"

What a good idea! It turns out this feature was easy to add. Last week I changed the program, to allow it to print to disk or a printer. In the process, I rearranged the program's innards so that all writing, whether to printer or disk, occurred in a single place -- a subroutine named OutputPrint.

To shift printed lines to the right, increasing printed report's left margins, I simply told OutputPrint to print a few blank spaces before the beginning of each line. Well sort of. Actually, for those among us with propellers on their beanies, I adjusted the X-axis of the printer device, by incrementing the Printer object's .CurrentX property, just before calling the object's .Print method. But the result is the same, an inch and a half of blank space is added to the left margin of each line.

Some folks, especially those with many long filenames, may not like the extra space taken up by the enlarged left margin. So I made the big margin an option. Place a checkmark in the Directory Printer's new "Increase left margin" checkbox, and printed reports will be shifted right. Clear the checkbox, and each printed line will start as close to the left edge of the paper as possible, as before. Increasing margins when writing to disk doesn't make much sense. So the new Directory Printer ignores the "Increase left margin" checkbox when you ask it to print to disk.

If you'd like to give the new Directory Printer version 2.2 a try, visit and download your free copy. As always, the program's Visual Basic source code can be downloaded too.

Mailing Woes

If you, or someone you know, has had trouble subscribing (or, heaven forbid, un-subscribing) to this newsletter, I have good news.

For the last few months our automated system for maintaining this newsletter's subscription list has been giving everyone headaches. If you've visited my newsletter page in the past, and think your request has been lost, you're probably right.

As a result, we're now in the final stages of moving this list to a new mailing service. We're sure this new arrangement will give everyone the level of service they want and deserve.

But in the meantime, I'll be handling the Power Tools subscribe and un- subscribe requests myself. No small feat, since more than 100 people join our little family each day. But, in the finest Power Tool tradition, I've created a few programs that will make my record-keeping job easier.

So if you're receiving this newsletter from a friend, or receiving it at the wrong e-mail address, please visit my newsletter page at /subscribe/ and order a free subscription of your very own. I promise I'll do my best to carry out all requests promptly and accurately. And if you want to stop your subscription, drop by too. I'll help you out, and we can still stay friends.

Well that's all for now. The rain has stopped, and the weathermen are saying tomorrow will be glorious. Maybe my van will be fixed, and I can go for a nice drive through the country. Wouldn't that be fun? If you see me on the road, or on the 'net, be sure to wave and say Hi!

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