Friday, October 28, 2011

Keyboard Shortcut to Force Quit

If you have a window open and you need to force it closed, you just have to put in the keyboard shortcut to close the window. It's very simple and easy to do (hence why it is called a "shortcut") and can help you in your most frustrated times.

If a window decides to stop responding and not working, it can be very frustrating. One way to solve that is to force quit. Get out of the window before it drives you crazy from not working. I know, I know, you probably have something really important up that you'll either forget or you'll lose if you close, but if it's frozen and not working, what else can you do? Another good reason this little trick is handy is similar to those reasons of putting your computer to sleep quickly and on command that I posted in my last blog.

I'll give you a few more though. Say you put the URL in of a website that you think you want to visit. When you hit that "enter" key and the website appears to be pulling up, suddenly so do a hundred other pages. You don't want all that stuff on your computer. So you can force quit and one by one they will close and (hopefully) they'll stop popping up and you can get where you were headed in the first place.

So let's go over how exactly you do this force quit thing. With Windows, all you need to do is hold "alt" and press F4. This will automatically close the primary window you have open. If you have 50 windows open, it will only close the one that you are currently active in. For example, right now I have Blogger open on one screen and Google open on another. If I was to pull up my calculator and then hit Alt F4, the calculator would be the program that closes out, not Blogger or Google.

With the Mac, hold down the "option" and "apple" keys at the same time and tap the "esc" key. Doing this should do the same thing as stated above and close whatever window you are currently on.

Hope this helps all you guys out there, even if you're using it be sneaky, I'm ok with that. Just keep practicing these shortcuts and before you know, they'll be second nature and you may never have to use a mouse again.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Keyboard Shortcut to Put Computer to Sleep

The shortcut to put your computer to sleep is as easy as any of the other shortcuts I've shared with you up to this point. This a good and convenient way to let your computer chill for a while, but still keep all of your programs up and running. That way you don't have to worry about losing track of the last website you were looking at or the project you were working on.

For Windows users, simply press the windows button on your keyboard (should be between Alt and Ctrl on the left side of the board) - press, don't hold - then press the right arrow button twice, and the letter "s." Now you want to make sure that you are on the desktop, other wise it won't access your start menu. You'll see the menu move as you tap the keys. The windows button will open the menu, one right arrow will then put the cursor on shut down, tapping the right arrow again will pop up the shut down options, and tapping the letter s will make it select sleep, so your computer will sleep as soon as you finish that pattern.

For Mac users, all you have to do is press Command-Option and then hold the eject button for about 2 seconds, and your computer will be off in la-la land. It doesn't get much easier that that, as far as shortcuts go.  It works the same way as with Windows. the computer will go to sleep until you decide it's time to wake it back up, and it will save all of the screens and programs that you have open without having to do anything.

The best thing about this shortcut is that it's easy access. So if you have something open that you don' t want your boss to see (ya know... you're checking your e-mail or browsing on a social media website when you should be doing some actual work) or your best friend walks in the room while you're on the computer planning his/her surprise party. For whatever reason you may need to quickly hide what you were doing, but you don't want to lose that information, use those shortcuts and put your computer to sleep to save what you were doing. It's a very sly way of getting around things. Good luck!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Keyboard Shortcut to Switch Tabs

In the past few blogs we have gone into a step-by-step detail on how to perform shortcuts using your keyboard to navigate on your computer. Well another one, which is really simple, can increase the functionality of both your computer and the use of the internet.

To switch tabs on the internet, it seems to be the same for most of the common browsers. For Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla, all you need to do is hold the "ctrl" button and press the "tab" button. This will switch you from one tab to the next with ease, and without having to use a mouse.

For Safari users, just hold the command and shift buttons together, and push the left or right arrow keys to go from left tab to right tab and vice versa.

Now to switch from window to window is really just as easy. If you have Windows, you can easily navigate from one window that you have open to another by holding down the "alt" button and pressing tab. It will even show you a preview of which window you're pulling up.

Again, for Macs, it's just as simple. Just hold down the apple key and push the "tab" button to cycle through different programs on your computer.

Those show some of the basics for both Mac and Windows for how to switch from tab to tab on the internet, as well as switching from program to program on your desktop. There are plenty of shortcuts out there, so feel free to go look some up and play around. Have a little fun, just make sure you don't mess up anything important in the process.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Screen Capture Keyboard Shortcut

Capturing the picture on your computer screen is actually a relatively easy shortcut to pull off on computers.

To do it, you just have to push the "PrtScn" button on your keyboard. It might be written differently, but it is usually found above the insert key, next to the number keypad.

Once you have pushed this button it automatically copies the picture on the screen and saves it. To "paste" it and be able to edit that screen, open an image editor or word processor (like Paint or Microsoft Word).

In Paint, for example, paste the image onto the screen and it will open up to allow you for editing. You can edit the screen image, copy just a section of it, change its size, and then save it as an image file.

If you use this with Microsoft Word, there is a toolbar that allows you to adjust the brightness and contrast, as well as cropping the image. It's features are less advanced on Word than in Paint, but it will get the job done.

Once you have the image the way you want it, you are then able to post it to your website. Like this:

That was a sample that I just created. I just hit the "PrtScn" button after opening the Facebook window. It had other tabs open as well, so I was able to crop it where just the Facebook screen showed. I then resized it to make it smaller, saved it onto my computer, and then uploaded it on here for you all to take a look at.

So this keyboard shortcut is a pretty neat feature. It's helpful if you're doing a step by step instruction page and want to show the clients what to look for as they go along. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Keyboard Shortcut to Change Language

Keyboard shortcuts can make it easier for a user to interact with his/her computer and save time and effort as you work with programs. A keyboard shortcut is made when two or more keys are pressed simultaneously to perform a task that would usually require a mouse.

A few examples for you:

  • Ctrl + U = Underline
  • Ctrl + B = Bold
  • Ctrl + I = Italics
  • Ctrl + C = Copy
  • Ctrl + V = Paste
  • Ctrl + X = Cut
So those are some of the basics that people use every day on their computers for writing and editing. 

Now to specifically set up how to change the language on your computer through shortcut keys is a little more complicated. For Windows computers, you'll have to go to your control panel, select "Clock, Language, and Region." Once the Region and Language box opens, select "Keyboards and Languages," then "Change Keyboards." Once in that screen, you can select the "add" button to put whatever language you choose onto the computer. Once you have your languages selected, go to "Advanced Key Settings" in that same window, and then "Change Key Sequence." Here you can specify what keys you want to push to go from one language to another on your computer.

It's a little different for Mac users. By default, you would use the apple key + space to change keyboard layouts, but if that doesn't work, there is a manual way. Go to system preferences, click on international. Click on the Input Menu tab. Near the bottom it should show you the shortcuts to change keyboard layouts with a button that takes you to Keyboard Shortcuts, should you want to change them. 

Hope this little tutorial helps you on your computer. Shortcuts make everything just a little bit easier when using computers, so take advantage of them. Feel free to investigate further and look into other little shortcuts that you might be able to use on a daily basis, and save yourself some time away from the mouse.