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Tech Talk Tuesday is a new feature on The Zen Introvert. April’s Theme is Computer Hacks to make your life easier.
Efficiency is King
Computers are tools and like most tools, they require a bit of education to make them work well for you. I don’t know about you, but …… sometimes interrupting my flow of thought while I’m typing to grab the mouse and move to another tab on my browser or another open application just totally throws off my train of thought. As I get older, it sometimes takes longer to get the train back on the tracks and into the station. The less I have to take my fingers off the keyboard, the smoother my workflow goes.
Mice are great, don’t get me wrong. They vastly increased productivity when they were introduced. I remember the days before there were mice and everything was keyboard driven. It was usually slow going using only tab and arrow keys to edit a document and having multiple applications open at one time just wasn’t a thing.
Mice are wonderful, but sometimes they fail. Sometimes, in the middle of a project, the battery dies. Sometimes, the @#&%) little wireless dongle gets lost in your laptop bag and then all you have is a useless hunk of plastic that could do more for your cat’s enjoyment than it does for your productivity.
Today we’re going to examine a few key keyboard tricks that will make navigating your computer a lot quicker. I have an indispensable trick for your browser and a few that will make navigating Windows easier.
Zoom Through Your Open Browser Tabs
Ctrl+Tab – It’s a must use in my daily work. I can have any number of reference articles open in tabs. If I have WordPress or Airstory open in another tab, this keyboard combo allows me to flip back and forth between my document and my reference materials. Convenient. I can also have something totally non-work related open and be goofing off and Ctrl+Tab will flip me to a work screen without anyone being the wiser.
Quick Maneuvering on Windows
The Window () Key (or WinKey for short)
Note: The key you press with the Windows is not case sensitive. For clarity, I’m using the capitalized version here.
Note2: To activate these key combos, click the WinKey () hold it down and then click the letter or function key.
WinKey+D – Toggles to either minimize applications to show the desktop and then maximizes them back. Handy when you need to look for a folder or document on your desktop. Alternatively, use WinKey+M to minimize all open applications – this command will not restore them back to maximum.
WinKey+E – Opens your file folder window (Explorer Window). I am always going to the Explorer window to tidy up my downloads folder or find pictures to edit.
WinKey+F1 – Opens a browser help tab for Windows 10. Very useful if you have a question and want to get the Microsoft solution.
WinKey+L – Will fast lock your screen. This is an easy alternative to the clunkier Ctrl-Alt-Delete combo.
Control … And That’s A Good Thing
Ctrl+Alt+Delete – Speaking of which … our old, clunky friend. This key combo will take you to a screen where you have a choice between Lock, Switch User, Bring Up Task Manager, or Sign Out. Very handy if you have more multiple users on a computer.
Ctrl + Esc – Opens your Start Menu. I use the Start Menu all the time to get into my social media accounts or open Facebook or Messenger. By having them on the Start Menu, it keeps my Desktop a little cleaner.
Ctrl+R – refreshes your active window. If a window locks up or a component like Flash fails, a quick Ctrl+R will recycle the window so it behaves again.
The Most Awesome Key Combo … Ever
Alt+Tab – Brings up all open applications and allows you to cycle through them. Keep tapping Tab until you get to the one you want. Release both keys and it will open full screen. Makes flipping from one window to another fast!
Ctrl+Tab – Cycle through tabs in a browser
WinKey+D – Toggle Desktop
WinKey+M – Minimize all open applications
WinKey+E – Opens Explorer window
WinKey+F1 – Microsoft Help
WinKey+L – Lock Computer
Ctrl+Alt+Delete – Lock, Switch User, Bring Up Task Manager, or Sign Out screen.
Ctrl + Esc – Opens your Start Menu.
Ctrl+R – Refreshes your active window
Alt+Tab – Cycles through your open programs.
Related Articles in This Series
Keyboard Shortcuts 4/10/2018
Text Formatting Shortcuts 4/17/2018
See you in May! Until then, say ‘To Tech with IT’ and go out and tame your tech monster!
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