Tips and Tricks

Here are helpful tips and tricks taken from our Technology Tracks newsletter.

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  • Windows XP Service Pack 2 - With Service Pack 2, Windows XP contains Pop-up blocking.  Some web sites that you visit use pop-ups as part of their normal flow.  If you want to temporarily allow pop-ups for a particular site, press the <CTRL> key and then click on the link to allow the pop-up.
  • Windows Explorer - Want a quick way to bring up Windows Explorer?  Hold down the Windows key <windows key> and press the <E> key -- and up pops the Windows Explorer application!
  • Lock your computer - If you want to invoke security when you're leaving your system, or you want to leave it up overnight but want to save the computer boot up time in the morning, you may instead lock your system when you leave it.  By locking the system, you can leave applications up and running, so you don't need to start the again when you return to the computer.  To lock you system, hold down the <Ctrl> and the <Alt> keys, and press the <Delete> key.  The Windows Security window will appear.  Click on Lock Computer, and the system will be locked.  To unlock the system, press <Ctrl> <Alt> and <Delete> again.  The login screen should have your previous login name.  Enter your password (if any) and click OK.  Then you're ready to go!
  • Moving the Task Bar - Did you accidentally move the Windows Task Bar to a different location on the screen?  If you do, you can move it back by clicking on it and dragging it to the original (or desired location).  Want to keep it from moving again?  Right click on the Task Bar, then click on Lock The Task Bar.  The selection should now be checked, and the task bar is locked in place.
  • Password Protection - Microsoft Word and Excel can password protect documents.  Within Word and Excel within Office 2003, select Tools from the menu at the top then select Options.  If you want to password protect the document when opening, enter a password in the textbox for Password To Open.  You can also protect the document from changes, entering a password in the textbox for Password To Modify.  When you click OK, you will be prompted to re-enter the password for verification.  Older versions of Word and Excel also support password protection - the steps may vary from those noted here.
  • Recently Opened Files - Do you find the file list found under File for Word and Excel handy for opening your most recently opened files handy?  The list can be extended from the default of four to retain up to the nine most recently opened files.  To increase the list, bring up Word or Excel then select Tools, then Options. Go to the General tab. Make sure the box to the left of “Most Recently Used File List” is checked, and then increase the number to nine (or the desired number) in the box to the right.  Want to change where the program looks first to open files.  Go to the File Locations tab under Word or the General tab under Excel, and modify Word’s Documents entry or Excel’s Default File Location.
  • Permanently Delete Files or E-mails- Want to bypass the Recycle Bin and permanently delete your selections in Explorer or your E-mail in Outlook?   Hold the <Shift> key down when you press the <Delete> key in either Windows Explorer or in Microsoft Outlook and the selections will be permanently deleted.  Note that it’s more dangerous, but saves a step if you absolutely want to get rid of the files or E-mail.
  • Microsoft Notification - If you get tired of being prompted to send notification to Microsoft when an application crashes, you can turn the notification off.  Right-click the My Computer icon on the desktop and select Properties.  In the System Properties window, select on the Advanced tab. Then click Error Reporting.  If you choose to Disable error reporting and an application crashes, the program will close and there will be no prompt to send a notification to Microsoft. You can select “But Notify Me When Critical Errors Occur”, or you can select “To Enable Error Reporting and Choose Programs” to exclude applications that crash frequently.
  • Copy, Paste, Cut and Undo - If you want to speed up your work a little at a time, try using the Windows keyboard shortcuts instead of the mouse for the following quick but frequently used tasks. Hold down the <Ctrl> (Control) key and the associated letter key to perform the associated command, which is the same as right-clicking with the mouse.
    • <Ctrl> + <C> = Copy, the same as right click and Copy
    • Ctrl> + <V> = Paste
    • Ctrl> + <X> = Cut
    • Ctrl> + <Z> = Undo (or cancel the last change made)