Editor's PickSurviving SchoolTip of the Day

Take the Easy Road: Use More Shortcuts

Whether you’re building spreadsheets, creating presentations or composing text, these customs may be real time savers.

Working with files

Save often. If you have ever had a power outage or computer glitch in the midst of writing your most brilliant ideas, you’ve already heard this hard lesson. Get in the habit of hitting control-s (or even Apple-s on a Mac) every few minutes. Then in case your computer decides to take a rest, your job will be secure.

Learn the basic keyboard shortcuts. (All these are common to many programs.)

  • Control-c (or Apple-c) to replicate selected item to your clipboard
  • Control-x (or Apple-x) to cut selected item and place in your clipboard
  • Control-v (or Apple-v) to paste an item in the clipboard
  • Control-f (or even Apple-f) to open a”locate” window
  • Control-z (or even Apple-z) to undo the last operation
  • Control-y (or Apple-y) to redo the last operation
  • Control-a (or Apple-a) to pick everything in a document or window
  • Alt-tab (or even Apple-tab) to cycle through open programs
  • House to go to the start of a line
  • End to go to the ending of a line
  • Control-home (or Apple-home) to go to the start of a record
  • Control-end (or even Apple-end) to go to the ending of a document

More Mac shortcuts: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1343
More Windows shortcuts: http://tinyurl.com/shortcutswindows

Saving and saving docs, images, study and more

Create descriptive file names. Use key words or specific titles for documents, which means it is possible to locate them fast if they’re misfiled. Avoid general terms like”history paper” or”notes” Instead, use descriptors like”African-American History research.”

Save several versions of files. Did you open a document you have worked repeatedly, just to realize you’d deleted something you wish you had not? This is an easy problem to solve: produce a new variant of the exact same document each single time you start work on it.

By way of instance, for the first draft of”Anthropology 101 Primate Case Study Report,” add two more characters into the end of the file name and call it”Anthropology 101 Primate Case Study Report v1.”

The next time you begin working on the file don’t simply save it. Choose Save as:”Anthropology 101 Primate Case Study v2,” and so on.

The same applies for slideshow or spreadsheet presentations. Should you have to return to previous ideas, they are right there at the folder under an earlier version.

Organize hard drive folders according to how you utilize them. If you’ve ever had to sift through hundreds of files on your documents folder, then you understand the importance of finding a specific file immediately.

Begin a new habit and stay with it. Create a folder for each class. Inside this folder, create a separate folder for each assignment in that class, where you are able to store.  You will have everything you need in 1 place.

Spending up-front time to learn basic software skills and file organization can save you countless frustrating and wasted hours later.

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