Most computer users today like to think themselves beyond the need to learn new tips and tricks, but there will always be new techniques and tips to discover. Today we thought we would share some great tips and tricks for PC users. Tomorrow we will touch on Mac. The ultimate goal of most tips and/or tricks is simply to increase productivity and PC performance and these are no different. Just be sure you share them with your friends.
Find/Delete large files wasting space: A great tool called WinDirStat (Windows Directory Statistics) can be used to easily find which files and folders are taking up the most space on your drive. From there, you can delete them and open up a ton of storage space.
Cycle through open windows: Pressing ALT+TAB will allow you to cycle through your currently open windows. This will make switching back and forth between your open apps quick and painless. If you would like a more stylish way of cycling through open programs, Windows + TAB will do the job for you.
Copy only the ACTIVE window to the clipboard: The Print Screen key will copy your entire display (or two displays if you got them), ALT + Print Screen only copies your currently active window to the clipboard. Whether taking a screenshot to diagnose a problem, or just because you want to show something to a friend, this comes in very handy.
Fix little mistakes: Did you know you can undo almost any action? CTRL + Z is the ultimate hot key, and for sure you knew about it already, however note that undo doesn’t just apply to typing. If you accidentally delete or move a file, you can hit CTRL + Z to bring it right back to where it was. In Chrome and Firefox you can also undo closing a tab using CTRL + SHIFT + T.
Interrupt all processes: CTRL + ALT + Delete is one of the most famous PC shortcuts, and one almost all of us are familiar with. An important, often overlooked fact though, is that this interrupts all processes, including the one bogging down your system, which can mean the difference between needing to restart or not.
Close the current program Typing ALT + F4 will close the program that is running. This is useful as it saves you time mousing over the "X" and clicking. People will often use this as a joke, telling you to press ALT + F4 to fix a problem. Don’t fall for it unless you want to close what you are doing.
Minimize all windows Sometimes you have a bunch of stuff running, and you want it all to go away so you can get to the desktop. Simply pressing Windows + D will minimize everything you have up, which will save you some time pressing the minimize button for each window. It should be noted that Windows + M offers similar functionality, but there is no undoing, so Windows + D is the more favorable approach.
Open the task manager directly If you want to bypass the interrupt that happens when pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL and jump right to the task manager, typing CTRL + Shift + ESC launches it directly.
Close the current window/tab Stick of moving all the way to that X button? Press CTRL + W and the current window will close. (Don’t do it now, or you will miss the rest of the tricks!)
Bring up the system information window This is so much quicker than digging this out the traditional way... Just press Windows + Pause/Break and the System Information panel will be ready to go. This might be the only use for the Pause/Break key you will ever find, so enjoy it!
Better multiple monitor control There are several useful keyboard shortcuts for controlling open windows on multiple monitors. Pressing the Windows Key + Arrow Keys will cause a window to quickly snap to each side of either monitor. Alternatively, hitting Shift + Windows Key + Arrows will cause the window to jump to the other monitor. Lastly, pressing Windows + P will allow you to quickly set up a second display or projector.
Move Cursor to beginning of the next or previous word: Moving your cursor around manually while you are typing is a great way to make your work take much longer than it needs to. Speed of the process: move your cursor around with keyboard shortcuts. To move it to the beginning of the previous word, use CTRL + Left Arrow. To move it to the beginning of the next word, use CTRL + Right Arrow. In OS X you can accomplish the same using the Option key.
Delete an entire word: Don't delete words a single letter at a time, pressing CTRL + BKSP deletes the entire word behind the cursor. Or, even easier, just double click the word to highlight the entire word and hit DELETE or BKSP. This makes deleting text quicker if you screw up a whole word.
Making sub and superscript text: If you need to make sub or superscript text (think exponents for superscript), press CTRL + = for subscript and CTRL + SHIFT + = for superscript.
Paste what you copy as Plain Text: When you copy text from any source, programs normally copy any formatting that comes with it as well. To paste this as plain text, press CTRL + Shift + V instead of the standard CTRL + V, and you will paste unformatted text.
Note that many programs follow this parameter (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) but not all, particularly Microsoft programs like Word or Outlook. For those there's a few alternatives that go beyond copying and pasting in Notepad: 1) CTRL + ALT + V will show a 'paste special' dialog box. 2)CTRL + Spacebar will remove formatting in already pasted text. 3) Download Puretext and choose a hotkey to always paste plain text with it.
Web Browsing Tricks
Automatically add www. and .com to a URL You can shave off a couple of seconds typing in a URL by simply click CTRL + Enter after you type the name of the site. Need .net instead of .com, press CTRL + Shift + Enter instead.
Jump to address bar There are a number of ways to jump right to the address bar from anywhere in browser. Pressing CTRL + L, F6, and ALT + D all accomplish this goal.
Bring back a closed tab We covered this already, but it's super useful. Accidentally closed a tab? Simply press CTRL + Shift + T to reopen the most recently closed tab and get back to what you were doing.
Use private browsing The uses for not having cookies and history saved are obvious for certain activities, you know, like shopping for gifts on a shared computer (of course!). Pressing CTRL + Shift + N will launch a new private in Chrome, CTRL + Shift + P will do it in Firefox and Internet Explorer.
Cycle through open tabs: Pressing CTRL + TAB while in a browser will flip between each one. This can be much faster than moving the mouse and clicking on a tab. CTRL + NUM (1, 2, 3, 4, n..) will also take you to certain tab in that numeric order.
File Management Tricks
Rename a file quickly: Right-clicking and selecting rename is not very efficient. Instead, simply press F2 while a file is selected to change its name. To alter the name of another file, type TAB without deselecting the current file.
Rename files sequentially in Windows: You actually don’t need to download any programs to perform a batch file rename in Windows. Instead, you can select all the files you want to change, right-click the first one in the list, select rename (or use F2), and type in the name. This will automatically change all the other files with the same root name with a suffix: (1), (2), and so on.
Select multiple files using the keyboard: To select a bunch of files using your keyboard, you can press Shift + down arrow to select a single file or Shift + Page Down to select a large group of files at one time.