It’s almost become a truism that computers take up at least as much time as they save. If you’ve ever spent several minutes clicking through your Windows Explorer (or Mac) ‘filing system’, trying to get to where you want to save something, experienced the joy of a virus, spent hours comparing online shopping prices only to find that they won’t ship to your area, then you’ll be feeling that dull, throbbing pain the front of your head right now … just like me! So today we’re posting a few random tips on taking the power back from your computer, despite the fact that it’s the Machine Age.
All tuckered out by the computer ... awww!
1. Use both your hands on the computer
Many of us are mousebound, using only our right hands on the computer, with our left wasting away in a desert of isolation. Bring the poor little guy back into the fold and you can save time!
Advanced users will already know most of these, and will be able to benefit from more advanced lists like this one for all users, and this updated one for Windows 7 users. For the newbies, though:
- Ctrl + C to copy, Ctrl + V to paste.
- Ctrl Z to undo the last thing you did; this can be repeated in some programs but not in others.
- Shift + Delete – delete permanently, so you don’t have to suffer through being asked ‘Are you sure?’, by your computer a hundred times a day
- Windows button + D – return to desktop. Press this again to restore all your windows to previous positions
- Alt + F4 – close active program
- Ctrl+S saves a file in most programs
- Ctrl+F allows you to find a word in a file – this will save you scanning hundreds of webpages for the part that is relevant to you.
You can always find more keyboard shortcuts by reading the menus that you use in programs. Most list any keyboard shortcuts just to the right of the option in the drop down menu.
2. Quick Launch
Always add your frequently used programs to the Quick Launch bar, if you don’t want to clutter up your desktop. I’m not sure about your computer, but mine seems to load programs quicker from the launch bar than the desktop, anyway. You can do this by right-clicking the program in your Start Menu, and selecting ‘Add to Quick Launch’.
3. Startup Programs
On your work PC, add programs that you have open every single day to your Startup folder, so that they automatically open for you in the morning. While you’re having a debriefing, making a coffee, or tidying up paperwork, your programs will be loading themselves.
Here’s how to do it in XP, and here’s how to do it in Vista.
And here’s how to take them off again!
Rss feeds - a blessing and a curse. The symbol of all mans duality.
Feedreaders, like most things in life, are both a blessing and a curse. If you have websites that you must get the updated content from in order to complete a task or to be productive, then use feedreaders like Google’s, or Bloglines’. I personally don’t recommend subscribing to feeds that you are juts interested in … not if you’ve ever said ‘There aren’t enough hours in the day!’, anyway .
5. Google Toolbar
Love or hate Google, they make some pretty cool free stuff. Their toolbar has been out for ages, but many of you might not know how much time it (and Google in general) can save you. There are hundreds of customizable buttons, which allow you to do things like translate, convert currencies, check webmail, add and tag bookmarks, get driving directions, look up lyrics, check craigslist … just about anything you want, all with the ease of a button right on your browser. You don’t need to hunt through bookmarks, or even open a new window or tab.
If you do anything on the net repetitively, it is worth checking if Big Brother sorry, Google, has a button for it.
By Lucy on March 25, 2009