The Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Copper Age, the Iron Age, the Industrial Age, the Computer Age, and now the Age of the Internet: we must all be in agreement that the back-lit screen you’re looking at right now is going to be around for a while.
During the early period of this revolution, computers were, more or less, unavailable to the common working Joe (you and me). They were, for the most part, reserved for the likes of big conglomerates and government funded institutions. They filled entire rooms, and they only had slightly more computing power then a pocket calculator. Eventually, though, as time and technology pushed them ever-forward, they got smaller, they got more accessible, they got more affordable, and, turn for turn, they found their way into our living rooms.
This brings us up to snuff. Today one would be hard-pressed to find any person–young or old—who doesn’t have, somewhere in their house, a desk cluttered with junk, stained with coffee rings, supporting their own miniature, modern, and more powerful version of one of these ancient megalithic room-sized number-crunchers. Moreover, now days one would also be hard-pressed to find a household that doesn’t sport multiple computers—one for every key-pusher, game-player, or porn watcher who lives there.
It seems, though, that sometime between the megaliths and their messy-desktop-counterparts, we (the end users) have either not been informed of, or somehow forgotten about, one of the fundamental features of our modern-day windows to the world. What’s that you ask?
It’s time to look at what we have in front of us. Do this now. For real. Take a quick inventory of the machine you have at your fingertips. Where are your hands? Where are your fingers? Do you have them resting on the mouse? Or do you have them lying loosely across your keyboard? If you said your keyboard, I applaud you.
You might not using your keyboard to its fullest potential, but at least you haven’t slid its faceless drawer back under your desk and forgotten it’s there all together. You are, at the very least, not leaning on your mouse. It could be that you’re only using your keyboard when Google, or Wiki, or YouTube requires you to type in a search query, it could be that you’re a more advanced and use it to do things your mouse can only dream of. Whichever the case, this article’s here to help quicken your relationship with this seldom used, practically forgotten, piece of your PC.
1. The first and most powerful time saving tip I, or anyone else, can give to streamline your ability to use your computer is … learn how to use your keyboard!Let me tell you this: when it came time for me to rest my fingers on my home row keys and actually make an effort, I fought it tooth and nail. Why? Can’t say. The human mind just seems to shy away from learning new junk until the owner puts his foot down and demands it. I guess it’s kind of like exercising in that respect. Anyway, I eventually did learn, and today I thank myself every time I set down to my computer. One more thing on this before I move on. It isn’t a race. No one’s gonna judge you on how fast or slow you pick this up, and you’re, most likely, not gonna be joining any typing pool afterward. Learn to type so that you don’t have to type with your face glued to your keys. That’s all.
2. This is the item on my list which inspired this article, and it’s pretty much reserved to those of you who fall in my nephew’s category. Here’s a guy who’s pushing forty, who’s blind as a bat, and—for whatever ungodly reason—who refuses to wear his glasses … even around his own house. The other day amidst a regular visit to his house the need arose to look something up on Google. Since it was his house we were at, he was the looker-upper and I: the looker-oner. Watching him with his face only inches from the screen, I realize that—not only did I see him do what he was doing time and again during previous visits—I had a neat little trick up my sleeve the whole time that would fix this problem for him, and never even thought to mention it. Anyway, enough back-story. This is what I told him to do. Hold down Ctrl and press the + or – keys to zoom in or out; hold down Ctrl and hit the 0 (zero) key to return the screen to rights.
3. Navigating through opened documents or programs is a breeze with this shortcut. Hold down the Alt key and press and release the Tab key. This will cycle you to the next program or document you have opened. Hold down the Alt key and the Tab key together and press the right and left arrow keys to navigate through allthe documents and programs you have opened.
4. When using Firefox or Chrome, hold down Ctrl and hit the F key. This will bring up a search bar from the bottom or top of the page. Type text in here you want to find on the site you’re visiting, and hit enter. You will be taken directly to where that text is appears on that particular page. This feature alsohas a function that allows you to highlight all the instances this text appears, and is equipped with a caps sensitive option that helps you refine your search.
5. Open a new tab instantly from any already-opened tab in Firefox or Chrome by holding down Ctrl and pushing the T key.
6. Close a Firefox or Chrome tab instantly by holding down the Ctrl key and pushing and releasing the W Key.
7. Push the F5 key to instantly refresh a webpage in Firefox or Chrome.
8. While holding the Alt key down, push and release the F4 key to close a program or document you have opened. Don’t worry. You’ll be asked if you want to save your work before the program closes completely.
9. While holding the Ctrl key down, push and release number keys 1 through 9, respectively, to quickly cycle through your first 9 opened Firefox or Chrome tabs, or: While holding the Ctrl key down, push and release the Page Up and Page Down keys to cycle through your opened tabs one by one.
10. While holding down the Ctrl button, push and release the Z key to undo your last action, while holding down the Ctrl button, push and release the X key to cut and copy items to your clipboard, while holding down the Ctrl button, push and release the C key to copy items to your clipboard, while holding down the Ctrl button, push and release the V key to paste the last copied item from your clipboard.
Know a shortcut that you didn’t see on this list? Enlighten us. Educate us. Let us know in the comment section below.