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Key Stroke Tips for Explorer

After working on the Internet day after day for years, you develop tricks, or you discover that something you've done repeatedly can be done more easily. Once you discover a new method to navigate your computer or the web, it quickly becomes second nature.

Function Keys

f5 Take the "F5" key: It's one of the most important keys for any web designer and it's useful for surfers too. With Internet Explorer, "F5" refreshes your web browser, so you're seeing the most recent version of the page.

f11 Another useful key for Internet Explorer is "F11." Go ahead and try it. "F11" will maximize your browser, allowing you to see as much of the web page as possible on your monitor. When you want to shrink the window back to size, press "F11" again.

f1 "F1" is the universal Windows help button. Having a problem with an application? "F1" is the first stop.

Alt & F4 Need to close an application fast? If it's the active window try holding down the "alt" key and "F4" together. If you have no applicactions open, it's a quick way to shut down your Windows machine.

Familiar Tasks, New Tricks

Control C
Control X
Control V

Cut, Copy, and Paste are three of the most powerful tools in any computer user's arsenal. Having them available at a keystroke is vital. Highlight some text with your mouse, then hold down the "control" key and press the letter "C" at the same time -- the highlighted text is now copied. If you wanted to cut the highlighted text, use "control" and the letter "X" to erase it. And finally, to paste copied text or images into another document, hold "control" and press the letter "V."

Control A "Control" and "A" will select everything in your current application, which is helpful if you want to copy and paste it later. The shift key can also be helpful in selecting content. Click your curser in some text where you'd like to begin selecting. Then hold shift and click again at the end of your selection. This will select the whole block of text.

Fun with Scrolling

Personally I would be lost without my scroll mouse. That little wheel in the middle of the mouse completely changes the way you use your computer. One neat trick you can do with your scroll mouse is to change the size of text in Microsoft applications, including Office and Internet Explorer. ControlHold down the "control" key and move the scroll wheel. Text will grow or shrink depending on which way you scroll. This won't work on every website. Some folks design their pages so text won't scale, but it will work on most of them, and can be useful if you're using a monitor on the blink or just forgot your glasses.

The Windows Key

Windows and DWhen I first got a keyboard with a windows key, I thought it was a complete annoyance, bringing back the desktop every time I hit the thing accidentally during a rousing game of "Quake." Thankfully, new games don't normally work that way, and the Windows key --hiding out down there on the left between "control" and "alt"-- can do some neat tricks. My favorite is holding the windows key and pressing "D." All your windows are now minimized to give you immediate access to the desktop. When you have three or four applications open, this is a big time-saver.

Windows and EAnother favorite is Windows key and "E." Windows Explorer pops open, giving you immediate access to your files.

Windows and F

And If you still can't find the file you're looking for, try the Windows key and "F."

You probably already know some or most of these keyboard shortcuts, but even if one of these is new, it can speed up your computer time and become a habit you don't even think about. You'll know it has become second nature the first time someone asks, "How did you do that?"


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