I think most of us feel that expensive operating systems like Windows can do more things than just keep the computer running, the problem is we don't know what they are! Well, over the years I've discovered a few shortcuts that rate extremely handy for saving time, recovering from mistakes, or avoiding effort. Now, a few geeks among us may immediately say I could have read the manual to discover these instead of tripping on them over the years, but that would take out all the fun! And now dear reader, I pass these magical secrets on to you. The Ultimate "Do Over" - Does this sound familiar? You spend 30 minutes typing up and email message, get ready to hit send, your hand slips, and the message disappears. You feel a rush of anger, fear and sadness in your gut, take a deep breath, and start typing again. Next time something like that happens, just hit the "Ctrl+Z" keys and it should undo the last action you took in a web browser, form, word processor, spreadsheet or virtually any other Windows application. I can't tell you how many times "Ctrl+Z" has pulled my bacon out of the fire when I accidentally hit the wrong button or key.
File Finders - The more you use your computer, the more files you seem to create and collect. Often, finding files you already created rates harder than just creating a new one, especially after any significant length of time passes. Two shortcuts can help you quickly find the files you need with just a few keystrokes. +F - This combination of the Windows logo key and the F key at the same time launches the Windows Search utility. This enables you to search for files based on partial filename (because if you could remember the entire filename, you would have found it already), file type (all your MP3 files), contents of the file (I know the spreadsheet contains these words), creation date (I created this file last month), and more. +E - This allows you to open up the Windows explorer feature in Windows to explore your hard drives, memory sticks, CD and DVD drives.
Windows Explorer makes it very easy to get your hands on a file if you know where it is (or, at least where it should be the last time you used it). Zoom IN / Zoom OUT - Okay, I'll admit it. My eyes seem to suffer from a combination of too much computer time and the slow creeping wheels of Father Time (I'm getting older). Bottom line: sometimes the words on the screen are just too darn small! You can solve this problem with +Mouse Wheel. Just hold the key down and roll your mouse wheel up and down to adjust the zoom.
This little shortcut works in many applications, including Word, Internet Explorer, FireFox, and Excel. Shields Down Captain! - Ever look down at your task bar and see 20 open windows and realize you need to make your way to the desktop in a hurry? +D will minimize all open windows on your computer to expose your desktop. Hit the keys again and your open windows spring back to life and allow you to continue working. I've Got a Case! - Ever need to convert text to all CAPS, or change to Title Case, or convert to all lower case? Simply highlight the text in your word processor and hit + to cycle between all caps, lowercase and title case.
This shortcut rates very handy when you don't want to retype blocks of text. Copyright (c) 2007 Jim Edwards.
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