You may think you know your way around Windows 7 like the back of your hand, but how fast are you really? Can you run multiple programs and select the one you want to work in instantaneously? Are you a heavy clicker, relying on your mouse mostly to navigate? There are a variety of factors that can play into your speed of navigation over Windows 7. I will start with the most basic things you must understand and get right in order to increase your speed.
By and large, the most common problem I’ve seen among slow PC users is their tendency to maximize their windows and therefore only view one at a time. With the high monitor resolutions that are standard on even the most low-end laptops these days, there is no excuse for this. It’s much more practical to make windows half-screened (Win+Left/Right arrows). This is great when doing any activity requiring research or analysis as you can have your research and then what you’re working on in the same view.
Anyone who knows anything about Starcraft (one of the most demanding multitask games out there) knows that keyboard shortcuts are where it’s at. For any of you who didn’t know, Windows 7 has a huge, extensive list of keyboard shortcuts. It’s almost too many shortcuts, especially when just looking at them all at once. Here are some of the shortcuts that I have found to be most useful:
Window Keyboard Moves
- Win+Home: Clear all but the active window
- Win+Space: All windows become transparent so you can see the desktop
- Win+Up arrow: Maximize the active window
- Shift+Win+Up arrow: Maximize the active window vertically only
- Win+Down arrow: Minimize the window or restore if it’s maximized
- Win+Left/Right arrows: Dock the window to either side of the monitor (half screen; great for comparing documents side by side)
- Shift+Win+Left/Right arrows: Move the window to the monitor on the left or right (Great for multiple monitors)
These taskbar shortcuts will turn your navigation skills from average to pro, allowing for near-mouseless computing. Using these shortcuts along with the Window Keyboard Moves will make navigation so much faster because you will rarely have to reach for your mouse. Especially for writers, where you want to keep your hands on the keyboard, learning the following shortcuts will prove to be invaluable.
Taskbar Keyboard Moves
- Win+number (1-9): Starts the application pinned to the taskbar in that position or switches to that program
- Shift+Win+number (1-9): Starts a new instance (or window) of the application in position
- Alt+Win+number (1-0): Opens the Jump List for the application pinned to the taskbar
- Win+T: Focus and scroll through items on the taskbar
- Win+B: Focuses the System Tray icons
With a little training and muscle memory, you can master these keyboard shortcuts and reduce the amount of time it takes you to do things on your computer. Spend a good hour getting used to the different shortcuts because the amount of time you will save from having to reach for your mouse will be more than worth it after only a few days of computing.
This guest post is contributed by Patricia Garza, who writes about gadget, technology, design, social media, e-learning related articles at online university rankings.