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If this feature has been retained in Google Drive, it isn’t clear to me.

What options can you recommend to replace Google Docs? We prefer a free option since our utilization is pretty minimal but very important to us. We want to be able to edit the “cloud” document and download updated copies periodically for back up and manipulation.

— Anne Ellis, Seattle

A. You’ll be happy to hear that Google Docs is alive and well. It has been wrapped in the new package of Google Drive.

When you go to your Google Drive account, just click on the Create button in the upper-left-hand corner. You’ll then see a list of types of things to create: document, spreadsheet, form, drawing or presentation. Click on what you want and the appropriate application will load.

And, yes, you can share those documents.

Q. For years I have used Excel for personal financial work, copied my work to a CD and then erased it from the hard disk. To update my Excel data, I load the CD onto the computer, update it and repeat the process above.

Now, for the first time, all Excel work has become Read Only and I can’t copy it to a CD. I can modify and rename it, but it remains Read Only. All new blank worksheets have a red mark indicating Read Only. What happened?

— John Maloof

A. I can’t say with certainty what happened, though I have a guess: I think the permissions for the files were changed during the copy process.

How Windows handles permissions when you copy or move files across media depends on several factors. You can access a full explanation here: .

You can, however, change those permissions. Just right click on the file in Windows Explorer and select the Security tab. You’ll then see the permissions accorded to each user on the system. You may need to be logged in as an administrator to change some of the settings.

By the way, I hope you’re keeping backups of those files somewhere else. I really wouldn’t trust CDs for long-term, or even medium-term, storage.

Q. I have an HP running Windows 7, and I use Microsoft Office Word. I wrote a letter in 2012 that reappears each time I open Word. I have tried everything to cancel it, and it does delete each time so that I can use Word. But the next time I open Word, there it is again. Any suggestions?

— Mary

A. Sounds to me that you may have inadvertently saved a document as your NORMAL.DOT template. (If you’re using Word 2013, that would be the NORMAL.DOTM file.)

That’s the default template Word summons upon loading. It contains your preferences for fonts and formatting, as well as other customizable settings. The simplest way to start over is to delete the NORMAL.DOT file. The next time you start Word it will automatically create a new one.

If, however, you’ve made extensive changes to the template, you may want to open the template and delete the text on the page. Its default location is C:\users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates.

Bear in mind, however, that AppData is a hidden folder, so first you’ll need to make it visible. To do so, go to the Control Panel and select the Folder Options utility. When the utility opens, click on the View tab and then check the box next to “Show hidden files, folders and drives.”

Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by email to or, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at