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Tired of having to manually handle certain tasks on your computer by yourself? If you are using Linux or Ubuntu, these manual tasks shouldn’t be a problem, as you can easily schedule tasks.

In this article we discuss the use of Crontab to schedule and automate tasks in Ubuntu. Do note that while we are using Ubuntu as an example here, the steps below will work for any Linux distribution.

Using Crontab to Schedule and Automate Tasks in Ubuntu

The Cron daemon performs the same function as Task scheduler on Windows. With this application, you can choose a preferred time for any process you want to start, whether it is a backup or maintenance task. With this utility, you can schedule a task without manual intervention.

However, before delving into the use of Crontab, it is important to understand the structure and arrangement for configuring jobs on it.

Crontab Job Arrangement Basics

└───────────────────────── min (0 – 59)

m – represents minute and can be any number from 0 to 59.

h – represents hour and can be any number from 0 to 23.

dom – represents the day of the month and can be any number between 1 to 31.

mon – represents months. You can explicitly set the month you want a task to run. The range is 1 through 12.

dow – do you want a task to run on a specific day of the week? You can choose a number between 0 and 6.

user – if you have more than one user on Ubuntu, you can specify which one is responsible for the task.

command – after choosing the time and user account, you need to write out a command for the task itself.

How to Use Crontab to Schedule a Backup on Ubuntu

Having explained the tools you will be using to automate tasks in Ubuntu, here’s how to schedule a backup task:

1. Launch a terminal, either from the Applications menu or by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T.

2. Type the command:

crontab

-e

3. If you are running it for the first time, it will ask you to choose the editor for opening the file. You can press 2 for nano.

4. In the crontab file that opened, scroll down to the end of the file with the Down arrow key. To add a task to run at a specific time, add your task in the following format:

m h dom mon dow

/

file

/

path

/

to

/

command

For example, to run a backup script at 5am every Monday:

5. When you are done, press Ctrl + O to save the file in the nano editor. Press Ctrl + X to exit the nano editor.

That’s it.

Conclusion

With these instructions it will be quite easy for you to schedule tasks in Ubuntu. Would you like to check out more tips on using Ubuntu? Check out our guide on how to boot Ubuntu in recovery mode.

Sarah Adedun

Sarah Adedun is a technology enthusiast. When she is not reviewing tech products, you can find her sharing personal thoughts on Medium and researching ways to merge Finance and Technology together.

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How To Automate Tasks In Windows 11 Using Macros

How to Automate Tasks in Windows 11 Using Macros Create macros to record your desktop and browser tasks

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You can automate repetitive tasks in Windows 11 with the Power Automate app that comes pre-installed.

Power Automate for desktop users can quickly and easily record task flows with that app’s desktop and browser recorders.

The Task Scheduler can also come in handy for starting programs and sending emails automatically at specified times.

Some office applications, such as MS Office, include macro-recording tools. With those, users can record macros to automate repetitive tasks. Then they can play macros to carry out their recorded tasks within their applications.

What is Power Automate?

Now you can automate repetitive tasks within Windows 11 much the same with its Power Automate Desktop app. Note that it comes pre-installed and enables users to record task sequences with flows, which are much the same as macros.

For example, a lot of users often manually empty their Recycle Bins in Windows to free up disk space. With Power Automate, you could record a flow that empties the Recycle Bin.

So, Power Automate can be a very useful app for any user who needs to carry out repetitive tasks in Windows 11 with regularity. You can record both desktop and browser task flows with that software as outlined below.

Is Power Automate only for Windows 11?

This app is also available for mobile platforms. You can add Power Automate to Android mobiles from its Google Play page. The iOS version has a download page on the Apple Apple Store.

Is there any prerequisite software or account needed for Power Automate?

NET Framework 4.7.2 or higher must be installed on your PC for it to run Power Automate. If that software is seemingly missing on your computer, download the latest version from the .NET Framework 4.8 page.

Then install .NET Framework 4.8 with the downloaded installer for it. You’ll also need a Microsoft account to utilize Power Automate.

If you don’t have one already, open the Microsoft account page to set one up from there. Then follow the steps below to sign in and record some flows with Power Automate.

How can I record flows with Power Automate in Windows 11?

1. Open and sign in to Power Automate 2. Record a desktop flow task

2. Type a name for the flow in the text box, and then press the Create button.

4. Press the Record button.

5. Minimize the Desktop recorder window after starting the recording.

6. Carry out the task you need to record.

Expert tip:

With Power Automate, you can create a macro that records your desktop. You can configure all the settings in the tool, and it will do the task for you.

3. Record a browser task

For a boost of productivity in your daily workflow, check out this guide on how to automate browser actions on Windows 10. The same tips may be applied in Windows 11 as well.

What are the best alternative apps to Power Automate?

There are various third-party automation software solutions available for Windows 10 at least. Macro Express, Robo Task, and JitBit Macro Recorder are three notable applications that incorporate macro recorders. Our list including the best programs to automate PC tasks provides further details.

Keep in mind that Windows 11 is a very new platform at the moment. Double-check that those applications are compatible with the latest OS.

You can check if you can install and run them on your Windows 11 PC by trying out their trial packages.

Even more, feel free to record browser macros with the iMacros extension. That’s an extension you can record tasks in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer with. Since it’s a Chrome extension, you should be able to install it on other Chromium browsers as well.

As it comes with Windows 11, however, Power Automate is well worth a look before considering other alternatives. It’s a relatively straightforward app with which you can record automated repetitive and monotonous tasks that can come in handy for both business or home users.

Although more limited than Power Automate, Task Scheduler is ideal for automating tasks. You can schedule all kinds of software and files to open at specified times with that utility. If you want programs to start automatically, Task Scheduler is certainly worth noting.

So, you don’t need to be a programmer to automate tasks in Windows 11. With Power Automate and Task Scheduler, you can automate almost anything in Windows 11 without needing to manually code any complex scripts.

Can I automate tasks with Task Scheduler?

Task Scheduler remains in Windows 11, but it hasn’t changed much. You can still utilize that tool to set up scheduled tasks for opening programs, sending emails, and displaying messages at specific times.

However, you can’t record macros with Task Scheduler. Nevertheless, Task Scheduler is a viable alternative to Power Automate for automating startups for software.

You can also use it to automatically execute Command Prompt commands by adding in arguments. That’s how you can set up tasks for opening programs with this utility:

To set up a task that executes a command, you would need to select it to open PowerShell or Command Prompt. Then enter the command to start within the Add arguments box. For example, you could set up a task to run a system scan by entering this command: sfc /scannow

For more information about using the Task Scheduler in Windows 11, check out our dedicated article.

Just as you can see in this guide on how to schedule tasks in Windows 10, as a Windows 11 user, you may also enable a variety of scripts and schedules to run at a specific time or event, depending on your needs.

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Automate Tasks By Writing Or Recording Macros

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Introduction to Automation in Excel

Automation in Excel generally involves coding in VBA (Visual Basic for Applications), a variation of Visual Basic Language to integrate with Microsoft Office applications. It is an Excel-based programming language that helps users automate tasks by writing or recording macros. A macro is a code that runs in an Excel environment and is used to automate repetitive tasks, such as when you must repeat a set of actions multiple times. Excel can record these actions and generate a macro containing code to repeat those steps. After recording the macro, the set of actions can be repeated by running the recorded macro. The macro produces VBA code users can view via VBE in a module.

Users employ Automation Add-Ins like XLTools and AutoMacro to automate their routine Excel tasks without relying on macros.

Examples of Excel Automation

Let us see below how a recorded macro can automate a daily report.

You can download this Automation Excel Template here – Automation Excel Template

Example #1 – Automation via Macro Recording

We have a dataset of some numbers and wish to have row-wise summary statistics (like sum, average, minimum, and maximum) for these. Also, we wish to apply some formatting styles to the dataset. We record these steps in a macro so that whenever we have a new dataset that requires the same operations, we can run this recorded macro to accomplish the task.

Let’s see what the dataset looks like:

Now to do the required operations and record it in a macro, we will follow the below process:

On doing this, a pop-up window opens as follows.

Now we can perform the required operations on the dataset as follows.

After using the formula, the result is shown below.

Applying the Average Formula in cell H2, the result is shown below.

Applying MIN Formula in cell I2, the result is shown below.

Applying the MAX formula in cell J2, the result is shown below.

Now drag these to get these statistics for all the rows.

Now when all these operations are performed, we stop recording the macro as below.

Example #2 – Using the Recorded Macros

Now let’s say we have another similar dataset like this in ‘Example #2’ of the Excel file, which requires the same operations and formatting. So to do this, we just run the above-recorded macro, and our task will be accomplished.

So we can see in the above screenshot that on running the recorded macro named ‘Marks_macro1’, we have automated and hence replicated the operations done on Sheet1 in Example1 to Sheet2. This is automation via recording a macro.

This kind of automation is use for simple repetitive operations such as daily report formatting, database communication, file merging, document creation, data manipulation, and more.

How Macros are Saved as VBA Code Procedures in VBE

Access the Visual Basic Editor by pressing Alt+F11 to open the Visual Basic Editor window.

On doing this, a window opens. Under the ‘Project-VBAProject’ pane, we will store the macro in one module.

With VBA Macro Recorder, we do not need to code the macro; instead, we just record it.

Users can store the macros in a personal workbook, a hidden workbook that opens in the background whenever Excel is started. Saving the macros in a Personal workbook makes the macro always available since the Personal Workbook is not system or file specified.

Excel always produces a sub-procedure (not a function procedure) when recording macros. So, recorded codes are only useful for simple macros. More complex macros can be generated by writing VBA codes by enabling the “Developer’ menu in Excel.

Recording macros to automate tasks can have some limitations. It may not always be possible to record macros that work exactly as we wish. The macro code often requires some manual updates, so in that case, AutoMacro can be used, which is an Add-In that directly installs into VBE. It requires very little knowledge of VBA coding.

Things to Remember about Excel Automation

Some tools used for Excel automation without coding knowledge are Power Query, VBA Macro Recorder, and Automation Add-Ins like Auto Macro and XLTools. XLTools is an automation Add-In that can integrate Excel with other applications and tools like SQL and Python. It can use to write commands in simple Excel tables.

Users can add macros to the Excel function menu with a button available, similar to Excel’s built-in functions.

Recording a macro helps us perform simple repetitive tasks and also when we are writing complex macro codes by editing the recorded codes.

Recommended Articles

This is a guide to Excel Automation. Here we discuss how to automate tasks by writing or recording macros, practical examples, and a downloadable Excel template. You can also go through our other suggested articles –

How To Install And Update Google Chrome In Ubuntu

Most users who want to install Google Chrome in Ubuntu tend to use an App Store or go through Ubuntu Software. What they don’t know is that Google Chrome isn’t available in any major Linux distribution archives, so it can’t be installed directly from the Software Center. Here we show you how to install Google Chrome in Ubuntu.

Download and Install Google Chrome

Since Google Chrome is not found in the Software Center, we need to download the installer from its website.

Select the package for your Linux platform. This may be the 64-bit .deb (for Debian/Ubuntu), 64-bit .rpm (for Fedora/openSUSE), or, if you don’t use either of those, you can get a community-supported version.

Note: if you are using Arch Linux, Google Chrome is found in the AUR. You can install it with any of these AUR helpers.

If this didn’t work for you, try a direct download of Google Chrome for Linux.

If prompted, enter your password.

Wait until the Software Installer installs the Chrome browser.

Customize your options.

Enjoy the Google Chrome browser on Ubuntu.

Install Chrome Using Flatpak Library

If you prefer a more direct method of obtaining Chrome, try using Flatpak. Chrome browser is available on Flathub; however, Google doesn’t support or manage the application on the platform, so you will be installing the package at your own risk. (You can learn how to install Flatpak on Ubuntu and other distributions.)

Open the Terminal and type the following command:

flatpak

install

flathub com.google.Chrome

Press Y , then Enter.

Let the Terminal download packages and install the browser.

Chrome will be installed successfully on Linux PC.

Open the menu and search for the browser.

There are a few ways to update Google Chrome on your Ubuntu machine. By default, on a regular update, the system will update Google Chrome, too. But if it fails to update on its own, you can use any of the following methods to manually update Google Chrome on your machine.

Use Software Center

Search and open “Software Center” from the menu.

Note: if your Ubuntu Software center is not working, we have fixes here.

Use Command Line

Open a terminal.

Run the sudo apt update command in the Terminal.

Type sudo apt --only-upgrade install google-chrome-stable command to upgrade Google Chrome only.

Use Software Updater

Open “Software Updater” from the menu.

Select “Other Software” from the top menu.

Check the box beside the APT Line of the Google repository and close the window.

The Software Updater will notify you of new software updates when they are available for your computer.

Tip: not keen on using Ubuntu? Check out other Debian-based Linux distributions here.

Frequently Asked Questions Is there a Google Chrome package for 32-bit Ubuntu?

No, Google axed the Chrome 32-bit version in 2024.

Is Flatpak Google Chrome safe?

While Flatpak is an open-source project, the Chrome package on the platform isn’t monitored or managed by Google. You have to install it at your own risk.

Do I need to add the Google Chrome repository separately?

The Chrome DEB or RPM package has the repository info and saves it in the computer after installation. You don’t have to register the repository separately.

Do I have to update the Flatpak packages separately?

Flatpak updates appear along with the system updates. You don’t have to add the Flathub repository or download additional tools to receive or update the applications. Use the universal command sudo apt update and install Flatpak app updates.

All screenshots by Krishna Kumar Silvery.

Krishna Kumar

I’m a passionate writer.

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How To Use Google Tasks Effectively In Gmail

Google Tasks in an easy-to-use to-do list service baked into Gmail. You can use it to create multiple lists, set reminders, repeat reminders, star tasks, and even create subtasks within a task. This article shows you how to start using Google Tasks in Gmail like a pro.

How to Open Google Tasks in Gmail

You will find the Google Tasks icon along with Google Keep, Google Contacts, and Google Calendar in the panel on the right of the Gmail website. Google Tasks is also available as a separate app on both Android and iOS.

Pro Tip: you can also access Google Tasks from other Google services, including Calendar, Chat, Drive, Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

How to Create a Task

There are two ways to add a task in Google Tasks. You can create up to 100,000 tasks.

Method 1: From Side Panel

Give a title to the task. You can add more information about the task in the “Details” section and also add the date and time.  

Method 2: From an Email

Another way to create a task is directly from an email.

Open Google Tasks in the Gmail sidebar.

Drag the email from the email list to Google Tasks. The email will be added as a task.

How to See Completed Tasks and Mark Them Incomplete

The completed tasks will appear in the “Completed” list at the bottom.

How to Delete a Task

Hover the mouse over the task that you want to delete.

How to Delete Completed Tasks

To delete the completed tasks, open the “Completed” section at the bottom.

Hover the mouse over the task, press on the three-dots next to it and select “Delete.”

Choose “Delete all completed tasks” from the menu.

How to Set a Reminder for a Task

If you want to be reminded of a task, just add a date and time. You will get a notification at the scheduled time.

Alternatively, if you only want to be reminded on a particular date, and time is not an issue, just add the date. Google Tasks will send a reminder at 9AM for tasks without a time.

Note: you will see the tasks with a date in Google Calendar as well.  

How to Repeat a Task

If you want a task to be repeated every day, a few days a month, or once a year, you can set the conditions to repeat the task.

Set the repeat conditions for the task. Hit the “OK” button to confirm.

How to Create a Subtask

Sometimes a single task consists of different steps or mini tasks. Thankfully, Google Tasks lets you add subtasks to your task. There are two ways to do so:

Method 1: Create a New Subtask

Name the subtask and add relevant info, such date and time and additional information as you would do with a regular task.

Method 2: Create a Subtask From Existing Task

You can make an existing task a subtask of any task.

How to Change the Order of Tasks

You can reorder the tasks and keep them in any order you would like.

How to Sort Tasks

By default, the tasks show in Google Tasks in the order they were added. You can, however, sort tasks by the due date or show the starred tasks at the top.

How to Create a List

Google Tasks offers the ability to create multiple lists to store different types of tasks. For instance, you can have separate lists for personal and work purposes. The default list in Google Tasks is known as “My tasks.”

Choose “Create new list” from the menu.

Name your list and hit “Done.”

How to Create a Task in a Different List

Note: repeated tasks cannot be moved to a different list.

How to Rename or Delete a List

Tip: check out the useful Google Tasks keyboard shortcuts.

How to Reorder Lists How to Use Starred Lists

You can prioritize certain tasks by adding them to the Starred list.

Note: you cannot reorder tasks in the Starred list.

Frequently Asked Questions Can you assign tasks in Google Tasks in Gmail?

Sadly, you cannot directly assign tasks from Google Tasks in Gmail. You can only assign tasks within a Space or document.

Are all these options available via the mobile apps?

Yes. Google Tasks mobile apps offer all these features. You can create subtasks and lists, add reminders, star tasks, and much more – but not via the Gmail mobile app.

How to view Google Tasks in full screen?

Google Tasks doesn’t have a dedicated website now. You can, however, still access Google Tasks in full screen using a workaround based on the old website. Bookmark this link and open it whenever you want to access Google Tasks in full screen.

All screenshots by Mehvish Mushtaq.

Mehvish Mushtaq

Mehvish is a tech lover from Kashmir. With a degree in computer engineering, she’s always been happy to help anyone who finds technology challenging. She’s been writing about technology for over six years, and her favorite topics include how-to guides, explainers, tips and tricks for Android, iOS/iPadOS, Windows, social media, and web apps.

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Learn How To Install Smplayer In Ubuntu

SMPlayer is a free media player for windows and Linux with built-in codecs, which will additionally play YouTube videos, search and down load subtitles, and entails other points like a thumbnail generator and audio and video filters.

Features

Help for Youtube. That you can search, play and down-load Youtube movies

Many video and audio filters are available

Thumbnail generator

Video equaliser

It has many Skins/Themes

It supports a couple of speed playback

It supports audio and subtitles delay adjustment

Installing SMPlayer

To install SMPlayer, add the following PPA on Ubuntu−

$sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rvm/smplayer

The sample output should be like this −

Packages for SMPlayer. To install SMPlayer from this PPA, run these commands on a terminal: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rvm/smplayer sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install smplayer smtube smplayer-themes smplayer-skins Press [ENTER] to continue or ctrl-c to cancel adding it gpg: keyring `/tmp/tmpeab9bvoh/secring.gpg' created gpg: keyring `/tmp/tmpeab9bvoh/pubring.gpg' created gpg: chúng tôi trustdb created gpg: key E4A4F4F4: public key "Launchpad PPA named smplayer for rvm" imported gpg: no ultimately trusted keys found gpg: Total number processed: 1 gpg: imported: 1 (RSA: 1) OK

Now update the packages by using the following command −

$sudo apt-get update .................................................................................................

To install SMplayer with skins, use the following command −

$ sudo apt-get install smplayer smplayer-themes smplayer-skins

The sample output should be like this −

Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree Reading state information... Done The following additional packages will be installed: esound-common libaudiofile1 libdirectfb-1.2-9 libenca0 libesd0 libgif7 libqt4-opengl libqtwebkit4 libsdl1.2debian libvorbisidec1 mplayer smtube Suggested packages: The following NEW packages will be installed: esound-common libaudiofile1 libdirectfb-1.2-9 libenca0 libesd0 libgif7 libqt4-opengl libqtwebkit4 libsdl1.2debian libvorbisidec1 mplayer smplayer smplayer-skins smplayer-themes smtube 0 upgraded, 15 newly installed, 0 to remove and 284 not upgraded. Need to get 18.9 MB of archives. After this operation, 66.8 MB of additional disk space will be used. Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y .................................................................................

To open SMplayer, use the following command −

$ smplayer Usage: smplayer [-minigui] [-defaultgui] [-mpcgui] [-config-path directory] [-send-action action_name] [-actions action_list] [-close-at-end] [-no-close-at-end] [-fullscreen] [-no-fullscreen] [-ontop] [-no-ontop] [-sub subtitle_file] [-pos x y] [-size width height] [-add-to-playlist] -minigui: opens the mini gui instead of the default one. -mpcgui: opens the mpc gui. -defaultgui: opens the default gui. -skingui: opens the gui with support for skins. -config-path: specifies the directory where smplayer will store its configuration files (smplayer.ini, smplayer_files.ini...) -send-action: tries to make a connection to another running instance and send to it the specified action. Example: -send-action pause The rest of options (if any) will be ignored and the application will exit. It will return 0 on success or -1 on failure. -actions: action_list is a list of actions separated by spaces. The actions will be executed just after loading the file (if any) in the same order you entered. For checkable actions you can pass true or false as parameter. Example: -actions "fullscreen compact true". Quotes are necessary in case you pass more than one action. -close-at-end: the main window will be closed when the file/playlist finishes. -no-close-at-end: the main window won't be closed when the file/playlist finishes. -fullscreen: the video will be played in fullscreen mode. -no-fullscreen: the video will be played in window mode. -ontop: sets the stay on top option to always. -no-ontop: sets the stay on top option to never. -sub: specifies the subtitle file to be loaded for the first video. -media-title: sets the media title for the first video. -pos: specifies the coordinates where the main window will be displayed. -size: specifies the size of the main window. -help: will show this message and then will exit. -add-to-playlist: if there's another instance running, the media will be added to that instance's playlist. If there's no other instance, this option will be ignored and the files will be opened in a new instance. media: 'media' is any kind of file that SMPlayer can open. It can be a local file, a DVD (e.g. dvd://1), an Internet stream (e.g. mms://....) or a local playlist in format m3u or pls.

After this article, you will be able to understand how to install SMPlayer in Ubuntu. In our next articles, we will come up with more Linux based tricks and tips. Keep reading!

Source: SMPlayer Portal

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