"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!"
-David Pogue, NYT "Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User", October 2, 2008-
Guess what? I had no idea about that little double-click maneuver either.
Yesterday David Pogue compiled a list of over 25 computer short-cuts & tips that should be common knowledge. But as Pogue says, "Common knowledge isn't the same as universal knowledge."
Real Life Adventures by Gary Wise & Lance Aldrich 10/3/08
His faithful readers responded with 480 more tips for us not-so-tech savvy. I haven't even
begun to look at that list of 480, but here are the tips that were "news to me". I've tried each of them out & I plan to make daily use of them. How could I have been so clueless??
- 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. I've been wishing for such a function for years. If only I'd known!
- 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. (I knew about this one for my Mac, but not for my PC!)
- You can tap the Space bar to scroll down on a Web page one screenful. Add the Shift key to scroll back up. This one is my all-time favorite!!
- 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." Sorry, I really knew this one--I'm a librarian, after all--but I know many of you won't click on Pogue's article to get all the good stuff, so I had to include this one.
- You can use Google to do math for you. Just type the equation, like 23*7+15/3=, and hit Enter. Oh, yeah: on the computer, * means “times” and / means “divided by.”
- 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.
- 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.
So check out his column--if you haven't seen it already--and if you have time, browse through the 480 reader suggestions--yeah right! Let me know if you find some nuggets in that huge list.