Tips and Tricks

Some Tips and Tricks just below.
Scroll further down for some Keyboard Shortcuts.

Click here to download a PDF of Tips and Tricks.
Click here to download a PDF of some Keyboard Shortcuts.
Click here to download a PDF of some Special Characters.

Problem Steps Recorder.
As the local PC guru you're probably very used to friends and family asking for help with their computer problems, yet having no idea how to clearly describe what's going on. It's frustrating, but Microsoft feels your pain, and Windows 7 will include an excellent new solution in the Problem Steps Recorder.
When any app starts misbehaving under Windows 7 then all your friends need do is click Start, type PSR and press Enter, then click Start Record. If they then work through whatever they're doing then the Problem Steps Recorder will record every click and keypress, take screen grabs, and package everything up into a single zipped MHTML file when they're finished, ready for emailing to you. It's quick, easy and effective, and will save you hours of troubleshooting time.

Troubleshoot problems.
If some part of Windows 7 is behaving strangely, and you don't know why, then click Control Panel > Find and fix problems (or 'Troubleshooting') to access the new troubleshooting packs. These are simple wizards that will resolve common problems, check your settings, clean up your system and more.

Take control.
Tired of the kids installing dubious software or running applications you'd rather they left alone? AppLocker is a new Windows 7 feature that ensures users can only run the programs you specify. Don't worry, that's easier to set up than it sounds: you can create a rule to allow everything signed by a particular publisher, so choose Microsoft, say, and that one rule will let you run all signed Microsoft applications. Launch GPEDIT.MSC and go to Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Application Control Policies > AppLocker to get a feel for how this works.

Calculate more.
At first glance the Windows 7 calculator looks just like Vista's version, but explore the Mode menu and you'll see powerful new Statistics and Programmer views. And if you're clueless about bitwise manipulation, then try the Options menu instead. This offers many different unit conversions (length, weight, volume and more), date calculations (how many days between two dates?), and spreadsheet-type templates to help you calculate vehicle mileage, mortgage rates and more.
Don't take any Windows 7 applet at face value, then - there are some very powerful new features hidden in the background. Be sure to explore every option in all Windows applets to ensure you don't miss anything important.

Recover locked-up apps.
If an application locks up under a previous version of Windows then there was nothing you could do about it. A new Windows 7 option, however, can not only explain the problem, but may get your program working again without any loss of data.
When the lockup occurs, click Start, type RESMON and click the RESMON.EXE link to launch the Resource Monitor. Find your frozen process in the CPU pane (it should be highlighted in red), right-click it and select Analyze Wait Chain. If you see at least two processes in the list, then the lowest, at the end of the tree, is the one holding up your program. If it's not a vital Windows component, or anything else critical, then save any work in other open applications, check the box next to this process, click End Process, and your locked-up program will often spring back to life.

Recover screen space.
The new Windows 7 taskbar acts as one big quick launch toolbar that can hold whatever program shortcuts you like (just right-click one and select Pin To Taskbar). And that's fine, except it does consume a little more screen real estate than we'd like. Shrink it to a more manageable size by right-clicking the Start orb, then Properties > Taskbar > Use small icons > OK.

Protect your data.
USB flash drives are convenient, portable, and very easy to lose. Which is a problem, especially if they’re carrying sensitive data? Fortunately Windows 7 has the solution: encrypt your documents with an extension of Microsoft's BitLocker technology, and only someone with the password will be able to access it. Right-click your USB flash drive, select Turn on BitLocker and follow the instructions to protect your private files.

Protect your data.
If you have confidential files in a particular folder or two, and would like to keep them away from other network users, then right-click the folder, select Share With > Nobody, and they'll be made private, for your eyes only (or your user account, anyway).

Run As.
Hold down Shift, right-click any program shortcut, and you'll see an option to run the program as a different user, handy if you're logged in to the kids' limited account and need to run something with higher privileges. This isn't really a new feature - Windows XP had a Run As option that did the same thing - but Microsoft stripped it out of Vista, so it's good to see it's had a change of heart.

Repair your PC.
If Windows 7 won't start, you may not need an installation or repair disc any more, as the repair environment is now usually installed on your hard drive. Press [F8] as your PC starts, and if you see a "Repair Your Computer" option, choose that to see the full range of Windows 7 recovery tools.

Faster program launches.
If you've launched one instance of a program but want to start another, then don't work your way back through the Start menu. It's much quicker to just hold down Shift and click on the program's icon (or middle-click it), and Windows 7 will start a new instance for you.

An Alt+Tab alternative.
You want to access one of the five Explorer windows you have open, but there are so many other programs running that Alt+Tab makes it hard to pick out what you need. The solution? Hold down the Ctrl key while you click on the Explorer icon. Windows 7 will then cycle through the Explorer windows only, a much quicker way to locate the right one. And of course this works with any application that has multiple windows open.

Fix Explorer.
The Windows 7 Explorer has a couple of potential annoyances. Launching Computer will no longer display system folders like Control Panel or Recycle Bin, for instance. And if you're drilling down through a complicated folder structure in the right-hand pane of Explorer, the left-hand tree won't always expand to follow what you're doing, which can make it more difficult to see exactly where you are.
Fortunately there's a quick fix: click Organize > Folder and Search Options, check "Show all folders" and "Automatically expand to current folder", and click OK.

Faster file handing.
If you hold down Shift while right-clicking a file in Explorer, then you'll find the Send To file now includes all your main user folders: Contacts, Documents, Downloads, Music and more. Choose any of these and your file will be moved there immediately.

Search file contents.
There's no obvious way in the Windows interface to search the contents of files that haven't been indexed, but all you need to do is start your search with the "content:" search filter. So entering content:Microsoft, for instance, will find all documents (whether they're actually indexed or not) that contain the word Microsoft.

Close in a click.
Hover your mouse cursor over a Windows taskbar button will display a preview thumbnail of that application window. You don't need that app anymore? Then middle-click the thumbnail to close it down.

Some assorted shortcut keys

Basic Shortcut Keys

Alt + F File menu options in current program

Alt + E Edit options in current program

F1 Universal help (for all programs)

Ctrl + A Select all text

Ctrl + X Cut selected item

Shift + Del Cut selected item

Ctrl + C Copy selected item

Ctrl + Ins Copy selected item

Ctrl + V Paste

Shift + Ins Paste

Home Go to beginning of current line

Ctrl + Home Go to beginning of document

End Go to end of current line

Ctrl + End Go to end of document

Shift + Home Highlight from current position to beginning of line

Shift + End Highlight from current position to end of line

Ctrl + f Move one word to the left at a time

Ctrl + g Move one word to the right at a time

Microsoft Windows Shortcut Keys

Alt + Tab Switch between open applications

Alt + Shift + Tab Switch backwards between open applications

Alt + Print Screen Create screen shot for current program

Ctrl + Alt + Del Reboot/Windows® task manager

Ctrl + Esc Bring up start menu

Alt + Esc Switch between applications on taskbar

F2 Rename selected icon

F3 Start find from desktop

F4 Open the drive selection when browsing

F5 Refresh contents

Alt + F4 Close current open program

Ctrl + F4 Close window in program

Ctrl + Plus Key Automatically adjust widths of all columns in Windows Explorer

Alt + Enter Open properties window of selected icon or program

Shift + F10 Simulate right-click on selected item

Shift + Del Delete programs/files permanently

Holding Shift During Bootup Boot safe mode or bypass system files

Holding Shift During Bootup When putting in an audio CD, will prevent CD Player from playing

Winkey Shortcuts

WINKEY + D Bring desktop to the top of other windows

WINKEY + M Minimize all windows

WINKEY + SHIFT + M Undo the minimize done by WINKEY + M and WINKEY + D

WINKEY + E Open Microsoft Explorer

WINKEY + Tab Cycle through open programs on taskbar

WINKEY + F Display the Windows® Search/Find feature

WINKEY + CTRL + F Display the search for computers window

WINKEY + F1 Display the Microsoft® Windows® help

WINKEY + R Open the run window

WINKEY + Pause /Break Open the system properties window

WINKEY + U Open utility manager

WINKEY + L Lock the computer (Windows XP® & later)

Microsoft Word Shortcut Keys

Ctrl + A Select all contents of the page

Ctrl + B Bold highlighted selection

Ctrl + C Copy selected text

Ctrl + X Cut selected text

Ctrl + N Open new/blank document

Ctrl + O Open options

Ctrl + P Open the print window

Ctrl + F Open find box

Ctrl + I Italicize highlighted selection

Ctrl + K Insert link

Ctrl + U Underline highlighted selection

Ctrl + V Paste

Ctrl + Y Redo the last action performed

Ctrl + Z Undo last action

Ctrl + G Find and replace options

Ctrl + H Find and replace options

Ctrl + J Justify paragraph alignment

Ctrl + L Align selected text or line to the left

Ctrl + Q Align selected paragraph to the left

Ctrl + E Align selected text or line to the center

Ctrl + R Align selected text or line to the right

Ctrl + M Indent the paragraph

Ctrl + T Hanging indent

Ctrl + D Font options

Ctrl + Shift + F Change the font

Ctrl + Shift + > Increase selected font +1

Ctrl + ] Increase selected font +1

Ctrl + Shift + < Decrease selected font -1

Ctrl + [ Decrease selected font -1

Ctrl + Shift + * View or hide non printing characters

Ctrl + f Move one word to the left

Ctrl + g Move one word to the right

Ctrl + h Move to beginning of the line or paragraph

Ctrl + i Move to the end of the paragraph

Ctrl + Del Delete word to right of cursor

Ctrl + Backspace Delete word to left of cursor

Ctrl + End Move cursor to end of document

Ctrl + Home Move cursor to beginning of document

Ctrl + Space Reset highlighted text to default font

Ctrl + 1 Single-space lines

Ctrl + 2 Double-space lines

Ctrl + 5 1.5-line spacing

Ctrl + Alt + 1 Change text to heading 1

Ctrl + Alt + 2 Change text to heading 2

Ctrl + Alt + 3 Change text to heading 3

F1 Open help

Shift + F3 Change case of selected text

Shift + Insert Paste

F4 Repeat last action performed (Word 2000+)

F7 Spell check selected text and/or document

Shift + F7 Activate the thesaurus

F12 Save as

Ctrl + S Save

Shift + F12 Save

Alt + Shift + D Insert the current date

Alt + Shift + T Insert the current time

Ctrl + W Close document


F2 Edit the selected cell

F5 Go to a specific cell

F7 Spell check selected text and/or document

F11 Create chart

Ctrl + Shift + ; Enter the current time

Ctrl + ; Enter the current date

Alt + Shift + F1 Insert new worksheet

Shift + F3 Open the Excel® formula window

Shift + F5 Bring up search box

Ctrl + A Select all contents of worksheet

Ctrl + B Bold highlighted selection

Ctrl + I Italicize highlighted selection

Ctrl + C Copy selected text

Ctrl + V Paste

Ctrl + D Fill

Ctrl + K Insert link

Ctrl + F Open find and replace options

Ctrl + G Open go-to options

Ctrl + H Open find and replace options

Ctrl + U Underline highlighted selection

Ctrl + Y Underline selected text

Ctrl + 5 Strikethrough highlighted selection

Ctrl + O Open options

Ctrl + N Open new document

Ctrl + P Open print dialog box

Ctrl + S Save

Ctrl + Z Undo last action

Ctrl + F9 Minimize current window

Ctrl + F10 Maximize currently selected window

Ctrl + F6 Switch between open workbooks/windows

Ctrl + Page up & Page Down Move between Excel® worksheets in the same document

Ctrl + Tab Move between two or more open Excel® files

Alt + = Create formula to sum all of above cells

Ctrl + ‘ Insert value of above cell into current cell

Ctrl + Shift + ! Format number in comma format

Ctrl + Shift + $ Format number in currency format

Ctrl + Shift + # Format number in date format

Ctrl + Shift + % Format number in percentage format

Ctrl + Shift + ^ Format number in scientific format

Ctrl + Shift + @ Format number in time format

Ctrl + g Move to next section of text

Ctrl + Space Select entire column

Shift + Space Select entire row

Ctrl + W Close document

Outlook Shortcut Keys

Alt + S Send the email

Ctrl + C Copy selected text

Ctrl + X Cut selected text

Ctrl + P Open print dialog box

Ctrl + K Complete name/email typed in address bar

Ctrl + B Bold highlighted selection

Ctrl + I Italicize highlighted selection

Ctrl + U Underline highlighted selection

Ctrl + R Reply to an email

Ctrl + F Forward an email

Ctrl + N Create a new email

Ctrl + Shift + A Create a new appointment to your calendar

Ctrl + Shift + O Open the outbox

Ctrl + Shift + I Open the inbox

Ctrl + Shift + K Add a new task

Ctrl + Shift + C Create a new contact

Ctrl + Shift+ J Create a new journal entry

A lot of these shortcut keys will work in other Microsoft applications, and others for that matter, but might need some trial and error. There is always an undo function!