How to Use Your Computer Efficiently

We may take for granted that learning a computer is something that daily use alone will automatically give us, but that alone doesn’t give you the tools you need to use a computer more efficiently.

Instead, investing in a private computer tutor, showing up to lessons at a local Apple store, or picking up a book or tip from the Internet is a great idea if you want to start shaving off  seconds that amount to minutes that before you know it add up to hours.

It’s essential to recognize that there is no wrong way of using your computer. There are often more numerous way of performing the same function, and only a matter of learning the ways of doing something you need to do faster or more conveniently.

Spend less time doing things that you’ve been doing the long way. Here are some tips:

Tip #1
Nearly every mouse command can be done by keyboard

Whether using a mouse is challenging, or not, knowing the keyboard equivalent commands for many menu choices is essential. Sometimes, tasks actually take longer using a mouse than they do using the keyboard, especially when working with text. For example, the keyboard equivalents for Cut, Copy and Paste are conveniently located together:  x, c, v. By themselves, they are letters but when used with the CTRL key on Windows or the Command key on a Mac, they perform the same function that you would have otherwise have done using your mouse. When working in a word processor, using keyboard commands often makes more sense.

To further discover keyboard commands, Google search: keyboard commands for ‘something’ and replace ‘something’ with your favorite software. You can also pay a little more attention when using your software since on both a Mac and a PC, many of the short cut commands are found right next to the menu choice when you use your mouse. You likely never noticed this before.

Tip #2
Two Monitors

Most people use more than one computer program at a time. Of course, as humans we can’t both play a game and write an email, but we can conveniently switch between doing those activities and others. If you find yourself in need to have two or more programs opened at the same time, perhaps having two monitors is in your future. You can have your word processing document open in one window, while keeping your web browser open in another, perhaps to do research while you write. Having two monitors isn’t complicated to achieve if your hardware permits it (i.e. if it comes with a video card that supports two monitors—as many newer computers do). This could be done with the guidance of the sales help where you buy your computer equipment, or following some of the many tutorials online, including this video.

Tip #3
Multiple Tabs

Likely your most often used software application is your web browser. Whether you use Safari, Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer, you have access to a feature called TABS. Tabs as in the label portion of a manilla folder, allow you to open more than one instance of web surfing at a time. Instead of opening multiple browsers to surf many different web pages, you open up the browser once and under the File menu, look for “New tab” and then click on it (the keyboard shortcut is often CTRL/Command-T). Doing so will create a new tab, next to the original tab, and in it will contain nothing and the option of surfing to a whole new page.

You can also open links inside of a new tab by holding CTRL/Command while clicking on a link. One scenario that this can be used for is for Google searching. Let’s say you are searching for “puppies.” On the Google search results page there may be numerous sites that you wish to review, but you don’t want to have to keep flipping back to see the initial Google results again. What you could do instead is CTRL/Command AND click on each result link that you wish to review which will in turn open each one in it’s own tab. At the top of the browser window, you will notice a new tab for every link your clicked with the CTRL or Command combination. This is how ‘power users’ surf the web, and now you can too.

Tip #4
Reboot it and call me in the morning

Whether you leave your computer on all the time, or turn it off at the end of each day, eventually all computers will need to be either rebooted or turned off for a 5 minute break. You are usually reminded of this when your computer begins to act funny, or doesn’t take to your commands by mouse or keyboard like it did yesterday.  Shutting down your computer for 10 minutes, once a week, is a very good thing for it. That little bit of maintenance can save you money instead of calling your tech guy to help troubleshoot a problem easily fixed by shutting down.

SimplifyThis is dedicated to helping small business’s simplify operations and administrative tasks with technology. Our online appointment scheduling tool and online invoicing tools give business owners and managers back valuable time.

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