Love your computer’s secret tips and tricks


creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by Sebastian Landwirt

What can your computer do for you? Lots, in fact. There are many computer and keyboard tips and tricks that can help you. Whether you are creating resources for teaching, saving and closing your documents in a hurry, or even presenting in the lecture theatre.

Read on for the TEL team’s favourite keyboard tips that can help you either save time or save that document you’ve been working on for hours from the accidental trash can.

Auto save your work

In MS Word you can set your documents to auto save.
Go to File > options> and choose the Save tab. Now you can set it to autosave every minute or few minutes, depending on what you prefer. You can also set it to ‘keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving’. If you have Word 2013 see this guide for how to change the auto save interval.

Super-size your screen

Simply hold down the CTRL key and either hold the right arrow (or scroll up with your mouse or tap the + or – key) and you can adjust the size of whatever is displayed on your screen. This allows you to zoom in when you are working closely on a document. It is an excellent way of increasing the size of your text on a large screen to present easily to your audience during a presentation.

Snip tip

Cut anything from any document and save as a picture by using the snipping tool. You can even annotate, highlight or draw on it after you have snipped your select image or text. Simply go to the Start button and in the space for text, type ‘snipping tool’. Now you have this open just drag it across the part of the screen that you want to use, annotate and then save it. Just like this snip below to show you how to subscribe to our blog!


Print screen

My favourite button. Press the PrtScn (print screen) button and take a snapshot of your entire screen. You will need to then paste it onto a document to crop the bits out that you don’t want.

Task bar

Computer freeze can get you stuck when you are on a roll. There is a quick technique you can use to get out of this. Press Ctrl, Alt and Delete all at the same time. This will bring up the task manager. You can now close the programme that is causing you bother from the task manager and then return to the document you were working on.

Find anything

Select all (Ctrl and A) and then find anything (Ctrl and F). This will help you out in any long document when you are searching for something in a research paper or webpage. Once you have the find or search box, you can type the word you are looking for and then press return and it will take you to every instance of the word in the page or document.

Tab fab

Did you know that when you have lots of tabs open in your browser you can change the order of them, easy peasy? Imagine you have a presentation open, your email, and a spreadsheet. You want your presentation to be the first tab even though you opened it last. No problem! Just hold on the tab and move it to where you want it. Easy! Now your slides are just were you want them to be and the order of your tabs are just so.


Look no mouse!

Close your windows without your mouse. Simply use alt and f4 and your computer will close each window – ideal if you are in a hurry after a session to leave a seminar room for the next educator to set up. Other essential keyboard shortcuts include:

creative commons licensed (BY-NC-ND) flickr photo by dabblelicious

Ctrl and Z = undo or ‘phew’. This will undo the last action you did. If this last thing was delete text that you wanted to keep, this keyboard combination will save you every time.

Ctrl and Y = a backward undo. OK so you thought you wanted to undo but you actually wanted to redo. This combination will return the computer to its latest state.

Ctrl and A = select all that text

Ctrl and C = copy it all

Ctrl and V = paste it all

Ctrl and x = cut it all


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Posted in Technology Enhanced Learning

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We are the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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