Quick PC Tips

This is our list of Quick PC Tips – we’ll be adding to it regularly, so keep checking back for updates!

Most people already know about CTRL+C (Copy), CTRL+V (Paste) and CTRL+X (Cut), but there are lots of other Quick PC Tips out there to help you work smarter!

We’ll post each new tip on our Help Me Dave FaceBook and Google Plus pages – you can follow the pages to receive the next instalment – or maybe you can suggest a tip we haven’t thought of yet!

Tip 19 – Create your own Auto-Correct

Do you have something that you type over and over again? For me it was a standard “Please find attached” email to send with our invoices – it was nearly the same every time, so I created an autocorrect to fill out the entire email in 4 strokes.

Autocorrect is quite capable of handling multiple paragraphs – so my greeting line, email text and thankyou lines are all formatted. All I need to type is invs – as soon as I hit space the email is filled out. I can add extra personal lines to an individual email if I need to. The autocorrection will work for any new Word document on your PC and, if you use Word as your Email editor, then it will work for Emails too.

To set this up with paragraph spacing you need to:

  1. Go into Microsoft Word and type out the message you want with the spaces and paragraphs exactly as you want them.
  2. Highlight the text as if you were going to copy it.
  3. Go to the File menu and choose Options.
  4. Select Proofing from the menu on the left.
  5. Click the button that says Autocorrect Options
  6. Choose the Autocorrect Tab
  7. In the Replace box type in the letters that will trigger your Autocorrect. Choose something that isn’t an actual word! I use invs because it’s an invoicing email.
  8. The text you’ve highlighted will be filled out for you in the With box.
  9. Click Add.
  10. Try out your new Autocorrect a few times 🙂

If you are like me and have a few words that you just ALWAYS spell the wrong way you can also set up a personal autocorrect for those words.

Computer Help Autocorrect

Tip 18 – Free Up Space on Your iPhone

Did you know that your iPhone keeps deleted photos for 30 days?

That means two things:

1) If you’ve deleted a photo by accident you can get it back

2) If you are like me and find yourself madly deleting old photos to make space for new ones then you’ll have to clear the Recently Deleted folder (or wait 30 days!) to use the space.

To find the Recently Deleted folder:

  1. Open your camera app and click on your camera roll to see your photos
  2. Choose All Photos (up the top) then Album View (from the bottom menu).
  3. Choose the Recently Deleted Album from the bottom of the list.
  4. Touch Select (top right) to work with more than one photo at a time.
  5. Tick the photos you want and choose Delete or Recover (bottom menu) and then confirm that’s what you really want to do.

Help with your iPhone Recently Deleted

Tip 17 – Improve your Google Searches with some Boolean Logic

Have you ever searched for Jaguar and got a bunch of car ads? Would you like to look for a product in a specific price range? If you understand how Google uses some of the Boolean Logic queries it can really help you get the most out of search results.

AND       – Google assumes there’s an AND in between every word you type, so you don’t ever have to use AND with Google. If you type Tropical Island then Google will find you results with tropical AND results with Island, and its gets especially excited if the website has both words in it – such as an article about tropical bugs migrating from one island to another.

“ ”       – Use quotation marks to ask Google for an exact match, so if you ask for “Tropical Island” you will only get articles that have those two words together.

         – Google uses a minus sign instead of the NOT command, so if you want a pie recipe but hate apples then you can search for: pie recipe –apple   and you’ll only get apple-free pies. The trick here is not to put a space after the minus sign (so –apple will work, – apple will not work).

*         – The Wildcard. If you are looking to complete a quote you can use * to replace the missing words. So if you enter a search for: Put your * where your mouth is       you’ll get Money 

..       – Two full stops with no spaces can indicate a range, so if you want cameras priced between $500 and $700 you can search for: camera $500..$700 . The trick again is not to use spaces or you’ll get articles using that phrase, rather than just products within that range.

OR       – If there are two commonly used words for what you want you can use OR (capital letters only but with spaces either side) so: gravy OR sauce with mushroom           will get you recipes for either gravies or sauces that contain mushrooms.

Google also have an Advanced Search page that lets you narrow your search by file type and date published. One feature I did like was the ability to search for a certain phrase on one website.


Tip 16 – Compress Photos for Free

Tiny.jpg is a terrific free site that I’ve been using to compress my photo’s without losing quality – it’s very handy for websites, but can also be useful for emails or… anywhere that size matters.

To use the free service you just go to their website https://tinyjpg.com/ . You can upload the photo or just drag it onto the web page – wait a few seconds for it to be compressed and it’s ready to Download. Once you’ve clicked Download a box will open at the bottom of the screen asking you to Open or Save – I like to click the arrow on the Save box and choose Save As, so I can pop the new photo straight into the correct folder.

You don’t need to log in our muck around to use the service (I HATE trying to remember passwords to log in!), and the photos take less than 30 seconds each, so it’s fast enough to be worthwhile even for a single image. Depending on the image you can save 25% – 70% off the file size, and they have a separate page for tiny.png images if you’re using that format. They even have a Panda, so you just have to love them.

computer tips compress files

Tip 15 – Get Google to do your Math

Do you ever want to do just one sum REALLY quickly… “just one and I don’t want to have to look for the calculator just to do one sum”?

Pop the sum into a google search for an instant answer. Yup. Google is good for everything!

Quick PC Tips Google as a calculator

Tip 14 – Handy uses for Hyperlinks.

A Hyperlink allows you to click on a text or image and be taken straight to a new web page or document. You see them most often in web pages, but did you know that you can add your own Hyperlinks to Emails, Word Documents, Excel sheets and most other Office applications?

Setting up a Hyperlink is as easy as highlighting the text or image you want to click on (the anchor or Text to Display), right clicking your mouse and choosing Hyperlink from the menu. Select or add the destination Address (the file you want to be opened when you click) and you are done!

If you’ve used Tip 13 to Copy As Path the files address then you can paste that path in as the destination address.

Some ways to use Hyperlinks:

  • Emailing your contact details – you can add a photo link to your Email taking readers straight to your website or FaceBook page. Add it to your Email Signature if you want everyone to see it.
  • Create a Master document to organise links to all of your Ideas or Recipes pages (you can link out to websites as well as documents you’ve created yourself).
  • Send someone on your network a link to open the document you want them to look at, rather than just telling them where it is.
  • If you’re creating a very long report you can link to a heading or bookmarked position elsewhere in the document.
  • Web and Email addresses are usually auto-formatted as Hyperlinks, but you can get a more professional look by setting it up manually. Instead of your email saying “go to our XYZ form page at http//…..” you can just say “There’s more info on our form page” or “We also have that in vanilla, chocolate and raspberry” with links to your other product pages.
  • If you regularly use two documents together (eg pasting an updated Excel graph into this months Word report) you can add a link so that the second document can be opened with one click.

Computer Tips Hyperlinks

Tip 13 – Shift with your Right Click to reveal Hidden Functions – Copy As Path

We all know that right clicking gives you a quick menu of things you most likely want to do, but did you know that holding down SHIFT + right click in File Explorer gives you a couple of hidden extra options?

One of the more useful hidden functions is Copy As Path – it gives you the full ‘address’ of a file or photo so you can share, insert, upload or attach it to as many places as you like just by pasting (CTRL+V).

Now obviously you still have to open the file in File Explorer to get the path, but there are times when it’s easier to find a photo with File Explorer, or when you want to add the same image in more than one place and this saves you from navigating through your files multiple times (which I always find frustrating!).

To use this in FaceBook: Find the photo in File Explorer – use SHIFT+Right Click and click Copy As Path. Go to FaceBook and click Add Photos as usual, put your curser in the File Name box and paste (CTRL+V). Done.

Use the same method to attach a file to an email (click Attach, paste the path where it asks for the File name). You can use it to insert a photo into a document – just Insert Photo as usual and then paste in the file path…

File Path also helps you tell a colleague exactly where a particular file is and which folders they need to open to find it. And there are a few other uses that we’ll show you in future tips

SHIFT+Right Click can add extra functions in a few situations, though most of the others would only be used by Administrators.

Computer Help shift right click for Copy As Path

Tip 12 – Clever Control Key

Here are ten handy shortcuts you can do with your control key. How many do you use?

CTRL + C     Copy the highlighted item or text

CTRL + X      Cuts the highlighted item or text so it can be pasted elsewhere.

CTRL + V     Paste

CTRL + Z      Undo the last change you made – this even works outside Word and Excel, for example if you’ve moved a file by accident you can undo the move.

CTRL + Y      Redo – will redo the change you just undid

CTRL + F      Brings up the Find menu in any program – you can even use this in FaceBook to look for a particular post in your newsfeed.

CTRL + S      Save

CTRL + P      Brings up the Print box in any program.

CTRL + HOME Takes you to the beginning of a document, sheet or web page

CTRL + END Takes you to the end!

Tip 11 – The Magnifier

Did you know that Windows has a handy inbuilt magnifying glass?

Click on your Start Button and type Magnifier to bring the tool up. You can use the + and – buttons to choose how much to magnify by. The View menu gives you 3 options:

Full screen – this magnifies everything on your screen. Unlike the regular zooming that we talked about last week this will increase the size of your icons and menu bars, not just the active document. You will have to move around (push your mouse to the edge of the screen) to find things that have disappeared off the edges.

Lens – This gives you a square magnifying glass so that just the area under your mouse is magnified. You can still select, type and work normally within the magnified area. This tool does magnify icons or menu items, so it’s handy for anyone who struggles with smaller print, or if you are working on a diagram or web page and want to see the whole thing but zoom into areas of interest.

Docked – creates a viewing pane at the top of the screen – the area of the screen you are looking at will be shown magnified up there.

The Settings menu gives you some extra options to play with: a slider so that you can increase by 50% at a time; a colour inverter for documents where the colours are hard to read, and the option to turn the magnifier on every time you start your computer.

To go back to a normal view you can switch to 100% on Full Screen mode – that leaves the tool open and you’ll have a little magnifying glass on your screen to bring it back up. Or of course you can simply close the tool to return to normal size.

Quick PC Tips Magnifier

Tip 10 – Zoom in to read small text

Hold the CTRL button and use the scroll wheel on your mouse for a quick way to zoom in (or out) of any website or document.

Quick Computer Tips - Use your mouse scroll wheel.

Clicking the scroll wheel also gives you access to special functions – eg a scroll wheel click in explorer will open that link in a new tab and clicking the scroll wheel on a website or document lets you move around the page faster.

Tip 9 – Wonderful Windows Key

  • WIN = on its own will open your Start Menu
  • WIN+Arrow = Pins the open app to the side of your desktop (which side depends on which arrow key you used!)
  • WIN+TAB = scrolls between your open apps.
  • WIN+1-9= Will either start up or switch to whichever app is in that position on your taskbar. (0 gets you the 10th app)
  • WIN+E = Opens File Explorer.
  • WIN+L = Lock your desktop (don’t do this unless you know the  password!)
  • WIN + D = Brings your Desktop to the top. (Clicking WIN+D again returns the desktop to the bottom.)
  • WIN + M = Minimise any programs that can be minimised. Similar to showing the desktop but it works in a different way.  (To reverse you need WIN+SHIFT+M.)
Computer Tips - using the windows key
Using your WIN Key

Each new version of Windows has added to the list of shortcuts available with the Windows key – Wikipedia has a list showing all of the WIN key functions for each version up to Windows 10 if you’d like to learn more.

Tip 8 – Blank Documents with 1 click

If you already have a Word document open and want a new document: hold down shift and left click the Word icon on your start bar. Voila – a new blank document without going near the file menu!

This Super Quick PC Tip works for any of the Microsoft Office apps.

Quick PC Tips - Shift+Click the taskbar for a new blank document

Tip 7 – Batch Rename Files

F2 is the shortcut to rename a file, but you can also use it to rename a whole batch of files at once – for example you could rename the photos from a birthday party so that you can find and sort photos by event.

Use Shift or Control Click to choose all of the files you want to rename.

If you hold down shift and left click on the first and last files it will select all of the files in between. Holding Control and left clicking your mouse lets you select files  one by one.

Click F2 and rename the first file – all the others will be renamed as well –  RileysBirthday(1), RileysBirthday(2) and so on.

Quick PC Tips - How to Batch Rename Files using F2

And of course if you’ve made a mistake you can use Quick PC Tips #1 – CTRL+Z to undo it.

Tip 6 – 3 ways to Clear your DesktopQuick PC Tips Show Desktop Icon

  1. Most people know about the Show Desktop icon in the bottom right of their screens – it instantly shrinks all of your open apps so you have a clear desktop again.
  2. If your mouse hand is busy you can also show the desktop using the Windows key (bottom left of your keyboard) and the letter D together. Pressing Win+D again brings them back.
  3. For a bit more fun you can grab the top of the app you are working on and shake it: everything other than that app will shrink. If you grab the same app and give it another shake everything will open back up. Now the dog makes sense 🙂
Computer Tips - shake the app to show the desktop
Shake that file to clear your desktop

Tip 5 – You Tube Shortcuts List

If you want a quick way to skip ahead in a YouTube video you can use J and L to skip backwards or forwards by 10 seconds at a time.

Pressing the ? key will bring up a list of other shortcuts too.

You Tube Shortcuts
You Tube Shortcuts Menu

Unfortunately it doesn’t work on the ads….

Tip 4 – Quick Access to More Websites

You can fit more websites in your Favourites Bar by right clicking on it. Every browser will be a little different, but there should be an option to Rename the title (to shorten it), or to show just the icons using Customise.

Favourites Bar - Quick Computer Tips

The Favourites Bar is a great way to get fast access to the websites you look at the most. Just look for the Favourites Star (it will be in the top right hand side of your browser) and you can choose whether to Add to your regular Favourites (list) or to the Favourites Bar.

Favourites Bar on your computer

Tip 3 – Calculator Bonus Functions

Your desktop calculator has some handy bonus functions hidden in the View Menu: it can convert weights and measurements, calculate interest on loans and you can tick History to keep track of the sums you’ve been working on.

Calculator Quick PC tips

If you’re having trouble finding the calculator go to your Start menu and type in calculator – it will pop to the top of the list. If you right click on it you can choose to pin it to the Start Menu or Task Bar, or  “Send to” the desktop to add a shortcut there.

Tip 2 – Jump Lists on your Task Bar

Right clicking on a program in your task bar (that’s the strip on the bottom of your screen) gets you a jump list of recently used files – so you can open up yesterdays Excel spreadsheet with just two clicks!

Once you have the jump list open if you hover over a file you’ll see a pin appear – clicking the pin adds that file to your pinned list for permanent quick access.

Quick PC Tips : Right click to open a jump list of recently used files.
Right click to open your jump list of recently used files.


Tip 1 – CTRL+Z = UNDO

You have an undo button in Word and most other programs, but what about those awful moments when you drag a bunch of documents into the wrong folder and then can’t find them?

CTRL+Z works like an undo button on your PC. It won’t save you from every mistake, but it can undo a lot of trouble!

It works in most Windows based programs, including Word, Excel, Windows File Explorer etc.

Quick PC Tips : Use Ctrl+Z to undo
Use Ctrl+Z to undo


Quick PC Tips from Help Me Dave IT

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