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 Windows Tips & Tricks

January, 2003

Bill Beverley is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and intermediate computer enthusiast. Early in his military career he was on the ground floor in the development of the U.S. Army's Field Artillery Tactical Fire Direction System (TACFIRE), a forerunner of subsequent digital computers / communications within the army.

Most computer users have seen the “QWERTY” adjective used in combination with keyboards. It’s the name commonly given to a standard keyboard layout. The name comes from the combination of the first six keys on the keyboard in the row below the numbers. Several attempts have been made to replace the old QWERTY keyboard with something more sensible but seemingly an impossible mission. The keyboard is your direct link to your personal computer. Therefore your keyboard should work with rather than against you. You can adjust several settings to suit your preference. One is repeat rate which is a measure of how many times per second that characters are repeated once you've held down the key long enough to begin repeating letters, numbers, or symbols. Second is repeat delay. It is a measure of how long you must hold down a key before that character repeats. Third is cursor blink rate. This setting doesn't affect your typing speed. It controls how quickly the cursor blinks on and off. To access these keyboard settings, choose Start, Settings, Control Panel, and Keyboard. Next, choose the Speed tab where you'll see slider adjustment controls for the three settings. 

Alt Key
Win2000 offers many ways for you to perform the simplest tasks. For example, if you're a fast typist and don't like to remove your fingers from the keys, take advantage of keyboard shortcuts to all the menus in Win2000 Professional. Press and release the Alt key and keep an eye on the row of words in the menu bar. All the words suddenly have a letter underlined and the first word, File, looks like a button that's been depressed. Now, look to the right on the menu bar to see how the letter V in View is underlined. Press V on the keyboard and the pull-down menu hidden below View falls down. ;

Application Hopping
Application hopping is unavoidable when you're working on a presentation that will feature a spreadsheet for figures, a document for the outline of your presentation, and a Web site with research information. It gets tiring if you must minimize, maximize, and then go to the Taskbar and click on the application's icon. Instead, it’s easier to hold down the Alt key and press the Tab key. Now let go of the Tab key while still holding down Alt, then press the Tab key to scroll through each application. When the box surrounds the desired application, let go of the Alt key.

Application Windows
Alt+Tab: View and select from a menu of all Taskbar items.
Ctrl+Tab: Toggles between windows of a Multiple Document Interface (MDI) program, such as Excel.
Ctrl+F4: Closes the current window in a MDI program.
Alt+Spacebar: Opens the current window’s System Menu, which includes Restore, Move, Size, Minimize, Maximize, and Close functions.
Alt+-: Opens the System Menu for a single window of a MDI program.
Alt+E: Performs the same operation as clicking that menu option. For instance, in Word press Alt+F to open the File menu and Alt+P to print the current document.
Alt+M: Minimizes all windows.
Alt+Spacebar+N: Minimizes the current window only.
Alt+Prt.Sc: Copies the current window.

Audible Alerts
Most keyboards have indicator lights for the CAPS, NUM, and SCROLL LOCK keys. If you accidentally press the CAPS LOCK key and type entire sentences in all capital letters before you notice the little green light, use audible alerts to let you know when a LOCK key changes status. Assuming Accessibility Options are installed on your system, open the Control Panel and double-click Accessibility Options. On the Keyboard tab, select Use ToggleKeys and then click OK. From now on you'll hear a beep every time the Caps Lock or Num Lock keys are turned on or off. If the Accessibility Options is not installed on your computer, open the Control Panel, double-click Add/Remove Programs, and select the Windows Setup tab. Under Components, select Accessibility Options, click OK, and when directed insert the installation disk.

Backspace to Previous Folder
If you're viewing a folder's files and want to view the contents of the parent folder, the one that contains the folder you're viewing, just press the Backspace key on your keyboard.

Case Change
To quickly change the case of your text in Word, highlight the word you want to change and press Shift+F3. Each time you press F3, the capitalization of the word changes.

Cells in Word Tables
When working with Word tables, you might like to use some keyboard shortcuts to select columns and rows. To select a column, hold down the Alt key and click in the column you want to select. To choose a row, click in the first cell of the row you want to select and then press Alt + Shift + End. To select several cells in a column, click the first cell you want to choose and then hold down Shift while clicking in the last cell. The same procedure works for rows. You must first click in the first cell, hold down Shift, and then click in the last cell.

Cents Symbol
Here is a tip you will want to remember. Unfortunately there is no “¢“ key on your computer keyboard. Instead of resorting to typing $0.50, you hold down the Alt key and type 0162 on the number keypad to get 50¢. Now don’t forget to first push in the NUM LOCK key and then type 0162.

Control Key
To copy a file without having to perform any additional work, press and hold the CTRL key while dragging the object to its destination. Windows will automatically assume that you want to copy it.

Details Columns
You can resize every column to fit the widest entry in one fell swoop in an Explorer windows screen with any selected item by holding down the Ctrl key as you press the plus sign (+) on your numeric keypad. For this trick to work in a two-paned Explorer window, the focus must be on the right pane. Click any item or a blank area inside the right pane, then press Ctrl, +. ;

Dialog Box Tabs
You can move from one tab to the next in an open dialog box without using the mouse by pressing Ctrl+Tab. While holding down Ctrl, press Tab continuously until the tab you want is highlighted and then let go. To jump through tabs in reverse, press Ctrl+Shift+Tab.
Spacebar: Clicks the outlined button, toggles the outlined checkbox, or select the outlined radio button.
Enter: Performs the same command as clicking an outlined button.
Esc: Performs the same command as clicking Cancel.

Double-Clicking Substitute
Win98/Me lets you cut down significantly on double-clicking. Although single-clicking takes a little getting used to, it's a lot easier on your mouse hand. However, if your mouse isn't working for some reason, there is a keyboard equivalent for a double-click or, if single-clicking is enabled, a single-click. Use your arrow keys to move the cursor to the beginning of the item you want to activate. Hold down the Shift key while you press the arrow keys. The text becomes highlighted as you move the arrow keys.

Editing Shortcuts
If you prefer the keyboard to your mouse, here are some shortcuts to use in your Word 2000 document by pressing keys:
Press the down arrow key to move down one line in your document.
Press the up arrow key to move up one line in your document.
Hold down the Ctrl key and press the up or down arrow key to jump up or down a paragraph at a time.
Press the Page Down key (or PgDn on some keyboards) to jump down the document one window at a time.
Press the Page Up key (or PgUp on some keyboards) to jump up the document one window at a time.
Hold down Ctrl and press the Home key to jump to the beginning of your document.
Hold down Ctrl and press the End key to jump to the end of your document.
Press Shift-F5 to get back to where you were working on a long document the next time you open a Word document.
Shortcuts for editing include: Ctrl+A: Selects the entire document. Ctrl+B: Bolds selected text. Ctrl+C: Copies text to the Clipboard. Ctrl+F: Finds text. Ctrl+H: Replaces occurrences of one text string with another text string. Ctrl+I: Italicizes selected text. Ctrl+P: Prints current document. Ctrl+S: Save current document. Ctrl+U: Underlines selected text. Ctrl+V: Pastes text from the Clipboard. Ctrl+X: Cuts text to the Clipboard. Ctrl+Y: Redoes an undone command. Ctrl+Z: Undoes the most recent command. Ctrl+Backspace: Deletes from the insertion point to the start of the word. Ctrl+Del: Deletes from the insertion point to the end of the word.

European Key Combination Shortcuts
There are two ways to find European key combinations in Windows. You can use the Character Map, at Start, All Programs, Accessories, and System Tools. To use Character Map, find the letter or symbol you want, select the font you are using, press Select, and then Copy. Go back to your document, put the cursor where you want to make the insert, and click Edit, Paste. Microsoft Word has key combinations, which may also work in other applications and some in Microsoft Outlook, too. They include:
Umlaut--press Ctrl+Shift+Colon, then the vowel. Grave--Ctrl+Grave (upper left, under Esc), then the vowel. Tilde--Ctrl+Shift+Tilde, followed by the letter. Inverted exclamation mark--Alt+Ctrl+Shift+!.
Inverted question mark--Alt+Ctrl+Shift+?. French cedilla--Ctrl+comma, then c. French circumflex--Ctrl+Shift+Caret(^), then letter. French e acute--Ctrl+Apostrophe, then e.

Excel Sheets
You can forget about the tab scrolling buttons and sheet tabs and just go back and forth through the sheets in a workbook with the keyboard. To move to the next worksheet in a workbook, press Ctrl+PgDn. To move to the previous worksheet in a workbook, press Ctrl+PgUp. The nice thing about Ctrl+PgDn and Ctrl+PgUp is that these keystroke shortcuts work whether or not the next or previous sheet tab is currently displayed in the workbook window.

Font Size Changes
Want a quick and easy way to increase or decrease font size in Word? Simply highlight the text you want to change and press Ctrl+Shift+> (greater-than key) to increase font size. Press Ctrl+Shift+< (less-than key) to decrease font size.

Freelance Graphics
Here are some useful Freelance Graphics shortcut keystrokes: Insert: Arrange, Edit Points, Add Point; 
Delete: Arrange, Edit Points, Delete Point; Shift-F6: Arrange, Points Mode; Alt-F9: Toggle Black and White or Color; F8: Arrange, Priority, Fall Back One; Shift-F8: Arrange, Priority, Send Forward One; 
F5: Go To; F6: Import Data; Ctrl-F6: Next Window; F7: Page, New; F9: View, Redraw; Ctrl-F2: Tools, Spelling Checker.

International Keyboard
If you have a need for characters beyond the basic 101 keys available on the standard keyboard, open the Control Panel, click the Keyboard icon and the Language tab. In the Language and Layout box, there is usually only one entry. Double-click this entry, select the layout you want, click OK twice. Now you will be asked to insert your Windows CD.

Finally, keyboards can be easily damaged through improper cleaning techniques. When you clean your keyboard, turn off your system and use a handheld vacuum cleaner to remove dust. Then dampen a rag and lightly wipe the tops of the keys. Don’t use solvents or too much water because both will damage the keyboard.

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