Larilyn’s Tip of the Week: Hot Keys

It’s time for another simple tip!

I’m a sucker for a short cut.  Even when it’s something that doesn’t save a ton of time, sometimes there are short cuts that I just find fun and simple enough that – why NOT use it??

This is one of those.
A computer keyboard shortcut!!  We’re going to talk about hot keys!

Why are they called hot keys, you may wonder.

Well I am here to tell you – I don’t know.  Though I do know that it’s not because they are on fire.
Hot keys are key combinations that make short cuts to open up programs.  And the coolest thing about it is that you can make your own!  

For example, on my computer at home, if I type CTRL+ALT+C, Chrome opens up.  Or if I type CTRL+ALT+E I find a fresh window with Excel!

It’s like a secret menu at your favorite restaurant.  But on a computer.  And you get to create the menu.

So, how do you this you may ask.  It’s simple!

First locate the icon for the program that you would like to create a hot key for.  I will be setting one up for Word.  You right click on the icon and it pops up a menu where you will select Properties.
This will open the Properties box, as shown below.  You will place the cursor in the line that says “Shortcut key”.
Then you will select which keys you want to use as a combination.  So I want Word to open when I hit CTRL+ALT+W.  So I actually hit those buttons and……
Voila!  It now shows those buttons as the shortcut key.  I just hit okay and it will save the shortcut. 

Now no matter what I am doing on my computer, if I suddenly decide I need a Word window open and I don’t want to minimize my windows and tabs to get to my desktop, I use my new shortcut and up it pops!

Have fun creating your own shortcuts!

Larilyn’s Tip of the Week: Character Map

Today I want to talk about something that has been a basic function of Windows since…..well…..
It’s a very handy thing to know about and to use, but most people I know don’t even know that it exists!

It makes typing much easier if you have to use symbols that you don’t see right on your keyboard.

If you’ve never found yourself in a situation such as this, keep moving.  Nothing to see here.  

However.  If I’ve piqued your interest…..
(If you haven’t already figured out that I’m a major nerd, I feel like this left no doubt in your mind….am I right?)

Let me introduce you to the Character Map.
As you can see, it shows you a plethora of characters and symbols.  It shows you every available character within a font – and you can pick all different fonts!

If you only need a symbol or character once, you can select a character and it will show up in the “Characters to copy” box.  You then copy it and paste it into whatever you need.

However, the real reason that I’m absolutely, devastatingly in love with the character map is what you can learn from it to make your life easier.  It makes my heart go pitter pat.
Say you do a lot of work where you type up copyrighted material, and you constantly have to put in the copyright symbol.  You could find the symbol and copy and paste it a million times.  You could even go into the Character Map and select it and put it in a million times.

Orrrrr… could pay attention to the lower right corner.
You see where it gives you a keystroke?  That is actually the secret combination of keys to hit in order to put the symbol that you want into your text without ever having to cut, paste, or open the character map again!

Let me tell you – this came so in handy during my many years of French class!  I just memorized the right key strokes for my cedilla and accent marks, and then I could type like the wind!  

One does not type 110 WPM without learning the shortcuts on the keyboard.  35+ years of piano playing probably doesn’t hurt either, but I digress…..

I hope this tip helps you shave minutes off your typing needs in the future!