KNOWHOW Q&As – general computing

KNOWHOW Q&As – general computing

Setting up a webcam, opening DOCX files on older versions of Office and more

Question: How do I set up a webcam for recording?

Answer: Video chat isn’t the only thing you can do with a webcam – recording video blogs, reviews or songs and uploading them to sites like YouTube has become increasingly popular. Here are a few tips to help you get the best results:

Position the camera
Make sure there's a small amount of space between your head and the top of the frame and that you're close enough to the lens so your face can be seen. Ideally, the lens should be at eye level.  Remember to look at the webcam – not the screen – while you speak.

Think about audio
External microphones will often give better audio quality than using the microphone in the webcam . Make sure other devices like mobile phones, the radio or TV are switched off to avoid excess noise.

Set the lighting
Webcam videos can have poor visuals because people simply use the light from the monitor as a lighting source. You can use an angled desk lamp to add light to your scene but make sure it’s not too close or the image will become overexposed.


Question: What type of Wi-Fi security do I have?

Answer: Most home users use one of a few types of security settings. There are other – more complex – options but these are generally aimed at professional and business users. Your router manual will let you know which of these you have:

WEP stands for ‘Wired Equivalent Privacy’, meaning it's intended to offer the same kind of security as a wired network. This offers a basic level of protection and requires users to enter a password to access the Wi-Fi signal.

WPA is ‘Wi-Fi Protected Access’. This increases the protection of your data, "encrypting" the information so it's harder for hackers to decode. The security level here is better than WEP and again, it requires a password for access.

Your Wi-Fi router may also be able to provide WPA2 security, which is an updated version of WPA , with more in-depth encryption . There may also be other options such as PSK, where a ‘pre-shared key’ is needed by users. It's advisable to use WPA security over WEP , if your router and devices on your network can use it.

Question: How do I connect my computer to a TV?

Answer: Many modern computers and televisions are easy to connect together using an HDMI cable. HDMI is seen as being the standard connection for high definition devices these days. It's found on many devices and is easy to use and set up.


Once the cables are connected, Windows should automatically detect the new display and provide you with a list of options. Choose Use the external display as your main display. If this option doesn't appear:

  • Click the Start button
  • Type Connect to an external display into the search bot
  • A list of results will appear. Select Connect to an external display 
  • Use the menus to select your television
  • Adjust any settings you need to, so they match your TV

If you have any display issues once connected:

1. Use the computer's display settings to lower the resolution. If you’re using a laptop, one of the function keys (F1 to F12) should have a picture of a screen on it. Hold down the Fn key and press it.

2. Check the TV is in the right input mode. For example, if you are connected by HDMI , select the HDMI input using your remote.

3. Restart your computer – this can often help it automatically detect the external display.


Question: How do I open DOCX files with older versions of Microsoft Office?

Answer: In order to keep saved files small and reliable while still coping with all the additional information, Microsoft introduced the DOCX format with Word 2007. It's the new default save setting, but it causes problems when you try to share documents with someone who hasn’t yet upgraded from Word 97 or 2003. Microsoft has now fixed this issue and has released a patch that allows earlier versions of Word to decipher this new file type.

Click on the link:

  • There's a search box at the top of the screen – type in Microsoft Office compatibility pack and press Return
  • When the search results return, one of the top options should be Microsoft Office compatibility pack for Word, Excel and PowerPoint file formats; click on this
  • On the next screen, click on the Download button and follow the on-screen instructions to install the software