Back to Basics – Tech Support



Common knowledge and universal knowledge are not the same thing.  There are many “extremely basic” quick computer shortcuts that it seems everyone knows, so basic and second nature at this point that no one talks about them.  Except that it seems almost everyone missed out on one or two.  Check out our list below of basic “computer hacks” to see if you know them all or if you are missing out on convenience!


  • You can double-click a word to highlight it in any document, e-mail or Web page.
  • You can hide all windows, revealing only what’s on the computer desktop, with one keystroke: hit the Windows key and “D” simultaneously in Windows, or press F11 on Macs (on recent Mac laptops, Command+F3; Command is the key with the cloverleaf logo). That’s great when you want examine or delete something you’ve just downloaded to the desktop, for example. Press the keystroke again to return to what you were doing.
  • You can enlarge the text on any Web page. In Windows, press Ctrl and the plus or minus keys (for bigger or smaller fonts); on the Mac, it’s the Command key and plus or minus.
  • You can also enlarge the entire Web page or document by pressing the Control key as you turn the wheel on top of your mouse. On the Mac, this enlarges the entire screen image.
  • You can tap the Space bar to scroll down on a Web page one screen. Add the Shift key to scroll back up.
  • When you’re filling in the boxes on a Web page (like City, State, Zip), you can press the Tab key to jump from box to box, rather than clicking. Add the Shift key to jump through the boxes backwards.
  • You can adjust the size and position of any window on your computer. Drag the top strip to move it; drag the lower-right corner (Mac) or any edge (Windows) to resize it.
  • Forcing the camera’s flash to go off prevents silhouetted, too-dark faces when you’re outdoors.
  • When you’re searching for something in a search engine, use quotes around phrases that must be searched together. For example, if you put quotes around “electric kettle,” Google won’t waste your time finding one set of Web pages containing the word “electric” and another set containing the word “kettle.”
  • Google will do math for you. Just type the equation, like 4*19+8/3=, and hit Enter.
  • If you can’t find some obvious command, like Delete in a photo program, try clicking using the right-side mouse button. (On the Mac, you can Control-click instead.)
  • Open the Start menu by tapping the key with the Windows logo on it.
  • To switch from one open program to the next, press Alt+Tab (Windows) or Command+Tab (Mac).
  • Putting something into the Trash or the Recycle Bin doesn’t actually delete it. You then have to *empty* the Trash or Recycle Bin.
  • You don’t have to type “http://www” into your Web browser. Just type the remainder: “”
  • On a smart phone, hit the Space bar twice at the end of a sentence. You get a period, a space, and a capitalized letter at the beginning of the next word.


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