Many computer users might consider themselves above learning new tricks, but there are always new ways to sharpen your skills on the PC and I’d bet that you will find at least one useful thing here that you didn’t know before.
I asked the Supreme Systems engineers for some handy computer tricks that you can take advantage of and compiled them here, we hope you find them helpful.
Please note that these tricks are for Windows operating systems, though some can be used elsewhere too.
Window snapping and multiple monitor control Pressing the [Windows Key + Arrow Keys] will cause a window to quickly snap to each side of either monitor. Alternatively, hitting [Shift + Windows Key + Arrow Keys] will cause the window to jump to the other monitor. Pressing [Windows + P] will allow you to quickly set up a second display or projector.
Undo everywhere to fix those little mistakes Did you know you can undo almost any action? [Ctrl + Z] is the ultimate hotkey, and for sure you knew about it already. However, undo doesn’t just apply to any typing. If you accidentally delete or move a file, you can hit [Ctrl + Z] to bring it right back to where it, while [Ctrl + Y] will redo whatever you undid.
Find your Wi-Fi password In Windows, go to the “Network and Sharing Centre”. Right-click on the [Wi-Fi network connection icon > Wireless Properties]. Click on [Show Characters box] to show your Wi-Fi password.
Easily extract images from a Word file Change the file name extension from .docx to .zip and open the file. The pictures will be in one of the directories.
Reduce the number of programs running at start-up If your PC is taking too long to boot, it’s probably because you have far too many programs running at start-up. It’s easy to reduce these and it will make your PC launch noticeably faster. Open the task manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc) and head to the start-up tab to configure what programs you want to launch with your system.
Emoji keyboard If you’re addicted to using emoji, know desktop OS support them natively just like mobiles do. On Windows press the [Windows Key +. (period)]. An Emoji panel will appear so you can carry on, as usual, using all the expressions you want.
Paste the plain text of what was copied When you copy text from any source, programs will usually include any formatting that comes with it. To paste this as plain text, press [Ctrl + Shift + V] instead of the standard [Ctrl + V], and the system will paste unformatted text.
Delete an entire word Instead of deleting a single letter, pressing [Ctrl + Backspace] will delete the entire word behind the cursor. This makes deleting text quicker if you screw up more than a single character.
Move your cursor to the beginning of the next or previous word Moving the cursor around manually while typing is a great way to make your work take longer than it needs to. To speed up the process, move the 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]. You can also select whole bodies of text by using [Shift + Ctrl + Arrow (up or down)].
Making sub and superscript text If you need to make a sub or superscript text (think exponents for superscript), press [Ctrl + =] for subscript and [Ctrl + Shift + =] for superscript.
Use Windows’ character map to identify and create foreign symbols Search the Start menu for “character map” and you should find a utility that lets you copy every character imaginable and even provides an “Alt + Numpad code” for later use. For example, the euro sign (€) can be made with [Alt + 0128].
Interrupt all processes [Ctrl + Alt + Delete] used to be a common PC shortcut, and one almost all power users are familiar with. The important thing to note is that it interrupts all processes, including the one that is bogging down your system, which can mean the difference between needing to restart or not.
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, hitting [Ctrl + Shift + Esc] will launch it directly.
Cycle through open windows Pressing [Alt + Tab] allows you to cycle through currently open windows in one direction, while [Alt + Shift + Tab] will cycle the other way. This makes switching back and forth between applications quick and painless.
Launch programs with your own hotkeys Right-click the shortcut to any application in Windows, head into the properties and in the shortcut tab you should see a “shortcut key” field where you can type your preferred launch combo. Also, if you click the “advanced” options in the shortcut tab, you can set it to run as an Administrator.
Close the current program Typing [Alt + F4] will close the program that is running. This is useful as it saves you from moving the mouse 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.
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 Key + D] will minimize everything you have open.
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 though, or you will miss the rest of our 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!
Use your keyboard to launch programs on the Windows taskbar Tapping the [Windows Key + the number that corresponds to the position of the program] is a quick way to open them. For instance, if Outlook were the second icon on your taskbar and that’s what you wanted to open, you’d hit [Windows Key + 2].
Use your keyboard to navigate system tray Tapping the [Windows Key + B] will automatically select the system tray area at which point you just have to highlight something with the [Arrow Keys] and hit [Enter] to open it.
Web Browsing Tricks
Bring back a closed tab Accidentally closed a tab while browsing? Simply press [Ctrl + Shift + T] to reopen the most recently closed tab and get back to what you were doing.
Jump to address bar Pressing [Ctrl + L], [F6], and [Alt + D] all allow you to jump right to the address bar from anywhere in a browser
Automatically add www. and .com to a URL You can shave off a couple of seconds typing in a URL with [Ctrl + Enter] after you type the name of the site. Need .net instead of .com? Press [Ctrl + Shift + Enter] instead.
Cycle through open tabs Pressing [Ctrl + Tab] while in a browser will flip you forward between each one while [Ctrl + Shift + Tab] will flip through backwards). This can be much faster than moving the mouse and clicking on a tab. [Ctrl + the number that corresponds to the position of the tab] will also take you to whichever tab in that numeric position, though [Ctrl + 9] will always brings you to the very last tab regardless of whether it’s the ninth one.
Scroll through pages with the spacebar Tapping [Spacebar] on a website will scroll down in full page chunks and hitting [shift + Spacebar] will take you back up.
Convert your browser into a notepad Type the following into the address bar and you can write notes within your browser – data:text/html,
Copy links quicker Right click the link as usual but tap [E] on your keyboard to copy the link.
Zoom In, Reset Zoom Use the browser magnifier to adjust a website for more comfortable reading. [Ctrl +/- (plus or minus sign)] does the trick. To reset to the default zoom level use [Ctrl + 0].
File Management Tricks
Rename a file quickly Right-clicking and selecting rename is not very efficient. Instead press [F2] while a file is selected to change its name.
Rename files sequentially 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. [Ctrl + A] will select everything, as usual.
Instantly lock your computer [Windows + L] will lock your system right away, requiring a password to log in again, if you’ve set one.
Permanently remove deleted data Many people don’t realise that deleted data can be easily recovered. So if you want to be sure deleted data is gone for good open a command prompt (type cmd in the search bar) and enter /w:C: to wipe deleted files from your C: drive or change the last letter to target a different drive.
Run programs on an infected PC Malware may prevent a computer from running certain programs. Changing the extension name of the executable file, usually identified by the .exe file extension, can often override this. If that doesn’t work, changing the extension to .com is another useful alternative, and the program will still be able to run despite the extension change.
Want more advice?
We hope you have found these tricks of the trade useful. If you would like more advice on a specific issue or about how IT support and managed services can benefit your business, get in touch…
- Visit https://www.supremesystems.co.uk/
- Call Supreme Systems on 0121 309 0126
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Follow Supreme Systems at https://www.linkedin.com/company/supremesystems/
- Follow Julian at https://www.linkedin.com/in/julianbrettle/
About the author…
Julian has over 20 years of experience as a technical salesperson for IT Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and likes nothing more than a cup of coffee and a chat about how to cure your IT headaches.
Supreme Systems is an information technology company established since 2008.
Leading IT Services provider and Cloud solutions for businesses in West Midlands.