Dec 31, 2009

My Favorite 5 Tricks for Windows

Windows is a wonderfully complex system that gives you a lot of control, and a lot of options. Even people that have been using computers most of their life can stumble upon a fun shortcut that makes daily interaction with their computer much easier. I would like to share what I consider to be the most useful Windows tricks or shortcuts that I have learned over the years. It could be that you have come across some of the tips in my list. I am hoping that you will discover something new and useful.
1. Force quit active windows (Alt + F4) – This handy shortcut can be used to close the window or program that is on top and active. I find this most useful for closing those pesky pop-up windows that occasionally surface when surfing the internet. Pop-ups can link up to and initiate a security threat that could compromise your computer if you click on the wrong spot. This action will safely force quit the window.
2. Undo (Ctrl + Z) – I use this all the time. Whether I am using email, writing a column, or designing something in Photoshop. If I make a mistake this shortcut will help to take me as many steps back as I want which ends up saving me a lot of time. It has gotten me out of trouble after accidentally deleting something that took me time to produce. Unfortunately this does not work in Windows Explorer to recover a deleted or misplaced file. You can also redo by pressing Ctrl +Y.
3. Find (Ctrl + F) – It is a fast and efficient way to find a word or group of words in a large grouping of text. You can use this in pretty much any program that contains text like Microsoft Word, Acrobat Reader, or an internet browser page.
4. Show desktop (Windows Key + D) – Sometimes when working all day on the computer and multi-tasking on several projects, I will have a collection of different windows open and programs running. There may be a file or shortcut that I need to get to on the desktop hidden under a mess of windows. There is a quick launch area adjacent to the ‘Start’ button at the bottom left of your screen. By default it will have a ‘Show desktop’ icon. Click on this and all open windows will instantly minimize!
5. Add shortcuts to the quick launch – If you right click a program shortcut, the menu that appears will give you the option to add that program to the quick launch. I find this to be a useful and efficient way to get to the programs that I use on a regular basis. You have other customize and control options by right clicking in the quick launch area itself. I like to ‘Unlock the taskbar’ so I can delete a shortcut I do not want in the quick launch or drag a slider to expose added shortcuts. I also drag and drop the shortcuts to put them in order of most to least used.


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