Tips and shortcuts – just jiggle the cable.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015  |  Posted in: Articles  |  4min read

Ever wanted to know some of the easy tricks and shortcuts that can help you when I.T. support can’t spare the time to help you ?  Here’s a few simple tips that can get you out of trouble and make you look like an I.T. guru to your co-workers.


OS X Platform (Mac)


Default application

Select the file you want to open. Hold down “command + i”. Look in the ‘Open With’ area. Select the program you want that file to open with everytime.

If you have a specific application you want to use for all files (like Acrobat for PDF files for example) you can set the default here.


Screen capture

Hold down “shift + command + 3”

This will take a screenshot of all connected screens and place a PNG of each on your desktop. Good to show others what is happening on your screen.


Force quit

Hold down “option + command + esc”

If an application is locked and not responding you can try this function. It opens the Force Quit window and you can see any ‘not responding’ applications and shut them down. This works in the same manner as the Task Manager function on a Windows system.


Reboot from a CD

Restart and hold down “c” until the system selects the CD

If you need to reinstall the OS X, you can’t erase the start up disk. You have to start up from another device in order to affect change. Insert your system CD if you have one and try this.


Reset SMC

Shutdown the Mac. Unplug the power cord. Wait 15 seconds. Attached the power cord. Wait 5 seconds. Restart.
If on a laptop, Shutdown the Mac. Unplug the power cord. Remove the battery. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds. Attached the battery & power cord. Restart.

The SMC (System Management Controller) may need resetting if your fan continues to run, if the system is slow, lights aren’t working correctly on the keyboard or if power up/down experiences issues.


Reset PRAM

Restart whilst holding “option + command + p + r”. Once you hear the restart chime twice, let go of the keys and let the reboot finish.

PRAM or Parameter RAM is the memory that stores all your default settings (core data) like display resolution, speaker volume or even your clock. If your mac is performing poorly or things just aren’t working right, as a last resort, try this before you scream for I.T. It may or may not reset some of your settings – so be warned.


Windows Platform


Force restart a program

You can force restart an unresponsive program by ending the process in Task Manager. To access this, either press Ctrl + Shift + Esc, or right click on your Taskbar (the bar down the bottom) and select “Task Manager” from the options.

Click on the program so that it is highlighted, then click on “End Task”.

Programs can become unresponsive when there aren’t enough allocated resources for a machine. This can be due to other processes, or virus scans taking place. As a last resort, you can try these steps to force quit a program, and then start it back up as per normal.


Putting two items you are comparing side by side

Sometimes, you just want to compare word documents for discrepancies or changes. You can do this easily in windows without having to manually resize the windows you are comparing. Simply hold down the Windows Key + Left arrow, and it will shift the window to take up exactly 50% of your screen, aligned on the left. Then on your second document or browser, you can hold down Windows Key + Right arrow, and it will do the same on the right side. You will now have two perfectly matched windows allowing you to easily compare content.


Quick launching programs from Windows

If you have a set of frequently opened programs pinned to your task bar, you can open them by using Windows Key + a corresponding number.

If your first pinned program is Chrome, then Word, then Outlook, you can use Windows Key + 1 to open Chrome, + 2 to open Word, and + 3 to open Outlook without having to use your mouse.


Shake and Shrink

If you have multiple windows open and are confused as to which one you need, click and hold the title bar of the folder or program you wish to keep open, and shake it back and forth (left and right) using your mouse. After a small delay, you will notice all other windows will minimize except the one you are holding. To bring back all your other windows, grab the folder again and shake once more to bring everything back as it was.

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