Whenever you spot an inexperienced PC user who struggles looking for a specific information on a long webpage by using the down arrow key on their keyboard or worse, running their eyes down to manually look for it, you’re itching to help them out and teach them a thing or two on how to make things easier with their computer. For those who still do this kind of primitive use of their PCs, here are some basic computer tricks that anyone can and should learn.

1. Quickly Search for a Word within a Web Page or Document

If you want to search for a specific word on a webpage or on any kind of document (PDF, Word docs, etc.), simply press [Ctrl] + [F] and a small search bar will appear on the upper-right or left corner of the screen (depending on which application you’re using). Type the word you would like to search on that box, and the program will direct you to the area where the first instance of that particular word can be found (most of the time, the word is highlighted for easier visibility). Depending on the application, if there are multiple instances, you can jump ahead to the next or previous one by using the arrows that appear on the search box.

2. Scroll Faster Using the Space Bar

Scrolling through a long webpage or a document may take ages and effort if you used the mouse wheel, cursor on the toolbar, and most especially the down arrow key. So how do you speed it up? Use the space bar to jump down one full screen at a time. If you combine the Shift key in the equation (Shift + Space Bar), it will scroll up a full screen every time you press it. Hold down the space bar, and you’ll reach the bottom of the page in a jiffy.

3. Find or Replace

If you need to replace a word or several instances of that word on your document, say a capitalization issue, this feature can be very helpful. In Microsoft Word, this tool is called Replace, which is located at the far right area of the Home menu. Alternatively, pressing [Ctrl] + [H] will give you the same Find and Replace dialog box. In the Find what field, type the original word that you need to be corrected, then on the Replace with field, type the word that you want to be placed instead. For example, type “internet” in the first box, and then type “Internet” in the second box, and then click the Replace All button. All instances of the word “internet” in your document will be replaced with “Internet,” making the edit process a lot easier and quicker.

4. Use Spotlight Search, Menu Bar, and Taskbar to Launch a New Application

For Windows and Mac computers, the quickest way to start up a new program is not by looking for its icon on the desktop and clicking it. In Mac OS X, press the [Command] + [Space Bar] keys and your cursor will automatically go to the Spotlight Search bar on the upper-right, where you can type the first few letters of the application you want to open like “out” for Outlook. Just hit [Enter] when you see the app you’re looking for.

Meanwhile in Windows 7, you can perform a similar quick search via the Start button, or you can simply pin your favorite or most frequently used programs to your Taskbar. Just launch the programs you want in your old-fashioned way, then right-click on the icons that appear on the Taskbar. Select pin this program to the taskbar, and it will stay there permanently.

On the other hand, Mac users can go to their Applications view in Finder and drag any program icon into the Menu bar. It will also stay there within your reach whenever you feel the need to open it. Both operating systems allow you to rearrange the order of these icons by simply dragging and dropping them.

5. Log In to Your Online Accounts Automatically

You should never have to bear the burden of typing your username and password in order to log in to your account if you have a password manager. The job of a password manager is to auto-complete these information on your behalf. Using a password manager is much more secure than trying to write down or remember all your login information. What if you have about 20 online accounts? Imagine the confusion and frustration of having to remember which login info is for which account. Also, it speeds up your online activities whether you’re just browsing through Facebook or make a transaction on your banking account.

There are also alternative tools that you can use to store your usernames and passwords and logs you in to your account like the iCloud Keychain from Apple, AutoFill in Chrome, and others.

6. Perform a Spell Check With a Right Click

By now, many computer users are aware that if a red squiggly line appears underneath a word means that it is spelled incorrectly (or at least Word doesn’t recognize it). However, only a few realize that the same spellcheck convention is used in many browsers, including Chrome and Firefox. Whenever you’re typing in Facebook, Gmail, or any other site and you see that red squiggly line, just right-click on the word for suggested corrections. For Mac users, OS X can auto-correct your spelling error, underlining them in blue to catch your attention so you can make sure that the change is correct. Here’s another Mac trick for you — right-click on any word (or a three-finger tap on the Trackpad) to launch a dictionary definition of a word.

7. Use Type-Ahead Suggestions

For those who are still in need of search tips, here’s another easy one: Use the type-ahead suggestions that appear as a list as you type in your search keywords. These are often overlooked by people who tend to look down on their keyboard instead of in front of their screens. Chances are there’s is a exact or similar match to the words or phrase that they are entering. Let’s say you started typing “history of” in the search bar and watch as suggestions below it appear. If there’s one suggestion matches the one you want to search for, use the down arrow keys or your mouse to select it, and then hit [Enter] or click the selection. Type-ahead suggestions are perfect for searches that are long or if you can’t exactly remember the correct spelling of a name or place you would like to search.

8. Search Directly from the Browser Bar

When you need to search for something online, you don’t necessarily have to go to Google.com before typing the phrase or word you want to search. You can already do the search directly from your browser’s address bar by typing your search keyword or phrase from there. Most browser’s URL bars automatically functions as an online search bar, and you also have the option to specify which search engine it will carry out the search — Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and so on, which can be done via the browser’s settings page.

Hope these few simple tips somehow made an improvement in your computing skills. Not only did you gain more knowledge on how things work, it will make your computer experience a lot more faster, easier, and enjoyable.


This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Friday, August 22, 2014 at 9:58:18 AM and is filed under Tech Tips & Tricks.

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