Tech Savvy: Odds and Ends

Cut/Copy/Paste, AKA The Greatest Computer Time Saving Technique: Without a doubt the single most useful part of a computer is something you’ve probably never heard of. It is called the Clipboard. Simply put the clipboard is a part of the computer’s temporary memory where you can put things and recall them later. The cool thing about the clipboard is that it is always there in every program waiting for you to notice it. If you have ever selected some text in a document or spreadsheet, copied it and then pasted it somewhere else, you have used the Clipboard.


The Clipboard is where the text was copied to prior to being pasted somewhere else. The Clipboard can not only handle text…it can also help you with files on your computer. What if you have a set of files on your desktop that you want to move to a different location? Well, you can select these files using your mouse, “cut” them to the clipboard and then paste them in to your new location. The difference between “cut” and “copy” when using the clipboard is that “cut” removes the selected item from its current location once you have chosen the place you wish to paste it. Copy does just that, leaves the original item intact and places a copy of the original at the “paste” location. Keep in mind that just about anything on your computer can be cut/copied and pasted. Files, text, information on web pages, pictures etc. There are several ways to copy or cut something to the clipboard. First you need to select the thing you wish you copy. Typically you select it by clicking on it with your mouse. Once the object is selected you have 2 options for copying or cutting it. You can right-click (click on the object with your RIGHT mouse button) and choose “Copy” or “Cut” from the menu. Or you can simply hit Ctrl-C or Ctrl-X on your keyboard. Holding down the Ctrl key and then hitting the “C” key is the keyboard shortcut for “Copy”. Ctrl-X is the shortcut for “Cut”. If you can get in the habit of learning keyboard shortcuts…you will become a happier and more efficient computer user.

Keyboard Shortcuts

There are literally thousands of keyboard shortcuts on your computer for common, repetitive activities. If you can learn the 5-10 most common ones you will save time when using your computer. For the most part, the shortcuts I am listing below work regardless of the program you are using. Don’t be afraid to try these out and discover others while you are learning.

Alt-Tab: Holding down the Alt key and then hitting the Tab key allows you to quickly cycle through the running programs on your computer. This is much faster than clicking on each one with the mouse to find the one you want.

Ctrl-P: This is the universal “Print” keyboard shortcut. It is the equivalent of clicking on the “File” menu and then choosing “Print”. If you want to print your document or spreadsheet or web page…just hit Ctrl-P

F1: The F1 key near the top-left of your keyboard above the numbers keys is the universal “Help” key. It will launch the help documentation for the program that you are currently in. Based on my experience…this key should be used much more frequently than it is. Don’t be afraid to use the help feature…you might learn something new!

Ctrl-Z: This is the “Ooops! I didn’t mean to do that” shortcut. Otherwise known as “Undo”. If you just accidentally deleted a paragraph of text in your term paper…don’t worry just hit Ctrl-Z and it will magically re-appear. Don’t you wish we had a Ctrl-Z feature in everyday life? Wouldn’t it be nice to “undo” some past mistakes? Please keep in mind that Ctrl-Z will only undo the last thing you did. So if you make a mistake, undo it right then before you do anything else!

Alt-F4: Hold down the Alt key plus the F4 key(the one above your numbers keys) closes the currently running program. It’s the equivalent of clicking the “X” in the upper-right of the program window to close it.

Windows Key-M: Have you ever noticed that funny key near the lower left of your keyboard…the one that looks like the Microsoft Windows logo? That’s the Windows Key and it has special powers. For example, if you have several program open and you need to get back to your desktop to open a file, just hit the Windows Key and the letter “M”. This will minimize all of your programs at once so that you can instantly see your desktop.

I hope that you find some of these tips useful and new. Take the time to learn these and to discover more of them!

As always, if you have any questions, or would like to suggest a topic for an article please email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call (229) 269-4151