10 Tricks and Shortcuts To Make Using Windows Easier.

There are a number of tricks and shortcuts that are fairly well known among people that have been using Windows a lot over the last 14 years of it's existence. However, we tend to take it for granted that everyone knows these things, when in fact they don't.

Some of these functions are documented in the Windows help files, but I've noticed (with our secretary and my colleagues, for example) that most people never read the help files. I suppose they are kinda boring...

So with out further ado, here are some turbo tips for Windows:
   (If a key name is in bold, it means you HOLD IT DOWN while pressing the other keys)

1. Windows key (the one with the flying window on it) and E will open Windows explorer, instead of right clicking the My Computer Icon on the desktop and then clicking Explore. Very useful if your desktop is full of open windows and you wnat to get another explorer window open.

2. Ctrl B for making marked text bold
3. Ctrl C to copy marked text to the clipboard
4. Ctrl V to paste that text into a new document.
5. Ctrl A selects All; either all text in a document, or all files in Explorer.

6. Alt Prt Sc to copy the presently open window to the clipboard. You can then use Ctrl V to paste it, as a jpeg image, into a document, or a photo editing program.

7. Crtl Shift Esc will open Task manager, where you can see what processes are running, and stop them if they are misbehaving and won't close. Task manager also gives you a graph which shows how hard your CPU and memory are working.

8. In Windows Explorer and in Outlook Express (and other programs) if you click on the column headings, it will sort the whole thing according to the alphabetic/numeric order of that column. Clicking it again will reverse sort it.

9. Clicking a word of text twice will highlight (ie mark) that word. Clicking the word three times in quick succession will select the whole sentence, line or paragraph. (Depending on your text editor)

10. In Windows Explorer, if you hold your Ctrl key down, you can click on numerous, random files and select them, even if they are not contiguous (For foreign readers, this means: one after the other)

10 Additional Shortcuts and tips for Using Windows

The Windows key can be quite useful. Here are most of it's more useful built in shortcuts, followed by some more general Windows Shortcuts.

Remember that if the key is in bold font, it means that you hold it down while pressing the other key(s).

1. Windows key and F brings up the Search for Files Box.

2. Windows Ctrl F will bring up the Search for Computer dialog box.If you have a home network or a small office network this can be useful.

3. Windows and Pause/Break will show the System Properties window. Alt and Double click will display the properties of the item you clicked. Alt and Enter does the same thing.

4. Windows and R will display the Run dialog box.

5. Windows and U will open the Utility manager, which is where you open things like Narrator, Magnifier and on-screen keyboard.

6. Windows and L will lock your computer. In some systems with special keyboards it may log you off.

7. Tapping the Windows Key and then pressing U is a quick way of shutting down your computer, if you are rushing out of work early!

8. Alt F4 - Quits the Window you are in. Same as clicking the red cross in the top right corner. When you are using a laptop mousepad, Alt F4 tends to be way quicker.

9. Shift and right-click gives you an alternative menu to the normal right click menu. You can find some quite interesting options doing this in various programs.

10. Shift and delete permanently and immediately deletes an item, without sending it to the recycle bin first. Use with caution!

Another thing that is useful, is to hold the ctrl and shift keys down while dragging a file to the desktop. This automatically creates a shortcut to that file on your desktop.

These hints and shortcuts can become invaluable if you have a mouse failure, and are unable to get a replacement at that time. If that does happen to you, remember that you can use the tab and arrow keys to move around between menus and buttons, and Alt Tab to switch between windows.

10 More Tips and Tricks to Make Windows Easier.

As promised, here are a further list of tips and shortcuts to make your usage of Windows a bit more slick. Some of them you may know, but it's amazing (to me at least) how many people don't know these simple shortcuts and helps.

(If a key name is in bold, it means you HOLD IT DOWN while pressing the other keys)

1. When entering things like usernames and passwords into a dialog box, you normally press tab to go to the next item. If you want to go backwards (or up) to the previous item, press Shift Tab. This is useful when you want to type over whatever is in the edit box, as shift tabbing to it makes it highlighted, so that you just type,  and that highlighted text is replaced without you having to delete it first.

2. To put a CD/DVD into a drive without it playing automatically, just hold the shift key down while you load it.

3. In Internet Explorer, to go back to a previous webpage, press the Backspace key on your keyboard. This is useful when the webpage comes up without a back button that you can click.

4. The F5 key usually refreshes the window you are in. If you've just saved a file and it doesn't appear in your file list in Explorer, hit F5 and it should appear.

5. Ctrl U Underlines your selected text. Ctrl I puts it in Italics.

6. Ctrl Z is an undo function. Even works in Solitare! To reverse your last mistake, just do Ctrl Z.

7. Windows Key and D minimise ALL your open windows. Doing it again restores them to normal. It's the same thing as clicking the little desktop icon on your quicklaunch bar.

8. Ctrl Home will take you to the beginning of your document (or web page). Ctrl End will take your cursor to the end of your document or web page.

9. (I'm sure everyone knows this one, but our secretary didn't!) If you want to open a link in a web page in a new tab, in Internet Explorer 7 and above, click the link with your mouse wheel. (If you push the mouse wheel down it also clicks, for those who don't know.)

10. Select a word in your document and press Ctrl H. A Replace dialog box will pop up and you can then replace all occurrences of this word or phrase in your document. Similar for Ctrl F which is to find other occurences of the phrase.

Bonus tip! If you have a lot of tabs open in Internet Explorer, press Ctrl Q to view overgrown thumbnails of all your open web pages. Kinda funky! Then you just click on the one you want to go to it.

Well, that's all the tips for this article. Knowing your way around all the keyboard shortcuts can be very useful, because the keyboard is one window that's always on top, always available!

I hope this has helped you. I will publish some more as soon as I can find my list, which I put in a safe place. I wish there was a Ctrl FIND key I could press to get hold of it!
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