Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User - Pogue`s Posts

Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User - Pogue`s Posts
Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User - Pogue’s Posts - Technology - New York Times Blog
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October 2, 2008, 12:22 pm
Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
Last week, I wrote an entry on my blog that began like this:
“One of these days, I’m going to write a book called, ‘The Basics.’ It’s
going to be a compendium of the essential tech bits that you just assume
everyone knows–but you’re wrong.
“(I’ll never forget watching a book editor at a publishing house
painstakingly drag across a word in a word processor to select it. After 10
minutes of this, I couldn’t stand it. ‘Why don’t you just double-click the
word?’ She had no clue you could do that!)”
Movie Downloads: The Bailout Plan
By David Pogue for and CNBC
Many readers chimed in with other “basics” that they assumed every
computer user knew–but soon discovered that what’s common knowledge
isn’t the same as universal knowledge.
I’m sure the basics could fill a book, but here are a few to get you started.
All of these are things that certain friends, family or coworkers, over the
years, did *not* know. Clip, save and pass along to…well, you know who
they are.
* You can double-click a word to highlight it in any document, e-mail or
Web page.
* When you get an e-mail message from eBay or your bank, claiming that
you have an account problem or a question from a buyer, it’s probably a
“phishing scam” intended to trick you into typing your password. Don’t
click the link in the message. If in doubt, go into your browser and type
“” (or whatever) manually.
* Nobody, but nobody, is going to give you half of $80 million to help
them liberate the funds of a deceased millionaire…from Nigeria or
anywhere else.
* You can hide all windows, revealing only what’s on the computer
desktop, with one keystroke: hit the Windows key and “D” simultaneously
in Windows, or press F11 on Macs (on recent Mac laptops, Command+F3;
Command is the key with the cloverleaf logo). That’s great when you want
examine or delete something you’ve just downloaded to the desktop, for
example. Press the keystroke again to return to what you were doing.
* You can enlarge the text on any Web page. In Windows, press Ctrl and
the plus or minus keys (for bigger or smaller fonts); on the Mac, it’s the
Command key and plus or minus.
* You can also enlarge the entire Web page or document by pressing the
Control key as you turn the wheel on top of your mouse. On the Mac, this
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David Pogue's technology column has appeared each Thursday in
Page 1 of 158
Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User - Pogue’s Posts - Technology - New York Times Blog
Control key as you turn the wheel on top of your mouse. On the Mac, this
enlarges the entire screen image.
* The number of megapixels does not determine a camera’s picture
quality; that’s a marketing myth. The sensor size is far more important.
(Use Google to find it. For example, search for “sensor size Nikon D90.”)
* On most cellphones, press the Send key to open up a list of recent calls.
Instead of manually dialing, you can return a call by highlighting one of
these calls and pressing Send again.
10/8/08 9:09 AM
David Pogue's technology column has appeared each Thursday in
The Times since 2000. Each week, he also writes the Times email column "From the Desk of David Pogue," creates a short,
funny Web video for, and posts entries to his
Times blog. In his other life, David is an Emmy-winning
correspondent for CBS News, a frequent contributor to NPR's
"Morning Edition," creator of the Missing Manual series of
computer books, and father of three.
Recent Articles by David
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Books by David Pogue
iPhone - The Missing Manual
* When someone sends you some shocking e-mail and suggests that you
pass it on, don’t. At least not until you’ve first confirmed its truth at, the Internet’s authority on e-mailed myths. This includes getrich schemes, Microsoft/AOL cash giveaways, and–especially lately–nutty
scare-tactic messages about our Presidential candidates.
By David Pogue
Tips for smarter text messaging, video downloads
and Web browsing on your iPhone.
* You can tap the Space bar to scroll down on a Web page one screenful.
Add the Shift key to scroll back up.
Mac OS X Leopard
By David Pogue
For Mac users at any level, an updated guide for
configuring your Mac.
* When you’re filling in the boxes on a Web page (like City, State, Zip),
you can press the Tab key to jump from box to box, rather than clicking.
Add the Shift key to jump through the boxes backwards.
* You can adjust the size and position of any window on your computer.
Drag the top strip to move it; drag the lower-right corner (Mac) or any
edge (Windows) to resize it.
* Forcing the camera’s flash to go off prevents silhouetted, too-dark faces
when you’re outdoors.
* When you’re searching for something on the Web using, say, Google, put
quotes around phrases that must be searched together. For example, if you
put quotes around “electric curtains,” Google won’t waste your time
finding one set of Web pages containing the word “electric” and another
set containing the word “curtains.”
* You can use Google to do math for you. Just type the equation, like
23*7+15/3=, and hit Enter.
Recent Posts
October 7
Microsoft’s New Pay-Per-Click Plan
Microsoft really wants you to use their search
engine. So much, in fact, that they’ll pay you
for it.
October 2
Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
Last week, I wrote an entry on my blog that
began like this:
“One of these days, I’m going to write a book
called, ‘The Basics.’ It’s going to be a
compendium of the essential tech bits that you
just assume everyone knows–but you’re wrong.
“(I’ll never forget watching a book editor at a
publishing house painstakingly […]
October 1
Microsoft’s Surface Computer Finds a
Microsoft’s surface computer may or may not
work for consumers, but it’s a boon to TV news
September 30
Catching Up With Me on iTunes
How to get David Pogue videos sent directly
into your iTunes library.
September 29
Google’s Little-Known Search Feature:
One Box
Google’s new One Box feature is yet another
reason to skip a site’s internal search features.
* Oh, yeah: on the computer, * means “times” and / means “divided by.”
* If you can’t find some obvious command, like Delete in a photo
program, try clicking using the right-side mouse button. (On the Mac, you
can Control-click instead.)
* Google is also a units-of-measurement and currency converter. Type
“teaspoons in 1.3 gallons,” for example, or “euros in 17 dollars.” Click
Search to see the answer.
* You can open the Start menu by tapping the key with the Windows logo
on it.
* You can switch from one open program to the next by pressing Alt+Tab
(Windows) or Command-Tab (Mac).
* You generally can’t send someone more than a couple of full-size digital
photos as an e-mail attachment; those files are too big, and they’ll bounce
back to you. (Instead, use iPhoto or Picasa–photo-organizing programs
that can automatically scale down photos in the process of e-mailing
* Whatever technology you buy today will be obsolete soon, but you can
avoid heartache by learning the cycles. New iPods come out every
September. New digital cameras come out in February and October.
In India, lessons on yoga and life
Also in Travel:
Seeing the show without breaking the bank
Israel from cliff top to desert bottom
Jean Paul Gaultier's Paris
Page 2 of 158
Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User - Pogue’s Posts - Technology - New York Times Blog
* Just putting something into the Trash or the Recycle Bin doesn’t actually
delete it. You then have to *empty* the Trash or Recycle Bin. (Once a
year, I hear about somebody whose hard drive is full, despite having
practically no files. It’s because over the years, they’ve put 79 gigabytes’
worth of stuff in the Recycle Bin and never emptied it.)
* You don’t have to type “http://www” into your Web browser. Just type
the remainder: “” or “,” for example. (In the Safari
browser, you can even leave off the “.com” part.)
* On the iPhone, hit the Space bar twice at the end of a sentence. You get
a period, a space, and a capitalized letter at the beginning of the next
* Come up with an automated backup system for your computer. There’s
no misery quite like the sick feeling of having lost chunks of your life
because you didn’t have a safety copy.
10/8/08 9:09 AM
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What are your favorite basics-that-you-thought-everyone-knew? Let us
know in the comments for this column at!
E-mail this
Software, Tips and Tricks
The iPhone 1.1.1 Update
A Handy Tip From a Reader on Flash Drives
A Parallel Windows Universe
Carrying Your Digital Life on a Keychain
1149 comments so far...
1. October
12:38 pm
The windows default for the recycle Bin is 10% of the local drive.
With modern HD reaching 1TB do you really need 100GB of recycle
Bin.. It is easy to modify using Recycle Bin’s properties
2. October
12:41 pm
3 shortcuts I use hourly!
Ctrl X (cut)
Ctrl c (copy)
Ctrl v (paste)
— Posted by Reggie Clark
— Posted by susan
3. October
12:43 pm
Wow — I didn’t know about ANY of these keyboard shortcuts, and
I’ve been using both Mac’s and PC’s for years!
Please write that book!
— Posted by Jason
4. October
12:44 pm
Ok, I knew “some” of them….
5. October
12:46 pm
Really basic Mac tips.
— Posted by Jason
In Apple Mail, you can hover the cursor over a url link and the actual
url will be revealed, so you can see that “ebay security” is really
In Apple Safari, you can customize the bar at the top, so add the + buttons and you can enlarge the text - and in webkit, the pictures too
- very easily. If you pull a tab straight down, it makes a new window.
If you pull a tab sideways, the tab changes places so you can organize
what you’re doing.
You can drag a photo or document on to an icon in Apple’s dock and
the program will open. If you drag it on to the Mail icon, a new mail
message opens with the thing attached.
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10/8/08 9:09 AM
(And one less basic tip, if you open Safari’s Activity window, you can
option-click on an item and it will download.)
— Posted by jonathan
6. October
12:55 pm
You can actually use the right mouse button with a Mac! Most
switchers I know keep complaining they can’t click with the right
mouse button anymore… but you can easily change this ‘preference’
in the ‘preference pane’ (->System preferences).
— Posted by Lieven
7. October
1:11 pm
A little less known one I enjoy frequently and teach even more
frequently is ctrl+enter for entering web addresses.
Typing google in the address bar and then pressing ctrl+enter puts
the www. in front of it and the .com behind it and proceeds to go to
the address.
Shift+enter does .net, and ctrl+shift+enter does .org
— Posted by Joe W
8. October
1:16 pm
Here’s some more bits of “common knowledge”.
Files can be moved from one folder to another by dragging the file
icon over the icon of the destination folder.
There are roughly 1000MB’s in 1GB. Photos are usually under 7MB.
Mp3’s are usually under 4MB. And Word documents are nearly
always under 1MB. Unless you hoard photos and mp3’s by the tens of
thousands, the smallest hard drive available for that new computer
will be more than enough space. Save your money.
If you buy a new computer with Vista, upgrade to 2GB of RAM. You
can afford the upgrade because you’ve saved money by getting the
small hard drive.
Microsoft Office costs $150. Most don’t even use half of Office’s extra
features. Open Office, Google Docs, ZoHo Apps, and WordPad are
free. You’re not saving that much with the small hard drive.
Google does not exist so that you can search for “”.
That’s what your browser’s address bar is for. But Google does
appreciate the extra ad revenue you’re giving them.
— Posted by Andy B
9. October
1:18 pm
undo, cut, copy and paste often work, even when you think they
might not. You can recover files, deleted text, closed tabs, who knows
what. For windows, they are control-z, control-x, control-c, control-v
— all in a row. On a mac, it’s command, instead of control.
— Posted by Alex
10. October
1:19 pm
Thanks, fantastic tips. keep them coming, specially the keyboard
11. October
1:25 pm
Hey there - hitting the Space bar twice does the same thing on a
BlackBerry as it does on the iPhone. Don’t quote me on this - but I
think the same is true for Palm devices as well.
— Posted by BG
— Posted by Ryan Basham
12. October
1:25 pm
“* On the iPhone, hit the Space bar twice at the end of a sentence.
You get a period, a space, and a capitalized letter at the beginning of
the next word.”
This works on Blackberry too.
— Posted by Brad
13. October
1:26 pm
Ctrl + Left or Right while editing text. Jumps to the beginning of the
previous (Left key) word or to the beginning of the next (right key)
word. Reduces the number of Left/Right button presses drastically.
14. October
You can save time entering new web addresses in Internet Explorer
by pressing Ctrl-Enter. For example, typing nytimes and pressing
Ctrl-Enter would automatically add a www. prefix and a .com suffix
— Posted by Joel K
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1:28 pm
10/8/08 9:09 AM
Ctrl-Enter would automatically add a www. prefix and a .com suffix
and will load the page. Unfortunately, this only
works with .com domains.
— Posted by Ken
15. October
1:29 pm
Shortcut for saving:
so important if you’re writing any document. Works in gmail as well
for drafts.
— Posted by Mike
16. October
1:36 pm
one of the best keyboard shortcuts:
alt+d = takes you to the address bar of most modern web browsers
and Windows (file) explorer (some people think of it as My Computer
window). This way you can easily type in the next address or drive
letter you want to jump to instead of using the mouse to highlight it.
— Posted by mark s
17. October
1:37 pm
When typing a web address into MS Internet Explorer’s address bar,
you can type, for example, “nytimes” (no quotes) and then press
Ctrl+Enter on the keyboard and the address will complete itself into
— Posted by TAG
18. October
1:38 pm
Double-clicking on a window’s title bar will:
1) Toggle between maximizing and restoring the window in Windows;
2) Minimize the window to the Dock in OS X.
19. October
1:40 pm
How about …
— Posted by David (not Pogue)
1. Hard drives fail, applications crash. Be sure to constantly save your
work, and back it up regularly to an external hard disk. If you’re
paranoid, back it up to two hard disks, and leave one hard disk with a
friend (so if your house burns down, you still have a backup … you
might not have a computer, but you’ll have a backup!)
2. In Firefox, you can do a quick-search of a webpage by hitting the
“/” key, followed by whatever you’re searching for.
3. Most web browsers are configured to use a search engine. You can
type in your search text (”david pogue blog”, etc.) into the address
bar, rather than going to Google or other search engines. Some
browsers will take you directly to the first match, some will take you
to a list of results.
4. When typing out an email address, it doesn’t matter if you’re
typing CAPS or lowercase.
— Posted by Akshay
20. October
1:42 pm
Another: right click on something to get a little menu of commands
that apply to it (called a context menu). If you have a mac and only
one button, use control click.
I thought everyone knew this but this summer I found a long time
windows user who asked me “wait, how did you do that?” and had
never known!
— Posted by DV Henkel-Wallace
21. October
1:43 pm
On Windows, double-clicking the blue top of a window (the title bar)
will maximize the window, or return it to its former size if it’s already
maximized (much easier than mousing to the “maximize” button at
the upper right).
— Posted by Mike Duffy
22. October
1:44 pm
This is BRILL! I’ve been looking for the keyboard shortcuts book for
years … please write it, David. And until then - keep posting blogs
about them!!!
23. October
Edit - Paste Special in Word is very useful when trying to copy
something from a web page into a Word Document - choosing
— Posted by Catherine
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1:45 pm
10/8/08 9:09 AM
something from a web page into a Word Document - choosing
“unformatted text” means it removes all the formatting, and just
pastes the basic text from the page…
— Posted by Peter C
24. October
1:46 pm
triple-clicking a word will highlight the entire paragraph. On the
Times site, however, this will also open a window with a definition of
the word you clicked.
25. October
1:47 pm
What a great collection of tips. I just shared them with my family and
three e-mail groups of people at work. Never knew about using the
space bar to scroll down an entire Web page until today.
26. October
1:49 pm
* You can double-click a word to highlight it in any document, e-mail
or Web page.
— Posted by griff
— Posted by Jon Belmont
Except when reading articles on, where it automatically
pops up a webpage that shows a dictionary definition of the word you
just clicked on. Kind of annoying.
— Posted by Brian
27. October
1:49 pm
navigating around a huge spreadsheet, an easy way to get to the last
row with data in it is to hold down “end” and press the down arrow.
You can easily get back to cell A1 with control+home from wherever
you are in the spreadsheet.
— Posted by Emily
28. October
1:49 pm
Press F11 in windows to maximize (or minimize) your web brower.
29. October
1:51 pm
“* You don’t have to type “http://www” into your Web browser. Just
type the remainder: “” or “,” for example. (In
the Safari browser, you can even leave off the “.com” part.)”
— Posted by BD
In the IE, just type “nytimes” and hit CTRL Enter and “.com” will also
be added.
— Posted by anaperes
30. October
1:51 pm
when using a drop-down menu e.g. “file”, press (not click) “file” and
slide down to the item you want and let go
31. October
1:53 pm
David Pogue for President! ( Or maybe the new Treasury Secretary)!
32. October
1:54 pm
Great post. My comments:
— Posted by John Stickney
— Posted by Clare Bell-Fuller
“* You can double-click a word to highlight it in any document, email or Web page.”
Try triple-clicking or quad-clicking too. They will select the line, and
the sentence, respectively.
“* You can enlarge the text on any Web page. In Windows, press Ctrl
and the plus or minus keys (for bigger or smaller fonts); on the Mac,
it’s the Command key and plus or minus.”
This only works if the web site developer followed current browser
standards. If, instead, they hard-coded the font to, say, 12 points, it
won’t shrink or grow using this method.
“* Whatever technology you buy today will be obsolete soon, but you
can avoid heartache by learning the cycles.”
Sure, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work fine. Most people would
say my film camera is obsolete, but it still takes great pictures. You
can avoid the heartache by not buying into the “need” to constantly
have the latest and greatest. You can save tons of money that way
Thanks for a great column.
Page 6 of 158
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— Posted by dg
33. October
1:57 pm
I google from the New York Times search box.
If an ad comes up, I click it and make the Post give the Times a
34. October
1:58 pm
A. Simply pressing F1 will bring up Help for the program you are in.
— Posted by Kacoo
B. If you wish to open programs with your keys rather than the
slower mouse cursor, follow this easy procedure to create the key
1. Right click on the program icon and select Properties. 2. Go to the
“Shortcut key” box and key in the chosen sequence. (e.g. I use CntrlShift-w to open Word, Cntrl-Shift-x for Excelso on). I even use the F
keys.) 3. Press OK and you are done.
C. When jotting down notes with Windows dandy little Notepad
program (find it in Accessories), press F5 to instantly and
automatically time stamp your notation with the current date and
time. This is a wonderful feature for creating contemporaneous notes
that trial judges really, really like. I maintain over 100 notes pads on
various clients, vendors, financial institutions, transactions, customer
support calls, and much more.
— Posted by LarryAt27N
35. October
2:00 pm
In Microsoft Word - Shift+F3 makes a word change from all
uppercase to all lowercase to just the first letter upper case and so on.
In Adobe PhotoShop, Alt+i+i allows you to resize an image.
On Windows, Alt+F4 will close any program.
— Posted by Jason
36. October
2:01 pm
Great tips! A couple more:
Use ctrl-alt-delete simultaneously to bring up the Windows Task
Manager to zap something that’s stuck & grinding its gears, by
highlighting it (’Not responding’) and clicking on End Task;
Super-simple: Use the ‘Esc’ key to, ah, escape when you have
something on full-screen with no visible control keys.
— Posted by Charles
37. October
2:04 pm
Will someone tell the idiots at Microsoft not to mess with shortcut
keys. I rarely used the mouse. But recently, I bought Mircrosoft
Office 2007, and it has been a nightmare. The menus have changed,
re-arranged. Everything requires the click of a mouse or learning new
shortcut commands.
— Posted by V. Prabhu
38. October
2:04 pm
on a MacBook, you can utilize right-mouse-click functions by putting
two fingers (one at a time) on the trackpad and then using your
thumb (or other finger) to press the bar
39. October
2:04 pm
One of my favorites is Alt+left arrow to hit the back button on a
browser. I know for a fact this works in IE and Firefox (the only 2
browsers I use at work and at home). It makes surfing so much
— Posted by tjc
— Posted by John
40. October
2:08 pm
Nice set of tips all collected in one place. Thanks!
This one piece of advice is correct, but the explanation isn’t quite
* When you’re searching for something on the Web using, say,
Google, put quotes around phrases that must be searched together.
For example, if you put quotes around “electric curtains,” Google
won’t waste your time finding one set of Web pages containing the
word “electric” and another set containing the word “curtains.”
Google generally only shows pages containing every word you typed
in the search; using quotes will limit the search results only to web
pages where the words inside the quotes appear together (ignoring
Page 7 of 158
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10/8/08 9:09 AM
— Posted by Rick
41. October
2:09 pm
A tip for Texans on filling in the “State” box. Type tt and then Enter.
Texas will be entered into the box. No more having to scroll down to
the bottom of the list of states.
42. October
2:10 pm
as you said, on Macs, command+tab switches programs. but an
equally useful tool is command + ~ (upper left corner), which
switches between windows within the open application. for instance,
you can easily toggle between multiple word documents, while
command + tab would toggle through all your words documents as
well as mail, firefox, etc.
— Posted by Susan
on a related note, F9 gives you a view of all open applications, while
F10 gives you a view of all open windows within an application. from
there, you can click the one you want to enter — an alternative to the
command+tab or command+~ !
finally, F8 switches to dashboard.
— Posted by Austen
43. October
2:10 pm
It’s true that you need not type http/www. to go to a web site –
But sometimes, inexcplicably you do need to type www before the
Not sure why.
— Posted by Keith
44. October
2:11 pm
Use ctrl-tab to move from tab to tab within a browser
Use ctrl-y to repeat the last action — I only really use this in Word,
Excel, and Powerpoint
Use Alt-F4 to close a window/program
When switching between windows/programs using Alt-tab, by
holding the Alt key you can see the program icons for you to keep
“tab-ing” until you reach the one you want
— Posted by albert
45. October
2:12 pm
Cool! I’ve been on computer my entire life and it had never occured
to me that shift/space paged up. The control-enter trick for webpages
is also very nifty
Great list!
46. October
2:12 pm
You can text questions to Google. Enter a question like “Pizza 97212″
to Google (466453) and Google will text back pizza restaurants in
Portland, OR. This also works for sports scores, flight times, and
businesses like taxi cabs.
— Posted by Anne
I’ll never pay for 411 again.
— Posted by Dan
47. October
2:13 pm
Option+click (Mac) closes all open windows on desktop at once.
48. October
2:14 pm
Ctrl + T in Internet Explorer opens a new browsing tab. There is a
similar function for Safari using Command, I believe.
— Posted by chris
Also, instead of the painstaking task of highlighting a whole
document or web page with the mouse cursor, hit Control + A to
select all.
— Posted by Alex L.
49. October
2:15 pm
If you are tired of flash ads and other ads blinking and blaring at you
on webpages, download and install Mozilla Firefox. Then, install the
AdBlock Plus add-on. It blocks almost all advertising on websites. It
works fantastically well. (I do not work for Mozilla)
— Posted by JH
50. October
A range of text, or cells in excel, or just about anything, can be
selected by clicking the beginning point, THEN THE SHIFT KEY,
Page 8 of 158
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2:15 pm
51. October
2:16 pm
10/8/08 9:09 AM
selected by clicking the beginning point, THEN THE SHIFT KEY,
then the end point. No need to drag over the entire range.
— Posted by Dan Ryan
In Windows (don’t know about Apple), you can select multiple files
that are in a row by highlighting the first, holding down on the Shift
key, then highlighting the last one. All in between will be selected.
You can also individually select multiple files not in order by
highlighting the first, holding down on the Ctrl key, and clicking each
additional file.
— Posted by Huckleberry
52. October
2:16 pm
Create a user account on your computer that is *not* an
administrator and use it for everything except installing/updating
software or configuring your system. If you are not logged in as an
administrator, (with very few exceptions) a virus cannot install itself
on your machine.
— Posted by Rick
53. October
2:17 pm
you don’t need to type in .com to reach a domain ending in .com:
simply type nytimes in the address line, then control then enter
54. October
2:17 pm
On the Mac, there is a list of keyboard shortcuts included in System
— Posted by ES
System Preferences/Keyboard & Mouse/Keyboard Shortcuts
With the Mac, keyboard shortcuts are consistent and universal from
application to application - so command-Z is undo in every
application for instance. And why oh why did Apple drop the “Open
Apple” and “Closed Apple” logos from the command keys? So silly!
Oh, and these commands have been around since well, before
Also, you can toggle the mouse for left and right handed use on the
Mac, so if you prefer to use your index finger for primary click, and
middle finger for secondary (right click traditionally), you can.
David - shame on you for propagating the myth that Mac’s don’t have
right click. Mac’s have had right click for a long long time… you
should know better.
— Posted by Steve516
55. October
2:17 pm
In any browser, hitting backspace takes you to the previously viewed
page, just like the back button on the toolbar. Does anyone know the
keyboard shortcut for the forward button?
Also, in most programs, I find control+F for “find” is very useful,
rather than manual searching.
— Posted by ForwardThinker
56. October
2:19 pm
Open files with one click
It just makes sense that if you can do the same thing in Windows
with a single click of the mouse that you can do with two clicks, you’d
take the shorter route, right?
If you want to change your two clicks to one, click Start, click My
Computer. Under the Tools menu, click Folder Options. Now click
the General tab in the dialog box, click Single-click to open an item
(point to select), and then click OK. This makes everything in
Windows exactly one click faster.
— Posted by J Bart Gordon
57. October
2:19 pm
Another good one (for Windows) I’ve had more than a few people
thank me for telling them:
Alt+F4 closes the active window, the same as if you click the topright “x” button.
This useful to know if you ever get the cascade of pop-ups (you guys
know what I’m talking about) or accidentally click to open a bunch of
selected files and it opens a new window for each…you can close the
windows much faster with repeated Alt+F4 strokes than trying to
chase and click individual windows.
In general, anytime you find yourself doing painfully repetitive tasks,
check the menu which always tells you if there is a keyboard shortcut.
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check the menu which always tells you if there is a keyboard shortcut.
Also note that menus are generally keyboard navigable as well…look
for the underlined letter (like the “F” in “File” in almost all menus)
and Alt+ will drop down that menu. (E.g., Alt+F, Alt+S is the
equivalent of File->Save in programs with standard menus.)
Key board shortcuts in general can greatly increase productivity.
— Posted by Othar Hugh Manati
58. October
2:21 pm
Add: When typing the URL in your browser, ANY browser on the mac
will let you type: nytimes (enter) to get On the PC,
type nytimes Control+Enter for the same thing.
Oh, and when typing a URL into a browser, make sure to type it in
the ADDRESS bar, not the search field on your homepage.
— Posted by Rick Blank
59. October
2:22 pm
You can use Windows+Lock to lock the computer.
You can use Print-screen to put the screen in your clipboard, and
later do Ctrl-V to paste the screen in a Word document.
You can enter sentences in autocorrect, i.e. for example you can enter
your name “Paul Newman” as pn in autocorrect, so that you do not
have to type it all the time (you have to be careful though).
F1 for help (most should know that)
— Posted by V. Prabhu
60. October
2:22 pm
In many Windows document-based programs, Ctrl-Tab will switch
between open documents, much like Alt-Tab will switch between apps
in Windows.
61. October
2:22 pm
alt+enter opens a new tab for whatever you typed in the address bar
in most browsers (or google search bar, if you have it installed), so
you don’t have to go through the steps of opening a new window or
tab and then typing where you want to go.
— Posted by terry
— Posted by Adam
62. October
2:25 pm
When web pages, backspace takes you back to the previous page on
all browsers.
63. October
2:26 pm
These little things are fun. Here are a few I use often on Windows
— Posted by VJ
- Your browser address bar is also a search bar.
- Alt + F4 quits the current program. If nothing’s open, it’ll bring up
the shutdown options. Ctrl + W closes only the active window.
- In browser:
Alt + left arrow = Back
Alt + right arrow = Forward
- Selecting stuf
Ctrl + A = select all
Shift + left/right = selects one letter at a time
Ctrl + Shift + left/right = selects one word at a time
Shift + up/down = selects one line at a time
- Home/End top/bottom of the page only in a web browser. In a word
processor, it’s only the beginning/end of a line. Add Ctrl to go to the
top/bottom of a page.
— Posted by Brian H
64. October
2:26 pm
And next week, you can go back and explain that
instead of double-clocking a word, you can just
drag the cursor over it!
65. October
2:27 pm
Left clicking on “safely remove hardware” will automatically bring up
options of external devices to disconnect - I always used to right click
and bring up the whole menu until someone told me this a month
— Posted by Barnegat Leight
I’m surprised that most people don’t know the ones you wrote in the
list - I knew all but two or three. Growing up with computers
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list - I knew all but two or three. Growing up with computers
probably helps, though - when I help my parents (in their mid 50s)
with basic computer shortcuts, I’m always surprised because they
don’t know some really simple things (such as dragging and dropping
files from one window to another).
— Posted by ANR
66. October
2:27 pm
Ctrl + right arrow = beginning of word
Ctrl + left arrow = end of word
Ctrl + up arrow = beginning of para
Ctrl + down arrow = end of para
In excel:
Select a stack of data by Ctrl + Shift+ relevant arrow key
Move up and down by arrow key
Ctrl+end = end of file
Alt+F4 close windows
Backspace: go to previous folder in windows, go to previous
document in internet explorer
Ctrl A: select all
shift + delete: delete permanently
There are many more shortcut keys that I use….should be listed in
windows help
— Posted by V. Prabhu
67. October
2:28 pm
You can use the backspace key to navigate to the previous webpage,
rather than mousing to the “back” button.
In Firefox, CTRL+K or COMMAND+K will navigate your cursor to
the Google search bar, so you can type in your searches without
taking your hands from the keyboard.
— Posted by Hoainam
68. October
2:29 pm
We have come so very far from the “whistle switch”.
69. October
2:29 pm
Press F5 to refresh/reload a web page
In most programs, press:
Ctrl + S to save
Ctrl + P to print
Ctrl + A to select all contents
— Posted by Bill Beck
— Posted by VK
70. October
2:31 pm
How much music can you store? For 128kpbs files (the sort you
mostly get from iTunes) you’ll get about a minute for every megabyte
of file size.
71. October
2:31 pm
“Alt-Tab” to toggle between different programs. “Alt-Shift-Tab” to
toggle in reverse.
72. October
2:31 pm
I learned all of these from doing anything I could to avoid using the
touchpad on my laptop to navigate in word processing. Pressing
Ctrl+Shift and the left or right arrow key will select the word that
direction from the cursor. Repeatedly pressing the arrow key while
keeping Ctrl+Shift held down will select multiple words. Use
Crtl+Shift plus the down or up arrow key and you are able to select
multiple lines in the same manner. Switching from up and down to
left and right fine tunes the selected text. Shift+End selects text from
the cursor to the end of the line, Shift+Home selects from the cursor
to the beginning. Add PageUp and PageDown to your Shifts and Ctrls
for added fun. Also, navigate from word to word without the mouse
by holding Ctrl while pressing the left or right arrow. Ctrl and the up
or down arrow moves from paragraph to paragraph.
— Posted by David D
— Posted by tapatio
— Posted by Aaron
73. October
2:31 pm
Loved these tips but didn’t love that I can’t print them because they
are presented in a blog. Some of us don’t automatically remember all
these and need to refer to them at a later time; ergo, being able to
print them would be even more useful than just reading them.
I know blogs are “cool” but I am not the only one in the world who
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I know blogs are “cool” but I am not the only one in the world who
needs the uncool device of printed copy to refer to later.
Shame on you or the NYTimes.
— Posted by Ellen Richards
74. October
2:32 pm
Triple clicking will select a whole paragraph.
A block of text can be selected by clicking at the beginning and then
shift-clicking (holding the shift key while you click) at the end of a
— Posted by Justin Brockie
75. October
2:35 pm
Two of my favorites:
In Firefox (and now the new IE6) you can highlight a word or phrase
in a webpage, right click on it and have it do a Google search, which
will open in a new tab in the current window (if you have the browser
set up to open new tabs in the current window). Not sure if this
works in Safari tho…
In OS X, you can set the mouse to have a primary and secondary
click, just like in Windows XP/Vista, which acts as a Ctrl+click.
— Posted by nathan
76. October
2:35 pm
Wow, I had no idea about the shift-space key or the shift-tab! One
word of caution, though - some laptops don’t have the same keyboard
shortcuts because the keyboards are different. I happen to do “page
up” or “page down” with the function+arrow keys, but some desktop
keyboards have specific buttons for that.
I’m also fond of ctrl+tab to move within tabs in firefox.
— Posted by Danielle
77. October
2:35 pm
- On your keyboard, hit windows key + E to bring up windows
- On your keyboard, hit windows key + F to bring up search window
- In your browser, just type the name of the site and hit ctrl + enter
key and it will fill in the rest, e.g. instead of typing,
just type nytimes and hit ctrl + enter [Note: Only works for sites with
www. - .com combination.
— Posted by pgb
78. October
2:36 pm
Andy - you said:
“Google does not exist so that you can search for
“”. That’s what your browser’s address bar is for.
But Google does appreciate the extra ad revenue you’re giving them.”
I would appreciate it if you could quickly jot down a few lines that
explain how Google’s ad revenue system works in such cases?
— Posted by Shiv
79. October
2:39 pm
You don’t even have to type .com
just type nytimes and hit cntr/enter
80. October
2:42 pm
I’m ashamed to admit that I learned a few things and I’ve been using
Macs (home) and PCs (work) for about 15 years…
81. October
2:44 pm
I would like to add, but I’ve had a rough day with too many obvious
questions from colleagues…
82. October
2:46 pm
When your cell phone is ringing in a public place, you should push
any button on the side of the phone as soon as possible to silence the
ringer. The call will still be there and ringing, just not audibly. You
can then answer the phone at your convenience, or you can let it go
to voicemail if it is not an appropriate time to answer the phone.
— Posted by gregory
— Posted by Mozza
— Posted by SubtleKnife
It never ceases to amaze me to see people who think their only two
options are to answer the phone or to let it ring outloud until
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options are to answer the phone or to let it ring outloud until
voicemail picks up. Letting your phone ring repeately in a public
place is not acceptable.
— Posted by Mike
83. October
2:46 pm
84. October
2:46 pm
Please write the book. I’ve been using a Mac for years, but did not
know half of your tips.
85. October
2:46 pm
I use Alt F4 at the end of the day to shut down my computer when I
want to get out of the office quick. Hit it once to close open programs,
again to bring up the shut down menu.
86. October
2:47 pm
Alt + Left Arrow Key in your web browser to browse back one page
— Posted by John
— Posted by oy
— Posted by Gabriel
like Alt + Tab for flipping between windows, if you use multiple tabs
in your webbrowser, flip between tabs with Ctrl + Tab. same thing
works in Excel by the way.
— Posted by JC
87. October
2:50 pm
“* You can double-click a word to highlight it in any document, email or Web page.”
Not on the New York Times’s website, at least not without a
considerable degree of annoyance. Attention
webmasters: if we need the definition of a word, we’re capable of
looking it up ourselves! No unnecessary, non-optional popup needed!
— Posted by Markus
88. October
2:51 pm
The Print Screen button is the best (and Alt-Print Screen for just the
active window). When giving screen directions or creating a manual
it is best to use a picture.
89. October
2:51 pm
I’m always surprised by the folks who don’t know that you can
highlight columns in Excel and double click on one of the column
dividers to make them fit the contents.
— Posted by Adam
And how you can highlight a large area in Excel by clicking on one
corner and shift-clicking on the other.
— Posted by Nolamargot
90. October
2:53 pm
Bless you, my son.
91. October
2:53 pm
In a browser address bar type the name such as “nytimes” without
the quotes then press ctrl-enter. It will automagically add the www.
at the beginning and .com at the end. Useless if you’re going to a non
.com address, but otherwise useful.
— Posted by Louise Passick
— Posted by Patrick
92. October
2:54 pm
Triple left click anywhere in a paragraph will highlight the entire
paragraph, so you can copy it, cut it, etc.
93. October
2:55 pm
On a PC, press the “Print Screen” key (at the top right, and may be
labelled “PrScr”) to capture what’s on the whole screen. You can
paste the screen image into a Word document or other places. Paste
by pressing Control+V.
— Posted by JMS
— Posted by Larry Lawrence
94. October
In windows, holding down the “window” key and the letter “e” at the
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94. October
2:56 pm
In windows, holding down the “window” key and the letter “e” at the
same time opens the explorer (file directory) window.
95. October
2:56 pm
…And thanks for not including the words “idiots,” “dummies,”
“morons,” “half-wits,” “simpletons” or “Alaskan governors” in the
title… Many regular, intelligent people don’t know — and need to
know — this stuff!
10/8/08 9:09 AM
— Posted by KC
— Posted by Dan T.
96. October
2:58 pm
The F5 key will refresh the webpage.
97. October
2:59 pm
Google does not exist so that you can search for “”.
That’s what your browser’s address bar is for. But Google does
appreciate the extra ad revenue you’re giving them.
— Posted by Josh S
— Posted by Andy B
I rarely type an address into the address bar. I put it in Google in
case I have mistyped. I would rather not find a surprise after hitting
— Posted by Josh
98. October
3:01 pm
I am surprised by how few people, even practiced writers, are
unaware of the split-screen function in MIcroSoft Word. Clicking on
the little blue button in the upper-right hand corner (above the scroll
bar) of a Word screen will divide the screen in half; each will now
have its own scroll bar. It’s possible, then, to keep one section of your
document in front of you while scrolling down or up in the other
portion of your screen. A great way, for example, to compare an
opening and closing paragraph of a longer document. (The “Window”
tab from the top menu will also activate and de-activate this
— Posted by RL
99. October
3:01 pm
I’m continually asked to hit “anykey” to continue. Anyone know
where the “anykey” button is?
LOL!!! Just kidding!!!
— Posted by Capt. Concernicus
100. October
3:02 pm
Triple click to select the whole paragraph (Mac, don’t know about
101. October
3:05 pm
You don’t need iPhoto or Picasa to shrink a large photo for email. In
Vista, right click on the photo, choose “send to”, then “mail
recipient”. That brings up a dialogue box which lets you choose an
appropriate size. Will work if multiple images are selected also.
— Posted by Frank
— Posted by manraygun
102. October
3:07 pm
Along with Ctrl-x, Ctrl-c, and Ctrl-v (cut, copy, paste), don’t forget
Ctrl-a to select all of the current doc or window.
103. October
3:07 pm
I would like to have an automatic backup program, but I haven’t been
able to find how to do it. I have bought and installed an external hard
disk, but it takes a long time to backup to it, so I don’t use it much.
— Posted by MT
I have a PC and an old keyboard. There is no Windows key.
— Posted by Morris S.
104. October
3:08 pm
Yes BG; keyboard shortcuts are always greatly appreciated!
105. October
I agree that the copy, cut, and paste shortcuts are widely unknown
and useful hourly. Same goes with control+f or command+f to find
(in most applications).
— Posted by Amy B
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(in most applications).
I also think some basic HTML would be nice to teach (how to create
links, text enhancements, etc.) but that might be too ambitious.
— Posted by KJ
106. October
3:12 pm
Using the “Print Screen” key with Windows copies the entire monitor
image to the clipboard. This can then be pasted into Paint or another
graphic-enabled or graphic manipulation program.
This comes in handy for those things you think you can’t make a copy
of or an image from a webinar or other presentation you think could
be useful to you. You can also use in Word, etc. to make step by step
illustrations of setup or configuration screens for training others.
— Posted by MT
107. October
3:15 pm
If you “run out of mouse pad,” all is not lost!
Just lift your mouse, reposition, and continue.
[This, based on a real life experience with a work colleague.]
— Posted by singdaw
108. October
3:15 pm
A really simple one I felt like an idiot for not realizing when it was
shown to me: whenever there’s a pull-down list on a website, say for
selecting the country in which you live, you can type the first letter of
your selection and the list will jump to the first entry under that
letter. This really comes in handy because some of these lists are
— Posted by John
109. October
3:17 pm
Start (Windows) key + e will bring up My Computer
110. October
3:17 pm
In a browser window,
ALT-(LEFT-ARROW) = back (DELETE also works)
ALT-(RIGHT-ARROW) = forward
F5 = refresh
— Posted by TB
for macs, replace ALT with COMMAND
— Posted by Dylan
111. October
3:17 pm
It is amazing how many people don’t realize that after entering words
in a search box, you can just hit the Enter key instead of using the
mouse to click the Search button. And the same goes for the address
box in a browser or the last box on almost any online form.
— Posted by wayne
112. October
3:17 pm
I would end these simple Windows word processing shortcuts for
editing email messages, Word documents, text files, etc.
Home key to move cursor to the beginning of a line
End key to move to the end of the line.
Ctrl + Home to move to the beginning of the document
Ctrl + End to move to the end of the document
Add the Shift key to these to make selections. E.g. Shift + End to
select everything from the cursor position to the end of a line. Shift +
Ctrl + End to select everything from the cursor position to the end of
a document.
For example, to quickly select everything in a document (e.g. to delete
or copy), use Ctrl + Home to move the cursor to the beginning of the
document, then Shift + Ctrl + End to select everything in the
— Posted by AA
113. October
3:18 pm
In Windows XP professional version (most likely what you use at
work) you can hit windows key + “L” to lock your desktop quickly.
This keeps your prankster coworkers away from your computer. The
“Alt” key highlites the toolbar allowing you to then hit the underlined
letter instead of using your mouse. For example Alt + “F” opens the
file menu, Alt + “E” opens the edit menu. Once you learn the key
combinations, you won’t have to take your fingers off the keyboard to
navigate through windows. Alt + “F4″ closes the active window in
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navigate through windows. Alt + “F4″ closes the active window in
most programs.
— Posted by Justin
114. October
3:19 pm
“If in doubt, right-click.”
Whatever it was you needed to do and weren’t sure how to is
probably right there.
115. October
3:19 pm
It’s not just double-clicking to select a word that works. Triple
clicking on a word will select the entire paragraph the word is in.
Hitting Ctrl + A will select the entire document, which is great for
copying pages from a form document into a new one.
— Posted by Steve Tryon
— Posted by Jim Calloway
116. October
3:20 pm
I’m always amazed that people don’t know that you can copy objects
from one folder to the other by holding down the alt (PC) or option
(Mac) key while dragging.
117. October
3:20 pm
My list of windows shortcuts:
— Posted by Hugh D'Apostrophe
When in a browser, pressing CTRL-TAB will allow you to switch
between the tabs you have open (if you have multiple tabs open) and
CTRL-Shift-Tab will allow you to switch backwards between tabs.
This also works in most other types of programs with tabs.
CTRL - W will close the active tab, and
CTRL - T will open a new tab.
CTRL - B will open your bookmarks in your browser.
Adding shift to the Alt-Tab shortcut explained above will allow you to
switch between applications backwards (Alt-Shift-Tab)
Windows Key + R - Opens the Run Program Dialog
Windows Key + M - Minimize all windows
Windows Key + Shift + M - Maximize all windows
Windows Key + F - Find files on your computer
Windows Key + E - Open Windows Explorer / My Computer
Windows Key + L - Lock your computer
Alt+F4 - Close the program you are using
Ctrl-W - Close the file you have open without closing the entire
F2 - Allows you to rename a file you have selected when browsing
under my computer.
F5 - Refresh a web page, or refresh folder contents on your
Pressing CTRL-F5 in your browser will refresh a webpage plus force
your browser to re-download all the images on the page, instead of
pulling them from the cache.
F3 opens the Find feature in many applications, such as notepad,
word, and most browsers, as does CTRL-F.
As mentioned above, CTRL-Z is frequently used for UNDO, and in
varying programs, CTRL-Y or CTRL-Shift-Z will allow you to
automatically REDO whatever you just undid (especially helpful if
you pressed redo a few times in a row to undo more than one action,
pressing redo multiple times will get you back to where you were
before you undid everything.
Pressing F6 in your browser will allow you to edit the address bar
(which will allow you to visit a different website) without making you
have to go and click in it.
CTRL - P is frequently used for Printing in most programs.
CTRL - A will usually select all text in a word document or text file or
even in your browser.
Holding CTRL while you click in a text box in Internet Explorer will
select its entire contents.
As mentioned above, double-clicking a word will allow you to select a
word without dragging the mouse across it from beginning to end….
However, triple-clicking will frequently allow you to select the entire
paragraph in your browser or in documents.
I could go on forever.
— Posted by Jason Spradlin
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118. October
3:20 pm
And my favorite Mac gadget - if you’ve mislaid your glasses, click on
the phone number you need in the Address Book, click on “Large
Type” and the phone number will fill the screen.
119. October
3:21 pm
When entering a state code into a drop down box on a web page you
can just type the first letter of the state. If that doesn’t get the correct
state press the first letter again until you do. - I live in Connecticut so
I press C three times.
10/8/08 9:09 AM
— Posted by Leslie
— Posted by Howie
120. October
3:21 pm
These are great … some were new, others not. But here is another
great one that I just learned yesterday … Google has a language
translation tool that is real slick at You can
select what language to translate from and to, copy paste in the
paragraph or website, and within a few seconds the text is translated
for you.
— Posted by ALambl
121. October
3:21 pm
I disagree with Andy who posted #8. Extra hard drive space is cheap,
and it’s usually the first thing you run out of, as graphic and audio
files become exponentially larger. (Especially if you do a lot of home
photography or digital home video.) It’s also the hardest to upgrade
because you can’t easily transfer everything over to a new drive. So
you end up adding a brand new second hard drive, which splits your
files in different places and complicates a later upgrade to a new
In contrast, it is easy to add extra RAM memory down the road. So
my advice is to pay some more for a larger hard drive that will serve
you for years and upgrade your memory later, when it feels necessary
and after memory prices come down.
— Posted by Bob Jenkins
122. October
3:21 pm
On the Mac, you can take a customized screenshot of the screen by
using the keys: Command + Shift + 4.
You’ll see a +-shaped cursor. Use the mouse / trackpad to click and
drag the area of the screen to “photograph.”
To take a screenshot of the whole screen, use Command + Shift + 3.
Among other things, this is handy for capturing long-winded
computer error messages and spontaneously recording online
— Posted by ANK
123. October
3:22 pm
In Windows to lock your desktop instead of ctrl-alt-del use the short
cut: Windows key + L.
124. October
3:22 pm
double-click to highlight a word, double-double-click to highlight a
sentence (or someetimes a paragraph), triple double-click to get a
sore finger
125. October
3:22 pm
A single keystroke is the way to go: click Page Down to scroll down a
page, Page Up to go back a bit. And if your page starts looking funky
because you’re scrolling too far too fast: F5 refreshes the page on the
web & in Word.
— Posted by Jodie
— Posted by Jim
— Posted by beth
126. October
3:22 pm
What’s the cycle for iPhones? Same as the iPod?
127. October
3:22 pm
A couple more for web browsers like IE, Firefox, and Safari:
- Ctrl+T opens a new tab
- Ctrl+W closes the active tab (this can also close active windows in
applications such as Excel, Word, etc.)
- Ctrl+click on a link will open this in a new tab
— Posted by Lance L
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- Ctrl+click on a link will open this in a new tab
— Posted by Sam
128. October
3:23 pm
A really useful OS X tip: choose Apple Menu>System
Preferences>Universal Access, and enable Zoom if it isn’t already.
Then type Command-Option-+ to zoom the entire screen up. Type
Command-Option– (minus) to zoom back down to normal. It’s a fast
and easy way to zoom onscreen videos up to full screen, among other
In the same window, you’ll find my favorite OS X prank: CommandOption-Control-8.
— Posted by Richard Lainhart
129. October
3:24 pm
Scrolling the cursor through entire words (rather than individual
letters) –
Windows: Ctrl + arrow
OS X: Alt + arrow
Add “Shift” to highlight as you move through the text.
Similarly, to delete entire words, use “Backspace” (when cursor is on
the right side of the word to be deleted) or “Delete” (cursor on the left
of the word) in combination with Ctrl and Alt, respectively, for
Windows and OS X machines.
— Posted by sunmi
130. October
3:24 pm
If you are having a problem in Windows and need to ask somebody
for advice, try this: in Windows, use the Print-Screen button on your
keyboard to take a picture of what’s on your computer screen. You
can then paste that (CTRL-V) into a Microsoft Word document.
Double click on it in Word and you will get options to crop it and
resize it. Then email it.
Showing somebody the problem you are having is a lot easier than
trying to describe it.
— Posted by Mike Richter
131. October
3:24 pm
to select the entire address in the address bar, just click on the icon
at the left of the address (mac).
132. October
3:24 pm
Very simple, but one I’ve seen a lot of people not use:
— Posted by cindy
On most web forms (login pages, search boxes, comment forms like
this one), you can hit enter instead of clicking submit. By extension,
don’t hit enter after inputting information unless you’re ready to
submit the form.
Annoyingly, this is not universally true, as some designers make
OnEnter refresh the page instead….
— Posted by Jacob
133. October
3:24 pm
One my dad (now 87) told me years ago, “Whatever is your usual
time between saves, you will eventually lose that much work.” My
version: “Backups are your friend.”
Steve Tryon’s first rule of networking: “If it looks like a rat’s nest, it
probably is.”
My dad’s immediate corollary: “The scary thing is, if it wasn’t, you
wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.”
Dad started his programming on an IBM mainframe with 256K main
— Posted by Steve Tryon
134. October
3:25 pm
No, no, no….
We need an even DUMBER book!
I can’t use my real name here, because I have to admit that my wife is
severely confused by the most fundamental operations on a normal
GUI desktop, Mac or PC. (I do this for a living - I’m not omniscient
either, but I get along.)
It’s true (as major researchers like Ted Nelson have often pointed
out) that there is very little that is “intuitive” about the “intuitive”
GUI desktop.
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Click vs. drag? Obvious?
Move vs. copy? Obvious?
Folder-within-folder navigation? Obvious?
Differences among volumes? Obvious?
Disks vs. flash drives? Obvious?
Well no, not really, until you are taught.
The desktop metaphor has gotten quite complex over the last 20
years, as the examples in David’s post indicate. Many of us have
caught up incrementally, but many have missed many “obvious”
facilities (like Tab for stepping among where-to-type, and its
extension with modifier keys to select among apps and windows in a
whole-desktop context).
My wife (and many others) need the ~20 page “intro to ’standard’
desktop operations” that SHOULD be at the start of every entry-level
computer book.
Does it exist? Is is a “Missing Manual?”
— Posted by XXX
135. October
3:25 pm
Windows-L locks Windows
136. October
3:25 pm
Wouldn’t it be nice if all web developers actually paid attention to tab
order so you could in fact tab reliably between fields on a form
instead of focusing some random control.
137. October
3:25 pm
In any drop-down menu or file open box, etc., just highlight one of
the first choices/files then click the first letter of the one you’re
looking for - it will take you straight to the beginning of the
choices/files with that letter.
— Posted by Geoff
— Posted by Houston
This can save A LOT of scrolling time.
— Posted by Caitlin
138. October
3:25 pm
Alt+Tab shows all open windows and cycles through them one at a
139. October
3:25 pm
You don’t have to type .com at the end of web addresses. Simply type
the address and then hold down the control key while pressing enter.
— Posted by Phil
To get the this website you only type nytimes then ctr+enter. works
for any .com address.
Outlook has the same mechanism as apple mail apparently, you can
hover over any link in an email and the real address will show in a
tooltip on the cursor. That way you can always tell where the link will
really take you to.
In firefox and chrome the real url shows in the bottom bar of the
browser when you hover over a link, again so you can check where it
wants to really take you.
Phishing emails always start with dear customer or some generic
wording, real emails from your bank or paypal know your name and
begin emails by addressing you by your name, not customer.
— Posted by Sandi
140. October
3:25 pm
For old hands at XP who find themselves a little lost in Vista: the
Start Menu’s search box in Vista is a serious stress-reliever. If you
don’t know where to look to find something, a network setting or
some configuration setting that you always used in XP: don’t hunt for
it, don’t get mad, just search on it. It has always worked perfectly for
Also, the System Restore function has been greatly improved and
made much easier to handle in Vista… I’ve already had to use it a
couple of times because of corrupt dlls. I think that it has the
potential to save even a novice user from a costly and frustrating
experience with the Chicken-Head-Biting Team or whatever retail
tech support they would otherwise use to recover their systems.
If you don’t know where to find it, just search on System Restore (see
point #1.) Make sure it is indexing your files regularly, it should by
default. The interface is simple.
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default. The interface is simple.
— Posted by Jim C
141. October
3:25 pm
Weekly articles are great - feedback is even better!
How about F7 - spell check - works in every Microsoft application and
open office, etc
There should never be words misspelt — Posted by Dan
142. October
3:25 pm
As usual Dave, you’ve provided some valuable info to those that need
it most, the newly initiated computer user.
143. October
3:26 pm
I’d buy that book!
144. October
3:26 pm
I’m always amazed at the number of people that do not understand
the use of the tab key in a word processor and use spaces instead. It
also drives me crazy when I see folks backspace over several
sentences to fix an error. I’m pretty computer literate still I learned a
lot from your list. You do know that your planned book - which
should sell quite well - will not actually reach your intended audience.
— Posted by DH
For my Mother-in-law.
— Posted by Darren
— Posted by Steve
145. October
3:26 pm
Just for BG:
Ctrl is the little brother of Alt.
Alt+Tab switches between programs; Ctrl+Tab switches between
open documents / windows / tabs in the current program. (+Shift to
go backwards)
Alt+F4 quits a program, Ctrl+F4 closes the document.
These are a little more obscure, but often useful:
Ctrl+Esc also opens the start menu (handy if you find yourself
without a dedicated Windows key).
Ctrl+Alt+Del usually gets you to the task manager, but in an XP Pro
environment, it gets you the Windows Security screen (with a
taskman button). Ctrl+Shift+Esc skips straight to the taskman.
PrintScreen copies what’s on your display to the clipboard, so you can
paste into Word or Paint or whatever. Ctrl+Alt+PrintScreen copies
only the currently active window.
— Posted by Mark
146. October
3:27 pm
Yes, MORE!! And I happily volunteer to be the guinea pig…if I can
follow and use the tip, anyone can.
While many folks know so much, every day in USA, so,me buys their
first digital camera, first computer etc. And many, like me, are in our
60’s and older. I used computer at my office before retiring as Deputy
Director….but with IT person just down the hall. Now “Home
Alone”…..scary territoty.
— Posted by Joan McKniff
147. October
3:27 pm
I recently discovered that my mother, who’s been using computers
since the early 90s, didn’t know that if you’re viewing one web page
and want to go to a different url, you don’t have to close the browser
and start all over before typing the new url.
Relatedly, the existence of tabs in a tabbed browser is a basic, as is
triple-clicking to select a whole url or whole line of text.
Also, right-clicking or control-clicking for contextual menus.
The space bar for pausing and unpausing music or a dvd is a classic,
— Posted by Carin
148. October
3:27 pm
oh! and if you’re a mac laptop user, don’t forget about the fantastic
‘two-finger drag’ to scroll - check the settings for the trackpad in
system preferences.
— Posted by cindy
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149. October
3:28 pm
10/8/08 9:09 AM
I tried out that control D “hide all windows, revealing only what’s on
the computer desktop, with one keystroke: Windows key+D in
Windows,” while I was reading this post in an NYT message in
Outlook, and instead of hiding the windows it closed and deleted the
message. But I have used many of these other tips, and most of the
time they do work.
— Posted by Jim M
150. October
3:28 pm
On the Mac:
1. In any dialog box where you see a blue button, just press the
Return key instead of mousing to the button. (In older operating
systems, the button would have a dark border around it.)
2. In a browser, to navigate to the address area, press Command - L
and start typing the enter the web address.
3. In the Finder, to copy a file from one folder to another, select the
file’s icon, hold down the option key, drag the icon to the new place,
and let go of the mouse button.
4. In the Finder, to place a file in the Trash, select the icon and type
Command-Delete. To empty the Trash, it’s Shift-Command-Delete.
— Posted by Jim Kessler
151. October
3:29 pm
Need a calculator and don’t want to hunt around for it?
In Windows, start/run/
Type the word calc
Click Ok
— Posted by Margaret Rouse
152. October
3:29 pm
I use these frequently on my Mac, since a screenshot is worth a
thousand words. (If you get paid by the word, don’t use screenshots.)
Cmd + shift + 3 = Full screen
Cmd + shift + 4 = selection
Cmd + shift + 4 + spacebar = active window
There my be similar keyboard shortcuts on the PC, but I don’t know
what they are, since I haven’t really used my PC since I got the Mac
about two years ago.
— Posted by Michael Burke
153. October
3:29 pm
When you’re linking from page to page, sometimes you’re also
opening new windows — and sometimes not. When you want to go
back, you can close your window and find you’ve closed everything.
To check on what closing a window will do, look at the Back button
on your browswer. If it is colored, use it to go back, because closing
the window will take you farther back unexpectedly. If Back is gray,
you’re on the base of a possible chain of windows, so closing the
window will take you where you expect to go.
— Posted by Bob H
154. October
3:29 pm
You can limit Google’s search engine to a particular website by using
the “site” qualifier. For example, entering in the search field cocoa
will save you from having to buy chocolate.
— Posted by Paul Foraker
155. October
3:29 pm
-F5 refreshes your screen in Windows.
-Control A selects everything.
-The Home key takes you to the top of the web page and the End key
to the bottom (you don’t have to scroll).
-Conrol F opens the search box to search for a word or phrase in
most programs and web pages.
— Posted by mm
156. October
3:30 pm
Here’s a basic tip I published on today. If you need to
find the original file for an alias on your Mac - just click the alias to
highlight it and press Command+R. The Finder will open showing
you exactly where the original file is located, no matter how deeply
nested in folders.
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nested in folders.
Here’s the previous Mac tip, published two days ago. Running
multiple applications on a Mac can clutter up the screen with open
windows. You can click the app’s icon on the Dock to bring that
window to the front, but still cluttered. To have only the active
window display, hold down Command+Option when you click the
app icon on the Dock. Now all the windows are hidden except for the
active window of the App you clicked. Repeat as you switch between
— Posted by Brent Sheets
157. October
3:31 pm
Great list
Please add
in Windows IE and Firefox
Type the site name such as nytimes and hit Ctrl-Enter instead of just
It will add www in front and .com at the end
— Posted by Tim
158. October
3:31 pm
And I just tried control D in Foxfire and instead of closing windows it
brought up to link to this blog posting. I guess the bottom
line is that applications can intercept these codes fo their own
purposes. I do use the ^C copy all the time in Windows XP.
— Posted by Jim M
159. October
3:31 pm
Another good OS X/Safari tip: option-click a link to download the
focus of the link to your system, instead of opening it in the browser.
It’s useful for saving PDFs for later viewing, for example.
160. October
3:31 pm
Hitting the Space bar twice at the end of a sentence to get a period, a
space, and a capitalized letter at the beginning of the next word has
existed on the Blackberry since its inception circa 1999.
161. October
3:32 pm
You can “print” a document even when you don’t have a printer
hooked to your computer. I often do this on vacation with my laptop.
Typically, I want to “print” a receipt that proves I actually made a
reservation or paid for theater tickets.
Click on “print” or (on a PC) use Cntrl-P.
This brings up the print dialog box. Drop down the list of printers to
reveal “Microsoft Office Document Image Writer.” Now you will be
asked where you would like to store this image. At some future time,
that image can be printed to paper when a printer is available to you.
— Posted by Richard Lainhart
— Posted by JC
— Posted by Walter Gajewski
162. October
3:32 pm
yes, you can right click on a mac - HOWEVER - unlike a PC - there
aren’t right click ‘context menus’ to go with that right click. so . . . its
not the actual right click function people complain about on a mac its the right click CONTEXT menu that’s missing.
I actually learned something here. thank you.
(ps - windows button + M (for ‘Minimize’ works to reveal the desktop
also - however I like the D better NOW!)
— Posted by rocco
163. October
3:32 pm
Dear David,
You write:
> * Nobody, but nobody, is going to give you half
> of $80 million to help them liberate the funds
> of a deceased millionaire…from Nigeria or
> anywhere else.
In that regard, I’m wondering if this is also a scam. I received it in
the mail a couple of days ago:
Dear Fellow American:
I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship
with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.
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I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My
country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of
funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this
transfer, it would be most profitable to you.
I am working with Mr. Phil Gramm, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my
replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator,
you may know him as the leader of the American banking
deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is therefore
100% safe.
This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need
the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these
funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly
under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look
for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so
the funds can be transferred.
Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund
account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to
[email protected] so that we may transfer your
commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I
will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be
used to protect the funds.
Yours Faithfully:
Minister of Treasury
Barrister Henry “Hank” Paulson.
I’ve looked up Henry Paulson on the internet. He seems like a good,
Christian man and he seems like he really needs the money.
Should I do as he asks?
— Posted by Mrs. Six-Pack, Wasilla, AK
164. October
3:34 pm
Thanks for not ever forgeting US Mac users !! You can learn
something new everyday!
165. October
3:34 pm
In English, commands are often action-object (e.g. “Delete the
sentence.”). In computer-ese, commands are mostly object-action
(e.g., “select sentence, delete”). This distinction seems to trip up
some newer users.
— Posted by Stephanie Hryckowian
Selection first, action second! This rule applies whether manipulating
files in the OS, formatting a bit of text in a word processor, or
forwarding an email.
— Posted by Brent
166. October
3:35 pm
To save electricity, on Windows, use Power Options in the Control
Panel to set how many minutes of idle time before your monitor,
hard drive, and computer turn off.
Most laptops have an external plug on the back that allows you to
plug in a second monitor.
To backup important files, I mail them to a gmail account I have set
up for only that purpose.
— Posted by Jay Cutcher
167. October
3:35 pm
When you put more than one word in a Google search it will
normally return only pages that have all of those words on them (not
two sets of pages). The great thing about using quotes around a
phrase in a Google search is that it will only return pages that have
that exact phrase, with those exact words in that exact order. Great
for finding bits of song lyrics or pieces of lines of poetry.
— Posted by bobr
168. October
3:36 pm
Triple click in text will select the paragraph or section. The one that
amazes me is how many people will close a program by File, Exit
rather than the close button in the upper right (x). Or how many
people don’t understand that a minimized program is still open or
how to restore it. Back in the day, Windows 3.1 shipped with a super
duper tutorial that had a lot of information about resizing and closing
windows, as well as some quick tips. But now we’ve evolved…I guess.
— Posted by Norma
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169. October
3:36 pm
10/8/08 9:09 AM
ctrl+L - goes straight to browser address bar
ctrl+k - goes straight to search box in browser
ctrl + send - to send emails in Outlook/gmail
r - for reply in yahoo/gmail emails and ctrl+r in Outlook
add various search engines in the search box in firefox
Common knowledge or sense is a myth
— Posted by Mrinal
170. October
3:36 pm
I would take the tips about chain/spam email a little further.
“There is no information of any value that you would only hear about
by forwarded email. If the information is true, you would hear about
it on the news. Information you get by email is always suspect and
almost always wrong.”
— Posted by Hans
171. October
3:36 pm
As for e-mailing photos, I recommend going to the file where they
are, selecting which ones to send, and then right clicking ans
selecting “Send”. This will then pull up a prompt asking if you want
to shrink the pictures for e-mailing, to which a 4 MB set of photos
might turn into 200 KB!
— Posted by Peter Kaplan
172. October
3:37 pm
I work with several people who don’t know these and I’ve had to help
them with this:
In Excel, there are tabs that represent different worksheets. You can
sort by column, or parts of columns simply by hilighting what you
want to sort.
When you download an attached email, the menu tells you where it is
being downloaded to. You can choose the location if you don’t like
what comes up.
On an older Mac keyboard, there is often a button (triangle with a
line under it) that opens your drive.
Publish this book please, I work with easily 10 people who should
buy it.
— Posted by Mocha MP
173. October
3:38 pm
“* You can adjust the size and position of any window on your
computer. Drag the top strip to move it; drag the lower-right corner
(Mac) or any edge (Windows) to resize it.”
Except when you can’t!
There are dozens of windows in Windows without a resize context
menu item, for which I can position my mouse at an edge or corner
and click-drag with no effect. And of course there’s the automatic
positioning that always seems to cover the data you need, but the
parent window is not movable because the child window is open and
blocking the focus change.
— Posted by Gerard R
174. October
3:38 pm
Many hardware problems are because something isn’t quite plugged
You do not need an expensive computer to do photomanipulation you need RAM.
— Posted by Andy P
175. October
3:38 pm
Windows + E opens up Windows Explorer (the windows file
176. October
3:39 pm
Like Susan and Alex, I am always teaching my friends common (and
universal) keyboard shortcuts:
They mentioned control [command on a mac] + c for copy; control +
x for delete; control + v for paste
— Posted by JJ
In additional control + b for bold; control + i for italic; control + u
for underline are pretty universal for entering formatted text
Also people rarely think about right-clicking and using the context
menus — which often are the easiest way to do things. Among other
things, particularly in dialog boxes, a right-click (and the appropriate
choice from the context menu) often works for cut and paste
functions when a keyboard shortcut does not.
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functions when a keyboard shortcut does not.
— Posted by Al Gordon
177. October
3:41 pm
If web pages are slow to load, speed things up by typing control Q.
178. October
3:41 pm
You are wrong about sensor size, pixel count and quality. Too many
pixels on a small chip can lead to noise, but the quality of the
processing in the camera can improve noise. The bits of A to D
conversion is also a big factor; so is lens quality.
It would be possible to make a very large one pixel, one bit sensor
that yields either a totally black or totally white photo. Not what I
would call quality.
Please do not dumb down your information.
— Posted by bug
— Posted by Phil C
179. October
3:41 pm
2 more things about web searches: You don’t have to use “+” between
words any more, but + people + still + do + it!
Also, don’t bother putting “the”, “and”, “of” and so forth in web
searches unless they are part of a longer phrase within quotation
— Posted by Derek
180. October
3:42 pm
Control a highlites whole document
Control 2 will double space it. If double spaces, control 1 will reduce
to single space.
F7 spell checks in most MS programs.
thanks for list and do book soon.
— Posted by Vitb9Doc
181. October
3:43 pm
Hi David,
I’m usually the guy at my office who gets asked how to do the basic
computer stuff, but you taught me a few things with this column,
most notably the Windows key-D thing. I never use the Windows key
for some reason.
Other stuff:
1 - Site specific searching within Google, using Google advanced
2 - Google has university-specific search pages for many large
universities worldwide at or etc. They usually work than the local
search engine on the university website, even if it’s supplied by
3 - Use The EDIT-PASTE SPECIAL command when you’re cutting
and pasting formatted text (say, from a website) into Word or any
other word processor. That way you avoid pasting formatting you
don’t want into the document.
4 - You can do a basic screen capture with the PRINT SCRN key and
paste it into Word (or many other programs) with the PASTE
5 - Use Alt codes for special characters, such as alt-0246 for the lower
case letter “o” with umlaut, or alt-0174 for the registered trademark
“R” symbol. A complete list is online at
6 - You can insert both text and images into otherwise inaccessible
corners of Word documents using the INSERT-TEXT BOX
7 - You can put shortcuts on your desktop to any hard drive or
directory your computer is connected to, even if it’s on a network.
8 - You simply shouldn’t be using versions of Internet Explorer older
than 7.x. It’s dangerous.
9 - Just because a particular piece of software comes pre-installed in
Windows, that doesn’t make it the “official” version. You can use
Firefox, Chrome or Opera instead of Internet Explorer. You can use
Total Commander instead of Windows Explorer and Thunderbird or
Eudora instead of Outlook Express. It’s allowed.
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10 - Don’t use the Microsoft Comic Sans font. Ever. For anything.
— Posted by Mark
182. October
3:43 pm
Tip: Do not post online unless you trust the website 100%. You
cannot truly undo things online. If you posted your credit card
number on the website, and later removed it, chances are it’s still
around, for example in Google Cache. Same goes for emotional
comments on the message boards, emails, etc.
— Posted by Jeck Wild
183. October
3:43 pm
You can sometimes identify who a phone number belongs to by
typing the number into google. (Often doesn’t work for cell phones.)
184. October
3:43 pm
Here’s another way to avoid an overflowing trash bin: press Shift+Del
to delete selected file(s). This sends the files straight to oblivion
without an intermediate layover in the Trash Bin! Just be careful, as
this is generally irreversible.
— Posted by Diana
— Posted by Bob Cruz
185. October
3:43 pm
I did not know about making the screen big (on a mac) by pressing
CTRL while using scroll wheel. Very neat. Maybe not an actual time
saver or schortcut, but neat anyway.
186. October
3:43 pm
You know what’s funny ? I live in Italy and I have no idea if this
would be something also american but when someone told me about
the “copy” and “paste”, they explained it to me this way:
— Posted by john Paul
“You have to use ctrl “c” = copy, and ctrl “v” for Vinavyl.”
(Vinavyl is a liquid glue like Elmers)
— Posted by peggy
187. October
3:44 pm
control u u will close open programs and turn off the computer. if you
have already saved any changed files, you can turn off the monitor
and walk away.
188. October
3:45 pm
The first tip you have states “You can double-click a word to highlight
it in any document, e-mail or Web page”. Taking that to the next
level, triple-clicking selects the entire sentence or paragraph.
189. October
3:45 pm
Another phone trick for most voice mail: If you get voicemail that
says “Joe is not available. You can leave a message ….[long winded
stuff about options] you can go directly to the beep by pressing the *
— Posted by jt
— Posted by Srini C
With regard to the www. in front of and others: It can
almost always be left out. Some sites [I think it has something to do
with microsloth web servers] won’t work without it. The http:// is
never needed.
Also, if you have an HTML file on your machine, you can just paste
the complete filespec into the browser location window and open it.
[I deliberately don’t set the default handler for html to the browser; I
usually want to edit or at least view the html].
Other shortcut keys: Ctrl - insert: copy
Shift-insert: Paste
Shift-Del: Cut
— Posted by jt
190. October
3:45 pm
I love using Ctrl + K to jump to the search bar in Mozilla Firefox
191. October
Along with the standard Undo, Cut, Copy, and Paste, I’m always
amazed at how many people in my Photoshop Elements classes do
not know:
— Posted by shahinsting
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not know:
Control-O = Open
Control-S = Save
(Command for the Macs of course)
Very few people realize the keyboard commands appear with the
Menus’ drop down list.
— Posted by Dan Cooper
192. October
3:46 pm
Oh yeah, a major one I forgot:
- If you already know the web address of a site you want to visit, i.e.: or for example, YOU DON’T NEED
directly into the address bar at the top of the web browser!
— Posted by Mark
193. October
3:47 pm
alt+printscreen will copy the top window to the clipboard. use ctrl+v
to paste it into an already-open word document [to save and email
error messages to tech support].
194. October
3:48 pm
My cranky tips:
— Posted by jt
1. Don’t waste your money on an iPhone. No one really needs one and
it’s just a toy, not for adults. Bad software, bad customer support,
married to AT & T, one of the worst companies on earth.
2. Using Google to “do math” is helpful in what way?? Windows
comes with a calculator.
3. Never try the latest web browser, these are creepy and don’t work
with half the stuff out there.
4. Flash doesn’t help you from more than a few feet away outdoors,
plus that’s a photography tip, not a computer tip.
5. Time = money. Don’t waste your time with, just delete
and don’t give it another thought or moment. And chastise those you
know that waste your time with this stuff, noting that these newbs
usually get kind of whiny when you politely ask them to cease and
desist — better to just block their E-mail, then you can honestly say,
‘uh, no, I didn’t get that’ at the next family/Rotary get together you
see them at.
Computers are still way too difficult for people to use…
— Posted by Al Martino
195. October
3:48 pm
My favorite is the Ctrl F combination that brings up the FIND
Within the find subwindow, I regularly use the “replace all” function
— Posted by Mike R
196. October
3:48 pm
A couple simple mouse click “modifiers” I find many users don’t
know is that if you have a list of things in Windows Explorer or
almost any list-like thing, (file names, thumbnails.), you can use CtrlClick to add/toggle the list of selected items and you can use ShiftClick to select a contiguous group of items.
You can then drag and drop, delete, or right click on the selected
group to do something with it.
— Posted by Steve
197. October
3:49 pm
Three tips I use often:
1) Triple click to select an entire paragraph
2) When you need a calendar in a pinch (and don’t have MSOutlook),
double-click the clock icon. Just remember to hit cancel when you
are done.
3) If you want to remove all the formatting from text quickly, copy it
(Ctrl+c) to the Notepad application, recopy it (Ctrl+A to select all and
Ctrl+C to copy) and paste it back to your document (Ctrl+V). No
more annoying font or HTML coding.
— Posted by Nathan
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3:49 pm
10/8/08 9:09 AM
Great post. But…
“You don’t have to type “http://www” into your Web browser.”
Unfortunately, not entirely true. It works with most of the websites,
but not all. I regularly get empty pages or errors when omitting the
“www”. Don’t ask me about the technical side. It’s just what I see.
“On the iPhone, hit the Space bar twice at the end of a sentence. You
get a period, a space, and a capitalized letter at the beginning of the
next word.”
Thanks. I have to admit I didn’t know that.
— Posted by Kodia
199. October
3:49 pm
Re tip “You don’t have to type “http://www” into your Web browser.
Just type the remainder: “” or “,” for
example. (In the Safari browser, you can even leave off the “.com”
part.)” You could add that typing just the name — “dilbert” — in the
browser bar and hitting adds “http://www.” before and “.com” after
for you.
— Posted by Steve Phelps
3:50 pm
When I’ve taught computer classes the ALT+Tab in Windows and
CMD+Tab on the Mac for switching between applications is the
shortcut that gets oohs and aahs, just after the cut, copy, paste
mentioned in another post.
— Posted by Kurt
201. October
3:50 pm
Super-useful tips on a Mac:
Command-Shift-4 to change the cursor to a crosshair. Click and drag
to select a small portion of the screen, then let go. That snapshot is
saved to your desktop as a .png graphic.
Command-Shift-3 to capture a picture of your whole screen, saved as
a .png graphic on your desktop.
— Posted by
3:52 pm
Windows Key
+ E opens Windows explorer
+ F opens file search dialogue
+ R opens Run dialogue box
+ Pause/Break opens System Properties dialogue
+ M minimize open windows
+ SHIFT M restore windows
+ D min open windows and toolbars
+ D reopens windows shut above
+ L locks Windows XP
+ F1 show the Windows help dialogue
+ Tab cycle thru buttons on taskbar
— Posted by Charles C
3:52 pm
Hey, those are great hints at working more efficiently - thanks!
While this is far from news to many users it has been a lifesaver
many times for me - like sending a Powerpoint with the full sized
images embedded: Compressing already compressed jpeg images (or
Stuffed files) through mail programs and servers can create problems
beyond lost quality you paid a lot to get into the camera memory in
the first place. Several web based services will upload your large files
of any kind, like 90+ mb of photos, for free. For instance has been very reliable for over four years for me,
friends and business associates. Of course, they want you to upgrade
past 100 mb, for a “small” recurring fee. If you can’t break-up a file
into several uploads you may have to upgrade. But, they ask before
they email reminders of their enhanced services available to you, so I
remain a happy unhassled user. I’m sure there are other services like
this as good or better. Reviews - comments?
— Posted by Steve Colton
3:52 pm
There is a keyboard shortcut for cycling through your open windows
on the PC. Hold Alt and click the Tab key until it highlights the
window you want, then release. If you want to switch back and forth
from the most recent window, just click Alt-Tab once. This often is
much quicker than clicking when copying and pasting into differnt
documents or windows. Espcially if you are using the Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C
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documents or windows. Espcially if you are using the Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C
and Ctrl-V to cut, copy and paste.
— Posted by Eric
205. October
3:53 pm
The Windows + D was new for me - Thanks! One shortcut I use a lot
is pushing F12 for “Save as” in Windows.
Happy New Year!
3:53 pm
Windows-key-L locks the computer.
207. October
3:54 pm
Select a large block of text w/out scrolling past your end point by
inserting your cursor where you want to start>hold down the Shift
key and insert the cursor at the end of the block. Select all is Control
A (Command A on a Mac). Works in most apps.
— Posted by David (Dudu)
— Posted by chrisw
— Posted by Preferred Customer
3:54 pm
dpogue said:
> Google is also a units-of-measurement and
> currency converter. Type “teaspoons in 1.3
> gallons,” for example,
> or “euros in 17 dollars.”
> Click Search to see the
> answer.
Don’t forget, in Google, you can hit enter, instead of clicking search.
— Posted by Karl
3:54 pm
For those who use track changes in Microsoft Word, pressing
Ctrl+Shift+E is a nice shortcut that turns them on and off.
Similarly, Ctrl+Shift+= converts regular text into superscript (and
— Posted by Kathy
210. October
3:55 pm
In the Firefox browser, if you right click any tab, the menu includes
the command Undo Close Tab, which has saved my bacon a few times
when I forgot to record a URL before closing a tab.
211. October
3:55 pm
Try ctrl + F. You can find a specific word in any document WIndows,
Mac, and Linux.
212. October
3:55 pm
Also, I have found this to be a very helpful link…
213. October
3:56 pm
The New York Times
Thursday, October 2, 2008
- From the Desk of David Pogue —————————————-
— Posted by Charles C
— Posted by Steve
— Posted by Eric
* You can double-click a word to highlight it in any document, e-mail
or Web page.
Correct - EXCEPT for all articles on the web page.
It is very frustrating to read an article and double click on a line to
highlight it and then instead:
you get a surprise a new web page to explain the meaning of the word
or phrase you clicked on.
At least give us an option to turn this annoying feature off, and allow
the double-click to work as it does in the rest of the www.
— Posted by Bruce C
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3:56 pm
You can actually resize photos from with Windows — without
resorting to third party software. Simply right click on the photo and
select “Resize Pictures.”
215. October
3:56 pm
The power of the [fn] key on Mac laptops is amazing. That key used
in combination with other keys works miracles. For years I was
frustrated by my inability to do a “forward delete” with the Mac
laptop delete key. But, holding down the [fn] key while hitting the
delete key causes a forward delete! There are several other uses for
the [fn] key that are all revealed in Mr. Pogue’s Mac Missing
10/8/08 9:09 AM
— Posted by Peter
— Posted by Cory Faith
216. October
3:56 pm
Best-in-class free tools for Windows users:
Photo organizer:
Sound recorder and editor:
— Posted by
217. October
3:57 pm
One thing I’ve seen, almost without fail, on every email list I’ve joined
over the past 20 years: Someone will see a post to the list by an
individual, then write what’s obviously a personal reply and meant
just for that one individual. Then they hit reply, without noticing that
they’re sending the message to the entire list, NOT just the intended
recipient. It might seem basic and obvious, but many otherwise
intelligent people don’t seem to understand the difference between
an email list address and a personal address.
— Posted by Scott L
218. October
3:57 pm
Here is a few for windows machines
If you have a machine that is screensaver password protected at
anytime you can hit windows key + L to auto lock the machine simple
type in your password to unlock your machine.
Instead of bringing the mouse all the way over to the start button
simply hit ctrl + esc at the same time and it will bring up your start
Want to use the run command simply hit windows key + r this will
bring up your run box type anything you want in there “calculator”
“cmd” for a command prompt “iexplore” your browser “mspaint” for
Microsoft paint leave the quotes out of course this is a very quick and
easy way to get to these apps.
My last two, instead of ctrl + alt + del to get to task manager simply
right click on your task bar and select task manager. Instead of
clicking into my computer from your desktop simply hit windows key
+ e, this will bring up your windows explorer menu
Hope these help ENJOY!
— Posted by EG
219. October
3:57 pm
To quickly lock a Windows XP (or higher) system - {Window Key}-L.
Works best if you have a password on the user account.
3:58 pm
One I use many times a day is crtl & f to Find a word on a web page
or word or excel document.
221. October
3:58 pm
Yes, more please!
222. October
3:58 pm
Your tip about enlarging the screen font with the control key and the
scroll wheel made me chuckle. My son did just that and taught us
that particular shortcut/trick when he was two years old!
— Posted by John
— Posted by Ray
— Posted by LDL
It took a little while of us looking perplexed and saying, “HOW did
you do that?” until we figured out how.
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you do that?” until we figured out how.
— Posted by Nutrageous
223. October
3:59 pm
Joe W put in the address bits that you forgot! I like the ctrl S
frequently when I’m in word for Save (while I’m typing); lost a few
too many things at a power fail.
224. October
4:00 pm
You don’t have to go to an online dictionary site to find a word’s
definition. In the Google search field, type “define” followed
immediately by the word you want defined. For example, you could
“define immaculate conception” without the quotes.
— Posted by vince V.
— Posted by Walter Gajewski
225. October
4:00 pm
Wow. I’ve been using a computer for 25+ years and I didn’t know the
one about scrolling a page with the space bar. Amazing.
Recommending books so good, they’ll keep you up past your bedtime.
— Posted by Peter
226. October
4:00 pm
dpogue said:
> You can switch from one open program to the next
> by pressing Alt+Tab (Windows) or Command-Tab (Mac).
On Windows Alt+Tab switches between open _windows_.
On Mac Command+Tab switches between open _programs_;
On Mac Command-~ will cycle through the current program’s open
Also, Command-W will close the current window (or Tab if the
application supports tabs.
Command-} and Command={ (requires shift key) will cycle through
the tabs for most programs.
— Posted by Karl
227. October
4:02 pm
When replacing a shaded selection, you do not have to delete it first.
Typing or Pasting over the shaded text deletes the old text.
Thanks for the double click hint to select a word. Where have I been?
— Posted by Ron
4:02 pm
Use or something like it when you want to send someone
a long email address.
The Google keyboard shortcuts are great. In Google Reader: j and k
for moving from one post to the next or previous; s for star. In gmail:
ga for go to all messages shows everything that’s been archived, gs
goes to starred messages, etc.
Drag links from the address window to your toolbar (below the
address) in Firefox to make buttons for favorite sites. In Windows
XP, drag shortcuts for frequently used programs down to the Quick
Launch menu at the bottom of the screen.
— Posted by Jennifer
229. October
4:04 pm
How about a list of keystrokes for foreign word accents, etc?
4:05 pm
Triple-click in a paragraph to select the entire paragraph.
231. October
Pressing Command-Shift-4 together on a Mac gives you the ability to
do a customizable screen capture of anything on your screen in any
program. The screen capture is a jpg.
— Posted by gilmour1
— Posted by Jamie Smith
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program. The screen capture is a jpg.
— Posted by Timothy Post
232. October
4:07 pm
No need to space twice after a period, even if that is what you learned
in typing class!
233. October
4:07 pm
— Posted by Jane
You cannot enter in the address bar and hit enter to get to
They could fix that in about 5 seconds, though.
— Posted by BobCat
234. October
4:07 pm
In MS Word, suppose you want to copy/delete only a vertical strip of
text, and not the entire page. You can do this by pressing the Alt key,
and selecting just the text you need. You can do this across pages of a
multi-page document too - keep the Alt key pressed, and drag your
mouse pointer (keeping the left button pressed) all the way to the end
of the document.
— Posted by Pramod
235. October
4:08 pm
My favorite - you can undo Office’s meessy automatic
bulleted/numbers list “feature”.
Format > AutoFormat > Options > AutoFormat As You Type >
Uncheck “Automatic bulleted lists” and “Automatic numbered lists”
and you can build an outline as you need to.
— Posted by John Hanzel
236. October
4:08 pm
While holding down the Alt key, tap the Esc key to cyle through all
open files and applications. Unlike the Alt-Tab keystroke which
shows only the icons of the open files and applications through you
are cycling, the Alt-Esc keystroke combination shows a full page from
each open file and application through which you are cycling.
— Posted by Brad
237. October
4:09 pm
There’s an even quicker way to enter an internet address. You can
leave off the .com. E.g., just type “nytimes” then CTRL + Enter.
4:09 pm
If you use paste special in excel for values or formats often, you can
add them as buttons to your edit toolbar.
On the commands menu, select Edit
On the right side, scroll down and select Paste Formatting. Click and
drag the icon to the edit toolbar.(Your mouse will have a little box
attached to it with an x or a +, a plus indicates that you can drop the
icon there)
— Posted by David Latimer
— Posted by Megan
239. October
4:10 pm
Gotta disagree with Andy B about the smaller hard drive … with
*everything* going digital, and the price savings minimal for the
smaller drive, go for the bigger one - always (three truths: you never
have enough RAM, never have enough hard drive space, and never a
big enough monitor).
Even those who don’t “hoard” photos or music files, they’ll always
accumulate more … and digital video. It goes on and on. I’m
shopping for a new hard drive (to use as a backup with Apple’s Time
Machine) right now.
— Posted by Todd
4:10 pm
As a computer teacher…teaching Kindergarten through 8th grade, I
was thrilled to read your comments about basic computer users.
Needless to say computer users are getting younger and younger but
games seem to be the emphasis not basic tech knowledge. That’s
what we try to overcome.
The one that bugs me…and that I teach and reteach is, when
something is highlighted, or selected and you wish to change it,
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something is highlighted, or selected and you wish to change it,
DON’T CLICK DELETE, just type the change. So many youngsters,
and oldsters, as well, want to hit delete or pick up the mouse…a
totally unnecessary move! Thanks for the article!!
— Posted by Bruce Stern
241. October
4:10 pm
To highlight a long block of text without having to drag the cursor all
through it, left-click to put the non-blinking cursor mark at the
beginning of the text, scroll down and place the blinking cursor at the
end and hit SHIFT-left click.
If your desktop is cluttered with icons, try creating folders on the
desktop with names like Utilities or Financial Documents and
dragging icons into them. Double-click the folder to open it.
Although these aren’t Windows features per se, many programs have
their own keyboard short-cuts that override Windows short-cuts.
Some of these may be customizable.
For an extensive list of Windows keyboard shortcuts:
— Posted by Sideline Viewer
242. October
4:12 pm
This would be less common, but I don’t understand whatever
happened to it — for Macs, if you hear of an “Apple” or “Open-Apple”
key on the keyboard, this refers to what is now called the Command
key (which may have an apple, and/or a cloverish thing, and/or
whatever else they put on them these days). Back 12 years ago when
they were teaching us Macs in elementary school, it was always the
Open-Apple key. Whatever happened to it?
— Posted by Michel
243. October
4:13 pm
In firefox a link can be opened in a new tab by simply clicking it with
the middle button. Tabs can also be closed by clicking them with the
middle button if you don’t care to find the 8×8 pixel x
244. October
4:14 pm
please write the book asap, i need it!
245. October
4:15 pm
Clicking on a web site’s logo in the upper left corner will usually take
you to the site home page. I’m always surprised when people don’t
realize this.
246. October
4:15 pm
If you right click on most Web-page tables you can export them to
Excel for editing or doing calculations.
— Posted by Torin
— Posted by elisabetta beraldo
— Posted by Michael Moore
If you have pasted text into a Word dcoument and gotten the
formatting screwed up, find a section that’s formatted correctly and
use the Format Painter to paint it into the bad part (Look for the little
paintbrush icon)
You can highlight text by holding the shift key down and using the up
or down arrow keys. Add the control key to do it a paragraph at a
— Posted by KM
247. October
4:15 pm
You don’t need to highlight and delete a web address to put a new
one in. Just click on the icon in the address bar and type over it.
Oh, and never, ever stop backing up.
— Posted by Mary Lee
4:17 pm
With most modern word processors, you can click-and-hold a
graphics file in Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac), then drag it into
your wp document. The word processor will insert your graphic at
the place in the document where you dropped it.
That licensing agreement that you just clicked OK … I agree … OK on
might actually be a legal contract that binds you to certain actions.
(OK, I do this myself. But I KNOW that I do!)
The beige box that holds a computer’s working parts is NOT called a
“hard drive”.
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Any computer made in the last ten years spends 99 per cent of its
time waiting for you to press a key. So, no, you don’t need to upgrade
to a faster processor.
Even two-finger typists can type as fast as they can talk with a little
Spill-chuckers kin make miss takes two. You still need to know the
English language.
There is this thing called word wrap. You don’t have to hit Enter at
the end of every line.
— Posted by Michel Clasquin-Johnson
249. October
4:19 pm
Print Screen captures the entire screen image, which you can then
paste into a document, email.
Alt + print screen captures just the window you are working on.
— Posted by Sebi
250. October
4:19 pm
I teach a mid-level computer class (PC) for seniors and knew most of
your hints. Here are more, as fodder for your book someday.
To highlight a segment (large or small) in MSWord or Excel, click at
the beginning of the segment. Release the mouse. Hold Shift. Click at
the end of what you want.
If you mess up a document, try the Undo button. If that doesn’t work,
close the document. When prompted whether you want to Save, click
No. Reopen the document. (Anything you hadn’t saved will be gone.
See hint just above.)
When you want to type a new location in the address bar of the
Internet, click once on what’s there, which highlights it. Then start
typing the new address. (Many people think you have to delete the
old one first.)
In Word, if you can’t remember the filename of a document you want,
use Search and Advanced Search and search for a word or phrase that
is unusual but is in that document.
Use Insert | Symbols to get a cents sign, foreign alphabets, wingdings,
Use Disk Cleanup periodically. If you wonder what to check for
cleanup, highlight an item and read the description at the bottom.
By the way, your hint about dragging a window by the title bar only
works if you are on Restore Down (have a SINGLE box with white
bar at the top, next to the X for closing the program.
— Posted by blee
251. October
4:20 pm
As stated by many other, Ctrl+Z is the UNDO command that in many
cases will un-do the last action you took.
Ctrl+Y will REDO what you just un-did.
— Posted by Joe O'Connor
252. October
4:20 pm
In Microsoft Excel, if you select data you want to graph, you can
press F11 (on Windows) to create an instant graph/chart with default
settings. This works on Macs also, if Expose settings are changed so
that F11 is not assigned.
— Posted by Michelle Baldwin
253. October
4:21 pm
David - You are really on to something! It may very well become the
most useful computer book ever written. I know lots of tips and
tricks and am always looking for something to make my day easier.
I particularly appreciate the Shift + Delete, the e-mail “goodbye for
good” combo in Outlook. Another good one is dragging a FedEx, UPS
or DHL tracking number into Google search bar, this takes you
directly to tracking update for the package. Write that book, I will
definitely buy it.
— Posted by Kimberly
254. October
4:22 pm
Great stuff. I think of myself as moderately knowledgeable (several
friends think of me as their guru), but I only knew about half of these
items. So David, write the book, but keep it very very simple. Here’s a
truly basic one that hardly any of the mouse-centric computer-users
in my workplace are aware of:
It’s much quicker not to use the mouse for many basic functions. For
example, instead of mousing to the “Save” or “Quit” buttons, just
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example, instead of mousing to the “Save” or “Quit” buttons, just
press Control-S (Save) or Control-Q (Quit) or Control-W (Close an
open doc or window) or Control-A (Select all in an open doc). For
Macs, use Command instead of Control.
— Posted by Bruce
255. October
4:23 pm
I think a website would be better where users can generate content
and viewers can vote on the usefulness and they can be sorted by
relevance, because the book would become obsolete too quickly.
Sorry, Dave!
— Posted by Charles
256. October
4:23 pm
ALT-PrintScreen captures only the active window to the clipboard
(as opposed to the whole screen when hitting just PrintScreen)
257. October
4:24 pm
On the Mac, if you are in a Terminal window and want to view a file,
you can type “open filename” and the correct application will launch
with the file open.
— Posted by chrisw
If you don’t like the default application, you can use
specify one with open -a
open -a /Applications/Adobe\ Reader\ 8/Adobe\
— Posted by Karl
258. October
4:25 pm
The graphical user interface is great for many tasks but usually makes
file maintenance particularly painful. Grab mouse, select file, release
mouse, hit F2, change file name, grab mouse, select next file, release
mouse, hit F2, change file name, etc., etc., etc.
But you can make this much easier by using the tab key. When
working in Windows Explorer, one you the file in “file name edit
mode”, after you make your changes, you can just hit the tab key.
This will save your changes, select the next file, and place you in file
name edit mode.
— Posted by Joe O'Connor
259. October
4:25 pm
One previous poster mentioned that double-clicking on a word in a
NY Times article presents a definition of that word. Two other
posters also mentioned this, but opined that it was a bad thing.
Wrong. This is such a fabulous use of the Web, all sites should adopt
it. Why would anyone want to highlight (presumably to copy) a single
word? You drag across a section or sentence to highlight and copy it still doable on The reference feature saves lots of time
(copy, paste into electronic dictionary - or just look up in a real
dictionary), and is even better for people - you get a bio. I wish did this.
— Posted by Allen
4:26 pm
I can’t seem to find a way to delete an unwanted site in my browser
unless I delete History, wherein lies sites I have searched for ages it
seems and wish to preserve.I want to eliminate just one,sticking out
like a sore thumb,
on the list.How do I do it? I expect to find the answer here tom or
the next tom and tom and tom….
We need more of these easy-to-disgest tips from Mr.Pogue.Thanks.
— Posted by Roman Rapido
261. October
4:31 pm
In Excel, if you want to place the exact same information in cell A2 as
what’s in A1, simply put your cursor in A2 and click Control-D. This
duplicates the cell exactly. (I’m surprised how often I use this.)
Excel again - If you want to key in days of the week, or months in the
year, or even the four quarters of the year, simply type Monday,
January or Q1 in a cell and press Enter. Then place your cursor back
into that cell; roll your cursor over the black dot in the lower righthand corner until the cross changes to all-black; drag that cross
either down (column) or across (row) and it will fill in (Tuesday,
Wednesday, etc.) automatically. If you use abbreviations, it will
follow your lead. This will work also for numbers or the alphabet. It
will not work for the seasons of the year however (yes, I tried just for
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will not work for the seasons of the year however (yes, I tried just for
— Posted by Vicki
262. October
4:31 pm
I am shocked at how many people don’t know that you can UNDO
your most recent typing in almost any context by hitting control-z.
This should be taught in grammar school!
— Posted by Art M.
263. October
4:34 pm
When using a Mac product (Safari, Mail, etc), put your cursor over a
word and press ctrl+command-d to open the word in the dictionary.
I just wish this worked in Firefox on Mac!!
@#24 and #26: Double-clicking a word in NYTimes in Safari on Mac
highlights the word. What browser are you using that opens a
— Posted by Jim
264. October
4:35 pm
With 238 replies, I think David is well on his way to enough material
for his shortcut book!
265. October
4:36 pm
Don’t write the book, David. In just under 4 hours, your readers did
266. October
4:37 pm
On the tip about Ebay, It’s the same with Paypal, along with not
clicking on the links and writing the URL manually they both have an
e-mail address where you can forward these e-mails and they
supposedly investigate and eventually stop them. The e-mail address
is [email protected] and [email protected] As far as your tip for
zooming in and out, is there a way to reset it to default size????
— Posted by Bill Sharpe
— Posted by Brooklyn Robb
— Posted by Adam Gordon
267. October
4:38 pm
Yes, I’ve learned a few things - from your column and from the
reader comments as well - but here’s one I haven’t seen yet.
To close ALL open windows on a Mac (permanently) use option +
command + w
— Posted by Bronx Richie
4:39 pm
If you use the File menu and select the print command, one of the
check boxes I never noticed is “Selection.” I use this to print portions
of web pages that aren’t set up to print well to paper.
269. October
4:42 pm
Here’s one I haven’t seen here yet.
In Windows when you have a dialog box with OK or CANCEL for
example, you can select the default action by hitting the space bar
instead of clicking on it. The default action is the one with the dots
around it.
— Posted by Rick Talcott
Regarding needing www in front of a URL, that has to do with the
way the site is setup in the DNS servers. It has nothing to do with
Internet Explorer or Microsoft servers.
— Posted by Sy
270. October
4:42 pm
Changing double click to single click was a revelation I discovered
some years ago by accident. I even had to go back to find out how to
do it before writing this because it is not intuitive. Control panel,
hardward, and it’s in folders - go figure, but what a time saver.
— Posted by Phillip Helslander
271. October
4:45 pm
It’s all about not using the mouse. These probably aren’t common
knowledge, but are two of my favorite Windows keyboard shortcuts.
(1) F2 lets you rename any highlighted file. And in Excel, it lets you
edit any highlighted cell. It works in a similar but hard to define way
in other places too. (2) Alt + Space drops down the window control
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in other places too. (2) Alt + Space drops down the window control
menu. So Alt + Space then “n” minimizes any window without having
to touch the mouse. There should absolutely be a list of all Windows
keyboard shortcuts somewhere.
— Posted by Jason
272. October
4:51 pm
Not sure these are listed already but here goes:
Selecting Files
Use Shift left click to select a range of files
Ctrl left click to select individual files
Copying Files
From one folder to another select(see above) the files you want to
copy and hold the control key down, then drag the files to the new
Alt-Enter forces a line break in an Excel cell.
— Posted by Bruce Nikolai
273. October
4:54 pm
“* Come up with an automated backup system for your computer.
There’s no misery quite like the sick feeling of having lost chunks of
your life because you didn’t have a safety copy.”
Oh, wow! Like we haven’t heard that one before …
Now where’s the 2-part column on how to actually *find* an
“automatic backup system” that
1. is user-friendly
2. is software-based so that backups can be made on standard
external harddrives in various locations
2. actually works (and doesn’t hang up halfway through the backup)
— Posted by Thomas C Gerber
274. October
4:55 pm
What a wonderful bunch of tricks. But selecting the ones to try to
remember is turning out to be a major chore.
275. October
4:56 pm
In PowerPoint, hit F5 to start the slide show at the beginning. (You
don’t have to look for the menu item or the little slide show icon!) If
you want to start the show at the current slide, Shift-F5. I use both of
these all the time but no one seems to know about this shortcut.
— Posted by Jim
And finally, if you want to blank the screen so people are looking at
you rather than some irrelevant chart, hit “b” in slide show mode.
— Posted by John Goodenough
276. October
5:00 pm
To right click on a MacBook: place two fingers on the trackpad and
To scroll up or down on a MacBook: place two fingers on the
trackpad and move them up or down (or left or right for left/right
And for those savvy enough to use keyboard shortcuts but still a little
flummoxed when they shift from a Mac to a PC or vice versa, the
command key on a Mac plays the same role as the ctrl key on a PC.
— Posted by jh
277. October
5:04 pm
Some favorites (for Windows):
1) Double click the icon at left side of title bar to close the window
(useful if the X in the top right is extended beyond the reach of the
screen or is covered by something else).
2) When dragging a dropping files, sometimes it is copied and
sometimes it is moved (depending on whether it’s being moved to the
same drive or a different one. Instead of dragging with the left mouse
button, try dragging with the right mouse button. When you let go,
it’ll give you the option of whether you want to move or copy. I use
this all the time if I have doubts about what will happen.
3) Hit the Windows Key + L to lock the computer. This is great for
when you step away from your computer and want to keep it
protected (but w/o putting it to sleep).
4) In Vista, Ctrl-Shift-Esc brings up the Task Manager directly rather
than what Ctrl-Alt-Del does.
5) Windows Key + E opens up My Computer.
Other great windows shortcuts: dowsXP-Keyboard-Shortcuts.html
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— Posted by Greg
278. October
5:08 pm
change your DNS server from “automatic” to Open DNS, a super-fast
and free online DNS. It will speed up your web surfing. The website
include instructions almost anyone can follow.
279. October
5:09 pm
In Windows (don’t know about MAC - still a barbarian) when
searching, *. in front of something gets you everything that has that
Want to find that spreadsheet you made last week?
Use your search mechanism, type *.xls, and you’ll get every Excel file
(thus the wisdom of advanced search, and the date range fields)
— Posted by Paul
A most useful thing for very many: a tutorial on how to customize
your toolbars. Constantly amazed at the folks who don’t know it can
be done, never mind know how to do it.
— Posted by Warren Evans
5:09 pm
In an Internet Explorer window supporting tabbed browsing (e.g. IE7
with IE7Pro installed), you can use Ctrl+Tab to visit any tab that you
have opened.
281. October
5:09 pm
Not all windows can be resized. In general, if you don’t see a
maximize button, it can’t be resized.
— Posted by Pramod
The proper cut/copy/paste keys are SHIFT-DEL/CTRL-INS/SHIFTINS. The CTRL-X/C/V nonsense is a Microsoft-ism, which
unfortunately many lazy/incompetent programmers have hard-coded
into web pages (i.e. they make the non-standard MS method work,
while the standard CUA method does not).
And while double-clicking a word does select it, it also has the bad
habit of selecting the space between it and the next word (unless it’s
at the end of a line), which often necessitates swiping the word to get
the correct selected text. Or, if it’s an interface with a cursor (as
opposed to a read-only web page), holding SHIFT and using cursor
movement keys is faster than reaching for the mouse.
— Posted by Thanny
5:10 pm
When I go online, I just type the name and end with the
CTRL/ENTER key combo to finish the necessaries.
5:10 pm
Control Z in windows usually undoes the last action .. something
disappears? Bring it back with control z.
— Posted by ED
great columns, useful comments!
— Posted by Toby Fouks
5:12 pm
Links and buttons appearing on web pages in an internet browser
only require a single click, not a double-click.
285. October
5:12 pm
Here’s a tough one to recognize:
— Posted by Chris
What appears to be an accurately formatted Windows dialog box
pops up while you are web browsing that says “Your computer is
running in a suboptimal mode - click here to reallocate your browser
resources.” (or somesuch similar wording)
If the formatting of the dialog box DOESN’T match your present
operating system (Windows 95 on a Vista system, for example, or any
Windows format on a Mac) do what you can to dismiss that window
without its doing anything. If you accept the dialog, you will be
loading software you don’t want onto your system from someplace
you don’t want to be. These things are used in some advertisements.
If the dialog looks good, you can only depend on your sense of
skepticism and knowledge about how your system should be working
to know whether this is internally generated and perhaps valid or
totally bogus.
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Good luck… (I had one at work yesterday that my office’s virus filter
recognized and suppressed, though it still corrupted my browser’s
— Posted by tomP
5:14 pm
I thought it was common knowledge that you should NEVER try to
insert a Mini-CD or DVD (one of those little 3-inch ones) in a slotloading drive. At best, you may not get your disc back. At worst, you
may damage the drive.
My local computer parts dealer didn’t know that.
— Posted by Chris
287. October
5:15 pm
Some of us find using a mouse convenient. For instance, if I want to
clear my screen of all windows, I simply go down to the left, near the
start button, and click on the desktop icon. If I am mousing at the
time, why take my hands off to use the keys?
— Posted by Barbara
5:17 pm
“… (Instead, use iPhone or Picasa–photo-organizing programs
that can automatically scale down photos in the process of
e-mailing them.) ” I think you mean iPhoto.
5:18 pm
In Excel, to start a new line of text in a cell, hit ALT+Enter.
5:18 pm
Best. Column. Evar!!!
— Posted by Bob
— Posted by wt
I am bookmarking and saving for more reading later. TONS of tips in
the comments too and thanks to everyone who posts them!
— Posted by Carl Pietrantonio
291. October
5:24 pm
thank you
292. October
5:25 pm
Why is this column titled Tech Tips for the “Basic” Computer User?
Level of sophistication has nothing to do with the amount of technical
minutiae that someone does, or does not, know. Some of these tips I
did not know. But is that because I didn’t have time to pore over help
screens or just play with machines, the way other people do? By the
way, it would help that, instead of writing a book, you had all the tips
organized on a web site somewhere.
— Posted by lahail
— Posted by Michael
293. October
5:25 pm
In Word (and OpenOffice), cntl + will delete the entire word; a great
time saver over hitting 6-8 times to remove a word.
Great list…get that book going!
— Posted by David Tussey
294. October
5:25 pm
Nice job hitting my pet peeve. Yes, “You can double-click a word to
highlight it in any document, e-mail or Web page.” EXCEPT WHEN
it in a news article, a window pops up, presumably the unholy spawn
of a co-marketing alliance between the Times and That’s
not what I want: I want to highlight the word, as I have done in
windowing systems going back to the dawn of time (or at least the X
window system). Please stop! Or, tell me how to turn it off, short of
blocking all javascript from
— Posted by Tony
295. October
5:25 pm
* “You can double-click a word to highlight it in any document, email or Web page.”
Except on the NYT. The NYT will do a search on the word selected in
this manner.
— Posted by -JimP
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296. October
5:32 pm
10/8/08 9:09 AM
CTRL-Z is Undo and CTRL-Y is Redo. CTRL-S is usually Save, press
it often. CTRL-A selects all text. CTRL-F searches and usually F3
searches for the next match even if you have closed the search dialog.
F2 renames files and other things. The SCROLL-LOCK key is useless,
but it does light up an indicator like CAPS-LOCK.
In dialog windows (windows without the minimize and maximize
buttons) pressing ENTER is the same as pressing the OK button and
pressing ESC is the same as pressing the cancel button.
If you need to enter data into a web page (like logging in or
searching) there is usually no need to actually press the submit
button, itstead press ENTER.
CTRL-HOME takes you to the very beginning of the document
instead of the beginning of the line; CTRL-END takes you to the end.
CTRL-BACKSPACE deletes the whole word, CTRL-DEL usually
works the same way. CTRL-LEFT and CTRL-RIGHT move the text
cursor left or right by a whole word. Holding SHIFT will select in this
case too.
Double clicking a word will select the whole word, but triple clicking
selects the whole sentence and quadruple clicking selects the whole
There are many shortcut keys with the Windows key, like WIN-F,
WIN-L, WIN-PAUSE. The key that is between the right Windows key
and right CTRL opens a context menu just like clicking with the right
mouse button.
Double clicking the title bar of a window will maximize that window,
double clicking the window icon (on the left side) will close that
window. In Windows XP and earlier in opened folders that icon in
the left corner acts like the folder itself in many ways, you can even
drag-and-drop the folder from there. In Vista you can drag-and-drop
the icon in the arrdess bar instead. IE works similarily.
If you drag-and-drop items from one window to another you don’t
have to have the windows side by side, you can just drag it to the
target window’s button on the Task Bar, and after a few seconds it
brings up that window and you can drop whatever you were
— Posted by Henri Vasserman
297. October
5:35 pm
When teaching people how to use a Mac, I always suggest that they
use what I call “punish yourself.” I tell them, that, for instance, if they
are going to the menu to create a new folder, they should go to the
menu. Seeing that there is a Shift+Command+N symbol to the right,
they should leave the menu and use the keystroke shortcut. After a
half dozen times of “punishing themselves” this way they will forever
after know the keystroke shortcut for that action. Then use this same
“punish yourself” to learn any keystroke shortcut they are apt to use
— Posted by Philip Russell
5:39 pm
Don’t save a file from your shiny new copy of the latest Word in its
own format unless you know the recipient has the same version: use
an earlier Word format, or rich text format (rtf) to make sure it will
— Posted by cary
299. October
5:40 pm
cntl + A selects all the text (or objects). It is essentially “select All”.
Incredibly useful if you want to paste an entire document or
spreadsheet into another one.
5:40 pm
Single click to select, double click to open. If you are not sure how to
do something try drag and drop, it will work 95% of the time, at least
on a Mac it does.
301. October
5:44 pm
MS Office:
Select text…
Ctrl + [ makes text smaller.
Ctrl + ] makes text bigger.
Ctrl + various numbers will increase/decrease line spacing and more.
Ctrl + = will delete
— Posted by David Tussey
— Posted by John McDonnell
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Ctrl + = will delete
Ctrl + Enter inserts a page break (inserting a new page.)
— Posted by Scott
5:48 pm
Good on you, Pogue! I knew spacer bar trick because my snail mail
piles up in front of new aluminum Mac keyboard and slips to the
spacer bar doing exactly that. Your list in today’s e-mail was chock
full of goodies and I can’t wait for the book. Thanks, Good Buddy!
— Posted by Cullen Athey
5:50 pm
Great article, David. Here’s one from the graphic arts crowd: if you
can successfully print something on your desktop printer, it doesn’t
mean you can automatically print the same thing with good results
on a commercial press.
— Posted by Tracey Lawrence
6:09 pm
In the words of David Cassidy, “I think I love you.”
Thanks for the tips. (And…stop the presses…I just learned that if you
drag an email into Outlooks “Contacts” link, that it opens a new
contact box with the email in there!
— Posted by Carolyn
305. October
6:15 pm
my fave-highlight and drag to desktop every time you want to save
a pithy phrase, a joke, a picture. that’s on the mac. never used
anything else
6:28 pm
Ready to send that Outlook Express email you just typed? Hit
— Posted by denyadog
There are plenty of other OE shortcuts using Ctrl. Use the drop down
menus to see what they are.
I wish there was a shortcut for sending a link from a webpage. I
haven’t found one for Firefox nor IE.
— Posted by Carol
307. October
6:28 pm
You can also use Google as a converter. Type the phrase in the form
“x type1 in type2 ” into the search box.
6 centimeters in inches
100 USD in yen
40 cups in gallons
30 C in F (or 30 Celsius in Fahrenheit)
— Posted by J Greene
6:29 pm
My first computer was an early Osborne, complete with Wordstar III
and DB2, running on C/PM. Our son was eight years old at the time
and mastered both programs within a matter of weeks.
He is now in his early 40s, a computational neurobiological statistic
for a teaching and research hospital.
Because of him, I have always told friends and business associates
that the best IT resource for their home equipment is the brightest
16-year-old in the neighborhood.
That’s a basic tech tip that is seldom passed along.
— Posted by Lee Maltenfort
6:30 pm
In macs, hold down the command key and click on the name of a
window to see the folder hierarchy. Move up the list to open any
folder in the hierarchy. Very useful for finding where a file is and
opening its folder. (I would like to know the windows equivalent)
— Posted by Dave Carmean
310. October
6:31 pm
The flip side of the scale-down-a-photo before emailing it tip is that
if you want to print the photo, you should go back to the original,
full-scale photo. That’s what all those megapixels are for.
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— Posted by Ben
311. October
6:40 pm
ALT + F4 = Closes a window
312. October
6:44 pm
(on a mac and in Office and iWork) - the wee picture of the file in the
toolbar at the top can be dragged to an email, the desktop etc. It
copies the file to that location. BUT only if it is saved … and that is
the difference between the radio button and the cross in the red dot
on the top left.
Really handy for copying from open files to a USB drive, emailing
attachments etc.
very cool list - keep them coming
— Posted by Cherie
— Posted by Greg Carroll
313. October
6:45 pm
If your e-mail program one day pops up a window telling you your
password is incorrect, don’t bother typing anything in. Just hit
Cancel, get out of the program, and go back in. If the program was
working a day earlier, it has the right password, and having you type
in different guesses is just going to make it remember the wrong
— Posted by Gregg
314. October
6:47 pm
In Windows, go to Start, Run… and type “msconfig”.
Click the Startup tab: this is your real startup. If your computer starts
getting slow, you just go here and de-select qttask.exe, for example. If
you don’t know what a particular program is, just search “hkcmd.exe”
and someone somewhere has probably documented what that does.
Also! If Windows wants you to restart after an update and it keeps
popping up to the point of annoyance, do this:
Go to Control Panel, to Administrative Tools, to Services and find the
Automatic Updates service, right click, and select stop.
Also, does Windows take too long to shut down? You can hold down
the power button on most systems and the computer will just turn off
as it did in the good old days. I’ve never had a problem. You can
apparently lose files this way, but I think that is just a hoax to let
Microsoft have the time to upload your entire usage history before
you shut down. [Really, has anyone ever developed a problem by
doing this?]
You can also set up your laptop to stay on when you shut it in
Windows. (I do this with mine to use it as a stereo system/giant iPod
… hook it up to speakers, and you can put in and take out CDs and
they will automatically play … and also when I’m running large
calculations and I have to leave the coffee shop I don’t have to stop
Right click on the Desktop > Properties > Screen Saver Tab >
Power… > Advanced Tab, and then tell Windows what to do when
you close your lid.
— Posted by Jason
315. October
6:55 pm
316. October
6:55 pm
Another basic: after hitting forward to send an e-mail, delete (using
any mentioned methods) all of those “forwarded to” email addresses
makes it a lot easier on the recipient. No more scrolling through
dozens of addresses to get to the heart of the e-mail. Some people do
not realize you can edit forwarded or reply e-mails.
— Posted by Richard Springer
— Posted by Walter Davis
317. October
6:58 pm
Great column and I learned a lot. Will print out for future reference.
But there’s one thing I learned the hard way recently, being less
adept at Mac than on a PC – the following is not, at least in my
experience, true for a Mac –
“Just putting something into the Trash or the Recycle Bin doesn’t
actually delete it. You then have to *empty* the Trash or Recycle
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To my recent surprise, I discovered that the Mac actually does delete
things you put in the trash. Yikes! Was that a rude awakening. I
asked a Mac person about it and he just looked at me like I was out of
my mind. Well yes, I find it sometimes necessary to go through my
trash and make sure something is or isn’t there. And I like having
that backup.
I’ve now created a folder right next to the Mac trash titled “Tentative
Trash.” I put stuff there first and leave it for a while, just in case,
before actually releasing it to the hereafter by putting it in the real
Mac trash.
Just in case I’m actually right about this, and it’s generally true for
Macs, thought your readers might want to know. It’s nice having that
temporary, limbo sort of place and I was really not happy to learn I’d
lost stuff, or couldn’t go through it to double check, with my Mac.
— Posted by Frances Thronson
318. October
6:58 pm
In Windows you can get File Explorer window
real quick by:
right-click the “Start” button and
click “Explore”
Use google toolbar to access bookmarks across any computer.
Buy a Fingerworks iGesture pad on EBay and
you’ll never miss using a mouse again.
Use a free program like KeyTweak to remap the CapsLock to be a
Shift key. This prevents me from turning Caps On by accident.
(remap the Scroll Lock key to be the CapsLock if you want to keep the
function around). I used to remap the Windows Key, but use the
WindowsKey-D to get to my desktop a lot.
— Posted by Dan
319. October
7:01 pm
In Safari: command-I puts a website’s content in a new mail file,
command-shift-I just puts the url in an email. Real quick to tell
someone about a website.
7:02 pm
For #151: Put a shortcut to Windows calculator on your desktop for
quick calculations.
For easy back-up:
Put a shortcut to C: on your desktop to bring up the entire list of files;
then put a shortcut to your external back-up drive to bring it up. You
can then drag files which you have just changed to the back-up drive
quickly and easily. I back up all my financial and photo files
constantly this way. They are also usable from the back-up drive if
— Posted by JJ
I also have a shortcut on the desktop for the Accessories:System
Tools:Character map for quickly copying foreign language characters
to be inserted in a document.
Thanks to everyone for all the tips. As an old DOS user, I’ve always
used keyboard shortcuts — but I now have lots of new ones.
Incidentally, I highlighted the tips I didn’t know, copied them by
right clicking, and pasted them into a Word document which I kept
open on the screen. I’ll sort them later into a usable list.
— Posted by Joan Smith
321. October
7:14 pm
Escape! Escape!
David wrote, “* You can open the Start menu by tapping the key with
the Windows logo on it.”
But you can make it go away with the Escape key. Use the Escape key
anytime you need to get out of a dialog box. For example, if I press it
while I’m composing this message—poof—the text goes away.
— Posted by Jason L-S
322. October
7:16 pm
Remember when giving keyboard shortcuts to newbies that some will
hit the keys in sequence and not simultaneously. So make sure they
understand that both keys must be pressed down at the same time.
Be sure to explain things very precisely. Some users will glance for a
second and then think they’ve been unsuccessful. It reinforces their
prejudice that “these things are too complicated for me.”
It’s also important to not use loaded language and make them think
you’re talking down to them. They’ll shut down mentally and nothing
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you’re talking down to them. They’ll shut down mentally and nothing
you say will get through.
A lot of older users, even those who have been using a computer for a
decade or more, don’t know ANY of this. so be patient and don’t
laugh at them. They still regard computers as a mystery, so they are
afraid to do anything which is the least bit adventurous. Some seniors
are so used to learning things by doing that they won’t read any
manuals. I know of 2 like that. One even ruined an IBM Thinkpad
screen by using an eraser and finally steel wool trying to take an icon
off his screen. He thought it was painted or etched into the window.
— Posted by Kenn Fong
323. October
7:20 pm
Access any Windows menu command without using a mouse.
In Windows, the words in the menu bar will have one letter
underlined. Hit alt and that letter to open the menu. eg alt-f to open
the file menu. You can select an item using the arrow keys or keep
using the alt-letter combinations.
If you have menu commands you use a lot, learning the sequence of
keys will save lots of time and reduce the chance of injury. For
example, in Photoshop you can use alt-i-i to resize images or alt-e-as to scale things.
— Posted by Justin McGuire
324. October
7:22 pm
When using a BlackBerry, holding a letter key for a few seconds
changes it from lower case to upper case.
325. October
7:22 pm
Just thanksomuch for the great ‘basics’ refresher!
If you do a book on it, find me…I am perfect for the job of Momgirl
Friday for the task. We could do it online,
such is so easy…..just don’t title it ‘…for dummies’.
such slang in a title is very bad psychology,even in jest.
— Posted by Ken Goldman
— Posted by Elle Smith Fagan
326. October
7:23 pm
I agree that a lot of this was not beginners stuff, but rather just
obscure tricks that most advanced users don’t know because they
don’t memorize every keyboard shortcut.
Back to real beginners stuff, the mouse: The best thing you can do to
a novice is teach them how to move the mouse:
– keep the heel of your hand stationary, planted on the desk; don’t
move your whole hand
– The mouse should never move more than an inch — usually half an
– Flick the mouse by pivoting from the heel of your hand to move it
– The distance you go will increase with the speed you move: a quick
half inch goes farther than a slow half inch
– If you want to go further in one direction after you’ve reached the
half inch or inch, pick up the mouse, move it back, set it down, and
repeat, all without moving heel of your hand.
– Bonus tip: When using menus, click (up and down) on the menu
item, don’t just hold down the mouse button; that way you can scan
the stuff in the menu at your leisure without keeping pressure on
your finger; when you want to select something, move to it and click
Demonstrating this stuff makes it much clearer than reading it, of
— Posted by Mark
327. October
7:45 pm
Click on the windows desktop and press F1 for help type “windows
keyboard shortcuts” and select the topic “Windows keyboard
shortcuts overview” you will a listing of ALL the really useful, generic
keyboard shortcuts.
— Posted by Kim
7:45 pm
My favorite learning tool is regular reading of great Pogue columns
like this one on tips.
— Posted by Fran Rodgers
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329. October
8:00 pm
I’ll buy the book, David! And great comments from your readers thanks to all.
8:16 pm
When your computer is attached to a projector and you want to blank
the projected image but not your screen hit the B key and then hit B
again to bring back up the projected image when you finish with
whatever you didn’t want projected.
10/8/08 9:09 AM
— Posted by Branch
— Posted by as
331. October
8:19 pm
When you want to send someone a large quantity of files, you can put
all the files you want to send into a folder, go to the directory
containing the folder, right click it, and press “Sent To”–
>”Compressed(zipped) Folder”. Now all the files are one ‘zip’ file.
To open a .zip file, simply right click it, and press “Extract All…”
Maybe this is too advanced for the average user… but I have
countless people ask me how to open the file i sent them, because i
didn’t want to sit there click files for 10 minutes.
— Posted by Ben Rothman
332. October
8:32 pm
Did you know you can turn a Windows computer off now like every
other appliance on Earth by physically pushing the power button?
Most people I talk to are afraid to do so because they think the
computer will (still) tell them when they boot up again that they
should be ashamed for not shutting the computer down properly:
(obviously) clicking the START button.
I’m sure someone will point out that sometimes pushing the power
button does NOT turn off a Windows computer (because some
program won’t shut down–who knows why?). I guess I should be
ashamed after all….
— Posted by Victor Milenkovic
333. October
8:33 pm
When ever you have a set of cells in Excel that should be filled with
the same number, just select all of them, type your number and hold
the key CTRL while you hit RETURN and you fill them all at one time
with out cutting and pasting.
— Posted by Carlos Aguilar
334. October
8:44 pm
First I need to tell you something funny: at the top of the website I
opened in order to view both the column and the tips, it says in a
bright yellow banner “This page can be a scam. Proceed with
For those who want to save these tips in hard copy form, here’s what
I did. I highlighted everything, top to bottom and copied it to a new
document. I saved it and I will wait a few days and add whatever else
comes in and then edit out the dups, and the political rhetoric
someone snuck in and I will have a reference copy to use until David
publishes his book.
Thank you David and everyone else for this wonderful source of info.
Altho I don’t understand why anyone would want to take their hand
off the mouse to use keys, most of the info was very useful.
I’m dumbfounded that I didn’t know about clicking on a word to
highlight it, or to get around having to enter www. and .com by
hitting Ctrl-Enter! Learn something new everyday - still - at 72.
— Posted by Arlene
335. October
8:51 pm
On the Mac, you can make any document a PDF. Select “Print”, and
then hit “Save as PDF” in the lower left hand corner of the dialog.
Type in a filename, hit OK, and you have a PDF file.
336. October
8:55 pm
You suggest setting up an automatic backup system as a basic but
don’t make any suggestions re: how to, or what sort of system to use.
How about a tutorial for dummies like me.
337. October
‘You generally can’t send someone more than a couple of full-size
digital photos as an e-mail attachment;”
— Posted by Syd Polk
— Posted by gunjar
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digital photos as an e-mail attachment;”
But you can send just about whatever you want using
— Posted by yod
338. October
9:11 pm
Be aware with SDHC cards that your old USB card readers will not
support them, making it is necessary to outlay more money for a new
card reader.
Save on battery power by taking the memory card out of your camera
and plugging it into a card reader, once you start to take hundreds or
thousands of photos in the one session you will notice the difference.
Reboot your computer once you have finished downloading photos, it
will be too slow otherwise (Windows XP)
Click on the small photos in a gallery to show the larger version (You
would be surprised how many people don’t know this.)
Don’t put the batteries from your plug-in flash in your pocket after
you have taken 1000 photos, you will catch on fire or at least make
burning smells.
— Posted by Tim Chuma
339. October
9:26 pm
I always have many apps open at once, and it si great to be able to
rotate through them with this Keyboard Shortcut: Command (or Ctrl
on a PC) + Tab. Then you jsut tab tab tab till you get to the App you
GREAT column!
— Posted by Nancy in Atlanta
9:42 pm
Copy & paste between windows - even between applications!
341. October
9:49 pm
Great tips!
342. October
9:54 pm
This is a tip not for computer novices, but for computer experts
trying to explain something.
— Posted by ssprince
— Posted by Joseph Singer
Most people might not know the language you’re using. Visual
instructions can help when they’re confused.
If they do not know what minimize is (it happens), don’t waste time
explaining it to them. Tell them to go to the right corner, and find the
button that looks like an underscore, and press that.
Or tell them to hit Win-M, Win-D, whatever.
They might not know what Win is, or might head for the start menu “Do you see the button on your keyboard which looks like the
microsoft sign?” If they haven’t figured it out, say “The four little
squares on the same keyboard button.”
Control is the key that says “Ctrl” - some people might type in C-ON-T-R-O-L.
Of course, you have to tailor this to the level of understanding, but
whenever someone doesn’t understand something, go visual on him.
— Posted by JustAGuy
343. October
9:56 pm
If you have a newer mac (anything with an intel chip and a bunch of
iBook G4s), you can scroll up and down in web pages and documents
and such by swiping across the trackpad with two fingers instead of
— Posted by Andy
344. October
9:58 pm
“Save” is not a command you wait to use until you have finished
typing a letter or document. “Save” should be used at the beginning
and repeatedly all through the middle of creating a document, not
just at the end.
As soon as you start working, and open a blank document, before you
type anything, you should hit “Save” (or “Save As” in some
programs). Give the document a title, and save it in the appropriate
location. Then, while you work on the document, every five minutes
or so, hit the Save command.
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or so, hit the Save command.
This way, if for any reason the computer crashes, or the program
crashes, or the power goes out, you will not lose the whole letter. You
will probably be able to recover everything you did up until the last
time you used the Save command.
— Posted by Wheat Williams
345. October
10:11 pm
Control-X, Control-C, and Control-V have been a standard for all
applications since they first appeared on the Macintosh in 1984 (as
Command-X, etc.). Windows copied this standard from Apple in
Windows 3.0, the first popular version of Windows, circa 1990. How
in the world is it that so many computer users do not know these key
commands, after all those decades? I think Command-X, CommandC and Command-V were the very first thing I learned when
somebody showed me my first Mac in 1984.
— Posted by Wheat Williams
346. October
10:13 pm
when you are in a folder in Windows that has lots of folders or files in
it, start typing the name of the folder or file you are looking for to
move quickly through that list to the folder or file you want.
get a gmail account if you want to send large files! Tons of room and
I read through this list so far and used ctrl c and p to send my
favorites to myself in an email.
How about a computer tips wiki?
— Posted by Soz
347. October
10:22 pm
Switch between (Mac) Window Views:
Command 1 = Icon View
Command 2 = List View
Command 3 = Column View
Go back or forward between (Mac) windows instead of clicking the
back or forward triangle in upper Left of window:
Command Left bracket = Back
Command Right bracket = Forward
I teach a Basic Mac class for a Mac Users Group in a retirement
community. Lately, even the more experienced users are sticking
around for it! We learn something new every day since we all have
different experiences. To share them with others is the best part of
being a computer user, whichever platform you use. (I use both)
And many thanks to David Pogue!
— Posted by Carol S.
10:24 pm
Another tech tip: to get to a “.com” site all you have to do is type the
main part of the URL and hit Control/Enter. No “http://www” or
For instance, just type “nytimes” and hit Ctrl/Enter.
— Posted by Malcolm Byrne
349. October
10:36 pm
A “…” at the end of a menu entry indicates that clicking on that entry
will have no immediate effect, but simply open a dialog for further
options and commands.
So if you are not sure about what a menu entry does, are curious, and
see the “…”, relax and click it. In fact I often find some cool software
functionality by exploring obscure menu entries.
— Posted by Rodrigo de Salvo Braz
350. October
10:50 pm
There’s so many here I’m not sure if this is up here yet but on a
macbook if you drag two fingers down on the mousepad it will scroll
down the page
351. October
10:52 pm
You do not have to type; you can type nytimes then
“control” “enter”.
— Posted by DL Duffy
— Posted by Peggy Boehm
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352. October
10:57 pm
So when will Amazon release version two of the Kindle?
353. October
10:57 pm
I re-name a lot of jpeg and mp3 files and use these two shortcuts in
XP all the time. Highlight the file to be renamed and hit f2. This will
allow re-naming. To quickly navigate to the beginning of the file
name “shift + home”.
10/8/08 9:09 AM
— Posted by Peggy Boehm
— Posted by Don K
354. October
11:00 pm
In response to:
“One of these days, I’m going to write a book called, ‘The Basics.’ It’s
going to be a compendium of the essential tech bits that you just
assume everyone knows–but you’re wrong.”
Pretty much every supposed “tips” you wrote has been known to most
people, myself included. There’s nothing new in here. Just a waste of
space and megabytes…
— Posted by JC
355. October
11:36 pm
I have been astounded to see letters with tables built by tabing from
professional secretaries and other people I would expect to be
competent “wordprocessors”. In Word use the Table function, or its
icon on the menu bar and build tables easily.
— Posted by Ray Z
356. October
11:48 pm
In Google you can also type ”17 dollars in euros,” which is a bit more
natural than “euros in 17 dolllars” but gives the same answer.
357. October
11:51 pm
An earlier post bemoaned the inability to print blog entries. If you
want selected ones, highlight them, and either cut and past into a
blank document, or after highlighting, put the cursor on any word
and drag the saved selection from the web page to the desktop. It will
be a clipping which can be dragged into a blank document. If you
have several, drag them one after another into the document. At least
this works in Mac.
— Posted by T Stein
— Posted by Wayne
358. October
11:58 pm
I once set up an excel spreadsheet and used one, two or three
asterisks ( *, **, *** ) in certain cells to denote different things (to me
at least). Then I tried to search on them, but oh yeah, the asterisk is
the wild card, so a regular find doesn’t even recognize it.
Just put a tilde ( ~ ) in front of the asterisk (or asterisks) in your
search terms box and it then treats it like any other character.
I’ve never used the tilde anywhere else…
— Posted by Scott Roth
359. October
12:14 am
After typing a word in Word, Shift+F7 will bring up a thesaurus
window from which you can select a synonym.
12:47 am
Double-clicking the title bar in Windows will maximize the window…
and you can drag and drop the icon at the beginning of the address in
your browser onto the bookmark toolbar to add a new bookmark
instantly (works in Firefox… don’t know about Internet Exploder…
— Posted by Rob
— Posted by Glen
361. October
1:07 am
Mac *does* have a right-click contextual menu - I’ve used it for many
years. (re #162)
Learned from trial and error on my new laptop trackpad:
A double tap with 2 fingers brings up a right-click contextual menu.
Double tap and slide to highlight.
One tap releases, like letting go of holding down the mouse button.
Double tap equals click.
Slide 2 fingers to scroll, like someone has said. (maybe everyone
knows these)
Command- tab is my most used shortcut. (Don’t hold down the tab
key, just tap tap) Fast as lightning. Who wants to travel over to the
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key, just tap tap) Fast as lightning. Who wants to travel over to the
dock to find an icon to switch programs? Then you might see you
have too many open programs so when your tap lands on the icon,
move one key over and tap on Q to close the program and keep going
(you are holding down the command key this whole time).⌘W, ⌘C
⌘V ⌘x ⌘Q ⌘A I use all the time and they’re listed on the right side
of the drop down menus. And ⌘click is essential, and space-bar
scroll - it drops you exactly one page. I learned all these keyboard
shortcuts from a book - written by…..David Pogue! And from your
column, David, I learned about option-arrow and its variations.
And other things I use after I discovered them:
Move a file by dragging its icon, not the words part.
In column view, with a folder with lots of files, click the first letter of
the file name to go to that section. It refines when you add the second
letter if you’re fast enough. This is invaluable in iTunes.
Press the ‘enter/return’ key instead of navigating to click on a
highlighted ‘yes’ button. This is a *must* but not in the non-existant
instruction book.
Control-delete was good to learn here - I use right arrow-delete: its
one handed on my keyboard.
⌘ delete equals “put in trash”.
— Posted by Suzy S.
362. October
1:27 am
More Windows keyboard shortcuts:
On Windows, you know about using Tab and Shift+Tab to navigate
the fields on a form.
Did you know when you land on a checkbox field, the spacebar will
toggle the checkmark?
— Posted by David
363. October
1:29 am
Your book will need a section for people like me who don’t know the
What does it mean to Tab?
Where is the Windows key?
What is a GUI?
I now know to click on the house icon to get back to my homepage
but only because my daughter told me
— Posted by Peggy
364. October
1:29 am
In Excel, use CTRL+Page Up or CTRL+Page Down to move to the
next and previous worksheets/tabs respectively.
365. October
1:36 am
Pressing Ctrl+F in Firefox reveals a small Find toolbar at the
*BOTTOM* of the browser window. You can click Prev and Next
buttons, as well as highlight all matching words on the page.
— Posted by San
The same functionality is available in IE7, search google for “inline
search”. Install the free add-on from
Similar to Firefox, IE7 has a huge numbers of third-party add-ons &
extensions, many are free.
In IE7:
Tools->Manage Add-ons->Find More Add-ons
— Posted by David
366. October
2:18 am
Another essential in my book (which few novices use)…
The Activity Monitor (for the Mac)…
It’s the real dashboard of my computer providing real time
information about:
-my Internet data transfer rates (am I getting nothing when I am
expecting something or has some application decided to do a massive
upgrade without asking),
-memory available (maxed out? maybe the reason for the system
-CPU (maxed out in some vicious cycle?)
I have mine automatically started when I boot up so it’s always
(the alternative is the iStat menu ( which gives similar
“at a glance” system info).
Can’t imagine computing without this info…
— Posted by Scott
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“* You don’t have to type “http://www” into your Web browser. Just
type the remainder: “” or “,” for example. (In
the Safari browser, you can even leave off the “.com” part.)”
Firefox figures out .com/.org etc. part, too
— Posted by Jerzy Celichowski
2:48 am
How about:
If you have a Mac (or are thinking about getting one but afraid to for
this reason) and frustrated with the lack of a right-mouse button, just
buy a regular USB mouse of your choice. The right button will “Just
Work” as soon as you plug it in, and it does exactly what it’s
supposed to do.
— Posted by Adam Batkin
369. October
2:56 am
When editing in iMovie, you can copy and paste a movie clip to
replace footage ruined by someone walking in front of your video
camera. Extract the sound from the ruined clip.
370. October
3:03 am
To select a block of columns or rows
Click on the first column or row and then point at the last one you
want and hold the SHIFT key down and click once with the left
mouse button
— Posted by Wendy
To insert columns or rows in Excel, select the number of columns or
rows you want at the location that you want them to come in and
then hold the CTRL key on the keyboard and press the + key on the
numeric keypad.
To delete columns or rows - as above but use CTRL and — Posted by Les Worrall
371. October
3:21 am
Answer to Roman Rapido (260). Go to History. On the menu select
“Show all History” just above Clear History. The whole History will be
displayed. Select the one you don’t want and press delete.
Why rely on History to save hard sought web pages? Use Bookmrks
— Posted by Wendy
372. October
3:50 am
Some other Windows Key (Winky) shortcuts
Winky + e: Starts Windows Explorer
Winky + f: Starts the Find in files dialogue
Winky + m: minimises all windows
Winky + ctrl + m: restores all minimised windows
Winky + r: Starts the Run dialogue
Winky + f1: Starts Windows Help
Winky + Pause: Starts System Properties
I’ve mapped Winky + m to my mouse wheel button meaning I can
clear my desktop quickly with a simple click. Wonderful when
working on something confidential or personal and someone walks
into my cube.
— Posted by Tom
373. October
4:02 am
ShivGoogle’s ad revenue is correlated to the number of click-throughs a
given advertiser receives through google. This is why they make so
much money, because they are the simplest and best search engine,
and everyone has an account with them. Example: You type in “new
york news” and the Daily News is first. Why? Not because they are
the premier, but because they paid for it. They pay google every time
someone “clicks through” (cost-per-click) onto their website. Because
Google brings audiences to advertisers (first thing you learn in
journalism 101 btw)
Anyway that’s how they make money when noobs use google search
instead of their address bar and/or bookmarks.
as an aside, if you have a business competitor and you are bored, its
always fun to click through and raise their google bill…
Not that I would do that
— Posted by rockgirlMN
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374. October
4:09 am
On a Mac, if you want to add a degree mark after a number, e.g. 2°,
type the number then option-shift-8
375. October
4:15 am
Holding down the fn key and clicking the DELETE key will delete text
to the RIGHT of the cursor.
10/8/08 9:09 AM
— Posted by Deborah
Option key + the k key will give the ˚ degree symbol
Please publish a book with these kinds of tips. Please organize it in
such a way that subjects can be easily found. Keep the text brief and
the book itself small. Although I appreciate your publications, your
THE MISSING MANUAL MAC OS X is much too large for me to
— Posted by Marylou
376. October
4:21 am
press the “Windows-logo” and “e” - that opens up windows Explorer.
In word - if you want to edit a list, than mark the text you want to
place higher or lower on the list. “Shit”+”Alt” and use “Up”, “Down”
and even “Left” and “Right” buttons to navigate the text.
— Posted by Krenchel
377. October
5:15 am
In MS Word:
You can select a sentence in one click by pressing Control (Ctrl) and
clicking anywhere on the sentence.
Select the whole text in a document (also applicable to webpages and
PDFs): Ctrl+A
Add a new page: Ctrl+Enter
Press Shift+Scroll down / up button to select a few sentences or a
Check the word count of an article: Alt+T+W
— Posted by Akhil
378. October
5:21 am
Thanks for the great tips. The Windows button+D to minimise all
windows was a new one to me, as I’ve always used Windows+M. This
does the same thing, but it won’t toggle. Windows+D toggles and is
therefore preferable. My own keyboard favourites that I pass on to as
many people as possible, are Ctrl+C to COPY, Ctrl+X to CUT, and
Ctrl+V to PASTE. Word processing is mainly keyboard work, so why
waste time taking your hand away from the keyboard to fiddle with a
— Posted by Lionel Beck
379. October
5:26 am
If you want to buy an Apple anything, iMac, Ipod etc, you can check
out where it is in the product cycle at
and click on the Buyers Guide - it ill tell you whether to buy or not.
Also useful for all sorts of Mac information
— Posted by Erryl
6:20 am
Have to love this. Starting out on the Mac, I didn’t realise all the
keyboard shortcuts that were available (1991). They have just
increased enormously since then.
My favourite:
Control-Shift-Eject button to turn off screen and sleep
And to save receipts, important screens etc just Command-P and
choose PDF and then Save PDF to Web Receipts Folder. I just love
the ability in OS X (since 10.1 ?) to print to PDF.
— Posted by Greg Lane
381. October
6:34 am
You’ve disseminated this misconception for far too long:
“* The number of megapixels does not determine a camera’s picture
quality; that’s a marketing myth. The sensor size is far more
That may be true if you never crop or edit pictures and view them all
as 4 X 6 prints (so you don’t need a lot of pixels in your picture) and
take pictures by candlelight (so you do need good low-light
performance), but in general, no.
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The pixel count affects how much you can crop and enlarge, or just
plain enlarge, a picture.
The size of each pixel affects the signal to noise ratio, visible as
artifacts in pictures taken in dim light.
The large the sensor size for a given number of pixels, the better the
low-light performance.
Both large sensor sizes and large pixel counts are necessary for good
pictures that can be cropped and/or enlarged to be taken in low light.
— Posted by jeffrey frey
6:56 am
on MacOSX:
inverts the sreen.
If you have to read tons of text, to switch this every couple of minutes
helps the eyes to relax a bit.
— Posted by Thomas_U
383. October
7:14 am
Shortcuts For Google Chrome
-CTRL+T: Opens a new tab
-CTRL+W: Closes current tab, or Chrome if only one tab left
-CTRL+E: Puts the cursor in the search/address bar
-CTRL+PGUP/PGDN: Cycles through tabs
-CTRL+(1,2,3…): Selects first tab, second tab, third tab…
-F3: Search in page, with search term locations noted on scroll bar
-Highlighting a word or phrase and right clicking will let you do a
Google search for that word or phrase in a new tab
— Posted by Matt
7:45 am
A tip for Windows login passwords - you can just change the number
at the end of your password each time you are prompted to change it
eg: Password1, Password2, Password3 etc.
385. October
8:41 am
Props to Sy #comment-333629 and shame on Mr. Pogue for
misinformation about the www. prefix.
8:45 am
When are you going to write the book with all this stuff and when can
I get it? And how are you going to give credit to all these good folks!
387. October
8:54 am
“You can hide all windows, revealing only what’s on the computer
desktop, with one keystroke: Windows key+D in Windows, F11 on
Macs (or, on recent Mac laptops, Command+F3; Command is the key
with the cloverleaf logo).”
— Posted by Nicole
— Posted by Dante
— Posted by Ben Furuta
Doesn’t work from Eudora on Mac under Tiger. Haven’t tried with
previous versions of OS X.
— Posted by elf
8:55 am
(this is from xls but try it in any win app)
On the help search type in ‘keystroke’ and this is a result you get…
“Print a list of shortcut keys
If the Contents tab isn’t visible, press ALT+C to display it.
Select the heading Shortcut Keys, press ALT+O, and then press P.
Click Print the selected heading and all subtopics.
Select the printing options you want. “
— Posted by MAF
8:57 am
“You can tap the Space bar to scroll down on a Web page one
screenful. Add the Shift key to scroll back up”
You can also simply use the Page Up and Page Down keys to navigate
a web page. No having to remember when it’s Shift or Ctrl.
— Posted by elf
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This may already be up, but you can also use Google if you need
international monetary values. Type in yen and the value in dollars
will come up as the first search result. type in peso — same thing.
First result.
— Posted by Mary
391. October
9:23 am
Your “computer tricks” column was great, but I’ve got a VERY
important warning to add to your last one about using an automatic
backup service. I’ve been using Carbonite for the past year or two,
and was very happy with it until my laptop was stolen and I actually
had to use their backup service. The I discovered that they pick-andchoose the files they want to back up, and don’t even warn you that
certain files in folders you’ve selected for backup won’t be backed-up.
As a result, I lost my entire Sunbird calendar (everything I’m
scheduled to do for the next two years, which will cost my thousands
of dollars). I also lost all the treasured mini-movies taken with my
digital camera on vacations. This company is incredibly irresponsible
and cavalier when it comes to their customer’s data!
— Posted by Storm Cunningha
392. October
9:26 am
Answer to Forwardthinker’s question:
In any browser, hitting backspace takes you to the previously
viewed page, just like the back button on the toolbar. Does anyone
know the keyboard shortcut for the forward button?
To move forward, just hold the shift key and click delete/backspace.
— Posted by macpet
393. October
9:34 am
Many small tips, but, here’s a few:
Hit the “ESC” key when you’re in a Microsoft Outlook email and it
will take you out of it
Look at the toolbar in Microsoft, for all the very common
commandslike “save”, “bold”, etc…there are shortcut cut key
commands listed right next to the commands
To go to the top or bottom of any webpage or computer page you’re
working on, hit the “Ctrl” “Home” or “Ctrl” “End”. It takes you to the
top or bottom instantly.
I could go on forever with “TIPS”.
— Posted by Kristi Luther
394. October
9:35 am
Good list!
Tell folks to turn their flash off when taking pictures in large
auditoriums, stadiums, etc. The flash just sets your camera to
correctly illuminate the back of heads directly in front of you, but
darkens the subject on the stage. Judging from all the flashes going
off at concerts it appears most people don’t realize this.
— Posted by Jon Klement
395. October
9:43 am
Fantastic article, and great adds by all! I don’t recall seeing Control Y
… that’s for redo.
396. October
9:49 am
Most cell phones have an outer button that will silence the ringer for
incoming phone calls. If you receive a call during a meeting, you can
just push this button rather than running out of the room with your
phone ringing the whole time.
— Posted by Cindy Hartman
Also, here is Microsoft’s list of shortcuts.
— Posted by Chetna
397. October
9:51 am
Since I’m posting comment #360 - you’ve obviously scratched on a
fun niche.
My book, “Computer Ease” explores these shortcuts and the basics of
common sense computing.
Love your columns!
— Posted by Helen Gallagher
With windows XP, Ctrl + F will open a search box on web pages as
well as in documents and spreadsheets.
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9:57 am
10/8/08 9:09 AM
well as in documents and spreadsheets.
— Posted by Bruce Douglas
If you are having trouble pasting something or if you want it to be in
the same font as the other material in the document, instead of
clicking on paste or ctl+v, click on “Edit”, “Paste Special”, then
“Unformatted Text.” That takes out all of the formatting in what you
are pasting and it adopts the formatting where you are pasting it.
— Posted by Shannon Phillips
9:59 am
Ellen said - “Loved these tips but didn’t love that I can’t print them
because they are presented in a blog.”
You can print most anything just by highlighting & copying to your
favorite word processing program. If you somehow keep grabbing
graphics you don’t want (ads, etc.), just leave an ending letter or
character off, and type that one character after you paste.
In Windows:
Ctrl-U starts/stops underlining (or underlines what’s highlighted).
Ctrl-B starts/stops Bold the same way.
Ctrl-I starts/stops Italics.
Ctrl-Z undoes your last action; continue the key combo to undo
several of your last actions (there is a limit, but I’ve forgotten what it
Ctrl-Print Screen copies your entire screen.
Alt-Print Screen copies only the active window.
Like in Word, Edit (or that page key with the arrow), Paste Special
will allow selective pasting of just formats, just values, just
comments, etc. in Excel. You can also do combinations of these, by
hitting Edit/Paste Special a second (and third) time, then selecting
the next piece you want.
Also in Excel, you can move from tab to tab (worksheet) by using
Ctrl-Page Up (move left) and Crtl-Page Down (move right).
Someone complained about MS redesigning the menus for Office
2007 and not being able to find things in the in “ribbons” (that’s the
reason I’m now a Mac convert). Those shortcuts are still operable you just have to remember them, or find a handy reference.
Easy address-bar access: in Windows - Ctrl-D; on a Mac - Cmd-L.
Keep ‘em coming - we need that book (1 version containing both MS
& Apple)!
— Posted by Kathy
401. October
9:59 am
Something is really odd about the trash bin tip. Windows’ default
setup is to allocate a % of hard drive space to the trash bin. After the
“trash” exceeds it’s allocated % Windows should delete the oldest files
sequentially. I don’t understand how someone could use up their
entire hard drive with files in the trash bin.
— Posted by Jim
10:05 am
A previous poster said “I can’t seem to find a way to delete an
unwanted site in my browser unless I delete History, wherein lies
sites I have searched for ages it seems and wish to preserve.”
That’s what bookmarks (firefox) or Favorites (Explorer) or for. When
you find a site you want to preserve choose “add to favorites” from
the Favorites menu (or right-click anywhere on the page to bring up a
menu). Then when you want to find the site again you click on the
Favorites menu to get a list of all the sites you add to your favorites
“I want to eliminate just one,sticking out like a sore thumb, on the
list.How do I do it?”
In windows just right click on the item and choose delete. Away it
— Posted by John
10:08 am
Ctrl-F4 closes the active open document in most Windows programs.
Ctrl-F6 toggles between open documents in most Windows
programs–e.g., if you have 3 spreadsheets open in Excel, Ctrl-F6
navigates among them.
Pressing “ALT” activates the menus in most Windows programs. You
can then navigate the menus from the keyboard by pressing the
underlined letter in menu items. Good for frequently used menu
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Ctrl-N creates a new document in Word, Excel, and many other
Windows programs (but certainly not all).
Ctrl-O brings up the open file dialog box in most Windows programs.
You can then tab to the file list and press the first letter of a file’s
name to quickly get through a long list. Typing that same letter again
gets the next file that starts with that letter, etc.
The Windows key has already been mentioned, but if you follow that
with “P” it will bring up the “All Programs” menu (unless there is a
program that starts with “P” on your recently used list, then you
might have to hit “P” a second time. Once the All Programs list is up,
you can navigate to any sub-menu by pressing the first letter of that
menu, etc.
— Posted by Bruce White
10:09 am
When you using a drop down menu for entering your state, just press
the key of the letter your state’s name starts with until you see it.
Then click on it to accept it. For example: To get to Texas, press the
“T” key twice, then click on the word “Texas” or “TX” when it
— Posted by Shannon Phillips
10:19 am
In any browser, hitting backspace takes you to the previously viewed
page, just like the back button on the toolbar. Does anyone know the
keyboard shortcut for the forward button?
Yes, click “Alt + the right arrow key. (Alt + the left arrow key goes
— Posted by Shannon Phillips
10:23 am
(Windows) You can you Ctrl-click to select multiple windows on the
Windows Task bar. Now right click on one of the selected windows
and you’ll get a menu that lets you tile vertically/horizontally,
minimize close etc.
This is great when you have lots of windows open but want to have
two windows side-by-side.
— Posted by Chris
407. October
10:29 am
Change case on a Mac by defining letter, word or sentence and
hitting option/command/C.
Use Format Painter (the little brush icon) in Word to apply a text
style several times in a document. For example, italicize the first item
the usual way, then define it and double-click format painter. Then
define each of the other items you want italed and they’ll
automatically change to ital. When done, hit escape.
You can use this for ital, bold, text size, etc, and it’s really useful if
you’re making a lot of changes.
Thanks, David and everyone else, for your tips. David’s Missing
Manual series for Macs is a must-have–it’s been a lifesaver for me.
— Posted by Jeanette
10:30 am
My most useful hotkey combination is CTL-Z for “undo” (I told my
wife the Z stands for “My brain was asleep when I did that”)
Please do the book. Or a “tip of the day” calendar!
— Posted by glenn
10:40 am
I´ll send a couple more:
- In Safari and Explorer you can write the name of the website you
want to go to and hit CTRL+Enter. This adds the “http://” and
“.com” extensions to the word and go to the website.
- If you use Google Desktop, you can configure not to show anywhere
in you desktop and call it by clicking the CTRL key twice. Then write
the phrase and hit Enter to search it online. You do not have to use
the mouse. This is ADDICTIVE!!!
— Posted by Jorge Supelano
410. October
10:41 am
Hi. This isn’t exactly a tip, but a request for help. I manipulate large
Excel files, and frequently have to filter, then copy and paste the
“filtrate” to another worksheet in the same file. Sometimes, this
results in huge file sizes, without a comparable increase in the actual
number of data elements, and I can’t figure out how to fix it. For
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number of data elements, and I can’t figure out how to fix it. For
example, if my original worksheet has 100 lines of data, and my
filtering excercise results in 4 worksheets with 25 lines of data each,
the final file may be many times the size of the original (eg, 30 kb
goes to 16 mb) Can anyone tell me what I’m doing wrong?
— Posted by Rita
411. October
10:51 am
In Mac Safari you can tab through the various urls on the bookmarks
bar by hitting Command (Apple) and then any of the ten number
keys. This will take you to your first ten bookmarked websites.
412. October
11:19 am
Here are keyboard shortcuts for Windows - which I use very
— Posted by tony
Select (word/s), then press Control and “c” for Copy
Select (word/s), then press Control and “x” for Cut
Position cursor, then press Control and “v” to Paste
— Posted by Bob
413. October
11:21 am
The mute button on the top of your Blackberry is multifunctional:
1. Press it to mute a call you are on.
2. Press it while the phone is ringing to stop the ringing. You can still
answer it or click Ignore on the screen.
3. Press and hold it to put the phone in “Standby” mode. Press and
hold again to get it out of Standby mode. You can still take calls while
it is in Standby mode. This saves the battery and is easier to undo
than unlocking the keys–which takes two hands. This locks all the
keys, except, oddly enough, the power key.
I did have a problem with the mute key once. I was giving a speech
and in the middle of the speech remembered I’d left my phone on.
So, I pressed and held the Mute key to put it in standby mode.
Instead, my phone started playing my ringtone–Don’t Call Us, We’ll
Call You by Sugarloaf. That got a good laugh. I am still not sure what
went wrong. All thumbs, I guess. Or a call came in at just that
moment, which I doubt.
— Posted by Shannon Phillips
414. October
11:23 am
read article and comments.
amazing stuff!
good shabbos
415. October
11:29 am
” You generally can’t send someone more than a couple of full-size
digital photos as an e-mail attachment; those files are too big, and
they’ll bounce back to you. (Instead, use iPhoto or Picasa–photoorganizing programs that can automatically scale down photos in the
process of e-mailing them.)”
— Posted by rachel frankel-garb
IrfanViewer is the easist program I have found to resize or resample a
picture for e-mail.
Usually either a simple resize and converting to compressed jpeg
helps, but in these days of cloud computing and free online storage,
the better choice would be to upload it to flickr or some other photo
site and then email the link (that is if they need to see a full unedited
version of the picture, otherwise the shrink/send option works).
— Posted by Ben
416. October
11:31 am
Thanks so much! So many of these hints are extremely useful to me.
Thanks again.
417. October
11:51 am
Moving a file from one location to another:
— Posted by marilyn
(1) Open Windows Explorer twice (by clicking Windows + E);
(2) in one of the Explorer Windows, navigate to the place where the
file is you want to move;
(3) in the other Explorer Window navigate to where you want to
move the file;
(4) Now here is the trick: Right click on an open area of the toolbar
at the bottom of the screen to open a menu–then click on “Tile
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at the bottom of the screen to open a menu–then click on “Tile
Windows Horizontally.”
Now, each Explorer Window takes up half the screen and you can
drag and drop the file from one to the other. (I recommend that you
right click and hold it down to drag and drop the file because then
you can choose whether to move the file there or just copy it.)
— Posted by Shannon Phillips
418. October
11:57 am
Very Basic. The stand-by button on your modem, turns it on and off.
If the stand-by light is the only one that is lit; it means you can not
connect to the internet. This applies whether you’ve hit it
intentionally or not. Although the people who could use this
information are probably not reading this column. Internet service
techs will appreciate this one.
— Posted by dx
419. October
12:14 pm
Alt-Tab is probably my most used hot key. It makes it easy to toggle
between two applications.
If you want to switch between your open application, just keep
pressing it until the window you needs opens.
(This use to be called the “boss” key for those who lived in cubicles.
Also, the spell checker in Firefox is a lifesaver.
— Posted by Lynn Jordan--Authors Tools
12:19 pm
No need to buy a book. Just go to help in most applications and
search for keyboard shortcuts to get a full list of what is available.
421. October
12:29 pm
I love that you are doing Microsoft’s and Apple’s work for them.
Couldn’t you just post a link to their resources? I’d be surprised if
they didn’t have a list of these shortcuts somewhere on their
respective websites.
— Posted by Susan
— Posted by TheBrogue
422. October
12:32 pm
You can downsize your digital pics for the web quickly and easily by
adding Microsoft’s simple Image Resizer to XP (don’t know about
Vista). It is beyond me why this was not added as an update. Allows
you to R click your big pic and resize it as a copy with a few clicks.
Scroll down; it is on the right. Just takes a couple of minutes.
MUCH easier than opening pics in an editing program.
— Posted by Ned
423. October
12:38 pm
To get a “snapshot” of a Web page (I use it for PowerPoint), hit
FN,alt,prt sc. Now just do a paste in your Powerpoint presentation.
424. October
12:43 pm
I can’t get out of this on my iMac; everything moves with the curser.
You gave no way to undo or go back, Dave.
— Posted by Ken
* You can also enlarge the entire Web page or document by pressing
the Control key as you turn the wheel on top of your mouse.
On the Mac, this enlarges the entire screen image.
— Posted by Gerald Cooper
425. October
12:46 pm
windows+m = minimizes all applications and takes you to the start
Very useful to unclutter
426. October
12:53 pm
In Windows Explorer or Firefox - just enter the website name in the
address bar -nytimes and hit CTL-ENTER. The http//…and the .com
will be added automatically
— Posted by surya
— Posted by Victor
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12:58 pm
10/8/08 9:09 AM
Windows Key + 1, Windows Key + 2….
This opens the corresponding item in the quick launch toolbar. Say
you have Outlook as the first item and mozilla as the second item in
the quicklaunch bar. Windows + 1 will open Outlook, Windows + 2
will open Mozilla. Works all the way to 9.
Just discovered it on accident.
— Posted by Pete
1:00 pm
As an author about to write a new biography, I am looking for a
miracle. Is there any product that will go from interview to text file? I
know a digital recorder will create an audio file. But I need something
that changes that audio file to a text file so I don’t have to hire
expensive transcribers. Any ideas?
— Posted by sheila isenberg
429. October
1:03 pm
In Windows Excel, copy text or numbers, right-click the mouse, and
use the “Paste Special” command to save calculations as values, copy
formatting, or “magically” transpose numbers - changing columns of
data to rows, and rows to columns. There are lots of useful timesaving features here.
— Posted by Joan
1:03 pm
***To learn many of these shortcuts, simply select the command you
want to learn from the menu bar of the program, the shortcuts are
almost always listed to the right side of what you select.
Also most programs have a list you can open and print out to study
these from under the Help Tab in the menu bar at the tip of the
program window (if not do a search for “keyboard shortcuts” in
search in the help menu)***
The symbols for keys are:
Upside down small v is Control
Curly pound sign is Command (or apple on a Mac)
Left to right down slash with small dash on right side is Option
Up arrow is Shift
— Posted by LAeditor
431. October
1:05 pm
I thought one of the basics everyone knew is creating and using
folders to organize one’s work.
Not so.
I once had the mispleasure of working with an elementary teacher
who used a computer but had never heard of creating folders. She
saved all her documents in My Documents and was hysterical when I
created folders on her computer.
— Posted by Charles
432. October
1:05 pm
For Windows:
Alt+Space is a bit obscure, but it opens up a menu to
minimize/maximize rapidly.
Alt+Space, X => to maximize
Alt+Space, R => to restore
— Posted by Calvin
433. October
1:06 pm
Not quite basics, but folks who aren’t comfortable on computers
should learn how to (1) empty the recycle bin and clear cookies,
temporary internet files, and history before calling Helpdesk at work,
and (2) power cycle (up and down) the computer/router/modem
power before calling one’s ISP.
— Posted by Noel
434. October
1:08 pm
ctrl+L to lock the windows computer
435. October
1:08 pm
* You can double-click a word to highlight it in any document, e-mail
or Web page.
— Posted by santu
>> However, not on the website — since that will open
up the dictionary. One of the most annoying things ever.
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up the dictionary. One of the most annoying things ever.
— Posted by Cary
436. October
1:08 pm
for the first six months I had a computer, I didn’t know about rightclick. how could I? betcha some people are still trying to do
everything with left-click.
also, I didn’t understand about windows opening on top of one
another. I kept thinking I “lost” my program, or it crashed or
this stuff is not as intuitive as we all now think.
— Posted by heather
437. October
1:12 pm
Thought of some more,
Ctrl+Home = Jump to the top
Ctrl+End = Jump to the bottom
For browsers:
Ctrl+# jumps to that tab immediately, i.e. Ctrl+1,2,3,4
Ctrl+Shift+T reopens a previously closed tab in Firefox, Chrome (not
supported in IE7)
— Posted by Calvin
1:15 pm
Drag image onto desktop.
If you need a copy of whatever is on the screen, on MACs use press
Apple, shift, 4 at the same time. Then use the curser with new symbol
to highlight image. It will show up on your desktop as ‘Picture 1′,
‘Picture 2′ etc. Open it and ’save as’ jpeg, giff, or whatever you need.
— Posted by jah
439. October
1:15 pm
Around 1996 I tried to show my father (69 at the time) how to use a
Mac. I told him to press the Tab key. He threw up his hands and said,
“Tab key? What is a tab key? How am I expected to know where to
find that?”
I walked him over to his typewriter, a device that he had used daily
since at least 1940. I showed him the Tab key. I said, “All typewriters
and computer keyboards have always had a Tab key, for a hundred
He was incredulous. He had never noticed the Tab key on a
typewriter, and had never used it.
— Posted by Wheat Williams
1:16 pm
In Microsoft Outlook, you can send an email using Ctrl+Enter. Don’t
have to drag your mouse to the Send button.
441. October
1:22 pm
Spend $100 (or less). Buy an external hard drive. They work on PCs
or Macs easily and efficiently. CDs and DVDs will NOT last
442. October
1:24 pm
On Windows: Windows Key + “E” allows you to browse files on your
443. October
1:26 pm
To see the words of a song, type in: lyrics and the name of the song in
google search box.
444. October
1:33 pm
Instead of waiting for a book, you can google keyboard shortcuts:
— Posted by Chee L
— Posted by John Olson
— Posted by Alex
— Posted by TB
Also, you can take a screen shot by hitting PrintScreen and then
ctrl+V to paste into word, email, power point, etc. I do this if I get a
strange error message I want to send to the Help desk.
— Posted by TAG
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1:36 pm
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I once met a teenager who was a computer whiz. He told me that he
was self-taught.
Just type your question into Google and get a list of sites with the
A great way to learn as I can attest.
— Posted by Harold
446. October
1:40 pm
You can also highlight an entire paragraph with a *triple* quick leftclick.
447. October
1:42 pm
alt-space x, alt-space r and alt-space n will, respectively, maximize,
restore to its previous size, and minimize the active window in
Windows. alt-f4 and ctl-f4 will, respectively, close an application or
close the application’s current window, also in Windows. For me, it
beats using the mouse.
— Posted by Jose
— Posted by -bwg
1:42 pm
Good stuff - but unwieldy in volume now. If this does get web
published, I like how the eLearning Guild did it, organizing tips by
software product (this one could have a category for general
operating-system-level hints, and various ones for cameras, PDAs,
and computer hardware). See .953. So
people who want Excel tips can browse those, and so on.
— Posted by Andrea
449. October
1:49 pm
The F11 (function key) in Windows toggles between full screen and
your regular screen which can waste up to 25% of your vertical real
estate. Very useful when reading NYT articles and such…
Stu Denenberg
— Posted by Stu Denenberg
1:50 pm
using insert file instead of copy and paste will prevent loss of quality
when moving pictures and such into word/powerpoint documents.
451. October
1:53 pm
inside a word file: F8 lets you type any sequence or caracter to go to
the desired end the selection after you’re positioned at the beginning.
You can even use a Ctrl F to go get the end if it is out of the screen.
ctrl F3 dumps it in the memory. You can repeat it many times before
you retrieve all with Ctrl Shift F3
— Posted by Jim
— Posted by Francine Ouellette
452. October
1:55 pm
A tip recently learned that has saved no end of aggravation: When
you are trying to copy/paste information from a webpage, email, etc.
into a Word text page, use the “edit/paste special/unformatted text”
option to get rid of formatting.
— Posted by Lee Kirk
453. October
1:58 pm
Thanks for the tips. I knew some of them. You don’t have to type the
.com of an address either. Just hit Control+Enter.
454. October
2:00 pm
All the suggestions in your blog and the comments I read are great.
Going back to the beginning of the blog and your “double-click a
word in Word” example, some of my staff at a previous job were so
unsophisticated about Microsoft Word–after years of using it–that I
asked them to take a training course. Two examples:
— Posted by Brian
1. Pressing “Enter” repeatedly to start a new page instead of
Ctrl+”Enter”–for 60 pages of varying length that had to be edited
repeatedly–and repaginated repeatedly.
2. Re-typing 30 one-page bios submitted by presenters at a
conference into one Word document, instead of copying-and-pasting
each bio into one document and then applying the format painter to
standardize the formatting across bios. Alternatively, “pasting
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standardize the formatting across bios. Alternatively, “pasting
special” could have served to eliminate the format painter. Let’s not
even go into creating a macro to combine the bios into one document
in the first place….]
P.S. BTW, the training requests were turned down as “unnecessary.”
After all, I was told, they simply needed to make a list of what they
needed to learn how to do and another staff person would show them
how. When I pointed out that they didn’t know what they didn’t
know, but a one-day, $100/person training course could expose them
to all sorts of shortcuts, I was greeted with a blank stare.
— Posted by Bruce
455. October
2:03 pm
Neither F11 nor command-F3 hides all windows on my Intel iMac
using OS 10.4.11. Maybe those are OS 10.5 commands? The closest
thing I’ve found is pressing command-option and clicking on the
desktop. I think some third-party software can create a hide-allwindows key.
— Posted by MR
456. October
2:18 pm
Control F2 switches to the Print Preview view in Word (confession: I
only learned this by hitting Control F2 when I meant to hit Control 2
to test double-spacing). It does NOT work in Excel.
457. October
2:18 pm
In a word or adobe document if you want to change the size of the
text use control [ to make it one font size smaller and control ] to
make it one font size bigger. This helps when you are trying to fit text
inside a box or maximize the spacing on a page.
— Posted by Dick Estel
— Posted by Laura
458. October
2:28 pm
Great post! I travel the country teaching retired folks in RV parks and
rallies how to use their computers. Some of them are using a
computer for the very first time. Can we even conceive what it’s like
to use a computer for the first time today?! It’s way beyond/below
the things you mentioned. It’s having to learn that the backspace key
erases to the left and the Delete key erases to the right. It’s
understanding the concept of Save. I make tutorial videos to help.
— Posted by Chris Guld
459. October
2:30 pm
In Excel - To total any group of numbers - left click on the top item,
scroll to the bottom item, hold the shift key and left click. This will
highlight the entire column. Left click on the add sum button on the
task bar at the top of the screen. The total will appear at the bottom
of the list.
2:31 pm
I have a Macbook, which has only a Delete Left key. Is there a
keyboard shortcut for Delete (deletes the word the cursor is on)?
461. October
2:39 pm
“Takes too long?” There are lots of things (e.g. backing up to an
external disk, virus scan) that take a while. For God’s sake, run these
at lunch or during a meeting.
— Posted by kathy rawle
Do you sit and watch the dryer spin?
— Posted by Will
462. October
2:46 pm
To #460 (Kathy)
FN + Delete forward deletes on a MacBook. I think that is what you
are asking about (as opposed to Delete Left (backspace)).
Or cilck on the word to highlight it and then Delete to delete the
entire word.
— Posted by ghopper
463. October
Wow, David–you really struck a nerve here. I suspect that many of
the tips here are undocumented features of many programs. In some
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the tips here are undocumented features of many programs. In some
cases I have found great shortcuts by systematically using each
modifier key with every letter key in turn.
But I never knew until today about shift-space on the browser. That
definitely paid the admission price!
Now my comment:
Stanley wrote
“In Excel - To total any group of numbers - left click on the top item,
scroll to the bottom item, hold the shift key and left click. This will
highlight the entire column. Left click on the add sum button on the
task bar at the top of the screen. The total will appear at the bottom
of the list.”
Just to elaborate on this great tip, Excel will total contents of every
selected cell. Noncontiguous cells may be selected using the Ctrl key.
Noncontiguous ranges may be selected by holding down ctrl whilel
dragging the mouse.
— Posted by A. Ralston
464. October
3:07 pm
Why don’t you please have a little chat with the idiots at the Times
who have co-opted double click on words in articles to bring up some
damn useless popup window, thus not only making double click
useless on the Times website, but interfering with the ingrained
reflex to use it elsewhere?
I have complained about this to no avail. It’s worse than their habit of
presumably mechanically making random words in article links.
— Posted by trudy
465. October
3:15 pm
Spend $100 (or less). Buy an external hard drive. They work on PCs
or Macs easily and efficiently. CDs and DVDs will NOT last
— Posted by John Olson
However, if you drop the hard drive, it’s toast except for maybe being
salvageable by an expensive recovery guy. Not usually the case with
CDs or DVDs.
— Posted by trudy
466. October
3:17 pm
You can look up the definition of any word in most articles of the NY
Times by holding Ctrl and doubling clicking on the word.
It doesn’t work all the time but it’s a great shortcut when it does. To
whomever came up with that one, great idea!
— Posted by Bolonpc
467. October
3:27 pm
Love these tips!
But I tried this one on the Mac — “* You can also enlarge the entire
Web page or document by pressing the Control key as you turn the
wheel on top of your mouse. On the Mac, this enlarges the entire
screen image.”
It did enlarge the whole screen image, and then I couldn’t get rid of it
without rebooting. It didn’t work to turn the scroll ball backwards. Is
there an easier way to get it back to normal?
One thing I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t learn till a year ago (after
19 years of using a mac and browsers) is that I can have more than
one window open in the same browser at the same time. In Safari, go
to File and then New Window. Duh! What a miracle!
— Posted by Pat
3:27 pm
God, I’ve been using computers since the mid-1980s and I feel so
stupid for not having known the “double-click a word to highlight it”
469. October
3:34 pm
You can navigate a document quickly by pressing the control key and
pressing one of the direction keys. This makes the cursor jump from
beginning of one word to the next in the direction you indicate when
you use the left and right arrows. Pressing up and down jumps the
cursor from paragraph to paragraph. It’s much faster than moving
space by space to where you want to go. Once you get the hang of it,
it is the fastest way to navigate your document.
— Posted by Brian113
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it is the fastest way to navigate your document.
— Posted by Alec
470. October
3:35 pm
a very useful instructional video on customizing the right-click menu
can be found here:
— Posted by cwppros
471. October
3:45 pm
It should be noted that dragging shortcuts for frequently used
programs down to the Quick Launch menu at the bottom of the
screen will only work if you have that quick launch bar unlocked.
(Most people have that quick launch locked.)
To unlock the quick launch menu bar, right click the blue bar at the
bottom of your screen,
and using the drop-down menu, under toolbars, click on quick
launch to unlock it.
By the way, quick launch means you click once to open the program,
instead of
the usual double click. I’ve seen people double click the quick launch
and that only serves to open up the same program twice.
Responding to #228: I am not a fan of tinyurl.
I hesitate to click on a tiny url that is posted (Unless I trust the
person who posted it) because you have no idea where that url is
can try to right click it (or any other url) to see if the real url is listed
in the properties
section of the drop down menu, but if it is not, it could be a NSFW
Also, I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this but the
TINYURL site somehow copied the wrong url and that mistake
revealed a
security breach in Yahoo that I was unable to correct or get Yahoo to
correct. So If you must use tinyurl to reduce a webpage address, be
sure to have only one browser window open or one tab open within
that browser when you create the tiny url. (I’d been tabbing back and
forth between sites and apparently the windows clipboard contained
multiple urls.)
Also, here are a few FREE must have programs for your PC which
you can safely download by going to CNET’S “Download dot com”
site to search for them:
Belarc Advisor — gives you a printout of all the programs installed on
your computer along with their serial keys and most importantly,
reveals which Windows updates are needed.
CC cleaner cleans the cache and registry.
Defraggler defrags your pc in seconds unlike Windows built-in
defraggler which can take hours.
Oh and before you forward a email to your friends, please, I beg of
you, follow these two steps:
1) Use BCC (Blind carbon Copy)
2) make sure the last few lines do not contain the words “Forward
this email” or “forward this within a set number of days.” If it does,
remove those words before you forward it.
Also, if you managed to elimninate any reference to IE and need to
restore it, go to start, set program access and deafults, custom, then
click enable access or unclick enable access. Access will be restored or
denied to various web browsers on your pc.
I mention this because I hate Internet Explorer and only use safari
and chrome. However NetFlix instant viewing only works in IE and I
needed to restore it for that one program but forgot how to do it and
could not find this solution in a Google search.
And finally, can someone recommend a free application to edit flash
videos ? I want to post something to youtube but only a few seconds
of an interview.
— Posted by I am not a tekkie
472. October
3:45 pm
In addition to #400, after you’ve copied text from your browser into
Microsoft Word, it’s often double-spaced along with various other
fonts and formats that can get annoying. Hit CTRL-A to select all,
then go to Edit, then Clear, then Formats. Tada, plain text.
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then go to Edit, then Clear, then Formats. Tada, plain text.
I do this for recipes I find on blogs all the time, and then edit in my
own changes after I cook.
— Posted by SL
473. October
3:46 pm
For the love of god, please scream from the rooftops about copying
and pasting, and that you can click ctrl-C/ctrl-X and ctrl-V. It’s
shocking how many people don’t know this most basic skill. (Are you
reading this Dad?
— Posted by Mike
474. October
3:48 pm
I intened to bookmark this to send to various people, thinking that I
already knew everything. Turns out that I knew all but one: “Add the
Shift key to scroll back up.” As a person who never uses the mouse
whenever possible, that’s incredibly useful.
— Posted by samwyse
475. October
3:48 pm
In Safari, hitting the Tab key moves you through each of the typable
fields on the browser and within the webpage: the URL field and
Google search field at the top, the search space inside a Wikipedia
page or newspaper article page, etc. The text in each field is
highlighted, so you can instantly type in your new text.
I had long known this Tab function for proceeding through a
personal data form (except the darn “state” selector which is always
manual), but only recently realized I don’t have to manually move the
cursor to get going toward a new page.
(Apologies if this was previously noted, I haven’t gotten to all 480 of
you yet)
— Posted by S Mishra Suloway
476. October
3:49 pm
When filling out those onerous forms, you can use the tab button to
jump and shift+tab between the form spaces.
Also, when your selection(from tabbing) jumps onto one of those
check box areas, you can hit the space button and it will
check/uncheck the box.
— Posted by Jeffrey
477. October
3:53 pm
press ctrl F and you can search documents for a certain words
478. October
3:59 pm
I love all these tips, but I by the time I read just a tenth of the
comments here I’ve forgotten the earlier ones (and gotten confused
by repeats)! I hope you (or one of your readers) can compile all the
great shortcuts here into some sort of logical guide - with one column
for Windows, and another for Macs!
— Posted by Ames
— Posted by Ida
479. October
4:03 pm
I am so confused with Vista. Can’t find anything. Not compatible
with documents from previous windows release. Had to install firefox
to open up mail from corporate server. How do I convert and save
existing files into Vista without recreating? Most open or transfer as
— Posted by Not as techy as I thought
4:03 pm
To #334 Arlene
I am doing the same thing, cutting and pasting the original article
and all the comments into a Word document. I plan to organize them
by software so that I have handy references for the future. I am
paring it down to just the actual tip. When I’m finished, I would be
happy to email my final list to the author to do with as he wishes.
— Posted by Vicki in Seattle
481. October
4:16 pm
To #358 Scott Roth
You can also turn the cell with the asterisks into a “text” cell by using
the “Format Cells” function.
Does anyone know how to add a customized date style? Something
that’s not listed there already?
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that’s not listed there already?
— Posted by Vicki in Seattle
4:16 pm
My favorite is the F2 key in Excel or when editing forms. If you tab
or arrow to a cell or form field, generally its contents will be
highlighted. Press F2 to get a cursor at the end to edit. This has saved
me no end of aggravation while going down a list modifying data in a
My favorite “advanced” Excel tip: copy and paste only visible cells by
selecting the area you want, go to Edit -> Go To -> Special -> Visible
Cells Only, then copy and paste as usual. In Excel 2007, Go To
Special is under Find and Replace on the Home tab. Makes working
with filtered results and subtotals much, much easier. You usually get
all of the hidden junk if you try to copy and past a table of filtered
data, or you have to copy the sheet/section, paste the values, then
delete what you don’t want (which often involves resorting multiple
times). Why this feature isn’t an option in the “Paste Special” menu
I’ll never know.
— Posted by cv
4:19 pm
Apropos of David Pogue’s example at the top of this blog:
Way back when, before word processors (and MS Word in particular)
and html became ubiquitous - remember typewriters? - the
convention was that you put one space after a word, and two spaces
after a sentence. The programmers at Microsoft and the originators
of html apparently didn’t know that, so now we’re stuck with web
pages that always put just one space after a sentence. You can’t even
create text in html with two spaces after a sentence - html won’t allow
it. The programmers at WordPerfect knew about this, however - and
in their software (once upon a time, WordPerfect 5.1 reigned
supreme), clicking once in a document just placed the cursor where
the pointer was, clicking twice selected the word, clicking three times
selected the sentence, and clicking four times selected the paragraph.
Unfortunately, selecting a sentence in that way is not possible
— Posted by Larry
4:25 pm
For those of you who are trying to copy all the nifty tricks–you may
get a list by going to “Help” at the top of the screen and looking for
keyboard shortcuts. This, in my experience with MS software, will
produce a detailed and printable list. I’m running the browser Opera,
and which also offers a list of shortcuts under “Help.”
— Posted by Kacey
485. October
4:26 pm
When using Outlook or Lotus Notes, you can easily set up rules for
your email based on senders. Simply right-click on the sender’s name
and click “Create Rule.” This can save hours of sorting through email.
4:26 pm
RE: #73:
— Posted by Jim
You can print a blog by selecting it, copying to the clipboard, opening
a word-processing program and pasting into it.
At least I can do this on the Mac. Don’t know about windows.
Write two books, David: one for Mac and one for Windows.
— Posted by Don Roberts
487. October
4:27 pm
4:28 pm
It’s OK to remove the stupid little marketing stickers that come
plastered all over a new computer. The computer will continue to
work without them.
4:29 pm
To text Google you don’t need the final “3″: 46645 will do it. Thanks
for the tips: To make my life easier I’ll be distilling some of them into
cheat sheets for a few people.
— Posted by charlie
— Posted by Bill Schmidt
— Posted by Donna
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Microsoft Word:
Shift + F3 will change a word from upper case to lower case, and vice
versa, of a highlighted word, sentence, or letter: example: hello Hello
HELLO hello etc.
— Posted by Diane C.
491. October
4:35 pm
Use Firefox instead of the Internet Explorer! (There are still some
people out there who do not know that.)
Extra tip for Firefox: Type “about:config” in the address bar, change
the value of “keyword.URL” to “
command=”. Your address bar will provide you with a whole new
internet experience (the step to using yubnub was just as big for me
as the step to tabbed-browsing), see for more
details. (Also works with other browsers such as the Konqueror.)
As someone noted before, leaving away the “www.” does not always
work. Technically and just
are different internet addresses, in most cases they point to the same
webpage, but they don’t have to.
— Posted by Anton
492. October
4:36 pm
The best tip is when in doubt, reboot. It often works when nothing
else will.
In Windows, control-c copies highlighted material and control-v
pastes it.
— Posted by Malcolm Barnett
493. October
4:43 pm
Another thing it took me almost a decade of using Windows to figure
- You can attach a document or other computer file to an e-mail
message simply by dragging it from Windows Explorer (or any other
open directory window) into the e-mail message window. You can
even drag multiple files simultaneously.
This only works with standalone e-mail programs like Eudora,
Thunderbird or Outlook. It doesn’t work with webmail apps like
Gmail or Hotmail.
— Posted by Mark
494. October
4:47 pm
To #479 Not as techy as I thought
What many people do not know: Windows is not the same as Word.
Windows Vista is an operating system. You normally do not create,
open, edit, or save your documents with the operating system alone,
but by an application, like Microsoft Word (part of Microsoft Office).
Probably you also installed a new version of Mircosoft Office when
upgrading your system, or you have not installed any Office software
at all. The new version might be incompatible with the old files. If
you have not installed the right application you cannot open the
documents at all, just an operating system is not enough.
You might also want to try to install Open Office. Alternatively install
Linux, different from Microsoft Windows Linux systems normally
have all the applications one need included.
— Posted by Anton
495. October
4:48 pm
Windows tip: Another way to bring up the Right-Click menu
(someone above said you can tap twice on the trackpad, if you’re on a
laptop) is shift-F10
496. October
4:54 pm
I love using Control + H to see the history of websites I’ve viewed in
the past day, week and month.
497. October
4:59 pm
It’s not what I think everyone knows, but what I don’t know–
keyboard entries that replace clicking in a menu–they often include
odd symbols like ski slopes and a variety of arrows, etc. How do I
find out what key they represent?
— Posted by Anna Haynes
— Posted by Nanct
— Posted by chris
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If your computer doesn’t start up, check to see that it is plugged in or
I was halfway out the door to the Apple Store, laptop in tow, heart in
my throat, when I’ve realized that I just had run the battery down on
the thing. Stupid, but I bet I’m not the only one.
Unplugging and replugging also does wonders for the cable TV
channel. It’s my new, all-purpose fix for everything now.
— Posted by tporter
499. October
5:35 pm
When submitting a comment to this column it would be nice at the
beginning to say whether it applies to a PC or a Mac.
5:43 pm
A basic Google Search tip from my friend Alex L.: To tell the Google
search engine that you want alternate search terms to be
interchangeable (i.e. to make a boolean OR search), insert OR (in all
caps) in between the terms. If you want to be even more clear about
which terms are interchangeable, put parentheses around those
— Posted by Herb
E.g., if you want to look for pages describing how to make a to do list
using gmail, you could use a search string like this: (”how do i” OR
“how to” OR advice OR tips OR faq) “to do” (list OR lists) gmail.
Google relatively recently updated its advanced search tips page to
reflect these and other useful pointers:
— Posted by Ben in Brooklyn
501. October
5:48 pm
Someone who teaches Windows computer skills to older folks once
told me that he recommended the type of mouse that has a large
trackball. It seems to reduce the confusion of having to physically
move the whole device, while simultaneously having to learn about
the right and left clicks.
— Posted by Kathy
502. October
5:50 pm
In Microsoft Word, press Ctrl [up arrow] to skip up a paragraph;
Ctrl [down arrow] to skip down a paragraph;
Ctrl [left arrow] to skip one full word back;
Ctrl [right arrow] to skip one full word forward.
Press Delete to erase whatever character is one space in front of your
placeholder (i.e. that flashing vertical line that tells you where you’re
Press Ctrl Backspace to delete one full word (provided your
placeholder is positioned at the end of that word). NOTE: This will
not work with Ctrl Delete! Ctrl Delete does not delete the entire word
in front of your placeholder.
Press Ctrl Shift [up arrow] to highlight up from the placeholder to the
beginning of the paragraph on which you’re working. You can do the
same thing with Ctrl Shift [down arrow] to highlight from the
placeholder down to the end of your paragraph.
Press Ctrl Shift to increase the font size of a highlighted word. This
will also work for changing font size while typing. For example, if I
wanted to make this sentence a larger font than the previous
sentences, I could have pressed Ctrl Shift > before starting to type it.
Press Ctrl D to go to an advanced font menu for your document.
Press Alt I, then T, to be taken to the “Insert Date and Time” option
of Microsoft Word.
Press Ctrl = to enter subscript mode. Press Ctrl + (i.e. Ctrl Shift =) to
enter superscript mode.
Press Ctrl E to align center. Press Ctrl R to align Right.
If you press enter (creating a “full return”) after having aligned text
center, your next paragraph will also begin by being aligned center. If
you no longer want to be aligned center, just press backspace. You’ll
be aligned left, and the full return you made will still be there.
Press Ctrl Z to undo an action you have performed in word (or in
most other programs, especially Microsoft programs).
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Press Ctrl Y to redo an action you have undone.
Press Ctrl A to highlight all text in a document.
Press Ctrl S to save a document.
— Posted by Ben in New York
503. October
6:16 pm
On a BBerry type IL then space for I’ll.
On Google put ~ before a word to include all synonyms. To google
search within a website put site:(website). for example “Tax codes”
Ctrl F to find specific text in most any text program or website.
— Posted by luke
6:32 pm
What is the “WINDOWS” key. referred below?
You can hide all windows, revealing only what’s on the computer
desktop, with one keystroke: hit the Windows key and “D”
simultaneously in Windows
— Posted by Dbis
505. October
6:36 pm
In Windows, rebooting solves 99.9% of all problems!
Also, in Windows, make sure that you do Windows Updates
( weekly. And of course,
in Windows, you MUST have an anti-virus program running at all
To prevent accidentally bringing up evil web sites, like, use, which is a free program for
personal use.
Will be trying out Linux Ubuntu soon on a dual-boot Windows
XP/Ubuntu PC.
— Posted by Brother Bill
6:38 pm
Can you tell us more about creating an automated backup system for
our computers? I have now idea how. Many thanks.
507. October
6:41 pm
When Pinky, Blinky, Inky, and Sue are getting too close to you, head
toward and eat one of the flashing dots (a.k.a. power pellets). The
ghosts will turn blue and you can eat them! Just make sure to eat
them before they turn back to their original colors.
— Posted by Louise Lander
— Posted by Mark
6:49 pm
The first hint I learned when I bought my first computer (Hewlett
Packard from the advanced calculator factory in Corvallis, Oregon when an apple was a red fruit you got at the grocery store and a
window was a piece of glass in the wall):
Of course, they quit printing the manuals because nobody read them
— Posted by jk-II
6:50 pm
#434 should be:
Win+L not Ctrl+L
Press Windows Key and “L” to lock your computer.
— Posted by David Thompson
510. October
6:52 pm
It’s a minor point, but I’ve long wondered what it means when a
word is enclosed in asterisks, e.g., “All of these are things that certain
friends, family or coworkers, over the years, did *not* know.”
511. October
6:56 pm
You can toggle in and out of subscript and superscript fonts in most
Microsoft Office programs (not Excel, unfortunately) with Ctrl-”+”
(subscript) and Ctrl-Shift-”+” (superscript). I can’t imagine taking a
chemistry class without those.
— Posted by BobF
Also, in both IE and Firefox, you can open a link in a new tab by
clicking on the link with both left- and right-clicks simultaneously.
You can also close an open tab by clicking in the tab bar with both
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You can also close an open tab by clicking in the tab bar with both
— Posted by Kit
512. October
7:09 pm
Why don’t you please have a little chat with the idiots at the Times
who have co-opted double click on words in articles to bring up some
damn useless popup window, thus not only making double click
useless on the Times website, but interfering with the ingrained
reflex to use it elsewhere?
I have complained about this to no avail. It’s worse than their habit of
presumably mechanically making random words in article links.”
— Posted by trudy (3:07 pm, Oct 3)
The first point doesn’t seem to be universally applicable on the
NYTimes website … but here’s a funny anecdote about the second re: mechanically inserting links in articles. There was an
op-ed piece about some decision by the US Supreme Court in which
they were referred to as as “the Supremes”. This phrase was
highlighted with a link, and if you clicked on it, you were connected
to … a webpage about Diana Ross and the Supremes! Who knows
how many more irrelevant links are created in all those online
articles that are published on the web every day.
— Posted by Larry
513. October
7:11 pm
One of my favorite shortcut keys not mentioned here is plain old F4.
F4 repeats the last thing you did. Only works on pc’s though.
514. October
7:28 pm
@181 Thanks for suggesting ALT commands
— Posted by bill
I would like to emphasize that if you hold down the ALT key while
typing 0151 ( ALT 0151 ) you will create what is known as an emdash.
Some people cringe when they see a double- dash instead of an emdash.
Try it–it’s so cool!
You can find more ALT commands at this link
I’d like to also thank David Pogue and the NY Times for keeping this
comment thread open. I’ll keep coming back to copy any new
— Posted by em-dash queen
515. October
7:41 pm
Lots of repetition in these comments - the list gets too long, and
people can’t be bothered to check it. Dave, as #255 says a book isn’t
the right format - a help screen is; it should exist, and the lack of it
reveals a cultural crudity. It would be a service to humanity to add an
organized synopsis of the reader contributions as an appendix to
your post. Then put a link to it on your column’s masthead.
Ellen Richards, #73: you can print anything, using Copy and Paste.
— Posted by overloaded
516. October
7:55 pm
Press the backspace key and you cursor will move back one space and
erase the character occupying that position. Wonderful.
517. October
8:10 pm
To run automated backups you need an external storage medium,
typically an external hard drive connected to your computer with
either ethernet, USB, FireWire, or eSATA connector. Many external
hard drives come from the manufacturer with automated backup
software on an accompanying DVD. These have everything needed to
get you started on the path to “living cleanly” - i.e. to keeping a recent
back-up copy of all your data. If you have several computers, an
external hard drive connected to via ethernet (i.e. a “network hard
drive” or “network file server”) is a very nice solution. All machines
can have automated back-ups without having to change any hardware
— Posted by Backspacer
A second kind of “back-up” that can also be helpful is to have a
complete image of your computer’s disk, in compressed format,
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complete image of your computer’s disk, in compressed format,
stored on an external hard drive. It can be quite labor intensive to do
a complete re-install of an OS, followed by all upgrades, followed by
all favorite applications, and then finally all personal media and data.
If you lose your computer and are forced to replace it, if you have a
hard disk failure in your computer, if you somehow completely
damage the file system or OS installation, a back-up disk image can
be a real life-saver. Terabyte makes Image for Windows, and Image
for PC, which are inexpensive tools for making and restoring
complete disk images.
— Posted by fzdybel
518. October
8:10 pm
Haven’t seen this one yet–
On a Mac, Command H hides the current window.
Very helpful, and I use it all the time. To bring it back, just click the
app’s icon in the dock.
— Posted by Marilou Vander Griend
519. October
8:13 pm
If/when your web browser starts acting up, Delete Temporary
Internet Files.
You can Print-Screen, Paste into program like Microsoft Paint, and
create a *.JPG of the screen. I have used this to e-mail error message
screens to technical support.
Assume that your employer is monitoring every e-mail you send, and
every web site you visit, when using your work computer.
In Windows, you can Print to Microsoft XPS Document Printer, to
create a *.xps file.
— Posted by JohnJ
520. October
8:19 pm
Great tips, though these two don’t actually work at my office
computer (which is in a very large law firm):
* You can hide all windows, revealing only what’s on the computer
desktop, with one keystroke: hit the Windows key and “D”
simultaneously in Windows, or press F11 on Macs (on recent Mac
laptops, Command+F3; Command is the key with the cloverleaf
logo). That’s great when you want examine or delete something
you’ve just downloaded to the desktop, for example. Press the
keystroke again to return to what you were doing.
* You can enlarge the text on any Web page. In Windows, press Ctrl
and the plus or minus keys (for bigger or smaller fonts); on the Mac,
it’s the Command key and plus or minus.
— Posted by Marie
521. October
9:00 pm
alt+D on Microsoft computers will highlight the web address bar.
Command L in Apple’s OSX.
Oh, and by the way, most people don’t know what an OS is, what MS
stands for or any other tech acronyms for that matter (trying to
explain what a web address bar to people who don’t know the basics
is really tough for me!)
— Posted by Michel
522. October
9:00 pm
Watch out for virus warnings that assert that they have already been
confirmed by Snopes!
523. October
9:01 pm
Although I’m a huge fan of keyboard shortcuts, and was delighted to
learn a few useful new ones in these 500-and-counting follow-up
comments, I have discovered lately to my surprise, after years of net
surfing (with a fast-response setting on my laptop touchpad), that
moving a cursor can often be just as fast as reaching across a
keyboard. Heretical notion, I know, but true for some very common
actions. I swear I can now “throw” my cursor from the lower right
corner of my screen to the upper left star icon for my Favorites and
come within half an inch of the star 62% of the time, barely looking.
Touch-cursoring instead of touch typing, as it were.
Related point: even with the best of intentions, you’ll never memorize
20 new keyboard shortcuts for actions you’ve done with a mouse or
touchpad for twenty years. Not if your brain is as stuck in its rut as
— Posted by William Thomas
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— Posted by Chuck
524. October
9:02 pm
Morris S: re backup program - I have used SystemGuardian
( for years now and can recommend it. No
affiliation BTW.
525. October
9:14 pm
Look when you pull the menu. The keystroke shortcut is usually
documented in the menu itself. In Windows, you usually see letters
underlined which are shortcuts to use with the Alt key.
— Posted by Ross
In general, only IE insists on searching when you type in the address
bar and requiring you to use the control-enter trick others have
documented. MOST browsers add the www. and .com.
Use a browser other than IE. All are now free and many are better
for many people.
When someone sends you some shocking e-mail and suggests that
VALIDATE IT, don’t pass it on without actually reading the Snopes
page! A favorite trick has become to include a link to a Snopes page
which contradicts the content, on the assumption that most people
will not actually read it.
Someone just asked about *asterisks* around words. Usually it’s just
a method of emphasis, since in a plain text environment (such as this
one), without boldface or italics, the methods of emphasis are
limited. ALL CAPS IS often too strong and the *asterisks* provide a
milder alternative.
— Posted by Edward Reid
526. October
9:15 pm
Scott said:
“The Activity Monitor (for the Mac)…
It’s the real dashboard of my computer providing real time
information about:
-my Internet data transfer rates (am I getting nothing when I am
expecting something or has some application decided to do a massive
upgrade without asking),
-memory available (maxed out? maybe the reason for the system
The reason for the slowdown is because you’re using system
resources unnecessarily, similar to when people wait for a page to
load and fidget with the mouse — the CPU is redrawing the cursor for
every move, hogging resources that could be used for the download,
or the program opening. Duh!
— Posted by Brooklyn Robb
527. October
9:17 pm
basics: in Mac, you can change the icon of a folder or file by
1.selecting that file or folder
2.getting info (-i) a file/folder that has an icon you like (it can be a jpeg of an
image you created)
4.getting info. the wanted icon in the info window
6.copy it (-c) the icon you want to change in the info window
8.paste the icon (-v)
it sounds complicated but it’s not.
By the way, the “apple” sign, when there is one, is usually alt-shiftapostrophe
— Posted by elena
528. October
9:46 pm
Pretty cavalier for Pogue to just recommend using Picasa to send
pictures without saying that you are then ALSO putting your pictures
on Google’s server.
529. October
10:02 pm
On a Mac, in any browser, the delete key takes you back a page; shiftdelete goes forward. On a PC, it’s backspace and shift-backspace.
(Same spot on the keyboard, just labeled differently.)
— Posted by Bill Turetsky
Never forget UNDO, command-z (Mac) or control-z (PC). This will
reverse whatever the very last thing you did was, in nearly every
program on any computer. For example, accidentally deleting a word,
paragraph, or even the entire contents of a document or email–undo
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paragraph, or even the entire contents of a document or email–undo
will bring it back. If you paste something in the wrong place, undo
will unpaste it. Etc.
Shift-tab tabs backward. Adding shift often reverses the direction of a
command (forward, back, and so on).
I’ve also been tutoring people in the use of computers for more than
20 years, but I never knew about zooming the screen on a Mac. My
aging eyes are thanking you!
— Posted by Miss P.
530. October
10:06 pm
For starters, then get the book out you need a second edition already,
it looks like
— Posted by Mike Cahill
531. October
10:11 pm
From HELP>Windows Basics:
Windows keyboard shortcuts overviewUse shortcut keys as an
alternative to the mouse when working in Windows. You can open,
close, and navigate the Start menu, desktop, menus, dialog boxes,
and Web pages using keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard shortcuts may
also make it easier for you to interact with your computer.
Click a heading, or press TAB to highlight a heading, and then press
General keyboard shortcuts
Press To
CTRL+C Copy.
CTRL+V Paste.
CTRL+Z Undo.
DELETE Delete.
SHIFT+DELETE Delete selected item permanently without placing
the item in the Recycle Bin.
CTRL while dragging an item Copy selected item.
CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item Create shortcut to selected
F2 Rename selected item.
CTRL+RIGHT ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of
the next word.
CTRL+LEFT ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of
the previous word.
CTRL+DOWN ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of
the next paragraph.
CTRL+UP ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the
previous paragraph.
CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys Highlight a block of text.
SHIFT with any of the arrow keys Select more than one item in a
window or on the desktop, or select text within a document.
CTRL+A Select all.
F3 Search for a file or folder.
ALT+ENTER View properties for the selected item.
ALT+F4 Close the active item, or quit the active program.
ALT+Enter Displays the properties of the selected object.
ALT+SPACEBAR Opens the shortcut menu for the active window.
CTRL+F4 Close the active document in programs that allow you to
have multiple documents open simultaneously.
ALT+TAB Switch between open items.
ALT+ESC Cycle through items in the order they were opened.
F6 Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop.
F4 Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows
SHIFT+F10 Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.
ALT+SPACEBAR Display the System menu for the active window.
CTRL+ESC Display the Start menu.
ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name Display the corresponding
Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu Carry out
the corresponding command.
F10 Activate the menu bar in the active program.
RIGHT ARROW Open the next menu to the right, or open a
LEFT ARROW Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu.
F5 Refresh the active window.
BACKSPACE View the folder one level up in My Computer or
Windows Explorer.
ESC Cancel the current task.
SHIFT when you insert a CD into the CD-ROM drive Prevent the CD
from automatically playing.
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from automatically playing.
Dialog box keyboard shortcuts
Press To
CTRL+TAB Move forward through tabs.
CTRL+SHIFT+TAB Move backward through tabs.
TAB Move forward through options.
SHIFT+TAB Move backward through options.
ALT+Underlined letter Carry out the corresponding command or
select the corresponding option.
ENTER Carry out the command for the active option or button.
SPACEBAR Select or clear the check box if the active option is a
check box.
Arrow keys Select a button if the active option is a group of option
F1 Display Help.
F4 Display the items in the active list.
BACKSPACE Open a folder one level up if a folder is selected in the
Save As or Open dialog box.
Natural keyboard shortcuts
You can use the following keyboard shortcuts with a Microsoft
Natural Keyboard or any other compatible keyboard that includes the
Windows logo key () and the Application key ().
Press To
Display or hide the Start menu.
+BREAK Display the System Properties dialog box.
+D Show the desktop.
+M Minimize all windows.
+Shift+M Restores minimized windows.
+E Open My Computer.
+F Search for a file or folder.
CTRL+ +F Search for computers.
+F1 Display Windows Help.
+ L Lock your computer if you are connected to a network domain, or
switch users if you are not connected to a network domain.
+R Open the Run dialog box.
Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.
+U Open Utility Manager.
Accessibility keyboard shortcuts
Press To
Right SHIFT for eight seconds Switch FilterKeys on and off.
Left ALT +left SHIFT +PRINT SCREEN Switch High Contrast on and
Left ALT +left SHIFT +NUM LOCK Switch MouseKeys on and off.
SHIFT five times Switch StickyKeys on and off.
NUM LOCK for five seconds Switch ToggleKeys on and off.
+U Open Utility Manager.
Windows Explorer keyboard shortcuts
Press To
END Display the bottom of the active window.
HOME Display the top of the active window.
NUM LOCK+ASTERISK on numeric keypad (*) Display all subfolders
under the selected folder.
NUM LOCK+PLUS SIGN on numeric keypad (+) Display the
contents of the selected folder.
NUM LOCK+MINUS SIGN on numeric keypad (-) Collapse the
selected folder.
LEFT ARROW Collapse current selection if it’s expanded, or select
parent folder.
RIGHT ARROW Display current selection if it’s collapsed, or select
first subfolder.
You must associate a password with your user account to secure it
from unauthorized access. If you do not have a password associated
with your user account, pressing the +L will not prevent other users
from accessing your account information.
Some keyboard shortcuts may not work if StickyKeys is turned on in
Accessibility Options.
If you are connected to Windows through Microsoft Terminal
Services Client, some shortcuts have changed. For more information,
see the online documentation for Terminal Services Client.
— Posted by Al
532. October
And here’s more….. entire page of keyboard shortcuts - bookmarked
on my bookmarks bar.
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— Posted by macshaz
533. October
10:17 pm
You can run more than one program at a time.
OK, saying it is the easy part. Those of us who have been doing it for
over 40 years, like me, find it obvious. Four-year-olds do it without
even knowing they are doing it. Explaining to our moms is the hard
Why? Faster, don’t lose what you are doing, don’t lose your place.
What? Um … really this IS the hardest part to explain. The users who
need to know this don’t know enough about computer internals to
understand it. They shouldn’t have to — Palm and the like have the
better idea, never start or stop anything, just go to it. Windows and
MacOS make it a lot harder than it should be.
How? Minimize, use Start menu, launch from a document in
Finder/WE/whatever, open an attachment or download (as usual
there are too many ways to do things in Windows, which is also
— Posted by Edward Reid
534. October
10:18 pm
I love your columns, and the speech you gave in July to the AALL
was FANTASTIC! But this column is the absolute best thing I’ve seen
about computers in a very long time. Just what we all needed especially me. Thanks!
— Posted by Barbara
535. October
10:24 pm
Asterisks are often used around words online and in emails where
either the writer or the recipient does not have the ability to display
emphasis with italics, bold, or underlined text. It’s considered more
polite than using capitals for emphasis.
Asterisks are not necessarily used this way in Word docs or PDFs,
etc., because such documents have devices for emphasis at one’s
disposal in the apps used to create those documents.
— Posted by MacSmiley
536. October
10:29 pm
You don’t have to type “” to get to the page. As long as
the website is a .com site, typing “nytimes” and hitting Ctrl+Enter is
all you need.
I also like to use Alt+Left Arrow if I want to go back to the previous
web page in the browser window I’m in (and, should I then decide to
continue from where I was, Alt+Right Arrow move me to where I
came from).
— Posted by MVL
537. October
10:34 pm
good article that helped me….thought you might like it.
538. October
10:34 pm
In most cars, there is a lever on the steering wheel that you can use to
SIGNAL that you intend to turn right or left. It has been there for
quite a while and a lot of people don’t know that.
539. October
11:15 pm
Re: comment 34 by LarryAt27N, thank you SO much for the dandy
tip on notepad! I use it often to document phone calls and follow ups
when conducting business and to be able to date/time stamp with
one function key is wonderful. Thanks so much!!
— Posted by jan and dale
— Posted by P.Letourneau
— Posted by wldangl2
11:32 pm
you can see every open window on the mac by squeezing and
releasing the two little semicircles on the sides of the mouse, which
minimizes them and arranges them in rows on the screen. roll the
cursor over them to see what they are. a click restores them to
original size. click on the one you want back on the top.
— Posted by cybercita
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11:58 pm
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*How to disable the control panel
through the use of gpedit.msc
*How to delete virus
through the use of regedit
It’s easy
— Posted by buboy
542. October
12:00 am
1)When backing up very important files - always make at least 2
copies. After backing up - check the disks to make sure that they have
all of the information you need and that they aren’t duds. Label the
disks clearly - print a list of the disk contents if necessary - and date
them. Keep the copies in different locations.
2)If using Windows Live Docs or Google Docs as a backup - check
how the document prints or downloads to your computer. I have lost
formatting on both and have had major print issues. Still - it is better
than nothing when your computer crashes.
3)For photo nuts: I have tried everything and Picasa is the best. If
you have a crash, your photos, if uploaded to Web Albums, are safe
and you can download them back to your computer. Also, the
program has 2 easy to use backup options - Gift CD’s (edited photos)
and Tools/Backup (unedited photos and easy restore to your
computer in the case of a crash). Important note: Videos uploaded to
your Web Albums cannot be downloaded back to your computer so
make sure to always back up videos on a disk.
4)iTunes Users: Backup your purchases. If your computer crashes
you have lost the music that you have bought. You cannot redownload it.
5)If you don’t have one, get a battery backup/surge protector for your
computer and components. My APC has saved me more times than I
can count. It buys you time to backup, e-mail, and properly close
down your system in the event of power problems or outages.
6)Something that I have resorted to during very bad weather (power
outages) when in the midst of crazy & important work projects. I
email the documents in both PDF and Word/Excel/Powerpoint to a
relative out of state as extra insurance. If my customer has power
back before me I can get the documents (complete or not)e-mailed to
them with a phone call thereby keep the projects moving.
I realize that these aren’t keystroke shortcuts, but they are tips that
will save you hours and hours - not to mention blood, sweat and tears
if your system crashes and burns. It can happen to you - although the
odds are that it will continue to happen to me!
— Posted by ack
543. October
12:09 am
#505 “In Windows, rebooting solves 99.9% of all problems!” Works
in MVS too.
544. October
12:14 am
When browsing folders or files in windows explorer click on the first
folder or file and then type the first letter of the folder or file your
looking for. Explorer will jump to the first folder or file that starts
with that letter.
— Posted by -bwg
This trick works on folders first and then files… so if you are looking
for a file be sure to skip past the folders and click on one of the
filenames rather than a folder name.
— Posted by scg8172
545. October
12:41 am
On the iPhone, tapping on the time at the top of the screen gets you
to the top of the page. I find this very handy, for example, when I’m
at the bottom of a long SMS conversation and I wanted to call that
person. Tapping on the time gets me to the top where the Call button
is. Extremely useful for when you’re at the bottom of a very long
webpage and you wanted to get to the address bar to go to another
— Posted by Sonny
546. October
12:57 am
When they “fixed” Word (which wasn’t broken!)the revisers made up
a whole new set of keyboard “shortcut” strokes; they can be found in
the various books that deal with the new Word. However, the old
keyboard strokes still work; that was a stroke of genius on the part of
the revisers.If you’re a creature of habit, just keep using the old
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the revisers.If you’re a creature of habit, just keep using the old
— Posted by Yendis
547. October
1:04 am
Put your most visited pages as bookmarks in the LINKS folder of
your favorites. Right-click on your menu bar, and “check” the Links
option, so that it will be displayed below your menu bar. It will create
icons you can click on to go straight to your most commonly visited
website (all in one click). You can rename the displays to save space, I
fit about 20 links on one bar.
Also, in Excel, if you commonly analyze data and use mathematical
formulas, you can choose to perform a mathematical operation on a
constant which is assigned to a cell by using the $ sign. For example,
B2 can be =A2-$A$1. You can then “drag” the formula all the way
down a column, and the $ sign keeps the number subtracted in the
formula as the constant displayed in cell A1 (A2 will become A3 as
you drag down, but it will always be subtracted by $A$1). For even
faster application, you can just type A1, and hit F4. That will put they
$ sign for you automatically, $A$1. If you hit F4 one more time, it will
remove the $ before the number (A$1, keeping the row constant, but
column variable), and hitting F4 another time will put the $ in front
of the letter ($A1, keeping the column constant, but the row
variable). Sounds cryptic, but if you use excel for data analysis, super
Also, for lists and big data files on excel, you can keep your column
headings as you scroll down by selecting freeze panes under the view
tab. When sorting data, highlight the entire document, not just the
row you are sorting. Also, to all your data into organized pages, use
the page break view, to drag where you want your page breaks to be.
Simple stuff everyone should know.
— Posted by Melissa
548. October
1:09 am
For Office 2007, which I enjoy, the shortcuts are much faster. Hit Alt,
and letters will be displayed underneath the menu bar. Hit the
corresponding letters, and that will display more shortcut keys, which
you will use. It is much faster. For example, to change fonts into
subscript in previous word versions, the keyboard shortcut was Alt+o
enter, Alt+b enter. In Office 2007, it is Alt, H, 5. You don’t even need
to hold down the buttons! No memorization either for the less oft
used functions. The shortcuts are displayed! Old habits die hard, but
if the new one makes you more efficient, suck it up and try it. You’ll
like it.
— Posted by Melissa
549. October
1:14 am
Dear Mr. Pogue: I can’t believe I’ve just discovered you. You may
have save yet another member of the Computer Illiterates of USA
from a complete meltdown. Thank you!
550. October
1:25 am
on macs, if a program hangs up executing a command I can stop the
process by hitting command and the period at the same time. Have
yet to find a comparable act for PCs. I always try this first before the
scorched earth act of command-option-escape (Mac-speak for
— Posted by Robin
— Posted by rmgreen
551. October
1:31 am
My favorite work enhancing function is Control/CC which lists the
last 24 items that were copied.
552. October
1:36 am
I use the computer as a radio. Is there a way to get the computer
shutdown automatically like “the sleep” switch on a clock radio?
553. October
1:56 am
Using the included earphones (microphone enabled) with the iPhone,
you can control the call and music by squeezing the rectangular tab
on the earphones. One click to accept call, hang up, start music, stop
music; two clicks to move to next track, and three clicks to return to
previous track
— Posted by kate f
— Posted by Sherman
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— Posted by Alex
554. October
2:05 am
In Ubuntu Linux Alt+F2 will bring up a launcher where you can type
the name of the program you want to launch–no mouse/menu
555. October
2:19 am
Just a comment on some of the obvious. You have probably seen all
the flashes going off at sporting events. All that you will end up with
is a well exposed picture of the fans in front of you.
— Posted by Ryan
You will need a pretty strong flash to light up a ball field.
Best thing is to shut off the flash and set it for a night shot. On
manual, a slow shutter speed and hold the camera steady.
— Posted by Glenn
556. October
2:41 am
The biggest computer tip is ALWAYS backup! BACK UP!
You thought EVERYBODY knew that, right?!
557. October
2:45 am
The Winders keyboard shortcuts have been pretty well beat to death
here, so thought I would add a couple features (fairly new I think)
that are in Firefox. Clicking on site symbol just to the left of the
address bar brings up another little box that tells you if the website
supplies identity information, and tells you if your connection to that
site is encrypted or not. There is also another button to click there,
“More Information”
— Posted by TMA
Clicking that button brings up another window with all sorts of fun
stuff. It tells you if you have visited the site before, if the site is
storing cookies on your computers, (and a button to push to look at
them), and tells you if you have saved any passwords for that site,
and a button to push to view those passwords. Very handy if you use
lots of different passwords for different sites and don’t want to write
down a list of them. (You will have to supply your master password to
view the saved list it keeps.)
— Posted by Doug D
558. October
3:10 am
A lot of awesome tips, a few more that i’ve found useful, in my two
most-used programs…
*you can type in “wp” and something you’re searching for, and it will
bring you to the wikipedia page.
*ctrl+t for a new tab, ctrl+n for new window
*if you click on a link while holding down control (or command on a
mac), it will open the link in a new tab
Microsoft Word:
*General functions: ctrl+n is new document, ctrl+o is open, ctrl+s is
save, ctrl+p is print, F12 on PCs is “save as” (I like saving copies of
things as I edit, so this is useful)
*Fonts: control-D brings you to fonts menu. control+b is bold, ctrl+i
is italics, ctrl+u is underline, ctrl+shift+k is small caps, ctrl+shift+p
lets you change font size, ctrl+shift+”+” = superscript, ctrl+”+” =
*Editing: ctrl+z is undo, ctrl+y is redo
*copy pasting: ctrl+c to copy, ctrl+v to paste, ctrl+x to cut
*Aligning: ctrl+l for left aligned, ctrl+r for right aligned, ctrl+e for
center (never figured out justified)
(these all should work on macs by replacing control with the
command button instead…except for some reason the font size
command does not work anymore
oh well)
as a general tip, an external harddrive is a great investment–I lost
everything that was on my laptop twice (the first time I had a fairly
recent backup, though I lost a 13-page final paper that was due
soon…yikes, the second time, I actually lost everything), and my
family recently lost everything on our desktop. I’m a recent convert to
Mac–they have a program called “time machine” that automatically
backs up every hour, day, and month, i think–also have a nifty
external called the time capsule, which updates wirelessly. I definitely
sleep better at night knowing that my files are safe.
I hear that on Windows XP and later, you can change your settings to
update as frequently as you would like it to, to get the same idea–this
would require it to be plugged in at all times, which shouldn’t be too
much of a problem for a desktop.
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— Posted by Jenn
559. October
3:15 am
Just type “cheat sheet” in google search bar. Or. sheet
If you are using firefox.
If you are in love with google then use:
These short cuts and tips really need long memory.
— Posted by Anoop
3:16 am
a note on alt-tabbing:
let’s pretend you have two word windows up, and firefox.
*on a PC, if you alt+tab, you will be able to choose from 3 windows,
the first word file, the second word file, and firefox
*on Mac, if you alt+tab, you pick between word and firefox. If you
want to choose a different word file, you can alt+”`” instead (its right
below the escape key). This will cycle through all the windows that
are being run by the same program.
— Posted by Jenn
561. October
3:26 am
For the Mac: Analogous to using the “command + tab” for switching
between applications is the “command + `” (command with the key
just above the tab key) combination for switching between windows
within the current application. Also, it should be mentioned that your
“Missing Manual for Mac OS X” contains an excellent compendium of
the keyboard shortcuts.
— Posted by Mike T.
562. October
3:42 am
If your browser will not let you type just “” and instead
directs to a search page with ads it is the fault of your service
provider who wants to get extra revenue by wasting your time.
You can change your DNS server (google DNS server) which decides
where to go based on what you tpe.
Treewalk is a free simple program I use but there are many others. reports is a fine source of info on problems and solutions to
— Posted by steven
563. October
3:45 am
My favorite, on new mac laptops: Hold two fingers on the track pad
lets you scroll by moving your fingers (together) and right click by
tapping the mouse button.
564. October
3:48 am
If you forget your windows password and do not know how to access
your administrator password- that is good news. You probably don’t
have one, since by default if is blank.
Boot into safe mode (google it- its easy), log in as administrator, go
to control panel->User accounts and change your local user
The other day I was helping a friend of mine update her computer
and when I rebooted it she had a fit because she had no idea what
her password was.
You can also set your home computer (don’t do this on a laptop you
may loose) to auto login w/o a password. Google “auto login settings
XP” Vista.
Just so you know, someone who knows a bit about PC’s can boot your
computer from a Linux disc and crack most passwords in a few
minutes. The encryptation used is archaic and near useless.
— Posted by Eric
— Posted by steven
565. October
3:51 am
Mac Leopard has a program in Applications under Utilities called
Grab. I suggest putting it in your dock because it will allow you to
“grab” (copy) just a portion of an email or text and print it out
without printing the entire thing, which I had thought was a great
failure of the Mac. Click on Grab, go to Capture across the top,
choose Selection. Then drag your cursor across the part you want to
copy and print. When you stop dragging, you will hear a camera click.
I suggest that you go to File and choose Page Setup because I have
found 100% is too large. Choose 50 - 70%. Then click Print under File
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found 100% is too large. Choose 50 - 70%. Then click Print under File
and you will have printed just what you wanted.
— Posted by Deborah
566. October
5:26 am
Um… which one is the ‘Windows’ key?
I have a Thinkpad (and a brain!) and already use a lot of the other
tips. Now I feel like a fool.
— Posted by Polly
567. October
5:32 am
Your tips remind of similar blind spots with the English language:
everyone, even if very well educated, has a couple of words they
grossly mispronounce (probably because they’ve only seen them in
Having said that, your first tip amazed me. I’ve been using PCs since
1980 and never realized that double-clicking a word would highlight
it — have never seen anyone else do that either!
As for CTRL-SHIFT-etc combinations, I deliberately avoid learning
any but the ones I need almost every day, even though there are
massive numbers of them. And for the same reason I never adopted
EMACS as an editor!
— Posted by Bubba Bob
568. October
5:44 am
Just scrolled through all of these using the space bar
idea; thanks!
— had no
Now, you could do us all a favor if you or someone on the NYT staff
could organize all these tips: separate out by machine and by
program (computer, camera; Word, Excel) and eliminate the
When you write the book, perhaps you can have an online link to
video or other images so that those of us who learn better via seeing
someone actually do these things can see what ‘right’ and ‘left’ mean
(I still don’t know), what the Windows button looks like (and btw,
can someone tell me why one would WANT to lock windows?), etc.
Or just do an online book!
I’m delighted to know about all these stroke options. One reason I
stuck with Wordperfect is bec an earlier version was stroke-based,
and in later versions you could emulate that earlier one — but now
they’re so close to Word that all that seems lost; at least, I can no
longer configure it to imitate that earlier version (and any help with
this appreciated).
— Posted by Dvora
569. October
5:45 am
just type the main address desired, e.g., nytimes; then press
ctrl+enter at the same time. That simultaneous action will fill in the
prefix and suffix (”.com”) together.
570. October
6:04 am
On a Mac, holding down the command key (on some macs it’s the
control key) and scrolling allows you to zoom in on a part of the
screen. I don’t think it was a feature of earlier Macs, though (I have
OSX 10.5.4) but this is very helpful for those annoyingly small video
windows imbedded in webpages.
— Posted by Robert Arnow
— Posted by Sam Carlson
571. October
6:04 am
* Just putting something into the Trash or the Recycle Bin doesn’t
actually delete it. You then have to *empty* the Trash or Recycle Bin.
(Once a year, I hear about somebody whose hard drive is full, despite
having practically no files. It’s because over the years, they’ve put 79
gigabytes’ worth of stuff in the Recycle Bin and never emptied it.)
note that there are other trash bins which can accumulate substantial
bytes and are not automatically cleared when you empty the one
which comes with the operating program: e.g. iPhoto has one which
can build up quickly for active photographers; so does the
thunderbird email program, which has 2 bins: ‘junk’ and ‘trash’
— Posted by henry bewer
572. October
7:05 am
iPhone: Sometimes, after you hit the send mail button, it can take
awhile until you hear that satisfying “swish” sent mail sound. You
don’t have to keep the phone turned on while it’s sending mail. Hit
send, then turn off the phone. The iphone will send in the
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send, then turn off the phone. The iphone will send in the
Conversely, a piece of mail with large attachments can take a long
time to download through the cell network. Just open that mail to
start the download process and turn off the phone with the mail
program running. The mail will load in the background.
— Posted by bruceb
573. October
7:39 am
This is wonderful! Write the book!
574. October
7:54 am
“* You can double-click a word to highlight it in any document, email or Web page.”
How ironic that you can’t do that with the word “double-click”
because of the internal punctuation.
— Posted by Peggy Nicholson
— Posted by Johnny Smoke
575. October
8:26 am
If you have an Apple store in your area, you can sign up for individual
tutoring - 50 lessons for the year - at $100. Wow - bargain! JLA
576. October
8:28 am
In Windows, double clicking the top bar of a window will maximize
the window. Double clicking it again will shrink it to its original size.
577. October
8:29 am
Start key + e opens Windows Explorer.
578. October
8:33 am
It was very useful. I can add a couple though:
— Posted by Jean Aceto
— Posted by Rob
— Posted by J.O.
Ctrl F4 (closes a tab)
Alt F4 (closes a window)
In Microsoft Word:
Ctrl Z (undo)
Ctrl Home (go the beginning of the document)
Ctrl End (go to the end of the document)
Pressing Shift and an arrow key will highlight what’s next to the
course in the direction of the arrow pressed.
I use these all the time.
— Posted by Maria from NYC
579. October
8:34 am
In Blackberry: holding down any letter will capitalize it, hitting space
bar scrolls down a page, pressing the mute button (on top edge) locks
the keyboard so you can carry it in your pocket or purse without
making inadvertent calls — press again to unlock. (You can answer
calls while the screen is locked.) I’ve installed desktop icons for my
fave sites (NYT, WSJ, CNBC, WP, Zagat) so one click takes me there
— big time saver.
— Posted by MarjD
8:37 am
Thanks. this is great stuff. but my eyes have glazed over and my brain
has shut down. If you write that book you’re going to have to
organize it in such a way that its accessible with a minimum of
burnout. How about some kind of on line reference, a section for
cameras, phones, macs etc. Better yet have little videos of some of
the stuff. Some of us are visual learners. You could have a weekly tv
show. I’ve watched some of your nyt videos, they’re a riot.
— Posted by Nicki
581. October
8:49 am
In Windows, double-left-clicking the blue title bar on any Window
will maximize it to full screen size. Doing the same action a second
time will reduce the size of the window and allow you to adjust it.
A good time-saver.
— Posted by Jason
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9:03 am
10/8/08 9:09 AM
Quote: When you get an e-mail message from eBay or your bank,
claiming that you have an account problem or a question from a
buyer, it’s probably a “phishing scam”
And why oh why do Bank of America, Paypal, utilities and credit card
companies continue to do this? They must come up with a better way
that involves action once the user is logged into his account. Users
must bookmark the financial important sites and never access
accounts via links of dubious origin.
— Posted by asjk239
583. October
9:22 am
#471 posted:
Oh and before you forward a email to your friends, please, I beg of
you, follow these two steps:
1) Use BCC (Blind carbon Copy)
To piggyback onto #471, I suggest that recipients’ email addies be
listed in the “bcc:” field for mass mailers so email addies are kept
private from unwanted eyes (i.e., other recipients in the list). Not
everyone in the list may want his/her addy divulged to the others.
Though addies are often coded (and theoretically anonymous), some
senders tend to enter the contact’s real name to email addies in their
address books.
Or better yet, limit the sending of mass mailers. I don’t like even the
inspirational or supposed funny mailings (which no doubt have been
circulating the cyber block many times over) clogging my inbox.
— Posted by bopeep
584. October
9:27 am
Depending on your version Windows, you can, with a simple
keystroke, signal your computer to type letters with accent marks.
Just type Control + shift simultaneously. You can then type á, è ü, ñ,
ç, ô, and so on, simply by typing the diachronic mark first (’, “, ~,
followed by the letter). If you want the mark alone (for quotes, for
example), just hit the relevant key twice. To turn this feature off, hit
Control + shift again.
— Posted by Todd Garth
585. October
9:28 am
It was years before I started right clicking the mouse. I love shutting
down e-mails in a stack and Explorers in a stack instead of one by
one. I right click first now. I’ll buy that book. When’s it coming out.
How about a book on the Kindle or a chapter in the book! When’s a
newer edition of the Kindle coming out?
Thanks for being Pogue. I love the videos. I’m the one who watches
them over and over along with the MAC guy and the PC guy. Just
plain Thanks.
— Posted by Lynne
586. October
9:35 am
Not that anyone will read this far, but:
My FAVORITE and now essential shortcut I use all the time since I
switched to a Mac last year: command+space to open Spotlight. Then
just start typing the name of a program, then enter to open it
(slightly easier in Leopard). E.g. command+space fire enter =>
firefox. You don’t need the Dock anymore or a list of applications.
Works for files as well, of course - I actually often don’t know what
folder my stuff is in, but it doesn’t matter! (going back to Windows is
like losing an arm.)
— Posted by elliott
587. October
9:37 am
“Shift F7″ gets you the thesaurus in a Microsoft word document.
Alt + Tab may let you toggle through different programs that you
have open, but Crtl + Tab let’s you toggle through different tabs in a
web browser, such as Firefox.
Crtl + Home brings you to the top of any document/web page.
Similarly, Crtl + End brings you to the bottom.
— Posted by Kim
9:39 am
Word (pre-2007) has a gem of a search tool at the lower right-hand
corner of the window. It looks like a little ball positioned between the
up and down arrows. Clicking on it brings up 12 different kinds of
searches that can be selected. Once selected, the up and down arrows
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searches that can be selected. Once selected, the up and down arrows
will take you to the next or previous instance of whatever you’re
looking for.
Word also has 4 “toggles” at the bottom center of the window - REC,
TRK, OVR, and EXT. They turn on/off recording macros, tracked
changes, insert/overlay, and extended highlighting (you don’t need to
drag the mouse).
On Verizon Samsung phones, when texting, press “1″ once for a
period, twice for a smiley emoticon. It probably works on other
phones as well.
— Posted by TheBFM
589. October
9:40 am
You can take a “picture” of your desktop or the open application
window. You can use this feature to take a picture of your royal flush
when playing online poker, a confusing error message, or a website
that may change before you get back to it, such as
On windows press Alt PrtSc to capture the open application window,
or Shift PrtSc to capture the entire desktop.
The picture will be temporarily stored on the clipboard, so before
copying anything else, open any image editing program such as
Photoshop, create a new document and paste the clipboard contents.
— Posted by shivas
9:44 am
The main shortcut everyone needs to learn is to right-click with the
mouse. If you have a Mac with a single button mouse, throw the
mouse away and get a two-button mouse! Huge time saver.
I have to disagree with Andy B. who advises to get the smallest
possible hard drive. Just the opposite, get the biggest one you can
afford. Hard drive space isn’t just about storage; the amount of free
hard drive space also has a big impact on performance. In fact I
recommend at least two HDs.
Keep the OS and programs on the primary drive and files on the
secondary drive.
Hard drives are the cheapest form of storage, get an external drive or
use and old HD in an enclosure to back up files. (Turn it off and
disconnect external drive and move to another
location after backup).
— Posted by Jay R
591. October
9:50 am
Haven’t read all comments - but on a Mac if you type the name of a
bigger organization or company in the URL space the browser will
take you to their website. EG: nytimes, xerox, nikon, barackobama just no spaces and no need for www, com, and such.
It’s a lot faster than the google search.
— Posted by zozie
592. October
10:01 am
593. October
10:05 am
ZOMG this thread is classic. The blind leading the blind. Many of
these “tips” are standard conventions over 20 years old.
— Posted by Marilyn
At least 10 people have shared the original tip that your browser’s
address bar will attempt to autocomplete URLs missing a protocol to
http://. So here’s a tip for those people:
Your browser has a “find” function, you can use it to search on the
page for words or phrases.
Finally one I swear came up in a real-life tech support scenario less
than 5 years ago:
To use the mouse, you do not pick it up and point it at the screen.
You push it around on the desk.
— Posted by urdoinitwrong
594. October
10:08 am
Some users (friends of mine) know so little of computer basics
(forget about keyboard shortcuts) that I wonder how they manage to
get anything done.
If it’s not too basic for your book - how about an explanation of files
and folders, desktop files (which actually belong in a folder), where
’saved’ files go, and the difference between files on one’s machine and
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’saved’ files go, and the difference between files on one’s machine and
ones on a floppy (or other removable media); yes, I have friends
writing directly on those- without quite knowing whether the file
really ended up on the floppy, the desktop or the current Word
default directory. It’s possible that this can be particularly confusing
on the MacOS, where ease of use can also mean not having to
understand the underlying structure.
— Posted by terri
595. October
10:09 am
I did not know some of these, and I’m a college professor who
teaches kids how to use their computers when writing and
researching. Good lord!
596. October
10:17 am
Collected shortcuts and Tips in an Excel file
I have been a power Excel user and geek for 15 years. I had collected
my general computer tips and shortcuts to a file for sharing with
friends. It is now mostly accurate for XP since that is what i use at
home and at work. This article inspired me to post it.
— Posted by Pat
You can download it at
It could take a few minutes to download even though it is only 113 kb.
It should ask if you want to open the file with Macros. Open it
without the macros since you do not know me. You may never need
to use the macros but advanced users may find them useful. [If you
are not asked this question, you probably have your security in Excel
under Tools, Security set to “high”, which I think is the default.] You
should never work with Excel in a browser, so do File, Save As,
“ShortcutsEtc.xls” to a folder in My Documents where you can find it.
When you find it, open it in Excel. (in Excel: File, Open. In Windows
Explorer: double click it.)
The shortcuts were pasted from help screens.
There are instructions visible on the Tips sheet.
Gary Geo
— Posted by Gary Geo
597. October
10:18 am
If you’re using Internet Explorer and come across a website with ads
so annoying that they distract you from the content, click
Tools>Internet Options>Security>Restricted Sites>Sites then add
the offending website to the Restricted box (often the address field is
already populated with the offender) and those blinking ads are gone.
You’re free to read — unmolested!
— Posted by Ann R
598. October
10:20 am
keep it in your file
599. October
10:29 am
All Windows programs have their keyboard shortcuts underlined and
the key sequences to the left of the command name in the drop down
— Posted by jinhsuk
PS Why write a book? Wouldn’t a webpage or site be better?
— Posted by Kris
10:35 am is an excellent way to note a Web page you may want to
visit in the future. This is much more powerful than Web browser
“bookmarks.” You can access this Web search tool from anywhere on
the Web. Create search tags that work best for you. It’s so valuable
and it’s free. These are then shared with others in the
community - or you can keep each or all “finds” private. N.B. Creating
an anonymous user name even better ensures your privacy.
— Posted by Morgan's Dad
601. October
10:37 am
omg. I have been cutting and pasting for 15 years by dragging? click
click. kewl. doh.
i’m on my mac maybe 7 hours a day.
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write the book and divide it into sections.
make one of them for people who have no interest in keystrokes. we
are the embarrassed legions. we don’t like memorizing too much
stuff. we are happy, slow, lousy typists. i have checked around. we are
many. we like mice. mouses. the mousenpuschen contingent. F
commands is as key-doodly as we are gonna get. but we know to
empty the trash. most of us.
— Posted by confetti
10:44 am
Clicking and double clicking on most pc laptops with a touch pad just
requires tapping the pad, not using the buttons below it. Right-click
by tapping the upper right corner of the touch pad.
10:50 am
Re #34 & #539 - Time/date stamp in Notepad:
— Posted by Kris
To create a Notepad file that automatically inserts a time/date stamp
when you open or re-open it, type “.LOG” (no quotes, but in caps) in
the first line of the note, then save it (i.e., “Support Log.txt”). Create a
shortcut to the file, and every time you open it, your entry is
automatically date/time stamped.
— Posted by Mensch
10:53 am
Print a document/file without opening the application:
In System Preferences on Mac and Control Panel on PC you can see
your printer(s) and make a desktop shortcut to it. Now you can drag
the icon of whatever file you want to print over the printer shortcut
icon. When you from the correct application and close the application
automatically and very quickly.
For example: you’re looking in your Documents folder for the Word
Document that you need to print. You see it. You drag the file icon
onto the printer shortcut icon. Word is automatically started, the file
prints, and Word shuts down automatically and very quickly.
— Posted by Brian
11:02 am
I didn’t see my favorite, maybe it was there, but apple N gives you a
new window on Macs
11:09 am
Great help. Does anyone have a list of shortcuts for iphone?
607. October
11:13 am
Here is a good, fairly complete list
— Posted by Deborah
— Posted by ChrisT
— Posted by Chris
11:16 am
To forward only the *important* part of an email, just highlight that
part and hit forward. This works on a Mac with Entourage.
11:22 am
is everyone sending this to their parents?
610. October
11:25 am
The F4 key in MS office, repeats the last action performed regardless
of what it was: delete, make bold, insert row/column, paste etc. Use
this almost as office Ctrl X/C/V
611. October
11:28 am
Never spill coffee into your keyboard.
612. October
“You don’t have to type “http://www” into your Web browser. Just
type the remainder: “” or “,” for example. (In
— Posted by louise Dibble
— Posted by todd
— Posted by Sumit
— Posted by Davy
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type the remainder: “” or “,” for example. (In
the Safari browser, you can even leave off the “.com” part.)”
This does not work in every case; some sites (not very many) require
the www in order to load; it’s a parameter that is enabled/disabled on
the web server, nothing to do with your PC.
— Posted by J Simmons
613. October
11:39 am
When something goes wrong, or starts acting weird, RESTART! It
almost always fixes any problem.
614. October
11:47 am
35.October 2nd,
2:00 pm In Microsoft Word - Shift+F3 makes a word change from all
uppercase to all lowercase to just the first letter upper case and so on.
Jason, great tip - thanks.
all the others are awesome as well - this is as far as i got before i
posted !!!
Thanks, a
— Posted by Jon
— Posted by anuradha shastry
615. October
11:55 am
98.October 2nd,
3:01 pm I am surprised by how few people, even practiced writers,
are unaware of the split-screen function in MIcroSoft Word. Clicking
on the little blue button in the upper-right hand corner (above the
scroll bar) of a Word screen will divide the screen in half; each will
now have its own scroll bar….
I did not find this one-what is different for word 2007??
thanks, a
— Posted by anuradha shastry
616. October
12:11 pm
Long time computer programmer… one day had end user show me
one of the most useful keyboard short cuts.
Shift + Tab … takes you back to the previous field in a form.
— Posted by tibeau
617. October
12:18 pm
“If in doubt, go into your browser and type “” (or
whatever) manually.”
“You don’t have to type “http://www” into your Web browser. Just
type the remainder: “” or “,” for example. (In
the Safari browser, you can even leave off the “.com” part.)”
Or just type “ebay” and press CTRL+ENTER (PC) or CMD+ENTER
(Mac). That will add the www. and the .com automatically in IE,
Firefox and Safari.
— Posted by shortcuts
618. October
12:21 pm
To send your pictures by email without reducing their size but not
clogging your friends inbox you can use ZOOMORAMA. They make
the pictures zoomable, so your friends can enjoy the full view when
they receive the pictures.
Very easy, practical, and free.
That’s my trick.
— Posted by Franklin
619. October
12:25 pm
You can also click your mouse wheel in xp to switch between different
12:41 pm
in Microsoft word:
— Posted by Randeeee
after highlighting a selection:
ctrl-1 single spaces the selection
ctrl-2 double spaces the selection
ctrl-5 adds 1.5 spacing
— Posted by Dan
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12:44 pm
10/8/08 9:09 AM
The ultimate savior: Ctrl-Z (or Command-Z on a Mac)
It undoes the last thing you did in almost every program. I have
saved a number of deleted paragraphs this way….
— Posted by JG
622. October
12:45 pm
Don’t know if this was covered, but pressing command and the up or
down arrow will take you to the top or bottom of a web page.
F10 will show all the different open pages of the current application
you’re using, and F9 shows everything you have open.
These are all on Macs, obviously.
Also, it’s not really a shortcut, but holding down shift, then clicking
on the minimize button makes the browser minimize slowly and,
well, it’s fun.
— Posted by Karen
623. October
12:48 pm
I work with a guy who didn’t know that if you keep tying at the end of
a line in Word or an Outlook email, it will automatically return down
to the next line. He would type until the end of the line, then hit
“enter” to go down to the next line and keep typing - like an oldfashioned typewriter! And gosh he gets paid like 4 times as much as I
do! Engineers….
— Posted by Stacy
624. October
12:49 pm
I have found these tips highly practical and helpful. Thank you for
sharing your article.
625. October
12:50 pm
Fabulous article… please do more…my problem is someone send me
a picture..I put the e mail with the pic into the HD. When I retrieve it
all I have is text, no picture???? How do I save the picture too?
626. October
12:55 pm
On a Mac laptop, use two fingers on the trackpad to scroll (up-down,
and side to side).
— Posted by Burt Harding
— Posted by Norman Wain
You can also use this feature to right-click: go to system preferences,
keyboard and mouse, trackpad. Then check the “For secondary
clicks…” box. You can then click with two fingers on the trackpad to
— Posted by Michael
627. October
12:56 pm
On a mac: selecting ‘private browsing’ in your Safari window will
result in no cookies being left behind and no history. Not a cure if
anyone from the FBI wants to know what you’re doing but it will save
you from being embarrassed about what you do online in case you
share a computer.
Also: ‘command’ and ‘H’ will hide whatever window you have open.
This is great when you dont want to actually close an application, but
would like it out of the way.
“Home” and “end” will also take you to the top and bottom of your
open pages or documents. Seems basic but people often waste time
scrolling up/down needlessly.
— Posted by Richard C
12:58 pm
Turning off the monitor doesn’t actually turn off the computer.
629. October
12:58 pm
CTRL+Option+CMD+8 on a Mac. It brings a whole new life to your
— Posted by Jess
Also, I never use Apple mouses. I really hate the design and feel of
them. I buy the classic two button, scroll wheel design. You get right
click and all.
(But I will admit, being able to scroll left and right with the Apple
Mouse scroll wheel comes in handy for a photographer like myself.)
I put spaces in one of my bottom corners and only run one
application per space. It organizes my Apple a lot cleaner than using
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application per space. It organizes my Apple a lot cleaner than using
that damn “All Windows” thing. Of course you can change that in the
exposé preferences.
— Posted by Alex
1:06 pm
Is it possible to put automatically diacritics on a manuscript, or I
have to write the text again on a computer with diacritics ?
631. October
1:07 pm
Sorry if someone else has also pointed these out, I just couldn’t go
over 600 message:
- In the address box of your browser, when you want to type a new
address, you don’t have to run your cursor over the existing address
end to end to select and delete it; just click once on the logo at the
beginning (sitting next to http) and simply type your new address.
- Similarly, as David has pointed out, double clicking a word selects it
in all programs. If you want to replace the word with a different one,
you don’t need to delete it first; just type the new word.
- (Works for Mac, I’m not sure about PCs): If you cannot see the
folder or document you are looking for on your cluttered desktop,
type the first letter of the item (L for letters, for example) and that
will select the item starting with the alphabetically topmost L. If you
keep hitting the tab key, that will take you through all L-items, than
Ms, Ns, etc. If you want to go through all your items on your desktop
in an alphabetical order, just keep hitting the tab key (start with
nothing selected).
— Posted by Eva
If your index finger is aching towards arthritis due to clicking for
thousands of times per day, try this: get yourself a programmable
mouse and assign double-clicks to the right (middle finger) button.
This will take a very big load off your index finger and a single-click
by your middle finger will count as a double-click. You will get used
to this in just a few days.
— Posted by SF
632. October
1:09 pm
@547: Thank you for suggesting the links bar in a browser for
shortcuts to our favorite websites, but let me add that when using the
links bar (or bookmarks in a browser) you need only click once to
open your favorite webpage. Those who are used to double-clicking
will be opening up multiple windows if they continue
to double-click in the links toolbar or the quick launch toolbar at the
bottom of windows.
BTW, another reason to use the quick launch toolbar is the “Show
Desktop” button (white button with a pencil) which serves to hide all
open windows and take you to your desktop.
— Posted by Web Surfer
633. October
1:10 pm
Some of my timesavers:
1) Use the bookmark toolbar across the top for your most common
links (eg. the links in front of me are yahoo, google, NTTimes,
WashPost, CraigslistDC, CNN, and a couple others..)
Don’t see it? In Firefox, get it from the toolbar (View, Toolbars, etc.)
To add to it, simply drag the tiny icon in front the address (in the
address bar) right onto the bookmark toolbar….and there it is ready
for use!
2) Slow computer? Add more RAM
3) Instead of messing around with the backspace bar or tabs,
sometimes I right-click on a link and “Open in new window”. Easier
to delete it, and also to go directly to other open windows without
clicking “backspace” 10 times, etc.)
4) Are you one of those folks who occasionally has to physically pull
the plug on your computer to get it turned off (eg. when it’s
“hanging” and not responding) Easy way to shut down is to press and
hold the on/off button on the front of your computer for 5 seconds.
— Posted by Mark Czar
634. October
1:16 pm
Sometimes operating your mouse wheel is too “jump” for reading.
Instead, press the wheel (while over the text area). The curser will the
change to an up/down arrow. Now moving the mouse up or down
will affect the speed of scrolling more smoothly. To end this feature,
press the mouse wheel again.
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— Posted by Mark Czar
635. October
1:17 pm
@541 Thank you for mentioning Regedit. To the uninitiated, regedit
should be used with caution. If you are going to use
regedit, invest in a program called Registry Mechanic by PC Tools
Software. That program will go much further than the free CCcleaner
in cleaning up your registry. With that said, I often use regedit to
remove entries left behind by deleted programs. AOL for one, leaves
behind quite a number of things “just in case you ever want to
reinstall it again.” Um, thanks, but no thanks, software developers.
We prefer that you remove all traces of your program when we decide
to delete it.
— Posted by Web Surfer
636. October
1:19 pm
likewise, you can simultaneouslyhold wondows key + m to get to the
Why didn’t writer know this?
— Posted by doug
637. October
1:20 pm
Tip of tips:
On the Mac, when you pull down a menu in the finder or in any
program, the keyboard shortcut of each command on the list is
shown in front of it (example, Edit Menu > Paste Com-V). It is
probably the same for PCs.
— Posted by SF
1:24 pm
In Word
Hard space Ctrl + Shift + space bar
Hard dash Ctrl + Shift + dash(-)
Both keep whatever comes before and after the space or dash on the
same line. For example, using a hard dash with “8-feet” would force
the text to always stay together. With a normal dash if the text
doesn’t all fit at the end of a line word wrap would break off “feet”
and put it on the next line.
— Posted by joe w
639. October
1:27 pm
1) CTRL-F (Find function) even works in web pages and pdf’s. (In
Firefox the function opens toward the bottom of the page.)
Why would you use it? Lets’ say you just Googled a particular
name/word,thing whatever and one of the links is a huge amount of
minutia or even a large list. Use FRTL-F to find that word/name,
whatver without scanning the the whole thing or the fine print
2) Trying to find an old email (that you haven’t deleted) with a
certain word or name or address in the body? Try using that search
email function they have. Works very well.
— Posted by Mark Czar
1:29 pm
David, This is a wonderful idea to publish a book like that. A
computer professional would be reluctant to show his friend all these
“trivial” things. Please organize well, so that user can find the
information when needed.
— Posted by James
641. October
1:32 pm
Triple-click on text and you will select the entire paragraph. (Add this
to your tip of double-clicking to select a word.)
In Windows (not sure in Mac), Alt-F4 will close the active window.
When the desktop is the last window open, Alt-F4 is the equivalent
of clicking on “Shut Down” in the Start menu.
— Posted by Greg Banks
642. October
1:34 pm
Look at your mouse or trackball.
There’s almost always a little ring you can remove to take out the ball
(look for a ring with a tiny hole in it –put the tip of a ball pen in the
hole and push clockwise, or counterclockwise, usually it will turn part
of a turn and come out).
Take the ball out. Clean it (damp cloth is enough, usually) and let it
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Look inside. Usually there are three little points of contact, often little
tiny ball bearings. If you don’t see them, look for three fuzzballs.
Wipe gently at those with a soft cloth. Get a lot of gunk off? Consider
taking a Q-tip dampened slightly with rubbing alcohol (not soaking
wet) and rub them again.
Let it all dry and put it back together.
Feel the difference? See the pointer moving more smoothly?
Do it again next month.
[_ [rn:y] _]
— Posted by Hank Roberts
643. October
1:35 pm
How do you double-click on a macbook? (I’m assuming it doesn’t
require ruby slippers)?
644. October
1:39 pm
I have tried to undo the McAfee security on my
pc and I can’t get it to work.
Every time I log on all the security warnings
pop up and I have to delete them. But about every
15-30 seconds it comes back.
Can you help me with this?
— Posted by renee
— Posted by Joe
645. October
1:40 pm
Also are you sure these commands work on a mac?
3 shortcuts I use hourly!
Ctrl X (cut)
Ctrl c (copy)
Ctrl v (paste)
— Posted by renee
646. October
1:45 pm
Only one secret short cut.
Control+5 (on number pad)
will select entire MS Word document.
Since I can’t at the moment afford two liquid crystal displays for my
computer I’m always selecting “Tile Vertically”. Anyone have a fast
and easy short cut? Right clicking on Task Bar is a pain when you
have several apps running.
— Posted by Fred Zimnoch
647. October
1:48 pm
I keep reminding my elders that one should never ever send an email
or post a comment in ALL CAPS. All caps indicates that you are
shouting. If you are a Hunt and Peck typist (aka two-fingered typing,
in which the typist must find and press each key individually), and
for whatever reason you prefer to type in all caps, consider pasting
your text into Microsoft Word followed by Shift+F3 Alternatively, you
can click on format, change case, sentence case. Now you are ready to
cut this text and paste it back into your email program or into the
comments section of a website.
If you would like to share a web article with a friend, rather than
copy the entire page, (which will also copy the ads) look for a
“printable version” or a “print” button (on the Web page). A new
window should open with a text version of the article; use CTRL A to
select all, CTRL C to copy and CTRL V to paste it into your email.
When sending articles please consider including the URL (web
address) in case your friend wants to access the original article on the
And lastly, (the style editors at the Times will cringe on this
suggestion) when suggesting a keystroke command, please leave out
the punctuation if it is not part of the command. (unless of course,
you are willing to explain that you leave out the quotes, dash and
period– which will just serve to confuse people.
For example: If you suggest someone use ALT 0151 it should not read
“alt-0151″ unless the quotes and dash are part of the command.
— Posted by Hope this helps
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More keyboard shorcuts for web browsers (IE and Firefox, anyway YMMV in others):
ESC = “stop” (stop loading current page)
BACKSPACE = “Back” (previous page)
Use cursor and page keys to scroll around. Cursor and page up/down
behave as expected. HOME and END are “page left” and “page right”.
If they don’t work, try clicking once somewhere in the page that isn’t
a link and then they should work.
— Posted by Mike
649. October
1:53 pm
Let’s not forget that your first tip re: double clicking to highlight IS
BROKEN ON NYTIMES.COM because of the STUPID dictionary that
pops up that is of no use to anyone. Worst thing about coming to
— Posted by another eric
2:00 pm
I’m sorely disappointed that you didn’t use your column for
beginners (which will surely be e-mailed to many newbies) to write
about the importance of backing up precious photos, papers, and
other data regularly and securely.
Hard drives DO fail. Computers get stolen. Don’t let the convenience
of a “digital lifestyle” seduce you into keeping all of your eggs in one
— Posted by Doug B
651. October
2:02 pm
I love shift/command/4 on the Mac
It lets you select any area of a page on your screen and make a photo
of it. The picture will go to the desktop as Picture 1, Picture 2 etc.
652. October
2:06 pm
@603 Thank you for posting the NOTEPAD Time/Date Stamp tip.
But to be clear, it is a two-step process:
— Posted by Penny
Step one: type .LOG at the very first line of the Windows Notepad;
Step Two: Type the name of your file in the save file as dialog box,
followed by
.LOG.txt (apparently, if you try one without the other, it will not
include the time/date stamp). BTW, the time/date stamp is a
fantastic feature when updating a file. I will now use that every time I
use notepad.
In case you’re wondering why use Notepad at all, I like the fact that it
automatically removes all formatting – which is great when you want
to remove links for embedded ads and the like. Alas, it seems some
web sites include embedded ads even in their “printable View”
format. And NOTEPAD is less of a drain on system resources
compared to WORD. While on the topic of stamps, whatever
happened to the file location stamp on printed documents? You
rarely ever see them anymore. If you tend to forget where you save
your files, consider typing the location as a footer (at the bottom of
the document). For example: C:MyDocuments/Pogue Blog
Comments/WORD Doc
— Posted by Dave
653. October
2:09 pm
>You don’t even have to type .com
>just type nytimes and hit cntr/enter
Actually you just type ‘nyt’ and press enter and it works.
— Posted by terry
654. October
2:18 pm
I cannot thank you enough for this column. I teach Retrieving and
Evaluating Electronic Information to undergraduates entering our
program in Informatics. You have just help me create one (if not
more) of their quizzes, as well as assisting me in becoming more
— Posted by Lydia Harris
655. October
2:18 pm
Yesss! The Keyboard Revolution is coming…however, one tip
everyone needs to know:
Third party programs are OFTEN lazy. For instance, most people
know if they do the “Alt + (underlined letter) that menu will open.
Unfortunately many Third party software vendors forget to acutally
make that function work…also, they don’t handle exceptions well…so
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make that function work…also, they don’t handle exceptions well…so
I’ve seen a lot of techs baffled by an error that keyboard users get, but
mouse users do not. Just take it a hair slower, and you’ll be fine.
Want more windows keyboard tips? Just go to help on the start
menu. type in keyboard and select shortcuts, and you’ll get regular
list and internet explorer list of shortcuts.
Keep using those shortcuts! The mouse was for people who didn’t
type…and if you can’t type now, Mavis Beacon or some cheezy app
you find on the internet should be able to teach you. I’m a firm
believer that if we eliminate the mouse or reduce it even to a
trackball on the keyboard, it will improve the mental faculties of the
user ever so slightly.
— Posted by Kill the Mouse!
656. October
2:22 pm
Let’s not leave out the tech geeks. Here are some helpful tips about
*humans* that you just assume everyone knows, but amazingly
you’re wrong.
- People are capable of learning, especially in context-specific
situations. Simply tell them WHAT they need to know WHEN they
need to know it.
- To get people to read a manual (or any other type of written
instruction), it really helps if you write it reasonably well.
- People are capable of knowing one thing even if they don’t know
something else. Similarly, they can understand something even if
their terminology is a little off.
- There are more than two types of computer users in the world (tech
gods and tech neophytes). Hard as it may be to accept, you just can’t
reduce people to binary.
- Respect people’s intelligence and wonderful things can happen.
When you don’t, negative consequences can arise, like people not
knowing the keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste.
— Posted by HF-Greg
657. October
2:26 pm
this may be elementary to most of you, but I would love to have a site
or hints on email preferences. I recently had a corrupted hard drive
replaced and lost most of my good setting in email, i.e. addresses that
come up when you have typed in first 3-4 letters of the address, how
do you ‘junk’ junk mail so many times that it is on the blocked list??
many other questions that would make the email easier and friendlier
to the user and not the ’senders’ of all the ‘junk’. Is there a site I am
missing (msn,qwest,windows internet explorer) that would help me
change anything? PS love all the hints.
— Posted by hollybolly
658. October
2:29 pm
as was already mentioned, on a mac, command + h hides the
currently active program. but this doesn’t work with all program (ie
photoshop). alternatively, you can hold down the ALT key and click
anywhere on the desktop to hide the currently active program.
also for mac, you can open a file that is highlighted on the desktop or
in a finder window using command + down arrow. you can do this
with multiple files highlighted as well, rather than dragging to the
dock or double clicking.
when browsing the internet, hold down the shift key when clicking on
a link to open the link in a new window.
using command + d (control + d on a pc) will prompt you to add the
current page to your bookmarks.
for mac and pc, please don’t spend money on a book containing
information that is all available entirely for free on the internet and
also in the help sections of the programs you are using.
to reiterate an important point that someone already mentioned, if
you have a question, type the question into google. it is very likely
that you are not the first person to have had this same question.
— Posted by anchor
659. October
2:30 pm
— Posted by R. Blum
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It’s embarrassing that you would have to write an article like this. I
guess the rest of the world enjoys wasting time and being inefficient.
Whenever you’re considering the purchase of a new product, simply
read the manual (and watch the instructional videos) ahead of the
purchase and again on the day of purchase–and then you’ll be ready
to go. It’s really your own fault if you are servant (vs. master) to your
computer, digital camera or cell phone.
— Posted by Allan
661. October
2:59 pm
Hints for efficiency
1. Winkey + E (simultaneously) opens Windows Explorer
2. Avoid Vistawful and MS Office 2007 Efficiency Limitation
Software. Don’t buy a new computer, get a mac, use openoffice,
3. After having latest version of software for 6 months, I have to say
that I have been able to find only one action of thousands that is
more efficient, intuitive, or easy. Everything else is harder/not there
anymore/can’t find it. But if you are amongst the sad band of folks
with Vista and Excel 2007, and you need to format something on a
chart, on the Layout Ribbon up in the upper left hand corner, you can
select the specific item (series, plot area, etc.) and then select
“Format this selection”. This sometimes (and only sometimes) easier
than trying to pick out a specific series from 40 of them.
4. Other then that, my efficiency tip would be to buy the XP disk
from your mfr, or ebay, and upgrade to XP from Vistawful. I have yet
to find anything (save the above) that is easier or more intuitive in
MS new software than in the old. Has Microsoft lost all it’s good
programmers and product managers?
These tips are great, as what was discovered easily by one person can
remain obscure to others. I remember showing my friend that his
expensive Canon G5 camera had an LCD screen and that he didn’t
need to use the optical viewfinder!
The Wiz
— Posted by Wizard of Boz
662. October
3:02 pm
Okay, after going through over 300 messages, I don’t have time to
read them all, but I hadn’t seen these two, so hopefully they are not
In PowerPoint, type the slide number and return to jump to that slide
(either forward or back of where you are in your presentation). Great
for at the end of a presentation when someone asks you a question
about a particular slide from earlier (assuming you have a list of your
slides printed out by number…).
In Mac (probably PC too, but I don’t know the keys), if you want to
select only certain files from a folder, hold down the command/apple
key while you click on them (or click and use the shift key if you want
a bunch that are in a row–you just need to click on the first and last).
Once they are highlighted, you can click and drag the whole bunch
onto the program icon of the app you want to use to open the files.
Or you can then click one one of the highlighted items while holding
down control and the “open with” function from the menu that pops
up (this also obviously works with individual files). I find this
especially useful for image files, while browsing through the
thumbnails in the finder window.
Mac also (although again, probably a PC version): you can print
directly from a file name without opening the file (great for World
and Excel docs that you know don’t need to be edited, but you just
need a print-out). Just highlight the file in the finder, and go to file
“print” or control click on it and scroll to “print” in the pop-up menu.
Saves a lot of time, especially if you don’t already have the program
Also–why does this list of tips need to be a book??? It seems to me it
would be more useful as a website with all the superior searching
capabilities. Just make it so that there’s a good “print” function that
perhaps links to a nice pdf version for those who want to self-publish
it as a stand-alone reference. You can always put a donation link to
paypal or some other for those that want to pay you for putting it
together. I’m sure you’d make more than enough money that way!
— Posted by Anna
663. October
For automated backups, there’s 2 gigs of automatically
backed up data, and it’s free. Works for both both Macs and PCs, too.
A friend set it up for his mom and they both seemed very happy with
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A friend set it up for his mom and they both seemed very happy with
— Posted by Henry B.
664. October
3:11 pm
Thank you and all the other helpful commenters so much!
665. October
3:12 pm
the windows key, followed by u and another u will close open
programs and turn off the computer.
666. October
3:18 pm
This is basic, but I’ve found it’s helpful for those who use lots of
bookmarks in their browser:
You can add folders to your bookmark toolbar. This is helpful if you
visit many Web sites/pages frequently and have too many bookmarks
to fit in one visible row on your bookmark toolbar. This allows you to
group similar or similarly used sites in one folder accessed from your
— Posted by Judy
— Posted by jt
Firefox users go to: Bookmarks>Organize bookmarks>Organize>New
It’s really simple and basic, but I find it useful at work.
— Posted by Jacki
667. October
3:30 pm
To piggyback even further to what # 583 posted:
Allow me to spell out the steps for proper forwarding of inspirational
or supposed funny mailings or even articles such as this amazingly
informative article/blog from David Pogue! (who, IMHO, should get
the best-columnist award. I also suggest an honorary mention (or a
shout-out) to Frank Rich, Dick Cavett, Maureen Dowd and A.O.
Scott!) But, I digress:
Step one:
(older versions of AOL and some other programs often attach the
original email along with any personal messages included which is
why you want to use reply instead of forward so you can edit that
Step Two:
Delete the sender’s email address in the “Send To” field.
Step Three:
Enter your own email address in the “Send To” field.
Step Four:
Use the BCC field to enter the recipients’ email addresses.
Step Five:
Scroll down through the body of the message and delete the entire
list of email addresses which only serves to show how many times
this email has traveled around the world.
Step Six:
Continue scrolling to the bottom of the message to find and delete
any references that would identify the original email as a a “chainletter.” For example: If it contains the words “please send to 21
firends within one week and good luck will come your way…” or even
subtler messages such as “forward to all your friends” just delete
those lines.
You are now ready to send this message. Your friends and family will
appreciate your efforts in cleaning up the email and more
importantly, will thank you for NOT inadvertently sending them a
“curse.” By using reply and BCC it will also appear as though you are
sending it to them exclusively.
— Posted by If I could only afford a MAC
3:34 pm
Excellent list, both Pogue’s and the users. I admit I didn’t look
through the whole list of suggestions, so these might be repeats:
My favorite of all time: Control-z, which in many programs will undo
your last change. You can usually repeat it a few times to get back
several steps.
In Excel: Control-1 brings up the cell formatting menu, which most
folks use a lot.
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— Posted by Vaughn
669. October
3:42 pm
Haven’t seen this posted yet…I have little icons (you can drag them
from their address line) in my Vista bottom tray (on left next to Start
button) for my fave websites (NYT, WSJ, CNBC, etc). These are
always visible and will launch those sites in a new tab in IE7. Very
handy. No more typing most web addresses.
— Posted by MarjD
670. October
3:43 pm
Under Windows, if you want to copy an entire table of numbers from
a web page into a spreadsheet, OpenOffice Calc will do it straight
away, but Excel isn’t smart enough. If you’re stuck with Excel, first
paste your copied data into a new Wordpad document, then highlight
everything in Wordpad and copy again, then paste into Excel.
Wordpad is remarkable in this way, it can straighten out many
format-copying problems, and every copy of Windows has it under
Hope this helps….love your column, David…
— Posted by Jim
671. October
3:47 pm
Almost every application for OS X supports emacs-style keyboard
shortcuts for text editing. Try it: type in a textfield. Press ctrl-e, ctrl-a,
ctrl-k, ctrl-y, ctrl-b, ctrl-f, … (note: press control, not command)
In particular, anything built with Apple developer tools will have
these shortcuts. Other apps, like Firefox, have to be configured to
include this functionality (*grumble*).
— Posted by Brandon
672. October
3:47 pm
Nice list, but hunting through these comments can be tiresome. I
hope people see this one:
Google or elsewhere. On the Mac, I highly recommend opening Help
(at the menu bar on top) and searching for “Keyboard shortcuts.”
There are extremely useful shortcuts for when you experience a
freeze, for example, and you can print these out for your convenience,
rather than having to read them here.
— Posted by DrSchmoe
673. October
3:48 pm
Gee, thanks a bunch! I wanted to print your tips (just your tips) so I
highlighted just the tips (held the control key down while dragging
my mouse…) and then right clicking to get the menu to come up so I
could choose print. Guess what? Not only did it not print (after going
through the steps to select my printer, etc.), but my computer froze
up and I had to reboot (not once, but twice) before I got my
computer back! Then, I got the bright idea of emailing your article to
myself and printing that way. Guess what? Same thing happened.
FINALLY, I again highlighted the text (control, drag….) and COPIED
it to my WordPerfect application and THEN was able to print it.
Thanks for the tips, I think!
— Posted by Gail Van Derworp, Stockton California
674. October
4:03 pm
*You can TRIPLE-click a word to highlight the entire sentence or
*Website links only need ONE click not two. Really.
*Use CMD+enter (mac) or CTRL+enter (pc) to any basic url (e.g.
“nytimes”) and the “http://www.” and “.com” are automagically
added. Add SHIFT for “.org” sites.
*Google will convert distance, too. Try “18 miles in km.”
*On the Mac, preview any file without opening the program (acrobat,
excel, photos, word, etc.) by hitting the space bar when the item is
selected. Use arrow keys to browse through your list of files.
*On the Mac, turn anything into a ‘template’ by clicking CMD+I (for
“info”), and checking the box that says “Stationery Pad”
COOL APPLE TIPS for everyone here:
— Posted by Hani Hong
675. October
Please write that book, but do it in the form of structured lessons
that build upon each other and constantly re-use initial tips so that I
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that build upon each other and constantly re-use initial tips so that I
can remember them. Your article itself has more tips than I can
memorize, and only about half are completely new to me. But to go
through over 600 tips so far in the comments section (if they are all
tips and not repetitive), is far more than I’ll absorb much less read.
That said, my favorite is Ctrl-ALT-Print Scr, which then allows you to
paste a copy of a screen shot in a photo editor program. Useful for
website design if you have a links page and want to show what the
linked page looks like.
— Posted by Lee Dittmann
676. October
4:07 pm
677. October
4:17 pm
A couple more:
— Posted by MIKE
*Define any word in google by writing “define: word”
*Find any business in any neighborhood in Google by typing in the
business type and zip/city: “pizza in 10014″ or “coffee in Seattle”
By the way, may I write this book with you? I have to stop myself
from showing too many shortcuts to the list of people for whom I am
a personal “help desk” so as not to confuse them with too much
— Posted by Hani
678. October
4:18 pm
To preserve privacy when sending an e-mail to a group of people
who might not want everyone else on the list to get their e-mail
addresses, put your own address as the “TO” and blind-copy
everyone else.
— Posted by Neil
679. October
4:20 pm
when hunting through large text pages, CTL-F brings a find function.
This is quite superior to scrolling through and hunting for an item.
(pneumonic ctl-f ctl-(F)ind
4:22 pm
Lol, n00bs! It’s adorable, really.
681. October
4:32 pm
Ctrl-S is your best friend.
Alt-F4 is your worst nightmare.
4:48 pm
To Gerald #424 and Pat #467. On the Mac, if you use control-scroll
wheel to enlarge the screen (actually it just changes the screen
resolution) you must scroll back to the starting point before things
will function normally. It’s a great feature for looking at a blowup of
something TEMPORARILY. Remember, just scroll back to resume
where you left off.
— Posted by Drduck
— Posted by Dominique
— Posted by Hojei
— Posted by HarryR
5:11 pm
You don’t even have to type “1620 Newfield Avenue
Stamford, CT 06905
just enter the name and simultaneously press control and enter
— Posted by Scott A. Wallace
5:11 pm
Google actually does have a little-known wildcard feature.
It only works to replace whole words. It’s very useful when you are
searching for people and are unsure if a middle name is used or if a
couple’s names are both listed. (It is also useful for finding forgotten
words in the middle of a phrase or title, or for allowing for a variety
of incidental words linking your search terms)
It uses the standard wildcard symbol: * which must have spaces
around it.
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For example, try searching for: “Sarah * Palin”.
It will return results for:
“Sarah Louise Heath Palin”,
“Sarah and Todd Palin”,
“Sarah “Barracuda” Palin”,
“Sarah “Evita” Palin”,
“Sarah “Pitbull” Palin”…
(”Joe * Biden” has some interesting results too.)
One note: if you use the wildcard, it will only return results where the
wildcard DOES represent at least one word. So for completeness, also
repeat your search without using the wildcard symbol.
— Posted by Marti
685. October
5:12 pm
In Microsoft Word, select text, hold Shift and tap the F3 key to cycle
between lower case, upper case, and title case.
5:13 pm
You don’t have to type a web site address all over again every time
you want to go there. You can BOOKMARK the web page currently
displayed in your browser (on a Mac - use command-D). The address
of the web page will be stored in your Bookmarks menu and you can
go back to the same page instantly using the Bookmarks menu.
— Posted by Glenn W
(I write this in anguish from having watched my boyfriend type
w-w-w-.-g-o-o-g-l-e-.-c-o-m dozens of times. sigh.)
— Posted by Rob
687. October
5:22 pm
Google also does metric conversions, such as acres to hectares, inches
to centimeters, Celsius to Fahrenheit, etc., etc.
5:28 pm
For the person who complained she couldn’t print because it was in a
blog format, I did a few experiments and found a work-around…
— Posted by Charlene
1) You’re right, when I tried to print, I only got the original blog
entry, not all the informative comments.
2) I did a Command-A on my Mac (likely Control-A in Windows) to
select All and then a Command-C (Control-C) to copy everything;
opened Word, tried to paste (both menu and Command-P) and
3) BUT, then opened Mail, created a new message, and THEN the
Command-P copied everything into an email format. From that, I can
Not ideal, but it works — anyone else with a better idea?
— Posted by Sharon R
5:28 pm
Here’s a clever trick:
Before adding to this list of fine suggestions, use the finder in your
browser to search for what you want to add - to see if it’s already
been said.
For example, search for F10 if you’re making a comment involving
F10, or search “two fingers” if you’re wanting to comment (again) on
the newer mac mousepad feature.
— Posted by Richard
5:31 pm
I have a macbook pro and neither of mac keystrokes listed to show
the desktop works on my laptop, (and yes, I am using the correct key
for command - the one with the apple).
691. October
5:37 pm
On most cell phones, inside the contacts/address book menu, you
can get access to names of a certain letter by typing that letter. Sure
beats scrolling!
692. October
5:37 pm
Thank you Louise #608
— Posted by Alissa
— Posted by Peter
To forward only the *important* part of an email, just highlight that
part and hit forward.>
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My first computer was a LISA and I didn’t know that. It also works
with “REPLY” not only FORWARD. Thanks again.
— Posted by HarryR
693. October
5:39 pm
When a screen, or program freezes, press Alt, Ctrl Delete at the same
time. Your Windows Task Manager will pop up. Highlight the
program in question & click on the End Task button to close it out.
694. October
5:53 pm
apple H - hides the window you have before you.
option apple H- hides all windows behind that window (very
convenient if you want to drag a document to the desktop)
Itunes- Holding down option while you click on itunes allows you to
select your music library. (This is very convenient if you have a laptop
with part of your music on your hard drive and part on your laptop.
You can add files from one library to the other without duplicating
the file by clicking on the do not copy to folder box in the
— Posted by Suzanne
Word will have a back up copy of a document if your computer
crashes, even if you haven’t saved it yet, text edit will not.
In word you can create your own keyboard shortcuts in the tools
section. allows you to adjust so as to highlight, add comment, or
simply zoom to page width with out so much as pulling your hand
away from the keyboard.
now who can tell us about ergonomics and laptops?
— Posted by mike le chev
695. October
5:55 pm
Windows lists (like the right side Explorer window showing file
names and sizes, etc.) will resize all column widths with the keyboard
combination CTRL+SHFT+’+’ (that is, the numeric keypad plus
sign). Quick, undocumented remedy when some content is truncated.
— Posted by rusty
696. October
6:02 pm
What? Can you repeat everything, please?
697. October
6:03 pm
In Windows, to close a window that is minimized, right-click the
program’s button on the taskbar and click close. I THINK this works
when you Option+click on macs.
6:12 pm
In MS Word (Mac and PC) you can move a block of text by selecting
it, dragging to somewhere else on the page, and releasing the mouse
button. Holding the option key while doing this, inserts a copy of the
original selected text rather than moving it. This works in most apps
on the Mac and many on Windows. Simple.
— Posted by Naomi
— Posted by ND
— Posted by Jim
699. October
6:17 pm
To find a specific word on a page while using Safari or Firefox hit ⌘
+ F , (command + F) this works with Macs , you’ll have to test it on a
Windows computer . This way you can jump to where your name is
mentioned in a 10,000 word webstory.
— Posted by Kobia
6:26 pm
Help make life tough for spammers.
When emailing a “mass mailout” (sports clubs, school newsletters,
season greetings, whatever) list ALL recipients as BCC (blind carbon
copy), not “To”, or “CC”.
Each recipient will see the message addressed from your email
addressed to ‘undisclosed-recipient’. They will thank you for helping
to prevent the spread of their email address to every other name on
the list, including potential spammers, unsecured computers and
who knows what other nastiness.
Ask your kids’ school admin, sports groups and others if they would
publish your phone number indiscriminately. Point out that not
protecting your email address is tantamount to the same treatment of
your private information. Pass this technique on to those email
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your private information. Pass this technique on to those email
spam thrives through inconsiderate dispersal of personal details.
— Posted by rusty
701. October
6:26 pm
Dear Mr. Pogue: Thanks for the great computer’s tips. Please write
that book.
702. October
6:27 pm
Firefox allows you to create custom keyword searches that turn the
address bar into a search query bar. Great productivity booster!
— Posted by Flor de Maria Viteri
Example using Google:
1. Go to the google website
2. Right click the search box
3. From the popup menu select “Add a keyword for this search”
4. In this example I’ll use “Google” for name and “g” for the keyword
5. Click “add” and you’re done
Now, whenever you wish to search google:
1. Type ctrl + D to highlight the address bar
2. Enter g + space + search term (example: g space aliens)
You can create custom keyword searchs for any website that provides
search (amazon, wikipedia, etc).
— Posted by PG
703. October
6:30 pm
Oops, small error in my last post.
704. October
6:33 pm
Control V to paste is from the 1984 or so version of Wordstar where
the mnemonics were:
It’s ALT + D to highlight the address bar NOT CTRL + D.
— Posted by PG
ctrl Copy
ctrl moVe
— Posted by allen t
705. October
6:39 pm
One of my favorite computer accessories is a mouse with side buttons
that function as “back” and “forward” in web browsers. So much
easier to click the mouse button than to drag the cursor back up to
the left top corner over and over again! Ours works in both IE and
Also, Ctrl+T opens a new tab in Firefox as well as IE.
— Posted by Linda L.
706. October
6:43 pm
To save color ink when printing a web page, just highlight the text
you want to print (by holding down the left mouse and dragging the
arrow [which appears at the left margin when your cursor is over the
text], then in the Print menu, select print “selection”. That way you’re
not printing ads, photos, banners, etc. If your attention wanders and
something you don’t want gets highlighted, just drag the arrow back
to the text. This tip only applies if there is no “printable version” icon
for the text.
Also Cntrl + Y will repeat whatever you just typed.
— Posted by Liz
707. October
6:44 pm
Really basic: some people don’t know they can use the Center
command to center a line of text in Word. Instead they use the
spacebar to “eye” it!
More advanced: In Word I like using Ctrl+Shift+> to increase all text
by one font size (or Ctrl+Shift+
— Posted by Pam R
6:48 pm
Ctrl F6 - switches between documents in Word, very handy
Hit F8 in Word - then arrow keys or page up or page down will
highlight text or ctrl end or ctrl home, more control and faster than
wild mouse - in other words, with cursor at beginning of 1000 page
document hit F8 then ctrl end and the whole document will be
highlighted for cutting pasting or formatting font or paragraph
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In Word Tools Menu go to customize Keyboard All Commands and
create the keystrokes you want - I have set up my keyboard with the
old Wordstar keystroke commands I was used to using the alt key my hands fly - I never have to use the mouse - of course the keyboard
must be for you and you only, others will be driven crazy by it
— Posted by SS
709. October
6:49 pm
Read through the first few hundred of these and found one tip that
was new to me, so I’ll probably take the time to read the rest. But I’m
constantly surprised by how many repeat comments a post like this
gets… do people just not bother to read the thread before posting
their own advice to not enter “.com” when typing a url? I have to
take a break now, so I can reduce my frustration level some, because
I do suspect there will be more shortcuts I didn’t already know about
hidden in the numerous repeat tips.
For that reason, I think a compilation of these tips would be great.
Like many of the techies who have responded, I know at least a
dozen people who would benefit from such a list. Any chance you’ll
really write ‘The Basics’ for that large target audience?
— Posted by Christina Jeskey
710. October
6:52 pm
1. to type in the address of a web site, I just type the name, such as and press enter to find the site.
I really like a program called snagit to copy anything on the screen
and save it or send it or whatever. It’s a really inexpensive program
that has tremendous applications. I have not financial interst in
— Posted by Don Arsenault
711. October
6:52 pm
Waow,thank you very much for this very helpful tips.I did not know
any of this shortcuts,and i am on the computer constantly.
712. October
6:54 pm
I remember the old days when you bought a computer, or a piece of
software, and it would actually come with a thick manual which you
could read in order to learn the details of how it worked - if you were
so inclined. It seems pointless that they include all these features
without a systematic way to learn them anymore. The “help menus”
are not conducive to being read thoroughly while curling up in a
comfortable chair, and I find that they often contain incorrect,
presumably outdated information.
— Posted by juan A.
— Posted by Michael
713. October
6:57 pm
This trick will only work for Mac users.
If you spill coffee or something, do like you’re press command-Z on
the table. The spilt drink will instantly return to the cup. Amazing.
— Posted by bruceb
714. October
7:01 pm
In Google you can also add the domain(type of site you want). Search
“tax forms .gov” or “solar power .edu” to eliminate all the commercial
In Excel, under “Edit”, there is the magic “Fill” command. It will fill
in the data for you. If you click in the field where you want to start
and drag your mouse throught the following rows or columns, you
can repeat the original field in all of the rows you’ve highlighted by
using “Down.” The magic part is if you select “Series.” It will number
your rows by ones or threes or fives, as you like. If you select “Series”
and then “AutoFill” it will fill in months or dates or years, etc. Just be
sure your first cell has the information to begin the list you want.
— Posted by Sharon
715. October
7:08 pm
I just sent it to my daughter. Thanks, P.
716. October
7:09 pm
Uh, I just got a Mac after years and years of using only PCs, so the
advice here is unbelievably timely and helpful. I particularly enjoyed
the “right click” help. But what, pray tell, is “control click”?
— Posted by amans
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— Posted by Etaoin
717. October
7:27 pm
Over 620 comments, and everyone keeps repeating the same dozen
tips or so.
718. October
7:32 pm
On Windows, when you drag a file to a new location:
- Hold down CTRL to copy the file
- Hold down ALT to create a shortcut to the file
- Hold down SHIFT to move the file (useful in situations where
Windows defaults to copying, like when you’re moving a file from one
hard drive to another)
— Posted by Kate
Also, in Firefox, you can drag selected text into the search box or
address bar to automatically search for that text or go to that web
address. Or, if you drag the text into the tab bar, it will open that
address in a new tab.
— Posted by Matt
719. October
7:32 pm
Besides the invaluable Ctrl-Z that un-does everything and ends up
making you feel like having one of those for your everyday life as
well, Ctr-Y re-does the command you-ve just Ctrl-Z’ed.
That’s particularly useful when using a word processor and you want
to jump back and forth between particularly long text insertions.
— Posted by Pedro
720. October
7:34 pm
Top 10 Adobe Creative Suite Keyboard Shortcuts
From my Blog:
10: Copying a graphic or object: select the graphic/object, hold down
the alt key (option key on a Mac) and drag;
9: Zooming Out with the Zoom Tool (Magnifiying Glass Tool): hold
down the alt key (option key on Mac) and click with the Zoom Tool
8: Displaying a page or document at 100%: A: Hold down the Control
Key and the “1″ key; or, my favorite, double click on the Zoom Tool
(Magnifiying Glass) in the Tool box.
7: Displaying a document within the existing monitor screen (Fit in
Window): Hold down the Control Key and the “0″ (zero) key on the
keyboard or double click on the Hand Tool in the Tool box.
6. Temporarily displaying the hand tool to scroll around the page:
hold down the spacebar and click and drag the mouse; let go of the
spacebar to return to the previous tool you were using.
5. Hide all panels and toolbars: hold down the Tab key.
4: Hide only the panels on the right hand side of the screen: hold
down the Tab and Shift keys.
3: Cycle through the screen modes (Photoshop and Illustrator only) :
hold down the F key on the keyboard. (Note: this single-key keyboard
short cut is also a “gotcha” one that you can very easily accidentally
implement in the normal course of working in Photoshop and
Illustrator.) The various screen modes in Photoshop and Illustrator
are also accessible by clicking and holding down the mouse on the
icon at the bottom of Tool Box. (Gotcha Alert: all the tools in the Tool
Box in both Photoshop and Illustrator have single-letter keyboard
shortcuts, so if you’re not careful you can easily and accidentally
trigger one of these shortcuts.)
2: Draw a perfect circle or square (depending on what tool you use)
hold down the Shift key and keep it held down while drawing.
And the number one Creative Suite Keyboard Shortcut:
1: To draw a shape or selection from the center out (instead of the
default upper left corner): select the desired drawing tool (rectangle,
ellipse, etc, or rectangular or elliptical selection tools) hold down the
alt key and click and drag the mouse.
Bonus Keyboard Shortcut: Control - Z (Windows; Command -Z on
the Macintosh) is Un-Do.
Photoshop has only one level of Un-Do, that is you hit Control Z you
go back on step. Illustrator has multiple levels of Un-Do, every time
you hit Control Z you go back another step, same with InDesign.
However Photoshop has another feature: Step Backward, keyboard
shortcut is Alt-Control-Z. Every time you use it you go back another
step. This feature ties in with the History Panel in Photoshop (which
is sort of a super Un-Do).
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— Posted by Ken
721. October
7:35 pm
If you write that book, I will buy a copy. I will buy additional copies
for my wife, mom, sister, brother and kid, also.
I promise. =]
— Posted by Phat Pat
722. October
7:37 pm
Ctrl-up or down leaps from parapgraph to paragraph in a word
document as opposed from line-by-line.
Add Shift to do the same while selecting that paragraph.
— Posted by Pedro
723. October
7:50 pm
THANK YOU!!!!!! also there’s a good anti-spyware program that’s
free! It won’t interfere with security already on your computer. go to to download SPYBOT SEARCH and
— Posted by Cathy
724. October
7:50 pm
I know someone hinted at this, but I wanted to make it clearer.
If you’re going through a body of text, be it in a Word, WordPerfect,
TextEdit document, an email, a comment on a blog… you can
ALWAYS skip through it word-by-word and paragraph-by-paragraph
using Option + arrow (Mac) or Ctrl + arrow (PC). Up and down skip
by paragraph, while left and right skip by word or grouping of
Using the same logic, you can also hold Shift while doing this to select
a single word, a group of words, or even a whole paragraph (or six).
This is especially useful when used in conjunction with other textediting keystrokes — cut (ctr/cmd + x), paste (+ v), copy (+ c), undo
(+ z), redo (+ y), print (+ p), save (+ s), etc.
I try never to use the mouse/trackpad unless I’m forced to do so, and
resent the move away from keyboard commands in many programs.
— Posted by Eva
725. October
7:55 pm
Oh this article and replies to it have me mesmerised - I never knew
98% of this stuff. Write the book and include replies as well. Just
726. October
8:10 pm
Interesting that so many of these keyboard “shortcuts” are all we had
to work with when DOS was all we had for PCs. The pendulum swings
both ways–back to the future!
727. October
8:17 pm
Google does some higher math too - for instance, the query
— Posted by susan
— Posted by Gordon
3.95 usd/gal in gbp/l
3.95 (U.S. dollars / gal) = 0.587544824 British pounds / l
FYI: Current avg petrol in the UK is 109.17 p/l according to for unleaded.
Or for instance, if you markup your foreign goods, you could query
1500/.7 eur in usd to get a retail price for goods that you purchase for
1500 euros in us dollars (at the current rate, of course).
— Posted by David M
728. October
8:20 pm
A couple of people asked what the Windows key is. Not all keyboards
have it. If you have it, it’s usually in the bottom row and is marked
with the four little wavy boxes of the Windows logo. You can always
buy a new keyboard with more features for less than $20 or so.
Here’s another idea: use a regular keyboard connected to your laptop
to have larger keys and a 10-key number pad. You can put the regular
keyboard down lower in a more ergonomic position and it’s better for
your hands and wrists. I sent both my kids off to college with an extra
keyboard just for this purpose. Laptop on the desk, keyboard on the
keyboard tray.
— Posted by Linda L.
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8:21 pm
10/8/08 9:09 AM
While reading the above excellent tips, my windows START button
capriciously went from the bottom left of the screen to the top right. I
cannot get it to go back to the bottom left of the screen. Does anyone
have a suggestion?
— Posted by steve
730. October
8:22 pm
In Google, if you are getting search results of stuff you do not want,
you can add a “-” before the unwanted thing.
For example, if you are searching for “apple” and keep getting
Macintosh products, search for “apple -Macintosh”
— Posted by Ben
731. October
8:22 pm
RE: alt+d = takes you to the address bar of most modern web
browsers and Windows (file) explorer (some people think of it as My
Computer window). This way you can easily type in the next address
or drive letter you want to jump to instead of using the mouse to
highlight it.
— Posted by mark s
F6 works for both of these too and it’s only one key
— Posted by Anne
732. October
8:23 pm
In Firefox, hit the escape key to stop flash elements from flashing.
733. October
8:25 pm
While reading a web page, use the key to go to the previous page.
734. October
8:31 pm
The best TIP for efficient Internet browsing:
735. October
8:42 pm
RE: I am surprised by how few people, even practiced writers, are
unaware of the split-screen function in MIcroSoft Word. Clicking on
the little blue button in the upper-right hand corner (above the scroll
bar) of a Word screen will divide the screen in half; each will now
have its own scroll bar. It’s possible, then, to keep one section of your
document in front of you while scrolling down or up in the other
portion of your screen. A great way, for example, to compare an
opening and closing paragraph of a longer document. (The “Window”
tab from the top menu will also activate and de-activate this
— Posted by Lenore
— Posted by Betsy
— Posted by Dwight
— Posted by RL
I like this feature too and note that you can also double-click on the
divider between the two halves of the document to remove the
— Posted by Anne
736. October
8:48 pm
One finger on a Mac mousepad moves the cursor, but two fingers on
the pad scrolls up and down the page.
737. October
8:51 pm
Someone said: “The key that is between the right Windows key and
right CTRL opens a context menu just like clicking with the right
mouse button.” Then use the arrows to highlight the command you
want and hit enter. If you want the menu to go away, hit ALT. Now
you don’t need to use your carpal tunnel inducing mouse.
— Posted by osisbs
— Posted by manny k
738. October
8:54 pm
Most people do not know about Freelanthropy, which donates an
(small, but still valuable!) amount of money to a charitable cause
every time you make an internet search.
If you have any organization or cause that you’d like to support daily,
go to and search for it. Download the toolbar (free
and quick) and it will be added to the top of your web browser. If you
work for a non-profit organization, look into this and create one for
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work for a non-profit organization, look into this and create one for
You should know that Freelanthropy only runs their searches
through Yahoo! I personally prefer Google, but maintain my search
box for both Google! and my non-profit of choice’s toolbar next to
each other and use them both.
The toolbar also has Shop-and-Give links to most services (everything
from amazon and ebay amongst nordstroms and united airlines) so
you that when you navigate to the retailer site through this button,
your cause gets a donation from the sales!
Nothing has changed in my internet use, except that anytime I use it
I’m actually donating a bit of money. Imagine if everyone had it on
their computer…
— Posted by Rebecca
739. October
8:54 pm
As I work as a translator, I sometimes need to use more than one
language in the same text in Office Word. You can customize your
keyboard to switch easily between languages, including those rightto-left languages like Arabic. I use left Alt+Shift to move between
English and Arabic and back in the same document. Don’t forget to
add your new language input to Windows from the Control Panel
(under Date, Time, Language and regional Options.) You can also use
the bilingual configuration in your Internet browsing. Google, for
example, can do search in languages other than English. While in
New York, I regularly read all Arabic-language newspapers in the
Middle East.
— Posted by Sami ELRAZAZ
740. October
8:57 pm
I’ve only read 400 comments, but so far, no one has mentioned these
Press Ctrl C twice to open a “sidebar”. Everything you copy or cut will
be listed there (you can delete any entries), and you can paste any of
them at any time.
In my version of Word, hitting the Return key twice after the first line
will cause it to be formatted as a header. If you don’t want this, press
undo (Ctrl z). The text will remain but the formatting disappears.
This undoes many auto-functions, such bulleted lists, auto-corrects,
Use auto-correct! You can automatically capitalize sentences or fix
inappropriate capitalization. Also — Choose “replace text as you
type”. Then, when you misspell a word, rt-click it(turn on ). Select
AutoCorrect and choose the correct spelling. Then words you
commonly misspell will be corrected automatically as you type. If you
don’t want the correction, press Undo and the original spelling
— Posted by Susan
741. October
9:04 pm
Love this post! So many things I thought everyone knew, and so
many more I should have known. Here’s one I didn’t see:
On a laptop (or at least on a MacBook) use two fingers on the
mousepad to scroll up or down, left or right.
— Posted by keikosan
742. October
9:13 pm
To immediately silence a cell phone ring without having to answer it
and hang up which I see people do all the time - press the volume key
on the side.
743. October
9:18 pm
For PCs:
— Posted by richard
Press ALT + F4 to close programs and/or shortcut to the “Shut down,
Restart, Sleep” menu.
— Posted by Nina
744. October
9:21 pm
Bookmark current page:
Drag and drop the IE icon found in extreme upper left-hand corner
of browser into Favorites or onto Desktop.
Access bookmark:
Drag and drop bookmark from Favorites into Address bar or
anywhere in browser window.
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anywhere in browser window.
Delete file without having to empty Recycle bin later:
Drag and drop file into Recycle bin while pressing Shift key.
Execute Menu bar commands (File, Edit, View, etc.) ALT underlined letter. Then press letter of sub-menu command (Save As,
Print, etc).
— Posted by TQ
745. October
9:29 pm
This still amazes me… I have a friend that didnt realize you could
hold down shift and then any letter to capitalize it in a word
processor. Bless her, she would highlight the first letter and select
uppercase from the drop down menu!
— Posted by Jimmy D
746. October
9:33 pm
Especially useful for chemist/scientist-types
In word:
ctrl-plus = subscript
ctrl-shift-plus = superscript
First highlight the numbers/letters of choice with shift and arrow
keys. The use the ctrl-shift-plus command. Great for many chemical
formulas like H2O, CO2, or e=mc2. I use this constantly when
writing technical text.
— Posted by Mak
747. October
9:34 pm
Control + A will highlight the whole document. Saves lots of time.
748. October
9:48 pm
Thank you for this article - it is very helpful, even if I don’t know
what a lot of you are even talking about! My kids can’t believe my
husband & I actually graduated from college and law school without
computers. We had to research everything in books and files in the
library and type papers on typewriters. How could we possible know
— Posted by Cindy M
— Posted by Sarah
749. October
9:54 pm
While scrolling on a Synaptics touchpad, if you keep making the
motion you’ll scroll faster.
Works on my Inspiron e1505.
— Posted by Ted Sawchuck
750. October
9:58 pm
2 I didn’t see above:
-you can use ctrl+tab to switch tabs in firefox/safari/chrome (i’m
guessing IE as well)
-to select multiple items, use ctrl (PC) or command (Mac) and click
the second item. Or, you can press shift and select all items between
the first and second item. You can then go back and ctrl deselect ones
you dont want. Oh and ctrl (or command)+ A selects all the items
available (all text in a document or all files in a folder). Very handy.
— Posted by David
751. October
10:04 pm
There isn’t an “any” key on the keyboard.
You can’t crash the Internet.
If you open more than one copy of the same document on the same
computer and work on then both at the same time, you may
overwrite information you think you saved from one or the other
Opening and working on files attached to email messages while still
in the email program may prevent you from saving your work for
later retrieval. Save the attached files to disk before you work on
If your computer won’t turn on, check the power cable. It has to be
plugged in. Low tech failures are more common that high tech
If your porch collapses and kills more than seven computers, you
might be a geek.
— Posted by Dan H
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752. October
10:28 pm
10/8/08 9:09 AM
Save yourself from Trojans that wreck your registry. Download
Spybot. Install it and turn on Tea-Timer.
Tea-Timer will alert you whenever a program tries to update the
registry - I ALWAYS deny updates to the registry.
Also download Avast - FREE ( and damn good ) Virus protection.
— Posted by charles
753. October
10:36 pm
Question to All of you.
Can I make WORD File of the Article and all (more than 700+)
Please tell us, how? (10.35PM, 10-4-08)
I would like to try some of the tricks, on my time.
— Posted by MRK
754. October
10:36 pm
I disagree with the suggestion to not type “www” before web
addresses. Quite often “” and “”
actually are two different things, or there can be subdomains such as
“” for example that don’t even use “www”.
— Posted by Ryan
755. October
10:38 pm
What a fabulous resource we all are, even having to wade through all
the duplicate tips. Here are the ones I didn’t see listed:
Firefox on Mac:
* “Escape” stops flash elements from flashing on the current page.
* Command-D opens the bookmark dialogue.
* “/” opens quick-search window; click on page and window
* Command-W closes the current tab
* From suggestions above I found that, like text snippets, I can drag
images from web pages into Appleworks or other word processing
documents. Which is groovy.
* F12 opens DVD drive
* When hung up, click on Apple icon on menu bar to force-quit the
— Posted by Lenore
756. October
10:51 pm
In Windows alt-f4 brings up Bill Gates’ SSN. In Macs you get Jobs’
mother’s maiden name by hitting apple -f4.
Keep the tricks coming!
— Posted by Sean
757. October
11:20 pm
Why don’t the Times blogs have a “print” button?
758. October
11:27 pm
On a Mac, holding the Option key while moving the file on the
desktop or in a window will copy the file. This “Option dragging”
works in all the Adobe graphic programs also, as a way of copying
— Posted by Eugene Falik
I’m not sure if Alt dragging will work on a PC desktop, but in Adobe
programs (Photoshop, Ilustrator, InDesign, etc.) it works the same as
a Mac.
Also, on a Mac, you can take a screen shot by pressing Command,
Shift 3. A png file will appear on your desktop, named Picture1.png. If
you use the number 4 instead of 3, your cursor will turn in to a
crosshair, and you can drag it to select which part of your desktop to
take a screen shot of.
— Posted by susan
759. October
11:32 pm
WOW! This is a lot of posts!
Here is a good tip I had to teach everyone at work:
-When I send you a file, say an excel sheet, it may just say “Excel”
without any extension. Before you come to me and complain that
macs are not compatible with Windows, try placing the extension on
the end of the file name. My Mac knows exactly what that file is, your
Windows does not.
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An email along those lines got me in a little trouble, so I responded
with common extensions: .jepg,.gif,.png for images and .doc (word)
.xls (excel) .ppt (powerpoint), .mov (quicktime movie) and most
important (!!!!) a .docx is the NEW OFFICE EXTENSION!!!
I am slowly working macs into our office.
— Posted by Jeremy Browning
760. October
11:45 pm
when you’re filling in a form and the word that’s already in the box is
highlighted, you don’t need to hit “delete”. Just start typing your
replacement. It’ll replace what’s already there.
761. October
11:55 pm
Triple-click in the left margin to select the entire MS WORD
762. October
12:00 am
This is awesome–keep it coming. Now, if all newspapers and the
media could engage in such work–education and real information–
this world would be much better.
763. October
12:00 am
* Come up with an automated backup system for your computer.
— Posted by pv
— Posted by Bill
— Posted by Mwendah
So, please make some suggestions as to how best to back up
— Posted by sarah
764. October
12:23 am
We need 20 tips or so on basic security that anyone can do — re
phishing of course, Web browsing and malware, SSL certificates,
spyware, reducing spam, and thinking through how to guard your
interests when giving out personal information. Laptop can be lost or
stolen — so one needs real deletion, protecting the swap file, and
encrypted areas, or whole-disk encryption if necessary (certainly with
a backup policy, just in case). Also, apparently some cell phones can
be hacked electronically even if turned off; travelers to the recent
Olympics were advised to take the battery out, to block this spying for
sure. Would it be effective (and easier) to turn the phone off, then
wrap it in aluminum foil, instead of bothering with the battery?
— Posted by John S James
765. October
12:26 am
Linda! Help with the computer!
766. October
12:26 am
If you are still getting “register this product” windows when using
valid and registered Photoshop or Illustrator CS2 programs on Vista,
right click on the shortcut or start menu link and select “run as
administrator”. You will still receive a register prompt, but after that
they will disappear.
— Posted by artie
— Posted by PJ
767. October
12:36 am
David- change this so that blogs can be printed. This, and many other
blogs, are too valuable not to be printed for future use.
768. October
12:48 am
I wanna go back to DOS…
769. October
12:52 am
This is perfect for my parents.
770. October
1:01 am
Three cheers for your enthusiasm. But let us note that there are
many duplications. Many more tips fail to communicate their utility
because a key descriptive is missing or the context is insufficiently
set. Communication has to happen in this business if people are to be
productive and happy. They need to be left with not what you said
— Posted by lawrence
— Posted by woozie
— Posted by Courtney
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productive and happy. They need to be left with not what you said
and what you meant but what it is they need to undertake an action
and be successful. Now, start again. Let’s give the man the book he
771. October
1:02 am
If you owned a Mac, you would automatically know all of these
shortcuts, intuitively–and computer time would be fun time, all the
772. October
1:19 am
773. October
1:22 am
In most browsers I know, you can hit the up-arrow and down-arrow
keys to move up or down a line in a page while reading an article. It
surprises me to find even “experienced” users reaching for the mouse
just to scroll down a few lines.
— Posted by Al
— Posted by JEANETTE
If someone can quantify the wrist injuries that can be avoided by
substituting shortcuts for just 80% of the most used commands, and
translate it in terms of health care cost and productivity lost it may
be an eye opener.
— Posted by krish
774. October
1:25 am
I knew most of your tips but a couple were new to me and useful;
same for the posted comments. Here are two I haven’t seen: 1)
Suspicious of a link in an e-mail message supposedly from your
bank, or in a web page? Hover the cursor over the link (without
clicking). The real address for the link will appear in the lower left
margin of the
window. The link might say “” but the
address that appears in the lower left might say something like
“”. 2) When several programs are
open in Windows Vista, holding down Alt-Tab will bring up a list of
program icons for programs that are open, just like in Windows XP;
however, unlike XP, in Vista you can click on a program icon to jump
to that program. (I always wanted this in XP and now it’s available in
— Posted by Harold Melnick
775. October
1:35 am
After nearly 20 years of using computers (starting with the PC-XT
generation) and two hours of wading through this article and 700odd comments, it seems to me that one thing has remained
unchanged over all those years — user manuals, which ought to
anticipate and answer most of these questions — are written either by
morons (for the ordinary user) or by geeks (for other geeks).
— Posted by Vivek Khadpekar
776. October
1:40 am
yeah, except your tip doesn’t always work. try typing in just
777. October
1:51 am
˙uʍop ǝpısdn ʇı ǝʞɐɯ ‫ןן‬ıʍ ʇı puɐ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ ʇɐ ʇxǝʇ ʎuɐ ǝdʎʇ
778. October
2:17 am
Yes, you can print the entire blog in several ways. To make it a Word
document just press Control-a and and then Control-c. This will
place the entire blog in the clipboard. Now, in a new blank Word
document, you can save it in two ways. The simplest way is to press
Control-v to paste it in the new document in HTML format. For this
blog the document will be fairly large and may exceed your
computer’s memory or even freeze up Word if the computer is older.
No problem. Restart Word and in a new document go to Paste Special
and paste the clipboard into the document as a text-only format.
There you have it! Now you’ll have to edit it to get rid of unwanted
lines, but it is all there.
— Posted by student
— Posted by michelleeeeee
— Posted by Phil
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779. October
2:29 am
10/8/08 9:09 AM
@ steve, #729 … my windows START button capriciously went from
the bottom left of the screen to the top right.
The taskbar was unlocked and somehow you happened to click near
it. It though you wanted to reposition it. Right-click on the taskbar,
make sure “Lock the Taskbar” is not checked (click it if it is), then
just click-hold-and drag it back to the bottom of your screen.
— Posted by AGraham
2:30 am
On the mac you can press Delete on the keyboard instead of mousing
up to the “back” button when you want to return to previous web
781. October
2:32 am
To see smaller versions of all open windows on a Mac, hit F9. Then
you can click on whatever open window you want to go to.
782. October
2:47 am
You can turn off your computer and have a life.
783. October
2:52 am
function+arrows on many laptops adjusts screen light/darkness
— Posted by TML
— Posted by CINDY LOWE
— Posted by ron
ctrl+tab often jumps between tabs in many programs
alt+shift often changes languages on computers that have more than
one keyboard input language (which can lead to some justification
left/right issues that people can have trouble with)
— Posted by Nabeel
784. October
3:02 am
HELP!! I accidentally emptied my Recycle Bin. Is there any way I can
retrieve those deleted files that were in the Recycle Bin?
— Posted by Kevin Franken
785. October
3:13 am
All the keyboard shortcuts are great, but if you really want to speed
things up, turn off the NumLock key on a standard PC keyboard. If
you do that, you suddenly have tons of functionality under the right
hand: page up, page down, left, right, up and down arrows, Home,
End, delete, Enter, etc. Practice using these keys with the shift, alt
and control keys in the left hand and see how much faster you can
navigate through text!
— Posted by SE
786. October
3:32 am
1. Press “alt enter” to wrap within an excel cell
2. Use a minus number to round numbers to the left of the decimal
point of a number in excel (eg =round(123456.78,-3) = 123000)
787. October
4:16 am compares the number of results returned from
google for 2 search terms and displays them in a bar chart. For
example, when badabing fights fo shizzle, badabing returns a measly
216,000 compared to 446,000 for fo shizzle. Does Palin beat Biden?
You betcha. Palin’s 83,800,000 is over 7 times Biden’s results. But
then insider slaughters maverick, 182,000,000 to 29,400,000.
— Posted by Jack
— Posted by Dundee
788. October
4:52 am
how about a tip for organizing these tips and saving them for future
reference that does not involve printing out several hundred pages
(after selecting all text and pasting into word)? popularity of this post
demonstrates the failure of computing to solve basic problems that
directly address the fact that despite technological advances
productivity has not increased in parallel to the same extent. where is
the increase in our leisure time?
— Posted by Ted
789. October
for safari, a list of shortcuts is available at
file:///Applications/ tcuts.html
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5:01 am
790. October
5:07 am
10/8/08 9:09 AM
file:///Applications/ tcuts.html
— Posted by thorm
You can save time entering new web addresses in Internet Explorer
by pressing Ctrl-Enter. For example, typing tripcart and pressing
Ctrl-Enter would automatically add a www. prefix and a .com suffix
and will load the page. Unfortunately, this
only works with .com domains.
— Posted by yot
791. October
5:39 am
Wonderful tips and you should write the book. But isn’t all this a
condemnation of the PC industry (ah, and Mr. Bill Gates). The fact
that you need all these tricks to get the most out of an appliance?
Shame on the industry… I suggest we all press CTRL+ALT+DEL on
this industry…then SWITCH TO…a new unheard of mode called
“consumer friendly”
— Posted by Bob Snyder
792. October
5:59 am
A very useful one I only recently learned: Instead of using the Format
painter to copy styles in Microsoft Word,
1. select the relevant word/sentence/paragraph with the style you
want to copy, then press Ctrl+Shift+C
2. select the word/sentence/paragraph to be formatted, and press
— Posted by Adrian
793. October
6:06 am
you never need to “double click” on links in web pages to open
e-mail addresses are not CAse SeNsitive
command-L on a Mac will automatically select the URL address
window so you can type in a new URL without clicking into it nor
deleting the previous address first
— Posted by Eric
794. October
6:08 am
Great tips - thanks everybody! Proof that multiple heads are better
than 1. Something I don’t think I’ve seen mentioned yet, though I
read the first half of the comments and scrolled through the second
clicking on a link with the scroll button in the middle of a mouse
opens it in a new tab. This works for Firefox and the new IE with
tabs. [ctrl+left click on a link will do the same - I usually use this with
the trackpad on my laptop or when using a mouse w/o scroll key.]
— Posted by H3
795. October
6:17 am
Hey Carl, I thought you would like this article and all the shortcuts
discussed here. Talk to you soon.
796. October
6:22 am
Turning the “off” button on any of the devices will allow you to spend
quality time with your family, friends or pets. It will also diminish the
amount of noise droning inside your head.
797. October
6:56 am
how do you delete items from your contacts list in skype on a mac?
798. October
6:58 am
For all those who want to save the info from this blog including all
the replies, save the article to your Times Save file. It will include the
article plus the replies. IF you don’t have a Times Save File, sign up
for one. It’s free.
— Posted by Carl Newell
— Posted by medogsbstfrnd
— Posted by david
— Posted by JM
799. October
You mentioned a camera so I decided to segue:
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7:07 am
10/8/08 9:09 AM
If you are alone (i.e. no-one to hold umbrella over you) HOW do you
take pictures in pouring rain?
Please don’t suggest waterproof camera - DSLR’s don’t come that way
- or, more accurately put: I am NOT going to buy a new camera.
— Posted by Liz Read
7:07 am
I’ve been distributing PC techie tips to teachers for years. Losing
documents and web sites are two frequent frustrations.
Use F12 to Save As in office documents
This is especially useful when an attached Word document is opened
in Outlook. If you make modifications, do not simply Save; rather
click F12 to force a Save As which allows you to specify where you
want the document saved. Otherwise it is saved in a temporary
internet space.
For saving web sites, the New York Times has a Save feature in
addition to Email and Print. As long as you have an account, you
have save your favorite articles there.
To save other sites, store them to Furl, which unlike, saves
a complete copy of the page so web pages can never be lost.
— Posted by Karolyne
801. October
7:08 am
When you are have something like a blog or other website thing that
does not seem to print correctly, do a select all of it. Then paste that
into Word and then click on the little icon at the end of the text and a
menu will appear on which you should choose match destination
formating. This will pop it in between your default margins (using an
— Posted by Charles Wankel
7:28 am
Ctrl J justifies the paragraph in Wordstar 4.
7:37 am
— Posted by GeneWAHI
Here is a great one for copy and paste. In Win-XP and MS Word. In
MS-Word just hit Control+C+C to open the clip board. All
subsequent copies go into the clip board. Then in MS Word you can
individually or selectively copy them into another document.
Anyone know why a company that makes gazillion dollars can’t
provide half decent documentation for it’s software?
— Posted by Fred Zimnoch
7:40 am
Some people might find these resources helpful:
1) an Amazon book search that gives 2 existing books on keyboard
2) the Wikipedia page on keyboard shortcuts:;
3) the Wikipedia table of keyboard shortcuts: s;
4) a site the Wikipedia page references:
These resources will help you learn about many more if you are
One Windows shortcut I have not seen in the 700+ previous replies
in this thread: “Alt + minus sign” gives you a menu for
minimize/maximize/restore/move/resize/close of the PANE of
application you have current. A pane is a window within a window;
not all applications use panes, and some use them incorrectly. Best
example: if you open multiple spreadsheets in Excel, each one is in a
pane. You can use the Window menu item of Excel to tile or cascade
the panes, letting you see all of the worksheets at once, in their own
pane within the overall Excel window. And then the “Alt + minus
sign” shortcut lets you manipulate the current pane.
— Posted by Tim
7:59 am
to me the command prompt is the most useful tool within the
Windows environment. Particularly the ping, msconfig and ipconfig
are the 3 I use the most.
— Posted by Chris
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10/8/08 9:09 AM
To copy all of this into word, first open a blank word document, then
in your browser click on Edit in the menu bar, then choose ’select all’
- then hit the Ctrl key and the letter c to copy what you have selected.
Go to your blank word document and hit the Ctrl key and the letter v,
to paste into your word document. There will be some extraneous
stuff at the top and bottom which you can delete if desired.
— Posted by Cheryl
8:36 am
In answer to #529: try the free program EverNote. Selected the entire
story (CTRL+A), dragged it into a new note and it prints. All links are
8:37 am
Ctrl + (right arrow) = move one word at a time
Ctrl + backspace = delete one word at a time
8:47 am
It’s sometimes handy to may have more than one homepage in
browsers. In IE, Tools > Internet Options. It’s easiest to go to your
second choice homepage and just hit the Current button.
— Posted by Karolyne
— Posted by Rich
Tty iGoogle. Since switching my primary homepage to iGoogle, I have
had an enormous increase in productivity.
In Firefox, have the pages you want as Homepages open, then Tools
> Options > click button for Use Current pages.
For the homepage in Firefox, click Alt +Home, in IE click Alt + M.
— Posted by Karolyne
810. October
8:57 am
“You generally can’t send someone more than a couple of full-size
digital photos as an e-mail attachment; those files are too big, and
they’ll bounce back to you. (Instead, use iPhoto or Picasa–photoorganizing programs that can automatically scale down photos in the
process of e-mailing them.)”
Apple Mail can do this for you:
“Adjust the image size using the pop-up menu at the bottom right of
the window.
Mail inserts the picture in its actual size. This could cause the
message to exceed limits set by your email provider. If the message
size at the bottom left of the window appears in red, choose a smaller
size from the pop-up menu.”
— Posted by Tony
811. October
9:03 am
I want to join Woozie but signing up to blogs such as the several
there are which tell you about keyboard shortcuts makes life a bit
better and keeps your hand on the keyboard where they belong.
And I am still using DataEase for DOS and WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS
for those applications that do not require the more up to date
— Posted by Hazel Edmunds
812. October
9:07 am
Not simple, but critical tips.
If you’re able to set up the operating system yourself, put the
operating system in its own partition. This does take a bit of registry
fiddling; not for the novice.
I put my data on a separate partition.
The reason why I do this is so that before I make any changes to the
operating system (installing new programs or drivers), I use Ghost
2003 to save the operating system partition to another hard disk.
This only takes about 5 minutes.
The other reason is that in case something messes up your operating
system, you can always go back in time. I save each backup with the
date as a file name.
There are countless posts on forums where people have spent days or
weeks attempting to resolve some problems related to malware,
viruses, driver problems etc.
— Posted by ed
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813. October
9:12 am
10/8/08 9:09 AM
Don’t like the default a keyboard shortcut, or want to customize your
own keyboard shortcuts?
For Mac system shortcuts, go to system preferences> keyboard
mouse> keyboard shortcuts.
There you can customize or assign your own.
Same thing for customizing mouse + trackpad functions.
Many applications, such as Photoshop, allow you to customize
application specific keyboard shortcuts. Rather than getting specific,
I’d suggest doing a search on an application’s help page for keyboard
shortcuts. I’ve got mine setup to perform frequently used actions in a
single keystroke.
Thanks, David!
— Posted by misterphelps
814. October
9:27 am
815. October
9:32 am
“Use Google to find it.”
— Posted by this should be saved by all those wanting a book
Here’s another basic tip. There’s more then one search engine.
I scratch my head every time I see that and wonder why so many
people give away free advertising to Google.
A better way to say it is look it up on the internet or use your favorite
search engine.
— Posted by David G.
816. October
9:36 am
Triple click anywhere in a sentence to select the entire sentence.
Use the HOME and END keys to jump to the top or bottom of
documents or webpages.
On a Windows machine, if you keep overwriting text you might have
hit the INSERT key by accident. Press INSERT again to go back to
regular typing.
Its much easier to use the number pad on the right side of the
Keyboard shortcut CONTROL/COMMAND P is the print command
not the PASTE. To paste it’s CONTROL/COMMAND V. Think, V for
SAVE every time you stop to breathe. SAVE SAVE SAVE.
— Posted by Donna Lewis
817. October
9:38 am
You can print only the portion of a web page or document you want,
without printing the entire page. Just highlight that portion then
bring up your print dialog box (CTRL-P). Instead of print all, change
it to “selection”. It will then only print that portion. Save lots of ink.
— Posted by Joan
818. October
9:39 am
for all those that need a manual.
You can print or btter yet just add to fav then access as needed after
awhile you will have it down.
— Posted by Kevin
819. October
9:44 am
Loved the article… about the Recylce Bin and all the deleted stuff ie
emails etc, every computer has in the Accessories the Clean the Hard
Drive Selection… Use it!. I do it once a month to get more room on
my Hard Drive. It is a must in today’s Digital Photos and emailing
capacities of computers.
PS Answer to Sara Get an External Hard Drive at least 250 GB of
space for your photos, music, personal data etc,
— Posted by linda johnson
9:47 am
What is an automated backup system? Where do I get one? liz
821. October
When Mac Mail underlines a word as misspelled, simply control click
for the correct spelling. If it’s not misspelled, it will let you look it up
in the dictionary (and other options).
— Posted by elizabeth barron
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10/8/08 9:09 AM
in the dictionary (and other options).
Actually, I think this works everywhere… It just did here.
— Posted by John
9:55 am
Not impressed there Mr. Pogue.
For some reason the “control plus or minus sign” trick worked just
once on my computer and I shrunk the size of the text. Not just on
the NYTimes page but on all of them. It won’t work again to restore
to normal size. Any suggestions?
— Posted by SamBrown
10:05 am
Don’t believe that you should buy a laptop for your COLLEGE
BOUND freshman thinking it will last all 4 years. Better than
spending more than $1200 on one laptop thinking it will last 48
months, is to buy a lower cost Vista Home Premium capable laptop,
say $500-$600, or a entry level MacBook and assume they’ll want or
need something new by the time they are a junior. By then, you can
recover half the cost of the first PC on Craigslist or ebay, and they
will have a new laptop with a 1/2 a terabyte or more of hard drive for
probably about $450-$500 by then.
Also, buy a mini 160gb or greater USB external drive for every laptop
you own. Don’t bother to share drives, at $75-$100 each, it is cheap
insurance and far less than an extended warranty.
Don’t buy an extended warranty for equipment that is stationary, it’s
not needed.
— Posted by David Kwan
10:16 am
Two Google tips:
You can track UPS, Fedex, and US Postal Service packages by simply
typing the tracking # in Google’s search field and hitting the [Enter]
The same principle works for tracking airline flights: just type in
“Delta 145″ or whatever and hit [Enter].
— Posted by Carl
825. October
10:16 am
dont forget:
Home => goes to beginning of line
End => goes to end of line
Control + Home => goes to top of page/document
Control + End => goes to bottom of page/document
general rule:
Shift + “whatever” => reverse or undoes “whatever”
Shift as you insert CD/DVD will prevent the automatic open/run box
Shift + Delete => permanent delete bypassing recycle bin.
for most Windows keyboard shortcuts, you can just google it.
Microsoft has a cheat sheet for their universal, windows, IE. I assume
Apple has the same for Mac somewhere on their site.
David: Do we get a cut of the royalties of this “Basics: what everyone
assumes you already know about computers and other electronic
— Posted by susan
10:23 am
I made it through 769 posts (so far) and haven’t seen this tip yet.
(Altough I wonder if anyone else will read them all to the end - it took
me 2 days.)
This tip is for the format painter in Microsoft Word & Excel
2000/2003 - it is a button on the tool bar which looks like a paint
brush. Normally clicking it once it copies the formatting of the
section where your cursor is located and will paste it to the next area
you highlight. After the section is formatted the format painter will
turn off. The tip is if you double-click on the format painter button
when you start it will stay on allowing you to paint multiple selections
without having to go back and forth to re-click the format painter for
each new selection. This saves lots of needless repetition.
I teach new computer users and this was one tip that a student taught
P.S. Thanks to #720 for the Adobe tips. I spend a lot of time
Googling for solutions for the Adobe creative suite because I find
their help to be somewhat opaque. Loved tips #6 and #1.
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— Posted by Rebecca
827. October
10:24 am
If you use photoshop or photoshop elements on a Mac…Command-0
(that’s a zero, not the letter O) resizes the picture to fit the window. If
you adjust image size or crop or have zoomed in to look at a detail,
just command-0 to get back to seeing the whole picture, full size. On
windows I bet control-0 does the same thing.
— Posted by Chill
10:30 am
I was going to save and print the article . . and then I thought I’d add
a few of the tips in the comments . . . but the volume is
10:35 am
COMPREHENSIVE LIST of XP Keystroke Shortcuts
10:38 am
If you want to remove a phrase or word from a document then
highlight it and press CTRL and the letter x; it deletes the item there
and still keeps it in memory to be pasted elsewhere with CTRL and
the letter V
— Posted by Janna
— Posted by Kane
— Posted by Carole
831. October
10:51 am
To put his article and all the posts into a Word document, pres
Ctrl+A … right click anywhere on the highlighted text and click on
Copy … Open a word document and right click anywhere on the page
and click on Paste … then save your 261 page document to your
external hard drive!
— Posted by Dana
10:54 am
on a mac, pressing “command” and ” ` ” (no quotes) will allow you
toggle between all open windows in a particular application (like web
browser windows, or all open word documents, etc).
833. October
10:54 am
Oh, I forgot one the other day. This is for all you newbs & old people
(the two demographics that are guilty of this behavior, thus driving
me nuts)
— Posted by peri
You don’t have to hit the delete key multiple times to delete several
characters. Just keep the delete key pressed down. It won’t … I
repeat, WON’T, ruin the keyboard.
— Posted by Akshay
10:55 am
I can’t go thru them all, did anyone mention shift with up or down
arrow for selecting several objects at once? Mac
835. October
10:56 am
Very very helpful post. I have printed it out and will keep it near my
computers. Now how about a new book on this subject ? I already
have Mac OS X Leopard-the missing manual and IPhoto 08 the
missing manual (for my Mac). We also have a PC at home—-
— Posted by Nancy Carson
— Posted by jmendelsbeg
11:05 am
Mac tip:
The delete key takes you back to the previous browser window. No
need to keep going up to the back arrow.
option(alt) + v will make a check mark √
Changing a file name: If you double click slowly on a file name, it will
highlight itself. No need to push delete, just type in the new name.
and hit enter.
If you find yourself repeating a command over and over, check to see
in the pull down menu if there’s a shortcut key sequence listed to it’s
Thanks all, lots of good stuff.
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— Posted by MSlikker
837. October
11:10 am
Our children already know all of this and more, but are usually too
impatient with us to tutor us. Hire someone else’s kid ($15/hr is
enough) to tutor you. They’ll be patient, and you’ll learn megabites.
11:10 am
I would just like to note that one of your suggestions… the double
click a word to highlight it does not work on the site.
Instead double click opens up a dictionary search in addition to
highlighting the word which is incredibly annoying for those of us
who are used to using double click to highlight something as now we
get a pop-up window that is both unwanted and almost always
— Posted by susan
— Posted by Ben
11:14 am
My husband (aka my in-house IT help desk) taught me that if I’m
trying to figure something out in Office or Photoshop or even on my
iPod or Tivo, it’s far faster to Google the issue, rather than search the
official Help page. Google gives you access to the more popular,
multiple, phrasings of your problem, whereas the manufacturer
might not be of much help if you don’t even know the right term for
that Tivo button with the arrow and the line, for example. You can
also find ’secret’ tricks and codes from unofficial sites. This was a
God-send when even the cable guy couldn’t figure out our HD Tivo
cable card.
— Posted by Claire
11:15 am
Looking to see a movie? Go to:
Super useful!
— Posted by Val
841. October
11:24 am
Shift + F3 will change caps to small letters and vice versa.
11:27 am
For a mac you can right click. You can go to preferences, mouse and
keyboard, trackpad, and there’s an option to make clicking with two
fingers right click. You can also just get a mouse which if you are used
to desktop computers can be a lot easier and more comfortable.
— Posted by Jennifer
— Posted by Zoe
11:29 am
Search for “windows keyboard shortcuts” in google and learn them
If you have a newer dell and windows won’t boot up, don’t pay tech
support to tell you the secret, just hit “Crtl + F11″ while it is booting
and restore it to the state it was the day you bought it, you will lose all
your data though.
— Posted by Luke
11:30 am
In response to #504 question for PC users: The Windows key refers
to the Microsoft Windows (flag- or banner-like) logo often on the top
row of the keyboard toward the right end.
845. October
11:41 am
I’ve seen several questions about automatic backups and only one
reference to this service. One option is you can back up files to an
online storage system called I’ve been using it for a year
and have already recovered data after a hard drive crashed, as has the
friend who referred me. (I don’t work for Mozy but I’m a huge fan!).
2 GB FREE, which is plenty to cover basic files for most home users. I
use various online photo programs to back up all my picture files, but
for high-volume users Mozy also has a low-pay service that would
cover unlimited GB.
— Posted by Veronica
You set what you want backed up and how often. Mine is set to back
up daily whenever my computer is idle for 30 minutes. I can’t speak
highly enough of this service!
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— Posted by Pam
11:43 am
I stumbled across one of your video comments, about a year ago. I
watched it, then came to the NYT website and found more archived
shows, and I have been hooked since!
In my opinion you are THE best technology reviewers in the biz!
Please keep your unique blend of humor and information coming,
and I like others like me will be sure to keep watching/reading.
— Posted by Gary Korzelius
847. October
11:51 am
For web browsing using a multi-tabbed explorer, pressing
CTRL+number will map you to the tab in order of that number. For
example, CTRL+1 will bring the very first tab to focus, CTRL+2 will
bring the second.. etc.
Great article.
— Posted by Mona.
11:55 am
Re last tip:
“Come up with an automated backup system for your computer.”
Are you kidding, Mr. Pogue? How does a basic computer user “come
up with” that?
— Posted by Robert
12:00 pm
This is great! I cut and pasted the comments that I needed onto my
own Word doc–after FINALLY learning how to copy segments of
online info!
Now can someone tell me how to paste a hyperlink into a blog
— Posted by Carolina
12:03 pm
To Jeannette #772
To remove the double line in Mac apps (like Mail — put the cursor
between the lines. The cursor will change to an arrow. Then click and
hold and you’ll be able to move the separator up and down. Pull it to
the bottom and it is removed. There’s a dot in the middle of the
separator to help you find its location.
The same technique also works on “drawers” or sidebars, and also to
change the width of columns (You have to click in the column title
area, at the edges of the column heading. Try it in Finder.
Good Mac advice (you can ask any Mac-related question there) can
be found at the forums at
— Posted by HarryR
851. October
12:07 pm
Wow, it just keeps going. I love how people keep posting the same
dozen or so tips over and over — even after several commentors have
made fun of this in the thread!
I can only assume it’s because the people adding to the thread are
way to computer illiterate/incurious to do a find on the page and
check if one or fifty people have already submitted their tip. How
deliciously self-perpetuating!
Look, people posting that you don’t need to type “www.” in your
browser’s address bar, please stop! Every time you say something so
ignorant, a kitten dies and Sarah Palin laughs.
It depends entirely on whether the hostname of the site you’re trying
to reach is “” or “,” which are two
discrete, different hosts. They can be the same thing or they can be
totally different machines with or without web sites. DNS maps
hostnames to IP addresses. “” and “”
can map to the same IP address (the same computer), different IP
addresses, or “” might not exist at all, there’s
nothing special about it. In the early days of the web “www” was a
convention for what to name your web server to distinguish it from,
say, “” for your mail server. Nowadays pretty much
everybody has both their naked domain name and the “www.” version
point to a machine running a web server, because we have pretty
much accepted the fact that people are too stupid to understand
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Here’s my tip: Do not trust the tips on this thread without checking
them out first! Many of them are just wrong (think about it and it will
make sense; they are being contributed by people like you). For
instance, do not use the BCC field to send mass e-mail, it’ll be
flagged as spam.
— Posted by urdoinitwrong
852. October
12:16 pm
THANK YOU! Put me on your email list to buy your book.
853. October
12:19 pm
1. Alias: I meet many other MAC users who don’t know how to use
`alias’ files and folders. It’s like a ghost-link to the original file or
folder, with almost no actual memory used. To make one, click on the
file/folder, then hit Command-L. Now drag it where you want.
— Posted by Christie O'Neil
Your machine will run a lot faster if you don;t keep `hard’ object on
desktop - put up alias instead, from wherever you have been storing
your sorted stuff.
You can use this to run lovely cross-reference systems between your
folders. On a current task, you can slap the aliases to desktop for easy
navigation, then trash them when done. AND you can rename the
alias as you like, when you are running numeric or alphabetical file/
folder sequences to organize stuff.
2. Finding shortcuts: sometimes people do not know that clicking
into any menu key will exhibit a shortcut code next to almost any
option. (BTW did not see here yet - ? - Command-N on MAC, to open
a new web page while in your current browser.)
Carpal/RSI: noone’s mentioned that using key commands which
exploit the buttons closest to your wrists, rather than moving a
mouse or a cursor, saves wear and tear on arms, hands, shoulders.
(I’ve got`frozen shoulder’, myself.) Teach yourself to make a shortcut
for something that you habitually do into a reflex, once a week at
least. And now I’ve got a bunch of new toys to try! Thank you tons,
Dave, and nos. 1-840.
— Posted by Ann
854. October
12:23 pm
Use the TAB key to move through the objects on a page or the spaces
on a form. For every TAB click, you move to the next link, field, or
button. You can then hit Enter to navigate to the link or just start
typing to enter data in a field.
— Posted by MIke Golden
855. October
12:24 pm
Someone asked way up there about shortcuts for diacriticals.
These are blockpasted from Help for MAC Word (which calls the
thingies an
`international character’)
à, è, ì, ò, ù
OPTION+` (ACCENT GRAVE), the letter
á, é, í, ó
OPTION+e, the letter
â, ê, î, ô, û
OPTION+i, the letter
ã, ñ, õ
OPTION+n, the letter
ä, ë, ï, ö, ü, ÿ
OPTION+u, the letter
æ, OPTION+’ (single quotation mark) or
OPTION+SHIFT+’ (single quotation mark)
— Posted by Ann
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856. October
12:26 pm
10/8/08 9:09 AM
I use control-F all the time. If you are searching for a specific word or
words in an article, just hit control F, type in what you need into the
search box and it will go through the entire document looking for that
word or phrase. Saves huge amounts of time! For example in an
Excel sheet if you type in a specific number, it will find every place in
that document with that number. I don’t think this works on pdf
documents though.
— Posted by JR
857. October
12:27 pm
PLEASE WRITE THAT BOOK MR. POGUE! I learned so much from
this article!
12:31 pm
Hey Val post 840,
859. October
12:46 pm
All these tips about Google, but I think you’ve left out the most
important — that you can text Google when you are not at your
computer, and get a pretty quick reply with great information. You
can text for the weather, Cubs scores (ok, that info isn’t so great this
weekend), definitions, and so much more!
— Posted by JR
Nice “tip”. I’m sure Google thanks you for promoting their web site.
— Posted by David G.
— Posted by Sue
12:48 pm
Can someone help me with saving this blog? I do see anything saying
save at the top of the nytimes page. I already have an account.
861. October
12:53 pm
oh David…”” not “” that’s minutes of my life.
12:53 pm
The “Spaces” application on macs (at least on the new laptops, not
sure about the others…) is the most amazing thing. I created 4
“spaces” with it - separate screens that you can scroll through by
hitting command + arrow keys. You can set each window to open a
different application, so that you don’t need to juggle your internet,
word documents and music browsers in a single screen. You can drag
documents back and forth between screens, to. It takes a bit of
playing around with it to set up and get used to, but it saves me so
much time and increases the visual space you have on your computer
tremendously…especially good for those like me with a small screen
and no extra monitors.
— Posted by cheryl
— Posted by sl
— Posted by aw
1:08 pm
Open Apple “Q” — use it all the time. I guess that is command Q.
Learned from David Pogue’s first book.
1:14 pm
For the Firefox Browser, Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+Shift+Tab are the same
thing as Alt+Tab and Alt+Shift+Tab for Windows except it scrolls
through your current tabs.
865. October
1:15 pm
In response to MRK’s question #753, if it hasn’t already been posted:
Step 1: Hit Ctrl + home key;
Step 2: HitShift + Ctrl + end key;
Step 3: Hit Ctrl + C
Step 4: Open new file in Word;
Step 5: Hit Ctrl + V
You will have the entire contents of this article plus blog comments in
the new Word file.
— Posted by Julie Wallsh
— Posted by Joe
— Posted by Garrett
1:15 pm
Haven’t seen this yet: If you are in Excel and want today’s date in a
cell, Ctrl+; will automatically fill that in for you.
When printing a wide Excel document, you can maximize the print
size by going to File/Page Setup and change the Scaling values to 1
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size by going to File/Page Setup and change the Scaling values to 1
page wide and leave the “tall” field blank. Saves printing one orphan
column on a second set of pages.
— Posted by Pat Kelly
867. October
1:24 pm
When reading the New York Times if you come across a word you
don’t know a meaning of, you can double click on it, and the
dictionary window pops up. Only works for words which are not
— Posted by Nitin
1:25 pm
I haven’t a clue if someone has already suggested this one (I only
scanned about 100 of the 850+ comments here so far), but it’s a
keystroke I created. When writing/editing, it can be helpful to see
what you wrote before and edited out. (Sometimes what you wrote
first is better than subsequent versions.) So instead of deleting a
whole sentence/para in the editing process, I use a strikethrough
keystroke in MS Word. Ctrl-9. It works in reverse too. If you want to
un-strikethrough the sentence, use Ctrl-9 again.
But you have to set it up first (or use any combo of keys you prefer).
In Word, it’s Tools-Customize-click on Keyboard box-select Format
in left list, then select Strikethrough on right, then input your
preferred keystroke and save it. That part is a huge hassle to set up,
but I use the shortcut quite often. (mimics the process of writing on a
page, where you can still see what you crossed out earlier)
And I’m sure someone else has already mentioned this above, but if
you don’t use a keystroke very often, you’re not going to remember it.
So focus on the ones that make the most sense in your day to day
Note to 851: Apologies for the kitten. And all because we didn’t want
to spend all day reading these posts! David doesn’t have to write a
book. It’s already written right here… (much editing required).
— Posted by susan
1:30 pm
Windows will run faster if you occasionally defragment your hard
drive. Defragmentation moves all the files and data scattered about
your hard drive close to one another in the physical address space,
which increases overall performance. To defragment a disk in
Windows, go to “My Computer,” right click on the disk you want to
defragment (say, C:\), and go to “Properties.” Under “Tools,” click
“Defragment Now.”
Note: Vista defragments automatically, once a week, so you don’t
need to do this. Both Mac OS and Linux store files more efficiently
than Windows and don’t really need to be defragmented.
— Posted by gsk
1:34 pm
Write that book, Mr. Pogue, I’ll buy it.
I never realized that double clicking on a word selects it. I always
thought it was irritating when I was using the mouse to select a word
that if I inadvertently double clicked the word highlighted and I had
to click again to clear and manually select the word. Duh!
About six months ago I discovered the “undo” tool on the edit tab. Do
you know how many disappeared documents were irretrievably lost
before that? And all that rich, lush hair I once had–gone. Torn out by
the roots.
Real name withheld due to extreme embarrassment.
— Posted by Dan Leik
871. October
2:05 pm
There are a whole bunch of shortcuts for Firefox:
872. October
2:07 pm
Cherie (#860). Save this in Favorites or Bookmarks.
— Posted by ff
Now, I ask for help. I have saved this entire blog. How can I edit it.
Delete etc?
— Posted by Hal Mullen
873. October
“1:57 pm
I google from the New York Times search box.
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I google from the New York Times search box.
If an ad comes up, I click it and make the Post give the Times a
— Posted by Kacoo”
Can I do that to Fox News?
— Posted by Larry Oswald
874. October
2:16 pm
Instead of typing “” just type “address” and
hit +
875. October
2:16 pm
Press windows print screen key to create screen captures, then press
ctrl + v which will paste the screenshot in your open document –
word processing or graphics editing.
— Posted by CKV
Alt + print screen will take a screenshot of the currently selected
window, not the entire screen…allows you to target specific window
you have open.
— Posted by Debbie Hemley
876. October
2:26 pm
In MS Word, to copy easily from lots of nonadjacent spots or even
different files (like lots of bios into one place), use the Spike feature.
Here’s how: Select the text or graphic you want, and then press
CTRL+F3. Repeat this step for each additional item you want to
move to the Spike. Then click in the document where you want to
insert the Spike’s contents. Press CTRL+SHIFT+F3 to insert the
Spike’s contents. ALL the items you cut will be pasted in.
NOTE: You end up “cutting” the text out of your original documents
rather than copying it, but if you close the document you’re cutting
from without saving changes, you’re fine. (For more info, go to MS
Help menu, enter “spike”)
— Posted by Brenda
877. October
2:26 pm
Julie, Command-O is open (a file from within the application),
Command-Q is quit (the open application.) But you knew that.
878. October
2:29 pm
If you don’t want to spend money on some standard piece of
software, you usually don’t have to. There are plenty of free, open
source programs available for download that do everything that
certain commercial programs do, sometimes better. For example:
— Posted by HarryR has a free software suite that replaces that of
Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Equation Editor,
and Visio). It can make files in the Windows formats, such as .doc, as
well as in its own free formats. See
The GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Project) offers a free
alternative to Photoshop. See and
Firefox is a free web browser known for good security features, good
pop-up blocking, and a nice tab system. If you don’t like Explorer or
Safari, or if you just want to try something new, see
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can install Linux, a free operating
system that is generally faster, more transparent, and just as
functional and easy to use as Windows. See: (my favorite Linux distribution) or or (two other popular
distributions) (A bootable CD-ROM that includes, among other
things, a graphical utility (gparted) that allows you to shrink your
Windows partition, which you will have to do before you install Linux
if you want to keep Windows, too. Read the quick start guide on this
website before using the CD.)
— Posted by gsk
879. October
2:38 pm
If you’re trying to find a word or phrase in a web-page, type “CTRL +
F” and a form will pop up. Type the word you want to find, and your
browser will instantaneously bring you to it.
Also, use the PRT SC (print screen) button. It will make a copy of
whatever is on your screen, which you can then paste into a program
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whatever is on your screen, which you can then paste into a program
like Paint in Windows.
— Posted by Nicholas
2:46 pm
OK. I’m an idiot. I enlarged the size of my web page based on your
tips - control and roll the scroll button. now i can’t figure out how to
get it back down to normal. Help!
881. October
2:48 pm
Great list. I would urge you, though, not to say “hit the Windows key
and “D” simultaneously” (or, similarly, any other special key like
control, shift, or alt). I know people who actually try to do that, and if
they happen to press D just ahead of the Windows key, they wonder
why it didn’t work.
— Posted by Robin
Instead, say “hold the Windows key down and press D” or “while
holding the Windows key down, press D.”
— Posted by Alan Winson
2:53 pm
As already noted in #154 & #503, but so valuable it wants saying
again –
To restrict a Google search to .edu or .org sites, or to a specific site,
type search phrases like this:
Sure can save a lot of time.
— Posted by Pat Welch
2:54 pm
Before you forward ANY email you didn’t create yourself, check it on for veracity. Please!
3:01 pm
* You can double-click a word to highlight it in any document, e-mail
or Web page.
— Posted by Carolina
Add me to the list of people annoyed by the NYT web site’s nonstandard behavior
— Posted by Steve
3:27 pm
One of my favorites, that I’m often surprised other folks are unaware
of, is “find,” as in on a browser page, Word document, etc.
ctrl-F or apple-F on an Apple
It helps you find things immediately!
— Posted by Brian
3:33 pm
“I would urge you, though, not to say “hit the Windows key and “D”
simultaneously” (or, similarly, any other special key like control, shift,
or alt). I know people who actually try to do that, and if they happen
to press D just ahead of the Windows key, they wonder why it didn’t
Must be the same people who call tech support complaining that they
can’t find the “Any” key on their keyboards. “It said ‘Press Any Key to
finish’ and I don’t have an Any key!”
Good advice, though. Software instruction writers need to remember
that they should write for the 10th percentile, not the 90th percentile
of users.
David should include a brief section discussing the conventions of
what key combinations like ALT-F11 and CONTROL-d mean, i.e.,
how to execute them on the keyboard. You can’t take for granted that
the reader knows something as basic as that.
— Posted by Sideline Viewer
887. October
3:40 pm
In microsoft word, if you want a symbol (such as the degree symbol
or an accent on a letter) go to insert-symbol, find the symbol you
want, go to the box that says keyboard shortcut, and make up your
own shortcut if it doesn’t have one already. For instance, I use ctrl+o
for the degree sign.
Also, to center your document, ctrl+e, to have a left alignment, ctrl+l
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Also, to center your document, ctrl+e, to have a left alignment, ctrl+l
— Posted by anonymous
3:44 pm
Here are 2…not sure if these have been posted.
1. on the mac, command-shift4 will allow you to make a screen
capture. You can click and drag the box to capture the whole screen
or just a small part. It will then save it as a picture and leave it on
your desktop. this is great for tutorials or just saving stuff you might
need later (like a receipt for an online purchase).
2. on the macbooks, if you put two fingers together on the touchpad,
you can use it to scroll up and down.
— Posted by Bob
4:01 pm
This one has been around since the beginning of time (and now it’s
new and improved with the aero interface).
ALT+TAB jumps to another window
Vista - WINDOW + TAB gives you the Aero feature- oooh aaaah
— Posted by P
4:16 pm
Robin #880
Control and scroll back down to where you started!
891. October
4:21 pm
Google search - forget the prefix www and the suffix .com. Just type
the word(s) you are looking for. Works all the time.
4:24 pm
I think you need to update your knowledge of enlarging text on web
pages. It seems that the latest browsers have gotten rid of just
enlarging the text (it screws up web page layouts) and default to
simply enlarging the entire web page.
— Posted by HarryR
— Posted by chucho
4:39 pm
This is a great list!! I’ve already learned many useful tips, and just
finished erasing the thousands of items in my trash. The comments
are a treasure chest of tips as well, I’ll keep this page bookmarked.
4:44 pm
Google’s calculator is really smart.
“6 factorial” gives answer “6 factorial = 720″
“cube root 6″ gives answer “cube root(6) = 1.81712059″
“pi^2″ gives answer “pi^2 = 9.8696044″
“log 10 * ln e” gives answer “log(10) * ln(e) = 1″
“arctangent 3″ gives answer “arctangent(3) = 1.24904577″
— Posted by Annie M
— Posted by sunshine
895. October
4:55 pm
In response to David’s suggestion here: “When you get an e-mail
message from eBay or your bank, claiming that you have an account
problem or a question from a buyer, it’s probably a “phishing scam”
intended to trick you into typing your password. Don’t click the link
in the message. If in doubt, go into your browser and type
“” (or whatever) manually.”
… a better way to confirm that the e-mail message is in fact spam is
to right mouse click on the link they provide, which brings up a
menu, and click on “properties”. You’ll see the web address that that
link plans to take you to, and if it’s spam, it will not say
Hope this helps!
— Posted by Jennie
5:06 pm
Thank you for all these amazing shortcuts for both the Mac and
Question: I recently got a new Macbook and installed Windows XP
with Boot Camp. Does anyone know how to make the tiny text on the
XP ’side’ more readable? There are no resolution settings available
that make everything bigger without stretching the aspect ratio.
— Posted by Julie
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5:16 pm
10/8/08 9:09 AM
SAVE-AS … is invaluable when you have inadvertantly caused some
inexplicable formatting disaster in a document … simply save the
DREADFUL, AWFUL, BAD document as trash (or other easy to
recognize name) and your original document will exist in some predisaster form.
If you have, as others have suggested, used ALT-S (doing forced
manual saves) in the intervals before the DISASTER your “original”
file is likely to be fairly current.
Similarly, if you are re-formating (or otherwise playing with) a
“finished” document for printing, it is a very good idea to leave your
“finished” text document alone and use a copy to experiment with in
creating page and column breaks, inserting graphics and the rest.
This helps additionally in discouraging the temptation to “adjust”
your text.
— Posted by Susan Sunflower
5:21 pm
Robin #880, HarryR #890:
To return things to their original size in the browser window, type
CTRL-0 (that’s zero, not “oh”).
— Posted by Patrick
5:59 pm
My two favorites, both previously mentioned: Control F will find
things pretty much everywhere.
The F4 key- “do it again” can save tremendous time when formatting,
adding rows to tables, adding color to cells in Excel, etc. It keeps on
ticking: to add 4 rows to a table, add a row the usual way, and then
hit F4 three times. To change a font in assorted places, highlight the
first spot, meke the desired changes, then highlight any other spots
and hit F4.
— Posted by Paul
6:07 pm
A single click on the mouse places the cursor; a double-click
highlights a word; a triple-click highlights the line or paragraph.
901. October
6:18 pm
response to post #229:
— Posted by David Jewell
Accents and tildes in Windows are achieved with Contl+accent, then
the vowel or the n. You can do this will all three accents, grave, acute,
circumflex, as well as the tilde for ñ and the comma for cedille.
Umlaut is more complicated and involves Alt+3 digit numbers for
each vowel (which also works for the accents and tildes in programs
like excel, that don’t accept the Control+ shortcut)
In Mac you do acute accents with Option+e and then the vowel, and
tilde with Option+n and then n. Grave accents are Option+Grave
accent then vowel. I forgot how you do circumflex and cedille.
— Posted by JB
6:28 pm
Good Stuff!
Can’t emphasize enough about emptying the recycle bin…I didn’t do
that and last year my Outlook froze up and it took going through a
couple of people to figure it out…actually it was Andy from who fixed it virtually…he was awesome
with me which was a feat in itself since I was close to hysterical…
Also, so glad my son sent this blog! He’s probably hoping I will check
this out and not bug him so much!
— Posted by Sandy
6:30 pm
Patrick #898
That doesn’t work here. 10.5.5, G5 iMac.
Have to control-scroll back to clear it.
— Posted by HarryR
6:33 pm
General computer tips and shortcuts.
— Posted by chogni
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For Outlook users:
When you delete an entry (email message, contact, etc), it goes to the
Recycle bin and continues to eat up storage space.
If you want to completely remove something from Outlook AND your
hard drive, simply hit Shift + the Delete key. You will be asked if you
want to permanently delete the item. Then, either click on “Yes” or
simply press the “Y” key on the keyboard. Item is now gone…forever.
— Posted by Garrett
6:41 pm
Err… David, has it occurred to you that the comments on this article
already contain enough good stuff to constitute a Strunk-and-White
sized crowd-sourced book. In fact, why don’t you start a project called
‘1001 tips’ or something, on and invite your
readers to contribute tip-chapters? (full disclosure: I have absolutely
no relationship with webook).
Just compile and publish. Will make a great little gift book.
My 2c: others have mentioned Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V. Let me add Ctrl-A
(select everything on a page, very useful just before Ctrl-C) and Ctrl-Z
(undo). Ctrl-X deletes whatever you’ve selected if you are in an
You probably know that shift-clicking twice selects everything within
’scope’ between the two clicks. Ctrl-clicking selects up individual
items (especially useful for selecting multiple items in a folder).
Shift-PrintScrn will grab a screepshot that can be pasted into image
editing programs.
Pressing down on the mouse wheel will create a weird icon that
allows dragging of the mouse to act as scrolling. Click wheel again to
If a key on your computer is broken, or gummed up with crud, use
Alt-ASCII code (on num keypad) to create that letter. For a few
months, I was using alt 104 a lot for h.
You can adjust your folder properties to show extensions of
— Posted by Venkat
907. October
6:54 pm
Triple-click any word in a paragraph to highlight the whole
paragraph; hit Ctrl A to highlight the whole document. These are
probably obvious but I didn’t see them mentioned.
6:56 pm
OK, my favorite Blackberry tip– when you are confronted with
dialing a number that is a catchy phrase (like 1-800-BEST BUY) how
to do this on a phone with a QUERTY keyboard?
— Posted by hbm
You type in the 800 numerically then hold down the ALT button to
type in the letters– try it, it really works!
— Posted by Amy
7:01 pm
David’s call for a basics book reminded me of my basics column and a
half. It loses a lot in this funky formatting, but here it is. Any user
who understands and uses these basics will be more advanced than
most folks I know.
Windows Vista Essentials
Assume that if you can think of a feature, Microsoft
or Mac has already thought of it. Use “Help” for
answers and features. If no answer, try Google.
Put Computer and UserName on Desktop by right-clicking on
Start/Globe menu & left-clicking Show On Desktop. UserName is at
top right of Start column.
Windows Explorer = key to success
(Your hard drive IS your computer.)
Right-click Computer or
Start/Globe, then left-click Explore
Arrange columns by clicking column names
Identify yourself, e.g. Your Name, Public, others
Look for your stuff under your/computer name before
Exploring Public, other users
Right-click everything (including Desktop)
Right-click for MENUS, Esp. Properties
Left-click for ACTIONS
Hold mouse with whole hand – fingers over
left button, wheel, and right button
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left button, wheel, and right button
Play Solitaire daily until right-click internalized
Drag-and-Drop, e.g., Desktop icons to Taskbar,
bottom left to enable for one-click opening
Ctrl+A = highlight all
Ctrl+C = copy to clipboard
Ctrl+X = delete to clipboard
Ctrl+V = paste last put on clipboard
With Explorer or other programs open:
Views on menu bar at top –
4 Icon sizes, List, DETAILS, Tiles
Organize on menu bar top left – options/tasks
Tools on some menu bars, esp. Outlook
Also: Explore, Share, E-Mail, Burn, Slide Show
_ , □, X at top RIGHT to minimize, change
shape, close; click-&-grab top bar
to move; grab corners to re-size
Documents (right-click to Explore; also Explore
Pictures, Music, Favorites, Videos, etc.,
remembering to change to appropriate
View, e.g. Extra Large Icons for photos)
Start/Globe/Start Search field immediately above;
Type in item to find on hard drive
Use * as wildcard to narrow search,
e.g., xyz*.doc, doggie*.jpg
Microsoft Word – turn on ¶ by clicking on toolbar
(gives you greater control of your page/document)
Emailing multiple photos:
Explore folder of desired photos (.jpg’s)
Set View to Large or Extra Large Icons
Select desired pics by holding Ctrl key
and clicking ones to be sent
Right-click any pic and on menu left-click
Send To / Mail Recipient
Choose “Picture size,” noting estimated size
Restrict total photos sent to under 2 MB
“Hover” mouse over Taskbar icons to identify
“blue e” icon for Internet Explorer
“yellow envelope” icon for Outlook, etc.
Double-click icons on right by “time” to open;
Right-click to Exit or control
— Posted by Butler Crittenden
910. October
7:05 pm
Windows “print screen” key really works to capture an image of
whatever is on your screen at that moment - and you can then paste
it right into an e-mail usually; or paste it into irfanview and then cut
out just the image you want.
— Posted by David Drobner
911. October
7:20 pm
ok enlarging text. But that still does not translate to the printer which
then prints out in the standard miniscule font. How to change this?
912. October
7:29 pm
On Firefox (or explorer with a google toolbar) you can type your
search entry into the address bar to do an “I’m feeling lucky search”
on in google. If it’s too vague it takes you to the search but otherwise
it is a much quicker way to go to a specific page. For example, if you
want to go to the new york times opinion page, you could just type
“nytimes opinion” in the address bar and it would automatically take
you there.
— Posted by mabel
— Posted by Jean
913. October
7:31 pm
Pressing the windows key and D toggles all open applications to
minimize them. Press windows key and D again to go back to work
where you left off.
Pressing the windows key and E opens windows explorer. Press the
windows key and E again for a second explorer window. This is very
helpful for moving files and photos around. For photos make sure
you turn the thumbnails on (View - thumbnails).
Do you type a lot of numbers? I noticed that I was constantly letting
go of my mouse to type numbers using the number keypad on the
right side of my keyboard. I’m right handed but I wondered how long
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right side of my keyboard. I’m right handed but I wondered how long
it would take to learn to use the mouse with my left hand. It was
rough for a few days but it got easier pretty quickly after that. The
only thing I can’t do lefty is draw in a paint program or Photoshop.
Thanks to everyone that shared their tips and tricks.
Mechtron Bob
— Posted by Bob Siegler
914. October
7:36 pm
On a Mac Command-Shift-4 and then hitting the spacebar separately
will allow you to make a screenshot of any “thing” (open windows and
icons!) on your desktop by rolling over it and then clicking on it. As
stated previously, it then sits on your desktop as a numbered picture
to do with what you will. Of you want to cancel your screenshot foray
midshot, the escape key will bring you back to reality.
A list of many, many keyboard commands is on the drop-down
contextual menus on the menu bar to peruse at your leisure to make
your head explode.
If you have an Apple Cinema Display attached to a Mac, you are able
to rotate the screen image upside-down in System
Preferences/Displays/Rotation to mess with someone on April Fools
— Posted by Peter
915. October
7:47 pm
On a Mac you can find THOUSANDS of characters, chinese fonts and
TONS of any cool glyphs and symbols you can think of by using the
Character Palette. You can even put the Character Palette icon on the
menu bar permanently for easy access.
Rather than going into it here, just goto> Finder> Help on the menu
bar and search for glyph or character palette and learn away. I did.
No charge.
— Posted by Peter
916. October
8:08 pm
There was no way I’d get to the bottom of the list of comments that
others have written, but in case there are some who’ve gotten this far
and are looking for a condensed list (yes, very condensed) of many
important commands, here’s my daily use list.
Things like Ctrl+z, x, c, v, b, u, i, l, e, s, o, f, n, and p will cause you to
undo, cut, copy, paste, bold text, underline text, italicize text, leftjustify text, center justify text, save, open doc, find text, open new
document, and print document. Ctrl+1 makes text single spaced, and
Ctrl+5 makes it 1.5 spaced, Ctrl+2 is double spaced. Ctrl+right
arrow/left arrow goes one word right/left, Ctrl+down/up arrow goes
to the bottom of a paragraph/top. Shift + F7 opens the thesaurus.
Ctrl+F4 exits a program, but Alt+F4 exits that screen (like one
internet tab), Ctrl+t opens a new tab. Shift+arrow keys highlights one
space to the right or left or one line up or down. Shift+Ctrl+arrow
keys highlights one word to the right or left (R or L arrows) or the
rest of that paragraph going up or down (up and down arrows) All of
these I use on a fairly regular basis. Lastly, one of my pet peeves is
when people click on a website using two clicks when they only need
one. If something is highlighted and the normal arrow cursor turns to
a hand, it only needs one click. I know there are many I left off, but
good luck, and this stuff definitely saves you time.
— Posted by Ethan
917. October
8:10 pm
Can someone help with an iPod question? How do I delete songs I no
longer want from my iPod? There is no button on the iPod that lets
me do this. And no instruction on how to do it, in my leaflet. And I do
not understand the iPod website at all. Thanks.
— Posted by Jess Adams
918. October
8:18 pm
Quite a few handy tips here, Jane.
xo patsy
919. October
8:27 pm
In Firefox, you can find a word in a web-page simply by typing it but you have to turn on the option in, well, Options.
Go to Tools>>Options>>Advanced>>General, and click on “Search
for text when I start typing”.
— Posted by Patsy
This is instead of using the Control F keyboard shortcut.
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As #879 writes, “type the word you want to find, and your browser
will instantaneously bring you to it.”
Really helps when you’ve Googled something and can’t seem to find
the instance of it in the page you’re on.
I use it all the time.
— Posted by Kent
8:28 pm
My favorites, were the basics on how to use a digital camera picture
size and send it, when it comes to digital stuff, I’m the perfect market
target if you ever wrote a book about basics on digital stuff.
oh, also the tip about emptying the recycle bin, I knwe that one, but I
know a couple of people that didn’t just the last couple of weeks.
anyway, thank you for all these basic tips.
Maura Tierney (not the actress)
— Posted by Maura Tierney
921. October
8:32 pm
To Robin on F11:
If you press F11 again, it should toggle back to the original display —
sometimes it takes several keypresses. If that fails try moving your
mouse slowly up to the space where the bars were and some will
come back so you can at least navigate..
Good luck,
— Posted by Stewart A. Denenberg
922. October
8:38 pm
Get blog and great comments.
On a desktop PC with a number pad:
Hold down the alt key and use the number pad on the far right of
keyboard to type out the 4-character code.
When you release the alt key, the character will appear.
On a laptop:
Lock the “num lk”(one of the top keys + Fn-key, should show a lock
Hold down the alt key and type the numbers from the keys marked
with a
number. ex. M=”0″, J=”1″, K=”2″,L=”3″,U=”4″,I=”5″,O=”6″, 7=7,
8=8, 9=9.
When you release the alt key, the character will appear.
example: for the copyright symbol: ©.
hold down the ALT-key and type the numbers (from your
keypad=desktop PC
use number key pad; laptop use number lock)
ALT (hold down), 0169 = ©
In WORD or WORDPERFECT you can set the size.
In PHOTOSHOP or PAINTSHOP PRO you can add your © John Doe
in color
for every photo etc.
ALT codes:
Starting with ALT 1
While holding down the ALT-key, type the numbers
using the number pad with Num-Lock on,
release the ALT-key and the symbol appears.
[The first 256+ symbols repeat-it will repeat if posting in Groups]
[Note: numbers underlined, 32 255 0127, have no symbol]
1 to 9: ‘0′ ☺ ☻ ♥ ♦ ♣ ♠ • ◘ ○
10 to 19: ◙ ♂ ♀ ♪ ☼ ▶ ◄ ↕ ‼
20 to 29: ¶ § ▬ ↨ ↑ ↓ → ← ↔
30 to 39: ▲ ▼ ‘2′ ! ” # $ % & ‘
40 to 49: ( ) * + , - . / 0 1
50 to 59: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 : ;
60 to 69: ? @ A B C D E
70 to 79: F G H I
80 to 89:
90 to 99:
120 to 129: x y z { | } ~ ⌂ Ç ü
130 to 139: é â ä à å ç ê ë è ï
140 to 149: î ì Ä Å É æ Æ ô ö ò
0100 to 0109: d e f g h i j k l m
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0100 to 0109: d e f g h i j k l m
0110 to 0119: n o p q r s t u v w
0120 to 0129: x y z { | } ~ ‘7′ € ‘9′
0130 to 0139: ‚ ƒ „ … † ‡ ˆ ‰ Š ‹
0140 to 0149: Œ ‘1′ ….more
0170 to 0179 ª « ¬ ‘3′ ® ¯ ° ± ² ³
0189 ¼ ½
0190 ¾ ….more
— Posted by Richard
923. October
8:44 pm
re: “Find while you type” in Firefox, my post just above :
In addition, to find the next instance of what you’re searching for in a
web page, use the keyboard shortcut “Control G” (=find again).
[ “Find while you type” just replaces “Control F”. ]
— Posted by Kent
924. October
8:59 pm
someone already said it. but, to be sure, in a mac you can find all of
these keyboard shortcuts in “system preferences”, then “Keyboard &
Mouse”, then “Keyboard Shortcuts.”
And no, i didn’t actually read all the comments to find that someone
said that. I used apple + F to search the page. I think it is ctrl + F on
a pc. Also, I didn’t even scroll through this whole page to get to the
box at the bottom to put my comments up. command + downArrow
got me to the bottom. this is on a mac. it is probably ctrl +
downArrow on a pc.
When typing text this also works. Also, try control + left or right
arrow and option + left or right arrow for quick moving around text.
— Posted by karl
925. October
9:07 pm
With a mac, you can pretty much click on any image you see on the
internet and drag it to your desk top and it is automatically saved
Does any one know how to search for a specific word or phrase on a
web-page? For use at a site like this that has a huge amount of info
and I am looking for something specific?
— Posted by angdre8
926. October
9:11 pm
Forgot to mention…using a Mac, you can also just drag the webaddress to your desktop and it automatically saves the link there.
Just click the left corner of address (that highlights entire address).
927. October
9:30 pm
You think watching your editor trying to highlight is rough… try
watching a lab full of 7th graders not using shortcuts. They think it is
magic and I am really smart… for now.
I am the digital immigrant.
Thanks for all of the new tricks to share with the kids. They should
last me until May play2cre8
— Posted by angdre8
— Posted by play2cre8
9:32 pm
Firefox users can simply type in ‘nyt” to get the New York Times.
929. October
9:38 pm
On Excel, if you want to fill the rows in a column with say a set of
numbers or letters or whatever, without having to highlight with your
mouse and scroll, just highlight what you want to repeat or continue
the order of and then double click on the lower right hand corner of a
cell. It will fill the column with what you highlighted or with ordered
numbers down to lowest row that has something in its adjacent cells.
Try it out and you’ll see what I mean.
— Posted by Ann P.
— Posted by Mimi
10:02 pm
angdre8–try command-F to find a word or phrase
— Posted by pat m
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10:06 pm
10/8/08 9:09 AM
angdre8 ————–>> Use control+F and a box will appear. Type in
the desired word and it will search up or down, in the document you
have open. I use it daily!!!! Saves time, my poor eyes, and great
— Posted by Edwin
932. October
10:14 pm
In firefox, middle-click a tab to close it.
933. October
10:22 pm
I don’t want to repeat any keystroke tasks that have already been
mentioned above. I don’t think I’ve seen the following that I use
— Posted by Cal
Control P = print
Control Esc + u + u = shut down
Alt F = File
Alt E = Edit
Alt T = Tools
Control Alt Delete K = lock screen
Microsoft outlook - when deleting permanently hold shift while
deleting. When in delete folder and you want to delete all you can hit
“control A” for all or you can choose Alt E and select all or you can hit
shift and down arrow to highlight all manually and then hit delete.
Cntrl/shift/”V” to move to another folder.
— Posted by Nancy Karagianis
934. October
10:30 pm
Control A will highlight the whole page.
In Word 2003 control D will open a menu with a whole lot of
choices:superscript, subscript, spacing, strike through, etc.
(too many to enumerate).
— Posted by William Bunge
935. October
10:51 pm
Well, I guess I’m the Mom to whom everyone will be sending these
hints. Been using computers since the days of punch cards — and
almost everything beyond apple-c apple-x apple-v was new to me.
And to prove that I don’t get everything…how do I use the Times
Save File function?
Thanks loads!
— Posted by Drisha
936. October
11:04 pm
Rather than writing a book, start a basic computing tips wiki.
937. October
11:10 pm
Clearing cookies and cache/temporary internet files.
— Posted by Chris Foran
Hardware acceleration for videos- right click on desktop > properties
> settings > advanced > troubleshoot. Change to 30-50% if you’re
having trouble with green screen/etc.
Know what browser you are on!
— Posted by UMD Terp
11:14 pm
I want a feature that I cannot find here. When I need to fill in forms,
again and again, with my name, address, credit card numbers, etc. I
would like to assign these values to the “function keys” (or some
other keys) and be able to hit the correct key to enter the correct
words and numbers into the forms that I am filling out. Is this
possible, anyone???
— Posted by Wil Courter
939. October
11:26 pm
Seen a lot of people promoting alt+F4, that’s great for closing an
application like Word or Firefox, but if all you want to do is close one
tab or one file inside of Firefox or Word and leave the application
running, then you need ctrl+F4.
— Posted by Cory
Rename a file by clicking on it and pressing F2. Want to flabbergast
an accountant? The same key does the same thing for cell in an Excel
spreadsheet. Click on the cell, F2, start typing. No mouse required.
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941. October
12:05 am
10/8/08 9:09 AM
spreadsheet. Click on the cell, F2, start typing. No mouse required.
— Posted by Jay
oh, wonderful all.
I see a couple of booklets or major sections. Think it would be better
as small booklets than the tome with sections. Need to be cheap to
free - remember when the NYT used to “give” little primers in
exchange for print subscriptions?
1) The Computer is the Monster Under the Bed - for the truly
uninitiated. The Translator of keyboard and mouse speak for the true
novice. This shines the light and makes the monster go away (or at
least you learn to laugh as with Mike as opposed to cringe in fear as
with Sully.)
(We assume you can at least hunt and peck on the keyboard.)
2) Basics - what everyone assumes you know about keyboard controls
for Windows based programs and its internet browsers (or how to get
around the web without losing your mind.)
3) Basics - what everyone assumes you know about MAC based
systems etc etc.
4) Basics - for cell/smart/phones and other peripheral brains.
— Posted by susan
942. October
12:34 am
Many emacs control commands work in Apple mail. Like
ctrl-a moves to beginning of line
ctrl-e move to end of line
ctrl-k deletes line
ctrl-y yanks
Really nice for those of us who live with emacs.
— Posted by Robert Fossum
943. October
12:39 am
Lost? Need Help?
944. October
12:40 am
If you can get free computer support from a friend or family member
that specializes in supporting Apple computers,… buy a Mac. If you
don’t have a friend or family member that supports Apple computers,
…. that’s ok, Apple has genius bars at a price you can’t refuse. Also,…
for the right price, I’ll be your friend. Mahalo and aloha.
Please, PRESS the F1 Key!
— Posted by Tommah
— Posted by Brendan Perreault
945. October
12:41 am
Vista running slow? Try shutting off the hard drive hogging (though
pretty cool) Vista Search function:
— Posted by tommah
946. October
12:49 am
Jess Adams…
Your iPod PLAYS music. Your iTunes MANAGES music. The Delete
key will make songs disappear faster than you can say… anything.
— Posted by Peter
947. October
1:36 am
Pogue: You can hide all windows, revealing only what’s on the
computer desktop, with one keystroke: hit the Windows key and “D”
simultaneously in Windows,…
There was a button in the older Windows 98SE that did that. I
figured out the properties of the button and found it’s still in later
editions of Windows. Here are the properties as they are found in
Explorer\Quick Launch
— Posted by Larry Curleanmo
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10/8/08 9:09 AM
If you just install Windows XP straight off the CD without knowing
how to set it up, you’re probably not secure and can be hacked.
There’s actually quite a bit you need to know to secure it. This is
because (for historical reasons) there’s a trade-off between security
and interoperability with other computers on LANs. Microsoft’s
default settings make it easier to set up a LAN, but are not secure at
— Posted by radianceseeker
949. October
1:59 am
PowerPoint: in presentation mode, clicking the letter “b” will put the
screen in black (”w” will make the screen white)
2:00 am
Nice list of shortcuts. Would be nice to seperate the PC comments
from the Mac’s.
— Posted by Eric May
Big question here is - who test’s all these shortcuts for reliability? I
sure would hate to type in “ALT ??” and delete something important
or modify my settings and not know how to correct them.
I suggest all new shortcuts be done as a logged on user and not as the
— Posted by Second guess
951. October
2:07 am
To open several websites in Firefox, simply hit Control + T for each
site that you want to open. Use Control + Tab to maneuver between
opened tabs. Cool!
952. October
2:31 am
If you are working remotely, and you have 2 screens back at the
office, sometimes your program will be open in the window which
you don’t see. To get it, press alt-spacebar which will display the
window control menu. Press “m” and then use an arrow key to shift
the window into view.
— Posted by Rick in Atlanta
You can customize your keyboard control via a free tool call
XKeymacs which by default provides intuitive Emacs-like controls
over your desktop but also allows fine-tuning per key combo on an
application-specific basis.
— Posted by Pinner Blinn
953. October
2:52 am
Bit of useless history embedded in keyboard shortcuts:
In Windows use control-Q to quit a program IF it began life as a Mac
program — ie any Adobe/Macromedia program, even PowerPoint +
others anyone??
Of course ALL Mac programs use Command-Q to quit ;-]
— Posted by Luther Rotto
954. October
4:42 am
If your Mac freezes, will give you a menu to quit the frozen program.
“Grab” is a great little utility for copying windows, selections and
screens.For example, if a mapquest map splits between pages, you
can use select in “Grab” to define the part of the map you need in a
scale that will fit.
In some apps the right and left arrows will advance or back up a page,
as in PowerPoint.
— Posted by frank logan
955. October
6:12 am
In Word:
Type four keys:
(c) space bar
and you will get the copyright symbol © .
If you want the c in parentheses rather than the copyright symbol,
then after it turns into the copyright symbol, click Ctrl-Z (normally
that’s for “undo” - it undoes the Windows automation that converts
to a copyright symbol).
Similarly, the characters
spacebar will create a smiling face
In the above, depending on the version of word you are using,
sometimes the space bar is not necessary.
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..I hope someone got this far down on the list to read my comment..
— Posted by Ed
956. October
7:06 am
Those of you acting in surprise over all the keyboard shortcuts….you
don’t deserve a computer. Read your manuals and step away from
your IBM Selectrics.
957. October
8:03 am
When browsing the internet - hitting the backspace key brings you to
the previous web page that you were viewing.
958. October
8:24 am
all that stuff about ctrl+enter and shift+enter to prefix .com and .net
and so on are made irrelevant with FF 3’s predictive address bar. I
wonder how I managed without it!
959. October
8:27 am
The greatest feature of Apple’s 10.5 Leopard is called “Quick Look.”
While it’s no secret, it isn’t well-publicized.
— Posted by Mark
— Posted by Linda
— Posted by sumithar
Here’s how it works: click ONCE on any icon and press the space bar.
The document will open without having to boot up the application.
It’s super fast, and worth the entire cost of upgrading to Leopard if
you haven’t already done so.
Thank you David! I learned about it from your Missing Manual book.
— Posted by HarryR
9:13 am
I was thrilled to find out that the space bar will check or uncheck a
box for you in a form. You don’t have to grab your mouse and click it!
space bar = (un)check boxes on forms
— Posted by Meg
961. October
9:26 am
There’s a lot of comments here, but if someone mentioned this once
it bears repeating. PC users: You’ll give your car oil changes and
tune-ups but often you’ll let your computer sit on your desk and
gradually get gunked up. Some basic maintenance I so often see
1)A computer needs to be rebooted every once and a while. Don’t just
leave it running for weeks, even if it goes in to power saving mode.
2)Windows comes with good disk utilities that should be run every
few months. Under “accessories” in the start menu, go to “system
tools” and run “disk clean up” and “disk defragmenter.”
3)A bit more “advanced” (in Windows Speak): Look next to your
clock on the bottom left of the screen. This area is called the task
tray. Find out what each of those icons represent and if you need to
run those programs. Very often PC’s become bogged down with a
myriad of trivial processes running in the background.
4)Another slightly advanced tip: Very often Anti-virus is as obnoxious
as what it purports to be protecting you against. You need protection,
but try to be aware if it your Anti-virus that is making your computer
so excruciatingly slow.
5)One more basic one: Having a desktop image can slow down your
computer if your graphic capabilities are stretched. If you don’t know
what else to do to make your computer go faster, set your desktop to
just a color (and change your windows scheme to a less pretty one).
Do this by right-clicking on empty space on the desktop and clicking
on “properties.”
— Posted by David
962. October
9:27 am
Even I didn’t know about some of these. You might be interested in
the one for changing text size on a web page.
— Posted by Olivia
963. October
Can I subscribe to an e-mail listing that will remind me when Pogue
has a new posting or just send me the blog? Thanks.
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964. October
9:41 am
10/8/08 9:09 AM
— Posted by Kim
Oh wow does this book need to be written. I’m not a neophyte to
computers–I can run Photoshop et al using shortcuts only– but have
no idea how Windows really works. Every time I played with my F
buttons strange things happened and/or my machine would crash.
Just because someone isn’t a geek does not mean they are stupid.
— Posted by riko
965. October
9:45 am
± is alt+numeric keypad 0177
° is alt+numberic keypab 248
→ is alt+numberic keypad 26
☺ is alt+numeric keypad 1
☻ is alt+numeric keypad 2
There are lots more!
numeric keypad on laptops are accessed by a variety of different
means, some are modal, other are selected with key combinations.
— Posted by elliot
966. October
9:56 am
How come you sometimes DO have to type the “www” or you get
taken to that Windows Live Search page? One example I can think of
is my alma mater’s site,, and I’ve always been baffled by
— Posted by Sue
967. October
10:05 am
Before the days of the mouse computer manuals had lists (and
explanations) of these keyboard commands.
Yeah, I know, I threw mine out too.
— Posted by Tom Williamson
10:08 am
Someone may have already gotten this one, but I don’t have time to
read through all 950 posts.
To highlight large blocks of text in a word processing document:
Place the cursor at the beginning of the section you want to highlight.
Hold the Shift key, and click at the end of the section. The complete
section will be highlighted.
— Posted by Elisabeth
969. October
10:12 am
Thanks Jay! I just knew there had to be a way to do that!!! And that
question had stumped 2 Excel trainers.
970. October
10:18 am
In Excel, to edit a cell, instead of double clicking the selected cell,
press F2 key which will open the cell and place the cursor at the end
of the current text.
971. October
10:28 am
An article and a blog with computer tips and shortcuts. Check them
out if they seem interesting.
— Posted by Sallie
— Posted by Zubair Hameed
— Posted by Irena
972. October
10:40 am
I utilized the following tip: “You can also enlarge the entire Web page
or document by pressing the Control key as you turn the wheel on top
of your mouse.”
I did this in IE and now ALL of my screens are being displayed in a
very large font. I tried to use CTL and - [minus] key to bring it back
down and it does not work. Any suggestions? THX!
— Posted by WSP
973. October
11:00 am
There is no “Windows” key on my computer or any other computer in
my office.
I’ve been using a computer for at least 20 years and have never seen
a “Windows” key.
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Please, how about some real advice!
— Posted by Natasha
974. October
11:03 am
Ignore my last question - I utilized a response from one of your
readers that I hadn’t seen and it worked fine. THX!
975. October
11:07 am
For the iPhone.
— Posted by WSP
Press the home button twice to get to your phone number favorite
Press the home button and the button on the top of the phone at the
same time to take a screen capture. It puts the photo in your camera
— Posted by goddess
976. October
11:10 am
Many useful tips here, but one comment. Given a choice between a
two-finger key combination and a single mouse click to accomplish
the same thing, I’ll choose a single click every time.
Call me weird, but why take my hand off the mouse and hit Ctrl+D to
show the desktop in Windows, when I can single click the “Show
Desktop” icon in the Quick Launch toolbar? Seems like a lot of these
arcane keystroke combos can be executed with a right click function
as well.
But that being said here’s a couple of my fave key combo’s
Force quitting a frozen or problematic application on Mac:
Command(cloverleaf)+ Option+ Esc
Quick shutdown on Windows once you’re standing and ready to
Windows key, then u key, then enter key. You’re done, go home.
— Posted by Dano
977. October
11:54 am
You can view single frames in Quicktime movies by hitting the space
bar to pause the movie. Then press the right arrow key to a view
single frames going forward or the left arrow key to go backward.
978. October
12:13 pm
Natasha — you must be joking, right?
— Posted by Jerry P
Everybody I know can point out exactly where the Windows button
Perhaps you would benefit from taking a class.
On most PC keyboards the Windows button is between the CTRL and
the ALT keys, on both sides of the spacebar. The key will usually have
a stylized Windows logo on it. If you still can’t find it (!), go to your
nearest computer shop and have the technicians show you.
— Posted by Mark
979. October
12:27 pm
976 comments!! That’s a lot! Guess you better write that book, Pogue.
This is a question. On a Mac, when you press cmd+M the window
minimizes. But what key combo do you pres to maximize it again?
I know you could go to the Dock and press the window, but shouldn’t
there be a “revert to normal” command.
Tried google, apple and the works… Maybe the Great Pogue or his
readers can help here…
. Johan
ps. It’s practically the same with the cmd+H (hide command).
— Posted by Johan
12:28 pm
Phone call in middle of night: I can’t find the icon for trash can.
Answer: right click on desk top
check menu for REFRESH and click on it. Trash can popped up and
my blond friend was a happy camper.
Yep, she’s used computers for over 12 years.
— Posted by Kate
981. October
Read half the posts, and nobody mentioned this (forgive me if it
came up later and I am repeating):
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came up later and I am repeating):
In Word, the Insert key is (perversely) a toggle switch between “Insert
Mode” and “Overstrike Mode.” So, if you accidentally hit the Insert
key (which often happens when you try to hit Delete), you suddenly
get put into “Overstrike Mode”, which causes you to overwrite text
when you are trying to insert text. To get back to regular (”Insert”)
mode, hit Insert again.
This gave me about an hour of hair-pulling frustration the first time
it happened to me (decades ago). Happily, I was around to save my
son’s bacon just last week when it happened to him for the first time.
— Posted by dmm
12:32 pm
My favorite: in Windows, you can bulk-edit practically limitless
number of file names in one simple step: simply highlight all the files
you want renamed (you can use search utility to locate families of
files with shared characteristics which need to be given similar
names)and then, while highlighted, change the name of the FIRST
file only. Windows will then automatically rename ALL the
highlighted files: the same name given to the first file will be given to
ALL highlighted files BUT with a unique extension (usually -1, -2, -3
etc) assigned to each one. If you need to customize the file names,
you can always do so later, by adding a few extra characters or digits
or your choice.
— Posted by CHUCK BERIA
12:33 pm
I learned Windows+D for returning to the Desktop. That’s helpful. I
usually use the “Show Desktop” icon
12:33 pm
I am a new Blackberry user who actually likes to use appropriate
punctuation and entire words (properly spelled) in my email and text
messages. I also prefer to proofread messages before sending. HOW
RETYPING AN ENTIRE LINE? Is there such a thing as “spellcheck”
on a Blackberry? Gosh, this is frustrating.
— Posted by Carl-Anthony
— Posted by CEL
985. October
12:37 pm
If you type in the word “google” or “nytimes” or whatever into your
browser and press CTRL+ENTER, it will automatically put “www.” in
front and “.com” at the end and take you to the webpage.
12:42 pm
Here’s one I love, it is a time saver for shopping on line and all kinds
of other reasons: autofill.
It is on the google bar, if you take a couple of minutes to fill it in, it
will save lots of time whenever you are asked for name, email, phone,
— Posted by Carl-Anthony
— Posted by PD
987. October
12:43 pm
Per my posting #933 the Microsoft Outlook instructions work on
most mailers.
12:44 pm
Here’s something that every web designer SHOULD know.
— Posted by Nancy Karagianis
When entering addresses in an online form, the state drop-down
menu should be triggered by the state’s initials. For example, “NY”
should trigger “New York” to appear. In most cases, this does not
work, and either I’m left with “Newfoundland”, or scrolling through
all the states to find NY.
I’ve always thought it a west-coast conspiracy. It may seem small, but
if you fill out as many on-line forms as I do, it’s truly annoying.
Oh, and while we’re at it. Why isn’t the US always the first country on
a drop-down list? I have nothing against Afghanistan, but I doubt if
they do much on-line commerce with US-based firms.
— Posted by meech
12:50 pm
a) With a Mac, Command-Option-T gets rid of the sidebar of a
window. Same command restores the sidebar. I love this trick!
Dunno of Windows equivalent
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b) With a Mac, if you want to pass along an email without the quotelevel lines or carets, copy and paste into TextEdit first. Then copy the
TextEdit item and paste into new email page.
Dunno of Windows equivalent.
— Posted by Dave Beenken
12:55 pm
Never use two spaces after a period when using a word processor.
Modern fonts and word processors automatically put extra space in
after a period.
991. October
1:08 pm
“Not all anti-virus can delete,heal,prevent viruses” That’s why it’s
important for us to know this:
— Posted by Derek Bennett
How to delete virus on a secondary storage unit(USB,diskette etc.)
Note: When you are trying to open a file/s coming from your USB or
diskette do not double click it, or do not choose right click then
open.. the safeness way is to right click it and then select explore for
u to minimize the spreading of viruses or executing some malicious
files… Let’s say you this, automatically the virus/es will appear and if
you want to delete it just right click the virus and
There are cases that the virus/es or any malicious or suspicious files
are hidden..ok. for you to make it visible. first go to my
computer(don’t forget!)right click then select explore then point your
mouse to tool menu, choose folder option then view tab and from the
tab dialogue box select show hidden files and folder lastly..
unchecked hide extension etc…click ok then apply the reminders that
i have mentioned.
— Posted by buboy
992. October
1:12 pm
My favorite it control + shift + 4 to save any screen shot onto your
desktop. Just click on all of these simultaneously, an + in a gray circle
will appear. Release keys and and press mouse and drag the icon to
cover the part of the doc or image you want to save, release mouse
and voila, there is is on your desktop. I find this invaluable and use it
for everything from Mapquest to Quickbooks.
Thanks for all your tips!
— Posted by Ronnie
993. October
1:27 pm
Shame on you, David!
“Google is also a units-of-measurement and currency converter. Type
“teaspoons in 1.3 gallons,” for example, or “euros in 17 dollars.” Click
Search to see the answer.”
David, you missed an obvious shortcut in the shortcut. Instead of
clicking “Search,” hit the return or enter key. It works to select the
obvious button on most Mac and PC pages.
— Posted by Mac Bigot
994. October
1:39 pm
Ellen Richards in post #73: instead of “shame on you NYTimes”,
shame on YOU Ellen for not knowing how to highlight text in a web
page with your cursor, left click on your mouse and click on Copy,
then Paste it into a document and print it out yourself.
C’mon Ellen! Don’t blame the system, take personal responsibility!
— Posted by Cynthia
995. October
1:43 pm
I’ve sat in class wincing because the presenter did not realize:
If you want to scroll in a document, you can use the up or down
arrows in the scroll bar on the side to go one line at a time. But if you
want to scroll more quickly, a whole page at a time, click in the
empty space just above or below the “current page” indicator on the
scroll bar. (And of course you can drag the indicator to go even faster
to another part of the document.)
— Posted by LDF
996. October
1:43 pm
If there is a symbol you use a lot, you can make your own shortcut
key for it. On windows, click on “Insert” then “symbol” then
“shortcut key” at the bottom of the window.
For instance, I use the “section” symbol a lot as a law student, so I
have set its short cut as ctrl + shift + s.
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have set its short cut as ctrl + shift + s.
— Posted by SK
997. October
1:47 pm
To Natasha, post 973: do you see a key with 4 squares all put
together in the shape of a flag? That’s the Windows key. It’s on my
laptop, my PC and all the Windows-based computers in my office.
If you don’t have those keys on your keyboards, you either have an all
Mac office (rare) or someone’s removed all of them. Call 911.
— Posted by Cynthia
1:49 pm
Another very useful shortcut:
Instead of clicking a hyperlink taking you to a downloadable
document (Word, PDF, Excel), simply right click on the link and
choose “save target as” then choose a save location on your drive.
Many people struggle with clicking, opening, then trying to find the
“save” button on these documents.
Guaranteed to save you, on average, five minutes per document!
— Posted by Shaun
999. October
2:20 pm
Comments above have mentioned the Paste Special command (one of
my favorites), but you don’t have to use the toolbar (i.e., Edit/Paste
Special). The shortcut is Alt-Shift-V.
2:22 pm
Talking about what Google can do for you… my company has
customers and employees all over the world and I often need to know
what time it is there. So one day I typed “what time is it in tokyo” in
Google and there it was!!!
— Posted by ASV
So my tip is to try google out for any question before anyplace else.
— Posted by Nick
2:26 pm
I would not necessarily recommend as the authority on
truth on the Internet… they get it wrong sometimes too, and when
they do, they seem oblivious to e-mail from people who try to get bad
information cleared up (even when that bad information smears the
reputation of someone who is now deceased and cannot defend
themselves - scroll about halfway down on the page at and note the paragraphs under the heading
“Note regarding ‘The Americans’ by Byron MacGregor” - Snopes has
had this bad information on their site for years now, and they have
resisted all attempts to contact them to get it corrected). In my
opinion, Snopes is no more reliable than Wikipedia - sometimes they
get it right and sometimes they get it very wrong, but when they do
get it wrong it is very difficult (apparently sometimes impossible) to
get untrue or incomplete information corrected or removed.
— Posted by Jack
2:28 pm
Sorry, but this one isn’t entirely accurate:
* You can adjust the size and position of any window on your
computer. Drag the top strip to move it; drag the lower-right corner
(Mac) or any edge (Windows) to resize it.
If it’s been programmed to only display at a certain size, it can’t be
resized. And that feature is not as rare as you think.
— Posted by Erin
2:33 pm
Control/Alt/Delete + K will lock your Desktop if you are password
protected. I do not know what will happen if you do not have a sign
on screen to access your computer each day.
2:46 pm
I saw a few people mention Cmd + Shift + 4 to take screenshots, but
didn’t see these:
— Posted by Nancy Karagianis
After Pressing Cmd + Shift + 4, hit the spacebar and a camera icon
will come up. You can then select any window to take a picture of just
that window.
Cmd + Shift + 3 to take a picture of your entire screen—menus, dock
and all. (Note: if you want to mess with someone’s head, set this
picture as their desktop and set their dock to hide.
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picture as their desktop and set their dock to hide.
Also, Opt + hyphen gives you an en-dash (should be used to separate
numbers or dates). Opt + Shift + Hyphen gives you an em-dash
(should be used to set off clauses in sentences.
David also mentioned Cmd + Tab to switch through applications. You
can also to use Cmd + ` (the one above tab) to tab through open
windows within an application.
I would totally buy this book for my parents.
— Posted by Matthew
2:52 pm
I have one to add to this one-> “You don’t have to type “http://www”
into your Web browser. Just type the remainder: “” or
“,” for example. (In the Safari browser, you can even leave
off the “.com” part.)”
Type just the name of the site “nytimes” and then hit CTRL + Enter
to add the “www.” and “.com” to the beginning and end in the
address bar.
— Posted by Jillian Tegtmeyer
3:03 pm
To Lee Kirk of post #452: Where do I send you flowers for giving me
the best hint EVER?
3:14 pm
I hope these aren’t repeats, i couldn’t get them all. the best besides
the ctrl-enter to add the www. .com
— Posted by Cynthia
is using backspace to browse back a webpage and
Alt+Tab to switch between programs.
— Posted by sarah
3:15 pm
One tip I wish everyone would learn is to highlight the text they want
to forward in an email before clicking the forward button. That way
only the highlighted text gets forwarded and the garbage is left
— Posted by Bob Chilvers
3:29 pm
Right click on Start and you have immediate access to open, explore,
search, properties, etc.
3:36 pm
Please! Write the book.
3:42 pm
David, please write the “missing manual”! There are 998 posts as I
write — my mind was turning to mush trying to read them all, so I
had to give up even though I wanted to absorb as much as I could. Be
sure you get a good indexer when you’re ready to publish.
In what I did read, I did not see something someone taught me long
ago: if you want to print a portion of something you’re reading, you
can highlight that portion and use “copy” in “edit” and then click on
the “write” icon, place the cursor at the beginning of the message text
box and “paste”. Then print, of course.
— Posted by Meggie
— Posted by Martha
— Posted by Patti
3:53 pm
On a Mac (I suspect it is the same on windows with these two Mac
apps) in Quicktime and iTunes, the Spacebar toggles on and off play
and pause.
4:01 pm
I know a lot of these tricks, but there are some that I didn’t know
about–thanks for the info!
I will be linking to this article in an upcoming post. Thanks : )
— Posted by Peter
— Posted by Beth
— Posted by Catholic Tech Tips
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4:13 pm
4:13 pm
“A range of text, or cells in excel, or just about anything, can be
selected by clicking the beginning point, THEN THE SHIFT KEY,
then the end point. No need to drag over the entire range.”
However, if the range of cells spans several screens and you find
yourself scrolling down, it is easier to select the beginning point, then
SHIFT + CTRL + down/right cursor arrow (depending if the range
goes down or right). Similarly, if you are located at the end point of a
range in Excel and would like to select the entire range, select the end
point, then SHIFT + CTRL + up/left cursor arrow.
To select an array of cells in Excel (an array spans several columns
and rows), position the cursor in one corner of the array, let’s say the
upper left corner, then click SHIFT + CTRL + down arrow + right
arrow (or alternatively right + down arrow, it doesn’t matter). If
you’re at the lower right corner, the SHIFT + CTRL + up + left arrow.
— Posted by Lucia
4:15 pm
To switch between the sheets of an Excel document, use CTRL + page
up/page down.
4:35 pm resolves to
4:35 pm
How about simply teaching new users that when they mouse up to
the top to use the dropdown menus, most (but not all) of these
keyboard shortcuts described here appear to the right of the
command in the menu. I’m afraid newbies don’t realize what those
strange symbols mean. I’ve met people who’ve been using computers
for YEARS who didn’t know that.
— Posted by Lucia
— Posted by Jeremy
— Posted by HarryR
4:36 pm
Paste Special shortcut = Alt-E, S, V, Enter
4:37 pm
My life was saved when a friend told me that BACKSPACE is
equivalent to hitting the Back button in a browser (in all but a few
This is typically faster for me than using a button.
— Posted by Tom M
Also, that clicking on a link while pressing Shift opens the link in a
new window. But that was before tabs.
— Posted by Maria
4:38 pm
A shortcut for entering website names is to type the base of the name,
say, “ebay” then hold down the CTL button (CMD in Mac) while you
hit enter and .com and everything else will be added to your website
name. Hold CTL (CMD on Mac) and Shift while you hit enter and you
will automatically get the name filled in with .org. ALT shift enter
take you to the .net version of the name you typed in…
— Posted by JPoorman
4:50 pm
A lot of people don’t know about defragging.
4:53 pm
Someone already mentioned it, but I thought I’d explain: Control Y is
great for repeating the last action you’ve taken in Microsoft programs
like Word or Excel. It’s great for quickly formatting or deleting text.
5:03 pm
For Windows users:
F4 to bring curser to address bar.
F5 to refresh the screen.
F12 is “save as” in Word and Excel.
— Posted by John
— Posted by Heather
Alt+T to open up a new Tab in Internet Explorer.
Alt+W to close Tab.
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Alt+W to close Tab.
Cntl+Tab to toggle to next Tab.
Add Shift to toggle to previous Tab.
Alt+F4 to close a window, file, and application.
Alt+Spacebar+X to maximize.
Alt+Spacebar+N to minimize.
— Posted by Morgan
5:20 pm
Do you have any idea how many users don’t know the difference
between ‘SAVE’ and ‘SAVE AS…’
5:39 pm
Control Z - undo the last editing. This one’s especially helpful when
you accidentally hit something and all the text on the screen
disappears. Before you panic, calmly hit Control Z and voila, it’s back.
— Posted by HarryR
Control Y - redo the last editing. Let’s say you change something then
decide you like it better the way it was. Instead of searching for the
redo arrow, hit Control Y.
Shift F3 - toggle between upper and lower case. If something’s all
uppercase, you can change it to all lowercase by highlighting the text
then hitting Shift F3. You might have to go back in and correct some
letters that should be upper case, but it saves you retyping the whole
F4 - repeat your last action. Let’s say you did that Shift F3 thing
above, and now you need to change some letters back to upper case.
You can either highlight each letter and hit Shift F3 on each of them,
or you can do that on one letter, and on all subsequent corrections
just highlight the letter and hit F4.
Shift F5 - jump to the last change you made
Highlighting - in some programs, you can highlight multiple things by
holding down either the Shift key or the Control key, depending on
what you want to select. If you want to select everything between
Point B and Point L, then click on Point B, hold down the Shift key,
and click on Point L. Points B through L will be highlighted.
If you want to select points B, F, G, I, K and L, then click on B, hold
down the Control key, and click on the other points. They’re the only
ones that will be highlighted.
— Posted by Jenny
5:44 pm
My only problem with all these tips is that I will never remember
Quick, David, publish some booklets:
Things to do with your Windows key
Quick ways to move around
The Magic of Alt+ ….
Things you do everyday that you could do faster
And so on.
— Posted by Elisabeth
5:54 pm
Triple clicking on a word highlights the entire paragraph.
5:57 pm
You mentioned drop down menus for states. Here is a trick my loving
son taught me. If you live in New York, for example, start by typing
N, then continue typing the letter n. This will actually scroll you
through all the states which begin with the letter n. Just stop when it
gets to your state. I have found this method faster the actually
opening the drop down menu and scrolling.
— Posted by Jonathan Broh
And this works on any drop down menu.
— Posted by PLD
6:03 pm
“Come up with an automated backup system for your computer.
There’s no misery quite like the sick feeling of having lost chunks of
your life because you didn’t have a safety copy.”
What’s this mean? How do I do it?
— Posted by Joanie
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Some are stupid. I have personal knowledge of that. I assume David
Pogue wrote this blog for such a reason. David Pogue included in his
last entry, automated backup system, with no instruction for
accomplishing it, which we stupids can do nothing with. Such a
technique is just showing off unconstructively. An acceptable showing
off technique is the rest of the blog and most of the posts. Thanks for
acceptable showing off techniques.
— Posted by Max Spencer
6:33 pm
For all you Blackberry users out there:
When in your message inbox, hitting “t” will bring you to the top of
your messages, “b” will bring you to the bottom…I’m waiting for
Research In Motion to make “m” take you to the middle.
— Posted by greenguy
6:36 pm
who can remember this stuff? not me…better things to do in life than
study computer shortcuts…
6:55 pm
Meech, #998, said: When entering addresses in an online form, the
state drop-down menu should be triggered by the state’s initials. For
example, “NY” should trigger “New York” to appear. In most cases,
this does not work, and either I’m left with “Newfoundland”, or
scrolling through all the states to find NY.
— Posted by Jeff
Here’s some help: my son taught me that if you keep hitting that first
letter, you will be scrolled to the right state. I live in CT, which comes
after California and Colorado. When I’m asked for my state on an allstate list, I type “C C C.” This tip changed my form-filling life.
— Posted by rfmezzy
6:56 pm
Ctrl + A highlights the whole document
ctrl + E centers your text
ctrl + L left justifies it
ctrl + R right justifies
Ctrl + V shows ‘page preview’ is the best free website for condensing long URLs, i.e.
website names
Page down and Page up do just that, rather than removing your hand
to scroll on a mouse; ctrl + end goes to end of document while
ctrl+home goes to top
In Excel, highlight all (ctrl + a) and then Freeze Panes. You will be
able to see the headlines and the lefthand column while negotiating
rows and columns deeper into the spreadsheet (Row 382, Column
It is possible to convert text to table and table to text in Excel and in
Sorting in Excel and Word are easy–don’t forget to ’show headings.’
— Posted by Steffi Aronson Karp
8:36 pm
these are all sweet. say your a college student whose laptop mouse
pad had chicken noodle soup spilled on it—-> Alt + Space in most
windows allows a right click feature to help you Minimize, Maximize,
Move, Close, or Size the window you’re currently selected on. enjoy!
— Posted by Owen McCusker
9:25 pm
If you can tell me how to copy and paste on my iPhone I will gladly
send you half of my $80M estate currently locked in a Nigerian
* intricate details to follow…
— Posted by Andre Z
9:36 pm
If youw want to track a parcel with a tracking number, enter it
directly into the Google search bar and it will automatically bring you
to the correct web site for that number, e.g. FedEx or UPS. Then, just
click on the highlighted tracking number and the tracking
information will apperar.
— Posted by Mike
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10/8/08 9:09 AM
You’re kidding me… How can I read 1000+ tips to see what is
I’ll take a guess that no one has posted this FIND tip: You can search
on a web page to locate any word. Ctrl+F or Command+F brings up
the “Find in Page” command box.
— Posted by Rodd Lucier
9:48 pm
Biggest web browsing tip of all :
Don’t use Internet Explorer. Just Don’t.
10:16 pm
If you use Google to do your math, you don’t have to type =, that
means you only need to type an equation without typing “=”. For
example, you only need to type 5*4, then hit “enter”, the Google will
give you the answer.
— Posted by Sam
— Posted by Chelsea
10:22 pm
Wow. This took me the better part of a day and a half to get through.
I have now read all 998 posts and there are many, many repeats
within. But even with over half of the information getting replicated,
I am still blown away by the collective genius of the people reading
the NY times. Thank you to all who’ve shared your knowledge.
— Posted by Salem
10:25 pm
Best and neatest trick for Windows users — buy a MAC! (I did last
May after using PC’s since 1984….)
11:46 pm
Within any browser program, you can drag the URL of a website onto
the desktop or into a folder and then double-click it to re-open to
that exact page. It’s a great way to save bookmarks by topic without
actually saving them as a bookmark.
— Posted by Paul Shaviv
You can drag an email onto the desktop or into a folder. It’s a great
way to save emails by subject outside of the email program.
Control-Click a word that has the red underline and Word will bring
up a list of possible choices you can select from to correct the spelling
of that word.
— Posted by Jean
12:04 am
This isn’t really a trick, but it’s a mistake I see people make all the
time. Just because Microsoft Word’s spell check says it right, does
not make it right!
Hitting CTRL + F will open a window that allows you to search for
text on the page.
Helpful keys to remember when working with Word:
CTRL + S will save
CTRL + N will open a new document
CTRL + O will open a document
CTRL + I will italicize text
CTRL + B will bold text
CTRL + U will underline text
The latter three also work on most forums.
In web browsers using tabs, CTRL + T will open a new tab. CTRL + N
will open a new window.
— Posted by Autumn
12:06 am
When selecting text word by word (after double-clicking a word, for
example), it’s often difficult to select just the text you want, as the
selection may “jump” eratically.
I’ve always found it’s much easier, for some reason, to start at the end
of your selection and move back to the beginning.
— Posted by Mark Fajfar
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What a fantastic idea! Kill three birds with one stone!
1) write your required article
2) increase reader happiness because they provide some pithy
knowledge they think everybody should be aware of.
3) you take the information they provide, compile it, edit it and
VOILA, another multi-thousand dollar profit for you for your next
4) add some credits to the people who provided information, and you
have a larger customer base of people purchasing and recommending
the book.
— Posted by dennis
12:41 am
Perhaps you’ve had the frustrating experience of working with a
document that has the text formatting defined through the style
sheet. When you paste into the document from another document
you get unpredictable results. To control this, notice that when you
select a sentence, word, or paragraph, the highlighting extends a bit a
past the last word. That space contains formatting controls.
Backspace to the end of the last visible character and you will be
copying and pasting unformatted text.
— Posted by JulianBrown
12:42 am
“You don’t have to type “http://www” into your Web browser. Just
type the remainder: “” or “,” for example. (In
the Safari browser, you can even leave off the “.com” part.)”
This feature works because when the website “nytimes” is not found,
the browser automagically looks for “” However,
some ISPs, like Verizon Online, break this feature by implementing a
“smart search” type of function which returns a search page instead
of the website you wanted.
(If it’s not labeled), “Command” on a Macintosh is the key next to the
space bar with the “four leaf clover” or Apple logo on it. Many MacWindows keystroke shortcuts can be applied to the other system by
holding command in place of control, or vice-versa.
On a Mac, many menu items have keystroke shortcuts. Just look to
the right of the menu item for the keys you should hold. An arrow
indicates shift, the four leaf clover means command, and a (hard to
describe) “diagonal line symbol connecting two out of three
horizontal lines” means option. If you see more than one symbol,
hold down more than one of these modifier keys at a time. Also,
when holding down keys for a “combination keystroke” hold the
modifiers first, then press the “letter or number” needed to complete
the keystroke.
— Posted by Richard Tjoa
1:16 am
On Mac OS X, Command+Shift+4 will let you grab a rectangular
image of any part of the screen you select, and save it to the desktop
as a graphic file. Great for troubleshooting, as you can take a picture
of the error message box instead of copying down all the text.
— Posted by Jennifer
1:21 am
Some things I’ve had to explain to people who’ve been using
computers for years:
The appearance of a trough with a little button in it on either the
right hand side or the bottom of your browser window is an
indication that there is more information off the edge of the window.
It’s probably a good idea to pull the little button around before
phoning tech support. This will show you the extra information.
Your browser stores copies of the web-pages that you visit so that it
can pop them back up quickly if you visit them again. However, if
someone then changes that web-page (such as when you hire me to
update it) you won’t see the changes (and then accuse me of
fraudulently billing you for these changes) unless you press what is
called a “refresh button” that is usually found to the left of your
address bar.
Differently coloured links on your web-page are not a mistake made
by me whilst updating your web-site. They are supposed to change
colour to indicate which links you have already visited in the recent
There is a little button with an underlined triangle on it somewhere
on your keyboard. This will eject any CD or DVD disks that you have
loaded in your computer. You may have to hold it down for a couple
of seconds for this to work. (BTW - I’ve never personally run across
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of seconds for this to work. (BTW - I’ve never personally run across
the CD-tray as coffee cup holder trope but have met people who
The existence of cut-and-paste.
How not to overuse cut-and-paste to type in things like “blah blah
blah” by cutting and pasting “blah” three times and just using the
“keyboard” shortcut of typing in “blah blah blah”. This especially time
saving when you also don’t know any keyboard or right-click short
cuts for cut-and-paste. In general, it’s a good thing to be able to type
when the machine you sit in front of all day is operated by a
keyboard. I typed this entire comment in in 8 minutes and generally
get out of the office a couple of hours before everyone else due to this
typing speed.
Basically, I find that a lot of people’s desktop computers aren’t
boosting their productivity at all since they’ve never received any
training w.r.t. to their keyboard, mouse or desktop. In fact, has
anyone ever published a study showing that putting computers on
everyone’s desk has a measurable, positive effect on productivity?
— Posted by Don Hutton
1:42 am
Thanks to Peter (back at 946) for making my life instantly happier by
telling me how to delete unwanted songs from my iPod. It took him
one sentence. I never got that simplicity from Apple! Cheers, Jess.
2:03 am
Great column. Such a huge number of comments, so I hope what I
have to say hasn’t been written about already. I’m a fairly intelligent
man and I’ve made many discoveries by trial and error, and a few (to
more or less disastrous effect) by main strength and ignorance. I still
have no idea what the Notepad is or what to do when I’m told that
I’ve placed a large quantity of material on my clipboard and do I
want to save it for future use (words to that effect). I think deeply for
a second, then click No. So far, no ill effects, though I have never
future-used my clipboard. See, I’m getting there with my
computerspeak. I have no idea what the keys on my keyboard are for
unless they’re not letters or numbers or symbols or arrows, etc.
Never knew about that Windows key, for example; thanks. I think
most people get their computers and just have to start working with
them right away, so they just carry on doing what they already know.
Even if there’s a manual, who’s going to read it, or worse yet, print it
out(!) and read it.
Okay, a couple of useful word processing tips I’ve learnt somewhere.
These are for Windows XP; the horror stories about Vista, despite
those “real people, not actors” commercials, have prevented me from
updating. Here goes:
— Posted by Jess Adams
- F12 to “Save as”
- To change from ALL CAPS to lower case or Initial Caps and back
and forth, highlight the relevant word/s, then press Shift + F3 (you
can toggle indefinitely here).
- As a translator, I frequently come across repeated words and
phrases, company names, etc. in the source text, and it is a real pain
to retype them a zillion times (I’m sure this must happen in regular
word processing, too). Well, let’s say the irksome repeat is
“telecommunications” (and of course you have cast an eye over the
document so you know that it’s going to crop up five times on every
page). Highlight the first occurrence, then press Alt + F3. You will be
prompted to establish a shortcut, so you make it “tel” or “te” or even
“t.” Then every time you come to that word or phrase, etc., you just
type the defined shortcut, press F3 and the word/phrase magically
appears in full. A good memory for your shortcuts is an asset (or a
handwritten list, keeping which is still faster than typing out the
word every time)so you don’t forget that you’ve already used, say, “t,”
though the shortcut prompt will remind you that you’ve already
established that one if you try to use it again for a different “t” word.
I raise my voice with so many others here: Write that book! As far as
I’m concerned, you can’t assume too little knowledge — on the part of
this reader anyway.
— Posted by John Boylan
2:16 am
The best-designed, user-friendliest backup program is at (no afiliation, and PC only). It keeps copies of
whatever files and folders you need to preserve, to any medium. The
best backup medium is flash drives or cards. Tips: Backup may be
automatic or manual, run occasionally as you work. Backup is not
disk images - you can’t really save program installations, only data
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disk images - you can’t really save program installations, only data
files. Backup may be to a website, but for most users that is too slow.
And beware of fake software I encountered at
— Posted by Tom
3:42 am
To Joanie,
There are a couple of different ways to set up automatic back-up. The
easiest is to subscribe to Microsoft OneCare and purchase an external
hard drive. OneCare will prompt you to set up a back-up schedule. All
you need to do is plug the USB cable into the external hard drive and
your PC. If you do not want to purchase OneCare, many external
drives include automatic back-up software. The quality of the
software and instructions is variable, but one rule generally applies:
you get what you pay for. Go cheap and it may not do what you want.
Finally, you can dispense with automatic back-up systems and
manually select the files you wish to save. I do not reccomend this, as
you sound like a pretty basic user and may lack the skills necessary.
Finally, find a local nerd. We are everywhere and happy to help:-)
— Posted by Frank
3:51 am
here are my favorite quick keys - i use them daily
command B (or control B on a pc) = Bolds the highlighted
command U for underline
command i for italics
if you’re old enough to have bought a mac back in the mid-80s, you
probably know a lot of quick-keys. In kind, pc word docs followed the
same smart short cuts.
— Posted by Nancy
4:29 am
Not only is there a limit how many large pictures you can send to
someone, but sending unsolicited attachments is rude. It’s like
sending something COD in the mail.
Use picasa or flickr.
Sending attachments is so 90’s.
— Posted by tlbriley
5:10 am
Switch Browser Tabs with ctrl + arrow left/right on Safari or ctrl +
page up/down on Firefox.
6:10 am
your very last hint is to “come up” with a backup method……what
suggestions do you offer as what some of them are and how to use
6:31 am
Superb service. Thanks.
6:44 am
computer info for you
7:25 am
You can e-mail a document from the document itself by clicking
file/send/send as attachment. No need to save it and then attach it.
(If you just “send” rather than “send as attachment” the document
will dump inside the e-mail so be sure to send as an attachment.)
— Posted by Eckart Denecke
— Posted by jim doherty
— Posted by Mike Rougas
— Posted by Joe sixpack
— Posted by Judith Wencel
8:23 am
Thank you thank you thank you! On these nifty Macs we keep buying
(and others in the household use to their fullest) I’ve always felt like
I’m driving a Lamboghini stuck in first gear in the far left lane of the
Information Superhighway. You really DO need to write that book!
(Write it on tiny yellow stickies so it will be easily absorbed into my
present M.O.!!!!)
— Posted by Perennial Noob
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Computer tips
8:59 am
OMG you have changed my life
9:06 am
This article is exactly why I created my site, After receiving numerous phone
calls from friends and relatives on how to do very basic things on a
computer, I decided to create a website that explained things things
and other basic computer concepts in an easy to understand manner.
Guess it worked as we have over 200K members.
10/8/08 9:09 AM
— Posted by Pam
— Posted by Joannie
Here is a tip. To logon to a ftp site via Internet explorer and not have
to type your password into the address field enter:
ftp://[email protected]
It will then prompt you for your password. This makes it so your FTP
password does not get stored in IE’s history.
— Posted by Lawrence Abrams
9:08 am
Great list, except for the tip about the recycle bin — I’ve seen far too
many user use the recyle bin as an archive, and be surprised when
there documents were deleted because the system (or another user)
cleaned out old deleted items to free up space. Same logic applies to
deleted items folders in your e-mail system, cell phone text messages,
or voice mail.
— Posted by Marc
9:18 am
ALL (maybe) the Mac OS shortcuts are here:
Of course, shortcuts for individual apps are not included.
— Posted by HarryR
9:26 am
On Dell laptops, Fn+upArrow increases screen brightness,
Fn+downArrow decreases screen brightness. Something I only
realised after 4 or 5 years of looking at the little ’sun’ icons on the
arrow keys nearly every day.
— Posted by Fintan
9:37 am
On a qwerty keyboard, the ‘F’ and ‘J’ keys usually have pimples or
raised lines on them, so you can place your index fingers to prepare
your hands for typing without looking at the keyboard.
9:58 am
Duh . . . I can’t find a “windows key” on my Dell laptop. Is there a
10:00 am
Dear all,
— Posted by Holly
— Posted by Margaret Pierce
I have compiled many of these hints, and inserted them into my web
site, on
— Posted by Valdemar W. Setzer (Val)
10:01 am
I am a keyboard junkie and one that I do think I saw here was for
tabbed browsing. Use the CTRL+T to add a new tab and then use the
CTRL and what ever the tab is i.e. 1 or 2 or 3… to jump between
Tab moves you forward when filling our forms and shift+tab will
move you back to the previous field.
— Posted by Tamara
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[MAC OS X]: SAVE AS Naming
When saving a document, clicking on another existing document’s
name will put that same name in the name title.
Good shortcut if you have to conform to a long naming nomenclature.
— Posted by Mr. Thuan
10:06 am
Alt + Tab has been my favorite for years. Generally, I try to avoid the
mouse as much as possible, though, so I use emacs in windows to
edit and create files, and it’s full of keyboard strokes I set up to save
I know it’s a huge stretch for most people, but if you want to create
nicer looking documents than Word will ever create, you should use
LaTex; of course, this goes beyond the scope of basic computer
usage, but for any intrepid folks out there, LaTex is the best way to
create perfect documents (and emacs is a great editor for it).
— Posted by jonjon
10:32 am
If you want to keep a copy of a webpage (using Windows IE
browser… other browsers have similar mechanisms)… click “File >
Save as.” You will see a “Save as type” section, where you have several
choices in a dropdown menu. If you want the whole webpage (with
files and images), then save as, “Webpage complete.” If you are just
needing the text, primarily for future copying or reference and you
don’t need images, then save as “Webpage, html only.” Or, you can
choose to save it as just a text file. Avoid saving as the mht format
until you have further training. Later, in your browser, you can click
“File > Open” and then find that file where you saved it on your hard
disk to launch the page (or, if you did a text file, use your notepad or
word processor).
Sam Redman
— Posted by Sam Redman
10:32 am
Super Ultimate Windows Shortcut List
As was posted earlier by Kris, a website would totally be the best
solution here, as Microsoft’s
little keyboard shortcut page is not even close to comprehensive (i.e.
google: windows shortcuts).
It also seems counter-intuitive to have to search through a book for
something you could simply CTRL+F. However, this requires a basic
knowlege of web browsing, so perhaps the book should be
concise and cover only navigation to the online page, but I digress ..
In light of my own grievances and in response to Ida’s request, I
propose the following DRAFT of the “Super Ultimate Windows
Shortcut List” and challenge anyone reading this to find the ones I
surely missed.
Please note that this list is limited to Windows shorcuts (as a
separate list is appropriate for Mac) and to only those shortcuts
which are somewhat universal in nature (do not include shortcuts
specific to applications such as Excel, Access, Word, etc., unless
added to a separate list). Perhaps our moderator could manage these
lists ..
Oh, and I certainly hope you people aren’t posting with your REAL
names??? BAAAD Internet Karma.
Left Click on Item (display shortcut menu)
Single Click on Text (move insertion point here)
Double Click on Text (select this word)
Triple Click on Text (select this block of text)
SPACEBAR (scroll down webpage or text)
TAB (cycle through items)
ALT (focus on the menu bar)
BACKSPACE (go up a folder/go back a webpage)
HOME (move insertion point to beginning of the line/select first
END (move insertion point to end of the line/select last item)
ESC (exit full screen/exit print preview/close dialog box)
PRINTSCREEN (copy a screenshot to the clipboard)
CTRL+F (find text)
CTRL+A (select all)
CTRL+C (copy)
CTRL+X (cut)
CTRL+V (paste)
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CTRL+V (paste)
CTRL+Z (undo)
CTRL+Y (redo)
CTRL+S (save)
CTRL+O (open)
CTRL+N (open a new window or file)
CTRL+K (focus on the search bar in web browser)
CTRL+L (focus on the address bar in web browser)
CTRL+T (open a new tab in web browser)
CTRL+I/B/U (toggle italic/bold/underline text)
CTRL+Home/End (move to beginning or end of a document)
CTRL+Move Mousewheel or +/- keys (increase or decrease text size
on web page)
CTRL+Click Items (select individual items in a group)
CTRL+Click Weblink (open link in a new tab)
CTRL+Drag Items (copy the selected items)
CTRL+SHIFT+Drag Items (create shortcuts to the selected items)
CTRL+ARROW (move insertion point word by word)
CTRL+SHIFT+ARROW (select text word by word)
CTRL+ESC (open start menu)
CTRL+TAB (cycle through open tabs or documents)
CTRL+F4 (close the open tab or document)
SHIFT+ARROW (select text line by line)
SHIFT+TAB (reverse cycle through items)
SHIFT+SPACEBAR (scroll up webpage or text)
SHIFT+DELETE (delete the selected item permanently)
SHIFT+Insert CD/DVD (prevent autorun on CD/DVD)
SHIFT+F10 (display shortcut menu)
ALT+F4 (close the active program)
ALT+F6 (cycle through windows in the same program)
ALT+ENTER (display properties/toggle fullscreen mode in web
ALT+TAB (switch between open windows)
ALT+ESC (cycle through windows in the order they were opened)
ALT+SPACEBAR (display system menu for the active window)
ALT+LEFT/RIGHT ARROW (navigate forward and backward in web
ALT+D (focus on the address bar in web browser)
ALT+T (open a new tab in web browser)
ALT+W (close tab in web browser)
CTRL+ALT+DELETE (open task manager)
CTRL+SHIFT+ESC (open task manager)
CTRL+ALT+ARROW (flip the screen in the specified direction)
CTRL+ALT+PRINTSCREEN (copy only the active window to the
Windows+E (open windows explorer)
Windows+F (opens file search)
Windows+R (open run dialogue box)
Windows+M (minimize open windows)
Windows+Shift+M (undo minimize open windows)
Windows+D (show desktop)
Windows+L (lock windows)
Windows+Pause/Break (open system properties)
Windows+Tab (cycle through taskbar items)
F1 key (open help menu)
F2 key (rename the selected item)
F3 key (open search screen menu/open find menu for text)
F4 key (focus on the address bar)
F5 key (refresh the active window/paste timestamp in text)
F6 key (cycle through the elements in a window)
f7 key (spell check)
F10 key (focus on the menu bar)
F11 key (toggle maximize or minimize web browser)
— Posted by sevencardz
10:32 am
Alt + tab at the same time will allow you to scroll from screen to
screen in Windows without your mouse. Saves me lots of time!
10:40 am
* Above list should read “Right Click on Item”
You can also do keyboard sequences in addition to key combos. Key
sequences are when you don’t hold the buttons at the same time, you
— Posted by Douglas Gallup
— Posted by sevencardz
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sequences are when you don’t hold the buttons at the same time, you
press one after releasing the other.
For example, in Windows, win+L will lock the computer, but win,L
will LOG OFF.
Any key sequence works. Win,U,H will hibernate if you have it
enabled, win,E will load IE if it’s your default browser, etc.
— Posted by Randy R
10:53 am
* You can also enlarge the entire Web page or document by pressing
the Control key as you turn the wheel on top of your mouse. On the
Mac, this enlarges the entire screen image.
It dont do that for all pages.
— Posted by TJ
11:05 am
Great article. I already knew all of it except for the SPACE to scroll a
page down. I try to avoid using the mouse if at all possible, so have
learned lots of keyboard shortcuts. Here’s just a few…and some other
F4: when working in powerpoint, excel, or word and you want to
repeat something you just did (such as underlining text, changing
font size, giving a box a shadow), hit f4 on the destination item and it
will repeat what you just did.
F5: In Powerpoint, this will get you to the Presentation mode.
F2: In excel, if you hit F2 you enter a cell and be able to start editing
it. This allows you to not have to double click into the cell with your
Doing “Finds” in Firefox: Many don’t know that there’s a setting in
Firefox that allows you to start doing a “Find” as soon as you start
typing. Avoids you from having to use the shortcut CTRL+F.
It’s under Tools/Options/Advanced/General.
Navigating Tabs: This works in Excel and Firefox. I don’t use
Windows IE, so not sure if this would work there as well. CTRL+Up
Arrow and CTRL+Down arrow allows you to move to the next tab.
Navigating a web page: CTRL+Left and CTRL+Right allow you to
page back instead of having to click on the back and forward buttins
in your web browser
Google Desktop: This is an awesome tool that you should download if
you don’t have. It searches your hard drive, saved searches, anything
you’ve viewed so fast if you ever need to find anything. Will even
search through your Outlook way faster than Outlook’s own search.
Folder settings: If you have a certain way you like to view your folders
in windows explorer, you can save those settings without having to go
View all the time. Just go to Tools/Folder Options/View/Apply to All
— Posted by michelle
11:25 am
this website is wierd and i think that it is a waste of my time and
others but some pepople make us look at this kind of stuff and its
dumb. i know what i know and i don’t need this website telling me
what i already know, but i have to look at it anyways. so whatever.
— Posted by someone
11:43 am
Re: Ellen Richards @73
Jeez, Ellen, “shame” on Pogue or the NYT? Seriously? As I recall,
they give us this awesome Web site for free, other than
advertisements, and if this had not been in blog format you would
never have been able to get it at all.
Maybe they could make it a little more user-friendly, but “shame”
seems like an awfully strong word for one feature you don’t like especially when you compare to the gawd-awful sites of
a number of other big papers.
Keep up the good work David and your colleagues!
— Posted by Ted
11:44 am
When viewing an image in your browser, you can save the file by
putting the cursor over it, right clicking and choosing “Save Picture
As.” Or, you can click to “Email” or “Print” it. But the choice to
“Copy,” it is often overlooked. Click “Copy” and then just paste that
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“Copy,” it is often overlooked. Click “Copy” and then just paste that
image right into your Word Pad (or any word processor program).
Or, if you want to crop or alter it, paste it into Windows Paint or your
image program,
But, often a website’s author will have disabled the right click
mechanism in a feeble attempt to keep people from having copies of
images to enjoy offline. Not a problem. Just re-size that browser
window, so that it is just a bit bigger than the image and click Alt
PrtSc (hold down the Alt key and tap the PrtSc key). Now, you can
paste a copy of the image into Windows Paint (or other image
program) and work with it as though you owned it (it will have some
of the browser window copied as well, which you will have to trim
away). After you have it properly cropped… save it as a bmp for later
use or as a jpg (if you want to email it or use it in a document).
— Posted by Sam Redman Dallas
11:48 am
I have a dell laptop win windows and several of these shortcuts did
not work including CTRL + Plus sign did not enlarge the text on the
12:10 pm
This was a useful piece, a lot I knew, but there were also some I
— Posted by trish
I’m sure these were posted already, but they definitely make my days
f is “Find” and you can search for any word you want on a page,
except for some, if not all, email programs, where it means “forward”.
In Excel, z is “undo”, when you’re in a cell, c is “copy” and v is
— Posted by Kifana
12:39 pm
these are all pretty basic..
12:59 pm
Got a messy desktop with lots of files on it? Can’t see the file you
want but know the file’s name. In Windows, you can:
— Posted by Cassieeeee
a. Type the first letter of the file and Windows will highlight the first
file with that letter. Keep typing that letter to cycle through all the
files with that start with that letter.
b. Start typing the filename and Windows will zero in on the first
occurence of that filename. Not the right one? Start typing the
filename again and Windows will move to the next occurence
— Posted by brian
1:02 pm
Here’s one that has stumped a few people I know who did not grow
up with computers / tons of electronics: On any device, a single
(usually green) triangle means “play.” A square (usually red) means
“stop.” Two parallel lines mean “pause.” Two right-facing arrowheads
mean “fast forward.” Two left-facing arrowheads mean “rewind.” On
cell phones, if you have a green button, it’s generally the send button.
A red button is usually the “end” button and also may be the power
I swear, a whole lot of people were left behind when we stopped
labeling these icons.
— Posted by melon
1:04 pm
Ellen Richards #73
If you email the article to yourself you
can then print out everything!
Great tips and I am proud to say I knew quite
a few and ashamed to say I didn’t know quite a few.
— Posted by Dee
1:12 pm
While in an open web browser, hitting f6 will highlight the whole
address bar allowing you to type in a new address without furiously
clicking to try to highlight the whole thing.
Something that I find quite useful.
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— Posted by Nick
1:27 pm
While typing don’t hit enter (carriage return) at the end of the line.
You will be returned to the beginning of the new line automatically.
1:32 pm
To find a specific word on a webpage (or in a document), use the
edit> find command.
1:57 pm
ALT-F4 closes the active window. Keep pressing it and it will close all
windows sequentially and ask if you want to exit Windows.
— Posted by JR
— Posted by Ted
Alt-Tab opens up a switching box to move between open windows
— Posted by Jim Enloe
2:00 pm
Antialiasing for rendering - Windows does not have this enabled by
default, but to enable(at least for XP): right click on your desktop and
then select properties. Go to the Appearance tab and then click
Effects. Then select “ClearType” from the drop down menu under
how to smooth rendering. This should make text clearer.
— Posted by J
2:22 pm
In Excel, use CTRL+Left, right, up, down to jump to the last entry in
the row or column. (jumps to the next gap in data)
Very useful when navigating through a large worksheet.
Add SHIFT to highlight all data points in that row or column.
— Posted by Dan
2:39 pm
And probably good for us all to remember, everyone has their own
way of doing things. If someone is comfortable mousing, and not
using shortcuts, leave them alone and let them work.
2:40 pm
Apparently, there are several ways to lock my computer, but how do I
unlock it once I have locked it??!!
— Posted by Melody
I wish you had made this printable, as opposed to a blog.
— Posted by clinguist
2:57 pm
To Ellen Richards, re printing from a blog: Just copy and paste the
hints you want to keep to Notepad (or whatever), save them in a file,
and print them out.
3:11 pm
Comments 15 and 17 discuss entering the domain name then hitting
ctrl+enter to get:
— Posted by Luka
But, you can do this with other top level domain suffixes.
shift+enter gets you
ctrl+shift+enter gets you
Also, if you want to get to the location bar in your browser, hit ctrl+L
(location). If you want to get to the search bar in the top right of your
browser, hit ctrl+K.
These are among my favorite keyboard shortcuts.
— Posted by Douglas
3:11 pm
My scroll wheel is on fire…
Anyway, a wiki is a more effective tool for capturing and
disseminating this information to a wide audience with maximum
efficiency. This article should like to one or more Wikipedia pages.
The author would not have to write a book or steal all these great
I would like to acknowledge comments 346, 804, and 936 above for
providing similar recommendations.
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Oh, and in an effort to provide an original contribution to this thread
and minimize duplication, I used Ctrl+F to search for “wiki”.
— Posted by Patrick
3:14 pm
If you’re worried about losing an important document, letter, photo
etc. just e-mail it to yourself. Leave it unopened when it arrives. I
still have things I sent to myself at Gmail two years ago, sitting there
safely in cyberspace.
— Posted by Jess Adams
3:22 pm
Want to save a back up, but you have no flash drive? Email yourself a
copy of your document (either as an attachment or copy and paste
right into the body of the email. Retrieve your file later to save on
another computer, a flash drive or whatever.
— Posted by Sally Jane
3:55 pm
“Just putting something into the Trash or the Recycle Bin doesn’t
actually delete it. You then have to *empty* the Trash or Recycle
Same is true for digital audio recorders, cameras, etc. You have to not
just delete files, but empty the trash while your device is connected to
the computer.
— Posted by Mike Van Horn
4:02 pm
When you google a word, it it takes you to a web page, how do you
then find that word on the website? Seems like the word you’re
looking for should be highlighted, but it doesn’t seem to be.
— Posted by Mike Van Horn
4:06 pm
In Microsoft Office you highlight text then hold the shift key and hit
F3 it changes the case of the letters from lower case to capitals to
first letter of words capital. You have to hit F3 again for it to go
through the three cases!
— Posted by Samantha
4:23 pm
Is there a way to integrate the various folder hierarchies on my Mac?
For example:
– Docs in folders accessible from desktop
– Folders in the email program (Entourage for me)
– Bookmarks
– Photos or folders of photos in iPhoto.
I would love to have a way to group file, record, or folder names
related to a topic in one hierarchy that didn’t take a lot of effort.
— Posted by mike Van Horn
4:56 pm
A separate set of tips just for Excel would be much appreciated. I am
self-taught and can do the basics, but there are a lot of keyboard
tricks in Excel that are not apparent to novices — and Excel’s help file
is so poorly written and incomprehensible that it’s virtually word
Like all the “warning: do not use while sleeping” labels, this comes
from experience: in the upper right corner of a browser window, the
red X closes the window. The next button to the left is an empty box
and it makes the window as large as it can be. The button beside that
is a little line and it shrinks the window down. The window does not
go away, it just becomes a little line of text alongside your start
button. If you want the page to be big again, click on that text and the
window pops up big as life. I have seen people click the frame of the
window and drag it down to the bottom of the screen to see what’s
— Posted by Yes, Virginia
5:32 pm
This is huge now, and I haven’t got the time to read it all now, though
I hope to later. Sorry if this has already been stated many times!
Ctrl+H in Word will bring up Search and Replace which is invaluable
for fixing consistent errors or anything where you have to make a lot
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5:32 pm
10/8/08 9:09 AM
for fixing consistent errors or anything where you have to make a lot
of the same changes. What many people do not realize is that you can
also do a search and replace based on styles and formatting, allowing
you to very quickly do a replace on anything from paragraph
formatting to fonts.
— Posted by Karina
5:37 pm
Use “suspend” instead of turning your computer off. You will save 3-5
minutes per day (sometimes even more if your computer loads a lot
of programs). 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year, you do the math… it
means a significant amount of time.
— Posted by LuisB
6:23 pm
Avoid embarrassing “Reply to All” messages that you really didn’t
want the whole world to see by getting rid of the “Reply to All” icon.
Just use the View/Toolbars/Customize (or similar) series of
commands on your e-mail program. You can still “Reply to All”;
you’ll just make a little harder and that’s a good thing.
— Posted by Brad
7:51 pm
Userful when you accidentally closed the wrong tab!
— Posted by FFUser
9:03 pm
On the Mac, if the choice you want to select in a dialog box (like a
save box) is blue, you press the Return button to select it. (I think just
about everyone knows this, but maybe not.)
But if you want to choose a button that has a blue shadow on the
outside - press the space bar to select this choice.
I forget if Windows is the same or not.
— Posted by KateW
9:16 pm
In Firefox - Cmd-L (CTRL-L for Windows) puts your cursor in the
URL address window - ready to type the next page you want to go to.
MUCH faster than clicking on the current address or the icon that
appears to the left of the address window.
— Posted by KateW
10:15 pm
Can someone elaborate on sensor size (digital cameras) and how it
affects picture quality?
Otherwise, despite the redundancy, I thought many of these
tips/advice were very helpful
— Posted by c
10:27 pm
- Best reason to search newspapers’ web sites from Google: it’s not
just easier/lazier, it also RESPONDS A LOT FASTER, thanks to
Google’s big-iron server farms.
- In Google, hyphenating a multi-word search phrase works like
quoting it, but is easier to type … david-pogue works same as “david
**BUT** never leave a space before a hyphen, or you will give it the
special meaning of EXCLUDING pages containing the word after the
- To select multiple adjacent files in Win Explorer (or dialog boxes)
or Mac Finder: you can drag-draw a box around them all. Even in list
( Start your drag in open space, not directly ON a filename or icon. )
- In Windows, drag a file using the RIGHT mouse button, and then
when you let up the button at destination (folder, Desktop, etc) you’ll
be prompted for whether you want to Copy (leaves an instance of the
file in both places) or Move (wipes the original, leaving just one
instance at the new location). Note that when you do an ordinary
(left-button) drag, you get a Move if destination is on same drive as
the original, a Copy if on different drives. Using right-button drag
makes the situation clearer (and not just for beginners!)
— Posted by ElBuki
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10:41 pm
In Word, highlight text, then hold the shift key and each time you
press f3 text toggles between lowercase, ALL CAPS or First letter of
first word.
10:44 pm
I’ve added new hints to the list I referred to in #1072.
10/8/08 9:09 AM
— Posted by ChrisK
Now I have a question: does anyone know of a shortcut to shift from
one part of a text to the other part when both have been created by
the Divide window feature of Word and are being displayed? I use
Alt+W (Alt+J in the version in Portuguese) and then the number of
the desired window which appears at the menu, but it would be
handy if a shortcut could automatically shift from one part to the
other, that is, shifting just between the two parts that are being
— Posted by Valdemar W. Setzer (Val)
10:46 pm
in Windows XP, to drag a file from current application to another,
first drag it down to task bar and accross to the target application.
Easier because both windows don’t need to be visible at the same
time. E.g. drag an attachment from the current email to another
email even if the second window is not visible.
— Posted by ChrisK
10:47 pm
Windoze: Ctrl-Enter and Shift-Enter are the respective “legacy” (circa
1993) synonyms for Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V. (May save your bacon if someday
you land in an environment that’s configured to trap ^C, ^V for other
Note also, from the Edit menu: Alt-E-C and Alt-E-P are yet
ANOTHER way to issue Copy and Paste commands.
— Posted by ElBuki
10:53 pm
For Mike Van Horn: If you fetch Google’s “Cached” copy of a web
page listed in your search results, it will come with your search terms
highlighted. A very few (tech-aware) web sites always highlight your
search terms if they know you clicked through from Google;
otherwise, you need to use your browser’s Find function … slash in
Firefox, Ctrl-F in IE, Clover-F in Safari …
— Posted by ElBuki
11:03 pm
in many programs, highlight something (text, or an object in a
drawing program, or a file in explorer), then hold the Ctrl key and
drag the thing - you get a second copy of it.
To ‘nudge’ things incrementally, hold the Alt key then drag the thing.
(like aligning tabs or paragraph markers in Word between the
invisible grid lines).
— Posted by ChrisK
11:44 pm
Ctrl “N” opens a new window online. Can’t wait for this book to come
12:00 am
— Posted by christy
You can make your computer read any article or text if you have a
Mac (or Windows XP my friend has told me).
On a Mac, go to your Apple in the upper left corner, System
Preferences > System > Speech > Text To Speech.
From there check the box by “Speak selected text when the *key* is
Then click the Select Key button (for example I use SHIFT + V but
yours can b different).
From there just highlight your text, hit your *key* and the computer
will read it aloud for you.
Discovering this was life changing for me after I had my eye surgery,
so i hope you post it.
— Posted by Maya C.
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12:07 am
Pressing ’shift’ and F3 simultaneously can change the text into lower
case from upper case or vice-versa. If its more than a word, first
select everything you wish to modify.
12:41 am
on the Blackberry Keeping a key depressed will capitalize the
1:30 am
Dear David Pogue,
1:39 am
In Windows Vista — (For new Vista users like me)
If you use Alt+F, all of the keyboard shortcuts are highlighted on the
ribbon (pretty cool)
10/8/08 9:09 AM
— Posted by rupesh
— Posted by lofie
You are my hero. Thank you for these and please write the book!
— Posted by Leslie
Also, the reading feature lets you view the pages of your document on
1 screen & their are options to allow typing & editing in this view as
— Posted by Regina F
1:51 am
My favorites, but only on Mac.
2-finger scroll; I basically cannot remember life before this. Scrolling
down with the arrows or the slider seems to take forever, compared
to 2-finger scroll.
Also, 2-finger right click (on Mac). Instead of using [Ctrl, click] just 2
fingers on the touchpad and click.
One more fun one, if you press [shift] F9, F10, F11 or F12 on Mac, it
will do the same functions at a moderate speed. It’s completely
random, but quite useful when my eyes aren’t focusing well at the
end of a long day.
— Posted by julia
3:29 am
apparently you are supposed to “defragment” the computer every
now and then…do it, it increases speed. This is on a PC.
3:44 am
Ctrl+Z : undo. Comes in handy if you delete some text by accident.
5:20 am
useful tips
7:00 am
great article! suggestion: do the same for word documents. i just
discovered lovely things like “versions” and “table of contents,” after
years of writing documents, and what a discovery. s.
7:34 am
New iMacs use control F3, not F11, to clear the screen.
8:04 am
Anyone have the answer to this?
— Posted by erika
— Posted by Sam S
— Posted by kevin
— Posted by sarah
— Posted by Lee Ann
If you don’t have the password to access a private website, the
universal “masterkey” is … what?
— Posted by JT
8:21 am
I use “Microsoft for the demented” and other self help books. I find
that sometimes it does not have what I need or what was written
does not make sense to me. I find that switching my eyes back and
forth from the phrase in the book to the same question/answer on
the “?” area at the top of the software sometimes gives me a hybrid
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the “?” area at the top of the software sometimes gives me a hybrid
answer that works. Not always but sometimes.
I find that the self help books when the tell you how to do something
they are straight forward with the answer. Try reading their answerparagraph backwards and write down the key words. It sure helps to
cut through all the fluff.
— Posted by joeflip
8:31 am
if you save a gmail document then go to print it, then it turns into a
pdf! cheap and easy way to make pdfs.
8:43 am
Dear David,
— Posted by pfandfrei
Many thanks. Helpful. Unfortunately, i need help w fat fingers [not
literally.] I seem to not have great fine hand-eye coordination; have
to correct something pretty much in every line I type. Still my Apple
makes life easier.
In this paragraph: You generally can’t send someone more than a
couple of full-size digital photos as an e-mail attachment; those files
are too big, and they’ll bounce back to you. (Instead, use iPhone or
Picasa–photo-organizing programs that can automatically scale
down photos in the process of e-mailing them.)
I wonder if you meant i-photo [? rather than iphone.]
Many thanks
Ruth J> Hirsch
Saugerties, NY
— Posted by Ruth J, Hirsch
9:24 am
Is there a way of saving this and similar NY Times articles (e.g.
commentary, blogs et al) to my New York Times File? I can EMAIL
and SHARE them, but the option to SAVE that is offered (along with
PRINT and REPRINTS, EMAIL and SHARE to the right of standard
news articles) is absent.
— Posted by wendy
9:45 am
Another really cool and very hidden tip for mac users:
If there’s a menu option that you use frequently but is not assigned a
keyboard shortcut (for example, paste special in Word/excell) you
can easily assign one to it. In the system prefrences, under keyboard
and mouse,and then the keyboard shortcuts tab, you can hit the “+”
button below the list. Enter the name of the menu item and the
application and whatever (not currently in use) you want to use.
Also, if you want to become a keyboard shortcut power user, KeyCue
is a great application. If you hold the command key for two seconds,
it flashes a list of all the currently active keyboard shortcuts. It works
intuitively–as you pause wondering what key you hit next to do ytask, it pops up an promptly reminds you.
— Posted by Andrew
9:48 am
Ever type in a post, fill in a form, hit Submit and have a glitch of
some kind lose the text you’ve so carefully composed? As you’re
writing and before you hit Submit, select all (ctrl-a; command-a on
Mac) and copy (ctrl-c; command-c) so if something goes wrong you
can just paste the lost text back into a new field.
— Posted by Dave
9:58 am
Google is great for quick spell checks. Type the word as you think it is
spelled into you Google query box, and Google will immediately say:
Did you mean xxxxxxx?
(WORD does not know how to spell a whole bunch of words.)
— Posted by Bruce Pilgrim
10:12 am
Carpal tunnel issues from computer use: I’m right handed and when
my right wrist-hand-fingers get stiff from overuse of the mouse or
trackball, I switch the device from the right to the left side of the
keyboard. I’m sure this will also prevent me from having Alzheimer’s
because I have to think about a movement that was normally
repetitive, new brain activity to keep me sharp.
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There are lots of great tips on this blog, my favorite so far is #151:
shortcut to calculator in Windows: Start/run/type “Calc”.
— Posted by Susan W.
10:29 am
And they said p.c.’s were going to make our lives easier in 1985. .
.And then they got rid of Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
because life was going to be SO much easier for professionals, that
they could do THAT work, too.
Both of these statements were LIES.
Thanks for the articles and posts. I don’t know most of the shortcuts
and I was tethered to a p.c. from the beginning until I retired in
Very grateful for this wonderful article and all the posts. Sending it to
my Senior buddies.
Kim Setla
Lodi, NJ
— Posted by Kim Setla
10:54 am
Hallo all,
I’ve introduced into my web site the Super Ultimate Windows
Shortcut List, from post #1077 dated Oct. 7, 2008 by sevencardz. You
may find it at
It complements the compilation I did with the hints from this blog
which I found most useful, at
All the best, Val.
— Posted by V.W.Setzer (Val)
10:58 am
RE: “Just putting something into the Trash or the Recycle Bin doesn’t
actually delete it. You then have to *empty* the Trash or Recycle
“Same is true for digital audio recorders, cameras, etc. You have to
not just delete files, but empty the trash while your device is
connected to the computer. ”
As a photographer, I know that for DIGITAL CAMERAS, it’s
important to actually REFORMAT the memory card to clear old
photos files.
… Thanks David Pogue, and all, for other useful tips …wow, SO many
to go thru!
— Posted by Shani
11:06 am
The Shift and Ctrl keys plus the arrow keys make a great way of
hopping around documents in word.
Ctrl+Right Arrow will skip to the next word or previous work.
Ctrl+Shift+RightArrow will highlight the work (like double clicking
on it).
Along with the Ctrl C and V (or Insert and Delete as altenatives)
hopping around a doc and editing is easier.
Also works on text boxes and usually other text editors.
— Posted by Stephen
11:10 am
On Outlook, using shift+delete will delete the message instead of
going into the Outlook recycle bin. No need to clean up the deleted
items box.
— Posted by soofia
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