Five handy tips for Windows 7 to help you get more done

Your Cloud Works

IT Security & Support Specialist for Small and Medium Businesses


Checkboxes in Windows Explorer

Have checkboxes appear next to files and folders to select multiple files, instead of holding down the ‘Ctrl’ key.

Open Windows Explorer (or My Documents or any other file window), and then select Organise > Folder and Search Options and then the View tab. Down the list, check “Use Check boxes to select items”. Hover your mouse over any file or folder, and a checkbox will now appear in the corner of the file icon.

The Notification Area

The Notification Area is the bit of your screen at the bottom right with the clock and lots of other notification icons in it. In Windows XP you had to click an arrow to see many of the icons, but in Windows 7, you can totally customise the Notification Area to show you just the things you need, when you need them.

Hit the Up Arrow and then Customise. You can now select, for each program or function, whether to show nothing, important notifications, or both icons and notifications. Your Notification Area now prioritises only the facts that matter to you.

Instant Search Programs

The Start Menu is where all your programs have lived since back with Windows 95. However, it soon gets clogged up, especially if you use countless programs, forget to uninstall old ones, or find that they get installed with unfamiliar names (many software manufacturers by default create a folder with the manufacturer’s name, which makes finding installed software frustratingly difficult). Well, Windows 7’s supercharged Search really does search everything, and that includes programs. By the time you’ve typed in ‘PowerPoint’, the program will be there on the list.

Edit Side-by-Side

This is a tip which will save you literally hours of work with documents. Suppose you have two versions of a Word document open. Maybe one is a new version and one is an old version. Maybe one has comments and edits in view, whereas the other is the final document as you would wish it to be viewed by the reader. Either way, you’ll want to see them both side-by-side for comparison; which up until now was a laborious case of dragging windows pixel-by-pixel around the screen.

With Windows 7, you can snap to halves of the screen in a second. Drag your first window to the left hand edge of the screen. A shadow highlight will appear on the left half of the screen. Release the mouse button, and the window auto-snaps to the left half. Repeat the process for the right window. Win-LeftArrow and Win-RightArrow will do the same.

Keyboard Shortcuts

In Windows Explorer, hit Ctrl-Shift-N to create a new folder.

In Windows Explorer, you’re used to right-clicking the mouse for extra options. Try Shift-right-click for even more options.

In Windows Explorer, Alt-P switches file previewing on and off. Go for ‘off’ for speed; ‘on’ for previews so you always open the right file.


Share this Post:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin