I can still remember the time when a kid I thought was a computer whiz showed me how to select a group of words on the screen, click “ctrl+C” and then go to my email, a Word document or notepad and click “ctrl+V”. What happened you may ask? What was that all about? Efficiency! It was when I learned how to copy and paste. I didn’t even realize how wonderful it was until someone was looking over my shoulder, watching me type and rearrange sentences, etc, all with keyboard shortcuts. I now feel sorry for those who don’t know how quickly navigate their computers and the web. Because of that, I am going to share with you the top 5 computer shortcuts that have helped me feel more confident and efficient with technology. And don’t worry, copy and paste were freebies!

One: “ctrl+alt+del” brings up a window that shows you what programs are running. You may think, well I can just look at the little bar at the bottom of my screen and see that I have Freecell, Word and the internet open. You’d be right about that, but your computer will open programs up when your computer starts. Some help your commonly run programs open quicker, others do things in the background and without the wonderful “ctrl+alt+del” you’d never know it. When your computer is running slow try this, look through the list and try closing a couple that you know you are not using. Don’t worry, you’ll learn which ones need to be open and which ones are just slowing you down. Google one of the names if you’re not sure what it does.

Two: If you like to have your music player running while you browse the web, write love poems in Word and keep track of your finances in Excel you may want to switch quickly between these programs (I’ll leave the discussion about the myth of multitasking for another day). I have seen people try to organize, minimize and maneuver their program windows by dragging one to the side so they can see the others and then click on it. It becomes a pain to do this, especially when you get to more than a handful of windows. If you only use one at a time, good for you! But for you “gotta do everything at once” types you’re gonna want to get the awesome “alt+tab” under your belt. Just try it and see what I mean. “windows+tab” is a fun alternative on newer computers running with a Windows operating system.

Three: This one isn’t really a shortcut, but it’s one of the best things a student can do to increase their efficiency in their classes. It’s typing quickly. I remember taking classes in Jr High to help me learn how to type, but it wasn’t until I started typing a lot that I realize the fingers in the right place and looking at the keyboard method was gonna get me a bit further than the one finger method of typing, but not by much. I needed to practice. I have friends that can type 80+ words a minute. If you’re not good, do a search for typing game and spend some time each day practicing and honing your typing skills.

These are just a few of the things that have helped me feel comfortable online and in classes. My suggestion would be to learn them and use them often to help you in your online classes.

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