Working with a computer can be complex, but often there are shortcuts to make your job easier. To give all of you computer users an inside line on some useful maneuvers in computing, I put together some of my favorite shortcuts and tricks. I couldn’t get through a day in front of the computer without using some of these great tips and tricks.
For those of you who use the Internet a lot, there are some great shortcuts to be used when surfing the Web. Pressing CTRL+L or CTRL+O in Internet Explorer will pop up a small window where you can easily type in the address of the Web page. If you are using Netscape Navigator, you will use CTRL+O. These shortcuts are easy to remember. Just think of L for location, as in going to a new location, and/or O for open, as in open a new Web page.
Using CTRL+W to close a Web page in Internet Explorer can be much easier than struggling with the small x icon in the upper corner of the window. CTRL+W also works in Word and many other programs.
If I had to choose one favorite tip, it would be to double-click the title bar (the blue bar displaying the title of the window) to maximize the window so it fills the entire screen. So many times when a window opens, it is a small rectangle only four inches high and four or five inches wide; all information in the window is not visible on the screen. Instead of using the scroll bars to see everything in that window or trying to click my mouse on that small x in the upper right hand corner, I simply double-click on the toolbar. The window instantly fills the entire screen, and I can see everything that I need.
Are you a great fan of Microsoft Word? How about some help in changing the text? To make something stand out on the page, highlight the words, then press CTRL+B to make that text bold. Use CTRL+I to italicize, and CTRL+U to underline. These keys are called toggle keys. If your text selection is already bold, underlined, or italicized, using CTRL+B (or U or I) will remove those attributes. Another great shortcut is to use CTRL+Home and CTRL+End to go to the beginning and/or end of the document. When you want to highlight a word, just double-click your mouse on that word. Want to highlight a paragraph? Just, triple-click on any area of the paragraph. (These shortcuts work in most other word processing programs as well.)
How about one more quick and easy word processing tip? To open a document that you have recently used, click on File, then scroll down to the bottom of the list where you will see the last several documents that you viewed. Click on the document of your choice to open it quickly and easily.
Do you have a mouse with a wheel? It is great for scrolling up and down on Windows and Web pages. If your mouse doesn’t have a small wheel between the two mouse buttons and you surf the Web a lot, you might want to consider purchasing a Microsoft IntelliMouse or other similar mouse with a wheel for scrolling. It is worth the investment, because it saves so much time and makes it much easier to navigate Web pages.
Have you ever found that after a few clicks you have windows open all over the screen? All you have to do is hold down the Shift key while clicking the close button on the topmost window to close the selected folder and all of its parent folders. Also, if you have several programs running at the same time, you can use the ALT+ Tab key to cycle through the open programs to get to the one you want to use.
Since I am constantly in front of a keyboard, I find that shortcut keys really save me a considerable amount of time each day. Because I use a lot of different files and programs, my computer desktop is almost completely covered with different icons and shortcuts. The question I hear most often is, “How do you find anything on that desktop?” The answer is easy. I use a simple little trick. When I am at the Windows desktop, I press the key corresponding to the first letter of the name of the shortcut or icon that I am looking for. For example, if I want to find the Internet Explorer icon, I press the letter I. If there are other icons or shortcuts that start with the letter I, just press the I key again and the computer will go to each “I” icon in alphabetical order.
I also move files around quite a bit, so I use the Windows key (if you have a Windows keyboard, you will see it on the bottom left of the keyboard, marked with the Microsoft Windows logo) and the E key to get Windows Explorer to pop up on my screen. If you have been using My Computer to view or move files, Windows Explorer is like My Computer, but is quite a bit more powerful. If you have never used Explorer, try it. It’s worth a look.
Once you have tried some of these shortcuts, you will be amazed at how much time and energy you can save by incorporating them into your computer life. Now that I have shared my favorite shortcuts, I will employ my most often used shortcut – CTRL+S – to save this document. Remember saving often is a great habit to form.
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