As someone who spends many, many, MANY hours every day on a computer (seriously. It’s a lot. Like, I’m not even kidding. Except maybe a little.), I’m always looking for ways to do things faster, to complete a small task more quickly. So I can spend less time on the computer? Nah. I just want to Stumble.

I’ve found a bunch of tips that make doing lots of little things, like switching apps and jumping to the desktop. They might only save a couple of seconds each time, but those seconds add up awfully quickly for anyone who spends a lot of time at a computer.

Here are 14 little things to make your time at the computer faster and more efficient:

Switch apps – Alt-Tab on Windows, or Command-Tab in Mac OS, will let you flip through your current applications right from the keyboard, without any mouse clicks or hunting.

Show the Desktop – Press F11 on a Mac, or Windows-M on Windows, to see the desktop. Press the keys again, and you’ll go right back to where you were.

Sleep on Close – All laptops can be set to go to sleep or hibernate when the lid is closed, and then to resume when you open the lid again. Enable this (in Power Options of Windows, and System Preferences of Mac OS), and your done-to-leaving and sitting-to-working times reduce drastically.

Browser Refresh – To manually refresh a webpage, hit F5 in Windows, or Command-R in Mac OS.

Use the Search Bar – Don’t go to google.com every time you need to search for something – instead, hit Control-K (Windows) or Command-K (Mac OS), or Command-L-Tab (Safari on Mac) to jump right to the search bar, where you can search much faster.

Skip the “WWW” – No need to type the www at the beginning of most urls. Just type google.com, or the20life.com, and your browser figures out the rest.

Tab The Next Field – When you’re filling out a form, hitting Tab automatically moves your cursor to the next field, where you can keep typing. Shift-Tab takes you backwards one field, if you need to backtrack.

Back and Forth in Browser – In Windows, Control-Left takes you back a page, and Control-Right moves you forward. On a Mac, it’s Command-Left to go back, and Command-Right to go forward.

Jump to the Address Bar – Control-L or Command-L will take you right to the address bar, and select all the text there, so you can start typing your new web address right away.

Multi-Select with Shift – Let’s say you want to select 30 items in a row – to copy, move, delete, or whatever. Click the first, hold Shift, and click the last. Boom – all the ones in between get selected as well.

Open with the right app – Take a couple of seconds to set the auto-open dialogs (the application a given file opens with by default) to the app you want. That way, there’s no auto-opening and slowness of Photoshop every time you want to view an image.

Kill Slow Apps – If your computer’s running slowly, odds are it’s because an app is hanging or crashed, and taking over your computer. On a Mac, open the Activity Monitor to find out what’s slowing down your computer. On Windows, right-click the taskbar and select “Task Manager” to do the same thing.

Click-Highlight – If you double-click a word, in any application, it’ll be highlighted. Triple-click, and the whole paragraph gets selected.

Scroll a Page – One click of the Space bar will take you down a page, as long as you’re not currently typing something, in almost any application.


Originally Alameda Typewriter, ABM COMPUTERS has served the entire San Francisco Bay Area with professional, first-rate IT support and computer sales from the same location since 1939. Building on decades of experience, along with a dedicated team, we continue to provide in-shop and on-site standout, services and comprehensive, affordable solutions for all your computing needs.

Posted on November 14, 2013, in Computer Advice. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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