Computer functions such as using the internet, email and software have become part of our daily lives. Knowing how to use these tools effectively can greatly increase your productivity, whether during your studies at school, college or university or performing your roles and functions at work. Here are some handy hacks.

Browsing the internet

Search engines such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox are the most commonly used (and most useful) tools for employees and students alike. Most of us know that you can browse the internet easily by using search terms, but further knowledge of certain functions can make the experience that much more effective.

Hack 1:

On Google Chrome, you can click on the Tools tab below the search bar to refine your search. This allows you to browse results from specific timeframes. Say, for instance, that you’re looking for information about the latest developments in your industry. To filter out results from a long time ago with outdated information, use the Tools tab to search for results from the past month or past year.

Hack 2:

The Bookmarks bar is highly practical for permanently saving the useful web pages that you’ve found while browsing. When you’ve found a web page that you know will be helpful to you in future, simply click on the little star next to the URL of the website and it will be saved as a bookmark. You can also arrange your bookmarks into customised folders so that you can easily refer back to the relevant ones.

Hack 3:  

You can customise your search for images on Google. After you’ve clicked on Images, click on the Tools tab, which will give you the option of searching for images of different sizes and colours. To avoid copyright infringements, you can go to Usage Rights to see which images are free to use. 

Email hacks

Many email applications have a number of useful functions that most users have no knowledge of, all of which can make email management that much easier. 

Hack 1:

Microsoft Outlook has a large number of functions, from flagging important emails and placing them in various categories, to creating meeting requests and reminders. It takes a bit of training, but once you know how to use these functions, your email management becomes a lot smoother. Microsoft Outlook provides free training on how to make the most of this powerful email application. 

Hack 2:

Gmail is an extremely user-friendly application. It allows you to star important emails, and automatically arranges emails into Primary, Social, Updates and Forums folders. You can set up tasks that need to be completed, create a calendar to remind you of important tasks or events, and choose from various themes to make your user experience easy on the eye. Possibly the best thing about Gmail is that if you have an account, you get quick and easy access to all of Google’s other applications, from Google Drive, to Docs, Maps, Google Earth and many others. Go to the Gmail learning centre to find out more.

Microsoft Word shortcuts

Instead of clicking on various places within Microsoft Word, you can use a number of shortcut keys to save you a whole lot of time and get more work done faster! Stick this list of useful shortcuts up at your work desk or study area and start practicing them:

Ctrl + A Select all content within a document
Ctrl + C Copy selected text or image
Ctrl + V Paste selected text or image
Ctrl + X Cut selected text or image
Ctrl + B Make selected text bold
Ctrl + U Underline selected text
Ctrl + I Turn selected text into italics

Microsoft Word has many other available functions. Go to their training site for more details.

Microsoft Excel hacks

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet programme used by many organisations for accounting purposes and recording data. If you’re studying courses in accounting or business management, then you’ll likely need to start learning how to use this programme.  Excel is a more intricate programme than the others mentioned here, but it’s invaluable for financial or data analysis.

Hack 1: Get to grips with formulas

One of the most useful things you can learn in Excel is how to use formulas. Simply put, formulas are codes that allow Excel to carry out a specific function automatically – for example, adding up numbers in specific cells. Click here to learn how to use formulas in Excel.

Hack 2: Make use of functions

Functions eliminate some of the need to create your own formulas in Excel. These are a list of formulas that have already been created by the programme. Click here to see all of Excel’s functions.

It takes some time to get used to working with Excel. Fortunately, Microsoft offers a full guide to discovering all you need to know.

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