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15 Computer Shortcuts and Tech Tips

Updated on February 13, 2014

Multitask Like a Pro

New technologies have done wonders for making us more efficient, and people today are turning to technology for ways to get some time back. Shortcuts are built in to computers and smartphones to speed up many simple tasks, but they can only save you time if you know about them. I’ve listed 15 of the most useful time saving tech tips in this article, and once you work these into your daily routine, you'll be multitasking like a pro. You’ll be surprised by how much time they save you, and wish you’d known about them sooner.

Shortcuts can speed up many simple tasks, but they can only save you time if you know about them.
Shortcuts can speed up many simple tasks, but they can only save you time if you know about them. | Source

Save time with these shortcuts:

1. Selecting text

People often waste a lot of time dragging the mouse pointer over text to select it. They drag too far to the left or right, miss letters etc., and often have to make several attempts. All you need to do is place the cursor anywhere within the text and double click to select a word or triple click to select a paragraph. Also, you don’t need to press delete if you plan to type new text in its place, just start typing the new text and the highlighted text will be replaced. Simple!

2. Zoom in and out

Have you ever found it difficult to read small text or see more detail on your computer screen? Zoom in and Out on a web page, word document, excel spreadsheet, etc. by holding down the “Ctrl” key and Scrolling up and down with the middle button on your mouse. Scroll up to zoom in and down to zoom out.

3. Cut, copy and paste

After using the double-click shortcut to select text, you may want to move, copy or replace it. Instead of bringing up menus and selecting choices from a list, simply use these “Ctrl” key shortcuts to save time:

COPY: Ctrl + c

CUT (deletes and copies): Ctrl + x

PASTE: Ctrl + v

4. Undo and redo

Sure, it’s fairly quick to point and click in a tool bar or chose from a menu, but once you start using two these "Ctrl" key shortcuts to redo and undo, you’ll never look back:

UNDO: Ctrl + z

REDO: Ctrl + y

5. Find

Have you ever been frustrated searching for a particular piece of information online or in a document? Anytime you’d like to find a particular word or phrase on a website or document, just hold “Ctrl” and press “F” on your keyboard. Type the text you’re looking for in the box that appears and it will be located and highlighted for you.

6. Switch between open applications

Sometimes when you have several programs opened on your computer at the same time, you may want to quickly switch from one to the other. A great example would be if you’re reading from one program and creating in another… or maybe you just want to change a setting in one program and quickly switch back to another. To do this, just hold the “Alt” key while tapping the “Tab” key to cycle through your open applications. On a Mac, press “Command” instead of “Alt”

7. Show the desktop

If you have one or more programs open on your computer and want to see the desktop to quickly access an icon or document, just hold the Windows key and press “D“. If using a Mac, press F11. Using this shortcut is much quicker than having to minimize open programs. This shortcut works as a toggle back and forth between the desktop and open programs.

8. Highlight the address bar

If you have an internet browser open and want to enter the address for a website, hitting the F6 key will place the cursor in the address bar, and highlight any text already there. This way you can simply begin tying the URL for the website you want to visit, and the text that was there will be replaced.

9. Automatically enter the .com

Once you enter an address in the address bar, you can auto-enter the “.com” by holding the “Ctrl” key and pressing “Enter”. It may not be a huge time saver, but it means a few less characters you have to type… and time that goes back to you.

10. Add a new tab to your internet browser

Modern browsers have a fantastic feature called “Tabs”. Instead of having to open a new browser, we now simply open a new tab for every website we want to view within the one browser. To save time, the shortcut for opening a new tab is to hold “Ctrl” and press “T”.

11. Make the browser full screen

If you ever want to make the browser full screen while viewing the web, you can just press F11. This will hide the tool bar and task bar and also works as a toggle.

12. Scroll a web page

If you’d like to conveniently scroll up and down a website, just tap the space bar to scroll down and hold shift while tapping the space bar to move back up. This way you can keep your hands in their comfy position. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

13. Choose from a drop-down selection box

It can be quite frustrating when scrolling through a long list of items in a drop-down selection box to find what you’re looking for. To simplify this, just type first letter of your selection and you’ll be taken to all the options that begin with that letter. It works in most drop-down menus on your system, and almost always in your web browser. This truly is a time saver and spares us a little eyestrain as well.

14. Define a word with Google

We use the internet to look up definitions, synonyms, etc., but many people go through more steps than necessary. In Google, to get the definition of a word, just type “define” and then the word. Google’s “web definitions” will define the word for you right at the top of the search results page. You’ll never need to visit an online dictionary site again.

15. Texting, tweeting and posting

Surprisingly, there are quite a few people who don’t know about this final shortcut tip. Considering how many people text and type social media status updates with their smartphones, this may be the most appreciated shortcut in the list. When texting, tweeting or posting with your smartphone, just hit “space” twice - you automatically get a period and a capital letter to start the next sentence. Doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, right? Starting using this shortcut regularly, and its convenience will become pretty obvious!

Try Them Out!

Time is valuable, so I hope you get a little more out of your day with these shortcuts. Common tasks often have the same shortcut in various applications, so feel free to try the shortcuts above in different situations. Save time and make fewer mistakes, but don’t just take my word for it - start using these time savers today and see for yourself.

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    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 3 years ago from New Jersey

      Thanks for all the shortcuts I never knew about!

    • Kenny J Butler profile image
      Author

      Kenny 3 years ago from Canada

      You're very welcome Jean. I'm glad to add to the list of time savers you use!

    • WestelCS profile image

      Tim Anthony 3 years ago

      These are indeed useful shortcuts for beginners and intermediates. Shortcuts have a profound effect on how you use your digital devices.

    • gamerjimmy23 profile image

      Jimmy Gent 3 years ago from California

      All useful shortcuts to increase productivity!

    • profile image

      Tech nippy 2 years ago

      Love this list! I will totally be using these regularly. Thanks!

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