Computer OfficeA chance comment at a meeting of our University book club led us to realize that not everybody knows a lot of the simple tricks and tips that we use every day. Some are close to pointless but here are the ones we use most often. Maybe you already know them, maybe you don’t. Our book club members didn’t, and they’re pretty well educated:

1.) You can enlarge any web page (thereby making it easier to read), by pressing the control key and the plus key at the same time. Every time you do this, the page gets larger. You can bring it back to its previous display size or smaller by pressing the control and minus keys. A side benefit of enlarging the display is that most web sites put their ads along the right-hand side of their screens. Enlarging the display pushes them off the edge.

2.) Control-C makes a copy of anything you’ve marked with the mouse pointer and saves it to the Windows clipboard. You can then move it to any other program you open by placing your cursor where you want and pressing Control-V. This is super handy and we use it many times a day. Control-A copies the whole screen. Unfortunately, the Windows clipboard only holds one clip at a time; if you save something else, whatever you saved before is wiped out. You can download programs called “clipboard extenders” by going to There are several and some are free. These let you save many items at the same time.

3.) If you want to permanently remove a comment, picture or paragraph from one place and move it to another place, mark it with the mouse pointer and press Control-X. To paste it at a new location, use Control-V.

4.) If you feel a distinct pang of “Oops” because you did something you didn’t mean to, press Control-Z to undo it.

5.) To open a new web site and still hold onto the old one while you’re browsing, press Control-T. This opens a new “tab” in most browsers, and you can switch between sites by clicking whichever tab you want. You can use many tabs, depending on how much memory you have.

6.) If you tend to forget to save what you’re working on, learn to press Control-S on a regular basis. This saves your work back to the last file you had open. NOTE: Nearly all these key combinations work just as well on Macs as they do on Windows PCs. You just use the “Command” key in place of the Control key.

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