Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me This Until Now?

I was rather surprised to read an article today claiming that most people are unaware that they can search for keywords in documents and websites, as simply as pressing CTRL+F, entering the search term and clicking or pressing enter.

I suspect that there are plenty of other things that some of us take for granted, and others never hear about.

One thing I have learned to do recently is to turn to Google Books first, even in looking up things in books I own, and even looking things up in books I have written myself. While I may end up pulling the volume off the shelf, being able to search for a word or phrase electronically allows me to find what I am looking for much more quickly than skimming pages and using my eyes and/or memory. And in some cases, doing this with a book that you have yet to read will give you enough of a preview to know that the trip to the library or Inter-Library Loan request is worthwhile, or that it would be a waste of time.

What shortcuts and helpful tips do you consider valuable? Please share them in the comments section here. I am confident that if you do so, someone who has yet to learn about it will read it and benefit from it. It will probably also be useful to me, since in my freshman seminar class I am trying to make a conscious effort to explain how to do things that I tend to assume everyone knows about. So that may be a good way to think about it: If you were teaching a class introducing freshmen to college including the use of technology for the full range of academic purposes, what would you consider it important to mention? What did someone tell you when you were in school or university that saved you time and changed your life for the better?

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  • http://twitter.com/matthies67 Brad Matthies

    Using the tabs in IE or Firefox.  I’ve actually worked with students and faculty who do not realize you can open multiple tabs and multitask!

  • http://weirdmaths.wordpress.com/ Luke

    * Using the space bar to jump down an internet browser’s screen in large chunks (similar to the PgDn function).

    * Using the Backspace key whilst in an internet browser to return to the page you’ve just visited.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thatjeffcarter Jeff Carter

    I totally made somebody’s day not long ago when I showed them how to recover a whole day’s work with ctrl+z.