Amazing Tech Shortcuts That Can Make Your Life Easier

For novice or moderate computer users, it can seem like computer tasks are more cumbersome than they should be. This list is designed to introduce some quick tricks that can streamline computer use. If you're a seasoned computer user, you probably use most, if not all, of these tricks and shortcuts. But you never know - there might be something on this list that you don't know yet.

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Mouse or Trackpad Shortcuts

You probably use your mouse a lot, but mice and trackpads usually have some added capabilities that can save you from having to move it around as much as you might currently do.

  • Double click on a word to highlight it, instead of dragging your mouse over it. Sometimes, clicking additional times will highlight an entire sentence or paragraph.
  • Take advantage of the left mouse button for easy access to things like forward and back controls in a Web browser, formatting options in a word processor or sorting options in iTunes. If you have a Mac with only one mouse or trackpad button, click Control while clicking the mouse or trackpad button to get the same menu.
  • Get to know the extent of your trackpad's abilities. Newer notebook models are coming equipped with trackpads that can allow you to zoom in on a screen, scroll between pages and do other things with a flick of the wrist.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Do you rely on your mouse a lot while using your computer, and use your keyboard only for typing? Consider using your keyboard to do more, from navigating around in a Web browser to avoiding clicking on dropdown menus.

  • In a Web browser, you can move between fillable rows (like those that appear when you enter your address while making an online purchase) with the tab button. That way, you can enter in most of your information without picking your hands up from the keyboard.
  • Use the spacebar to scroll down a page in Web browsers. To scroll back up a page, press shift and the spacebar at the same time. You can also use your arrow keys.
  • Though some key commands vary by program and operating system, there are some that are fairly standard. For example, to copy something you've highlighted, you can use CTRL-C in Windows, or Command-C on a Mac. Similarly, you can paste what you've copied by using CTRL-V or Command-V. If you'd like to open a new browser window, document or other app window, you can usually press CTRL-N or Command-N.

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Miscellaneous Tricks

There's a whole wide range of ways to make your computer use easier and more intuitive. Here are some random tips that can help you become more computer literate.

  • If you get an error message of some kind, either in a browser, on your computer or as an explanation for a returned e-mail, run an Internet search for the text of that message to find out what's wrong.
  • If you see a hyperlink that you think might be sketchy, you can usually preview that link's direction by hovering over it. Some browsers require you to turn on a 'preview toolbar' for this.
  • Speaking of toolbars, many programs, including Microsoft Word and browsers like Firefox and Chrome, will allow you to exercise some control over the toolbars that are presented to you. If you find yourself having to click on a few menus to get to a function you often use, like bookmarks, consider using something like a bookmarks toolbar for faster access.

There are numerous Microsoft Word shortcuts that can also make your life easier.

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