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Effective Computer Usage

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These are some of the things which I do to speed up the work I do with computers.

Learn Shortcuts

Shortcuts can be your biggest time saver. Instead of dragging the mouse to a menu, selecting an option which opens another window and then finally choosing an action, if that action has a shortcut associated with it, you can do it much faster with the keyboard. Well designed applications provide shortcuts as a way to “power use” them. The GUI serves a new user, but seasoned users can use shortcuts to speed up the way they use the application.

Spend some time learning the shortcuts of applications you use regularly. It is not easy, but it pays back splendidly. You will look like a rock star riffing on his guitar, if you master keyboard shortcuts.

Screen Real Estate

If you are working on a physical desk, do you keep only what you are using at the moment (say a book)? Or do you keep other items on it so that you can switch between using them without much effort?

Your computer display also works the same way as a physical desk (does the term desktop sound familiar?). If your screen resolution allows multiple windows to be viewed at the same time without sacrificing functionality, use it. Don’t maximize windows and keep switching between them.

A good example is your browser. Most websites today are designed for 1024×768 resolution. If you display has a resolution larger than that, why maximize the browser and eat up valuable screen real estate, when you can keep your browser at 1024×768 and use the remaining space for your IM or email client? That way you can keep an eye on who is online and the emails you get while browsing. No need to waste time with switching between windows.

Also, if you are a heavy mouse user, not maximizing windows offers huge time savings. Other windows can be positioned so that some part is always visible and to switch to another window, you just need to click on the visible portion of that window instead of searching for it in the taskbar.

Always Customize

Most applications can be configured to do things faster, but present a simple but inefficient interface by default so as to not scare new users. Once you get comfortable using an application, see if you can do things faster by customizing it.

For example, in some corporate environments ,Windows XP is configured to use Windows 98 style Start menu instead of the new one which shows the most frequently used applications. You can also add application shortcuts to the new Start menu. Using the old one to select a frequently used application will take at least 3 clicks, whereas in the new Start menu it can require only 2 clicks.

If you are going to frequently launch an application, put it somewhere easily accessible instead of hunting through menus to open it. Define a keyboard shortcut if your OS allows it.

Written by anonir

January 8, 2010 at 23:34

Posted in General Tech

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