Given that we’ve been in the information age for quite some time, it’s safe to assume that for most of us, we have at least some basic understanding of computers. Like, how to turn it on. How to access the internet. Maybe write a text document and print it out. If you’re into just about anything in this time and day, then you’ll need to have at least some basic understanding of computers to excel in that field.
Depending on your field of study, computers may or may not be something that comes easy to you. So you could spend a lot of time trying to figure things out. You could struggle. Learning about computers can be very frustrating, especially if it’s not of real interest to you.
So, if you’re someone who would like to know a few basic tricks, just to make your life easier – you’re not interested in becoming an expert or anything, then here are a number of things you should learn.
And for those that consider themselves to be a little bit above the basic level, here are a number of tricks that are likely to still be of use to you.
1. ALT + TAB
For Microsoft Windows users, whether on desktop or laptop, this is probably one of the handiest tips. When you want to switch to a different window (let’s say you have your internet browser running, Microsoft Word open and a Media Player open), just hold down ALT and press TAB to switch between the different windows. This way you can quickly access whatever you need, without having to manually click on it, on the taskbar.
2. Undo Keyboard Shortcut
It’s possible to undo just about any action you carry out on your Windows based system. If you press Ctrl + Z then it will undo whatever you have just typed, however, this is shortcut can apply to just about anything. For example, if you were to accidently delete a file or move a file, then you could press Ctrl + Z to bring it back or move it back to its original location. Additionally, you can redo anything you recently undid simply by pressing Ctrl + Y.
3. Locate Your Wi-Fi Password
If you recently forget Wi-Fi password, then there is an easy way to retrieve it, made possible by Windows. Simply go to Network and Sharing Center, click on Change adaptor settings, then right click on your Wi-Fi connection, and select Wireless Properties. When the Wireless Properties applet pops up, click on the Security Tab, and you should find a password box, simply click on the Show Characters box, to find the password of your wireless connection.
When it comes to Apple’s Mac computers, Wi-Fi passwords are stored in its keychain. Which can be accessed by opening Keychain Access. Simply press Command + Space, which will bring up the Spotlight search, now search for the Keychain Access app, once located, open it.
The Keychain Access app has a search bar, use it to find the name of your Wi-Fi connection. You should be able to access the password by opening it (with a double click). Now click on the Show Password box, so that the password appears in plain text.
4. CTRL + W
If you have a lot of website tabs opened at the same time, it’s possible to close them individually by using the Ctrl + W shortcut. Any time you press this button combination, it will close whatever tab you’re on at the time – sending you to the next available tab. It’s a very quick and efficient way of carry out a task that can otherwise be rather tedious.
5. Windows key + L
This is an excellent shortcut that should be used by just about every Windows users. Simply press Windows Key + L to lock your system when you intend to spend some time away from it. Hopefully you will have a password already setup, so that anyone that wants to regain access to your system, will need to know it.
6. Paste Plain Text
One thing you may have noticed is that, whenever you copy content from another source, the copied content usually comes with its original formatting. In Windows it’s possible to paste text without its formatting by pressing Ctrl + Shift + V; that’s in place of the usual Ctrl + V button combination.
On Mac systems you can do the same by pressing Cmd + Shift + V. However these shortcuts do not apply on Notepad. Instead, when you use the button combination Ctrl + Alt + V, it will pull up a paste special dialog box, while hitting Ctrl + Spacebar will effectively remove any formatting that exists in the already pasted content.
If multiple apps are running on your system at the same time, then you could use the shake method on each active window. Essentially, by shaking an active window it will be automatically minimised, leaving you with just the one that you are currently using.
8. Sequential File Rename
Would you like a more efficient way of renaming multiple files? The good news is that it’s possible to rename files in batch on both mac and Windows systems. If you’re on a Windows platform, then simply highlight all the files you would like to rename, then right-click on the first file on your list, and select rename, then type in a new name for the file. By doing this, the system will automatically change the name of all the other select files to this, using the suffix (1), (2) and so on, to separate each one.
When it comes to mac computers, the process is very similar. Simply select all the files that you would like to rename, then hold down the Control key and click (or you can right-click) the group, then choose Rename [Number] Items from the menu. Now give it a name, and the Mac OS will automatically rename all of the select files, adding a number to each one.
9. Password-Protect Files
One of the most effective ways to lock access to any file is to create your own encrypted archive. If you have 7-Zip, WinRAR, WinZip or The Unarchiver for Mac, then it’s possible for you to create a new archive, and select the encrypt option, then password protect it, for save measure.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk.