The Daily Ping

Somehow, Ryan has written over 1 million Pings; Paul, just 60.

November 6th, 2002

Tips and Tricks Brigade

Many times, people come up to me on the street and say, “Paul, you’re such a computer whiz. What’s your secret?” When I tell them that I’m a prototype for a new type of human hybrid, they scurry along.

Truth be told, though, there are a number of tips I’ve taken for granted… and it’s high time they be shared with others. You might know about them, or you might not. Feel free to add your own “secret stash” of tips.


  • Pressing Tab will jump between fields in a form. This works on the web and in most programs, too.
  • On drop-down fields, the arrow keys will navigate up and down in the list. You can also press the first letter of the item name you want to select (“I” for “Illinois”). On Windows, you can keep pressing that letter to rotate through all the options that start with that letter.
  • Enter or Return submits most forms.

Mac OS X

  • If your title bar has a document icon for the document you’re currently working on, you can do magic things with it. Command-click it, and you’ll see the hierarchy of its location on your disk. Drag it elsewhere, and it acts the same as dragging the actual file from the Finder.
  • You can Command-drag items on the right side of the menu bar to your heart’s desire.


  • If an on-screen word has an underlined letter in it, in theory you can press Alt-(that letter) to jump to its field. However, some programs allow you to do this with just (that letter), and some don’t allow it at all (oops). The shortcuts for menus (Alt-F for File) do tend to work in almost all situations.

Posted in Technology

FROM: Emily
DATE: Wednesday November 6, 2002 -- 9:20:08 am
thanx for the tips!@

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday November 6, 2002 -- 10:36:11 am
I'm a big fan of the Windows key on the keyboard, especially Windows-E (which opens Windows Explorer) and Windows-M (which minimizes all open windows to the taskbar).

FROM: PCpolice [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday November 6, 2002 -- 10:36:31 am
might be wrong, but i think you mean to say 'ALT' not 'Control'.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Wednesday November 6, 2002 -- 12:37:34 pm
Good catch, Core... er, PCpolice.

FROM: Kevan
DATE: Wednesday November 6, 2002 -- 4:28:40 pm
Some key ones to know for Windows:

Alt-Space brings up the window menu, so you can then type 'x' to maximize, 'n' to minimize, 'r' to restore if it is maximized, etc.

Alt-tab, a lot of people know about - hitting this once flip flops between your last program/window that you were dealing with and the current one - hold down alt and keep hitting tab and you cycle through a list of open windows. Alt-Shift-Tab goes the other direction. Ctrl-Tab, in many applications, cycles through the panes, or sub windows, of the application.

The windows key, by itself, brings up the start bar - you can pretty much navigate your whole start menu by keys this way. I also like keyboards that have that context menu (the "right click" menu) button - often useful when doing a lot of repetitive tasks with files, etc.

F5 refreshes any Explorer or IE window - many know this, but a BIG one to know is F2, which is rename in any Explorer window. Need to whip a bunch of MP3s in order? It'll be your friend. Also remember that when editing a file name, Home and End do work, as do Shift-Arrow Key and Ctrl-Arrrow Key.

FROM: Vince
DATE: Wednesday November 27, 2002 -- 1:12:10 pm
In Windows, CTRL-C for copy and CTRL-V for paste are essential keyboard shortcuts for any information professional. In fact, when I'm in a new operating environment, I spend a few moments finding those shortcuts before doing much of anything else.

What is this then?

The Daily Ping is the web's finest compendium of toilet information and Oreo™® research. Too much? Okay, okay, it's a daily opinion column written by two friends. Did we mention we've been doing this for over ten years? Tell me more!

Most Popular Pings

Last Week's Most Popular Pings

Let's be nice.

© 2000-2011 The Daily Ping, all rights reserved. Tilted sidebar note idea 'adapted' from Panic. Powered by the mighty WordPress.