Computer Tricks and Computer Tips that you Need to Know! 88
Computer Tricks - Shortcut Keys
A few great shortcut keys that are great computer tricks are:
- Hold the windows key and press M
This will minimise all windows in one key press! This is the same as pressing the 'Show Desktop' icon but without having to click on it. It should be noted that Windows key + D also works for this!
- Hold the windows key and press L
This will lock your workstation instantly. This means that if you are in a public place or a shared machine and go for a toilet break but do not wish for anyone to sneak a peak at what you are doing, or at worst steal your files, then this will take you back to the login screen instantly. Very handy indeed!
- Hold alt then press F4
This is quite a common one but should be mentioned here anyway. This key press will close your current window. If your screen is getting cluttered you can go on a 'close rampage' by holding down the F4 key as well! Good times!
- Hold ctrl then press F4
The junior brother of alt F4. Instead of closing the whole window this will close internal windows within the current program. For example if you have multiple windows open in one instance of Microsoft Word this will close them one at a time. The best part is this works for the tab browsing that has come in to play in recent browsers. The key press closes the active tab you are viewing! This is one of the best computer tricks I find when browsing as it is really effective for FireFox for closing tabs.
- Hold alt and press tab
This will cycle between programs on your computer. This feature isn't that useful until you install this nice little Microsoft tool which will show a thumbnail of the program your about the switch to. If you don't wish to activate the selected program keep holding down alt and press tab again to cycle to the next one!
Holding the windows key and pressing break is one of the lesser known but more useful keypresses!
You can set up custom shortcut keys via this field in the properties of any shortcut!
- Hold the windows key and press break
A lesser known shortcut but still useful! This one will open the System Properties dialog window which displays your RAM etc.
- Hold the windows key and press E
This will open 'My Computer' in explorer style mode. This is very handy if you want to access your files and disk drives from anywhere without having to find the icon on the desktop or start menu.
- Custom Shortcut Keys!
Another lesser known trick is setting up your own custom key presses. This works for a per-program basis. To setup a shortcut key to your favorite program first you need to right click on the shortcut icon you commonly use and then press on properties. Click on the Shortcut' tab and there will be a text field called 'Shortcut key'. Simply click in that and enter the key press you wish to use. Press OK and that key press is permanently associated with that program. This is very handy for many things such as opening word or opening your favorite game!
What a great set of computer tricks! But wait there's more...
The disk cleanup tool will suprise you with how much space you can free up!
Make sure you keep on top of what you have installed and remove unused software.
Computer Tricks - Computer Optimization
Are you keeping on top of the general maintenance of your computer? Here are some tips to optimize your computer's performance:
- Temp folder cleanup
The temp folder found in C:\Windows\Temp often contains files that have no reason to exist any longer. The folder is used by a large number of programs to store temporary files but unfortunately due to lazy coding the files often remain afterwards leading to a massive amount of data filling up the temp folder over time.
You can use the 'Disk Cleanup Wizard' that comes with windows to sort out your temp folder by clicking on the Start menu then clicking on Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup. Select the drive you wish to clean (usually C and then after a while of loading a dialog box will appear with recommendations. One of my favorite computer tricks when my computer starts to get a bit sluggish.
- Remove old programs
Make sure you keep on top of your installed software. The Add/Remove Programs tool allows you to do this. Click on the start menu then settings then control panel. In the window that appears double click on 'Add or Remove Programs' and a dialog will appear after a short time. Any software you do not actively use be sure to get rid of it. This will save disk space, prevent any future software conflicts and hide the fact you installed a naughty program from friends or family!
Over time a hard disk gets a bit sluggish due to being fragmented. It occurs every time the system struggles to store a whole file (generally big files) so it slots bits of the data in between other files. To make the files whole again you have to perform a defragment. Click on the start menu then programs then accessories then system tools then 'Disk Defragmenter'. Depending on disk size it can take several hours to complete so perhaps go and watch a film while it works, something like the Matrix is good! Another one of my favorite computer tricks because it feels like my hard disk is 'purified' afterwards.
All documents can be saved or closed at once.
Resize any selected text in a simple key combo press.
Computer Tricks - Microsoft Office Tricks
Microsoft Office, being the most common office suite, has some really useful and computer tricks that can be used. Here are a few good ones:
- Mousewheel Zooming in Word
Sick of clicking manually on the zoom drop down all the time? No problem! Hold down the Ctrl key and scroll with your mouse wheel... pretty neat huh? The page zooms in and out based on the direction you move the mousewheel. This also works in most modern web browsers which is incredibly useful if you have short sight problems etc. Computer tricks don't get much better than this!
- Save All and Close All in Word
Sometimes when you have a ton of documents open that you wish to save, or perhaps they are becoming overwhelming and you wish to close them all, you can hold down the shift key then click on the file menu. Two new options appear which are 'Save All' and 'Close All'. Click as appropriate.
- Increase font size in Word with a keypress
Holding down ctrl and shift while press the '<' or '>' keys (they operate as a comma and period normally) the font size of the selected text will grow and shrink as specified. This can be handy if you aren't sure what specific font size you want and wish to 'see' what looks good without having to enter or select any numeric size values. I find myself using computer tricks a lot but this one is used rather frequently now that I am used to it.
- Instant new worksheet in excel
By holding shift and pressing F11 a new worksheet is instantly added to your excel file. This saves a ton of clicks! After the key combo is pressed the new workbook instantly becomes the active one making it double handy.
- Create a new document in any office application
I should mention that this key press also works for a large range of software packages including the browser you are using right now (don't quote me on that though!). Holding Ctrl and pressing N results in a new window opening for the currently active software application. Give it a try!
- Hold the windows key and press M
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