Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Simple computer tips - more on the home and end keys

The other great use of the home and end keys is when viewing a long web page - one that has vertical scrolling. The home key scrolls the page back to the top and the end key scrolls it to the bottom.

Have a go with this web site: If you have accessed this with the basic address, you’ll have many posts in view. Try Home and End to move to the top and bottom.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Simple computer tips - keyboard home and end keys

Now let’s look at some of the other strange keys on the keyboard. Home and End are useful keys: when editing text, home takes the cursor to the start of the current line and end to the end. End is very useful when going back to correct an error earlier in the current line - pressing End takes the cursor back to where you can start typing again.

The Home and End keys are in different places on different keyboards but are normally somewhere on the right:

Have a go at moving the cursor with Home and End: type some text into Word or an e-mail* and move the cursor to somewhere in the middle of the text. Press Home then End and see where the cursor goes.

You shouldn’t be surprised by now that shift with Home or End will select all the text from the cursor position to the start or end of the current line. Ctrl is a little different: ctrl-home takes the cursor right to the top of the document and ctrl-end right to the end.

Have a go with ctrl: with the document or e-mail created above, put the cursor somewhere in the middle and press ctrl-home (remember: press and hold ctrl then press and release home then release ctrl) Try again with ctrl-end.

And, of course, ctrl-shift with one or other of home and end will select all the text from the cursor position to the start or end of the document. To select the entire document, press ctrl-home to get to the start, then ctrl-shift-end

Have a go at selecting the entire document: put the cursor somewhere in the middle, press ctrl-home then ctrl-shift-end

* By now you may have realised it’s worth having a document you can use to play with and try out all these ideas. Don’t use something valuable - you may damage it! Don’t forget ctrl-z to undo the last change!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Simple computer tips - cursor move keys - one more option

Shift and a cursor move key selects the text, ctrl and a move key moves one word or one paragraph so if you hold down both ctrl and shift what do you think a cursor move key does? Selects to the next word or paragraph.

Have a go at selecting words or paragraphs: type some text into Word or an e-mail then click somewhere in the middle to put the cursor there. Press and hold the ctrl and shift keys then try the right and left cursor move keys. The cursor moves to the start of the next or previous word. Pressing the same key again selects the next or previous word and so on. The up and down keys with ctrl-shift does the same but to the start of the next or previous paragraph.

Enough of the cursor move keys. Next, some of the other odd keys on the keyboard.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Simple computer tips - cursor move keys - more options

The cursor move keys in conjunction with the ctrl and shift keys have other functions. The simplest is the shift key: using the cursor keys while shift is held down marks or selects the characters starting with the one next to the start position of the cursor. The left and right keys clearly select characters along the line - backwards and forwards respectively.

Have a go at selecting along the line: type some text into Word or an e-mail then press and hold shift and press the left cursor move key. Characters are selected backwards from the cursor position. Now move the cursor to somewhere in the middle of the text, press and hold shift then press the right cursor move key. Again, characters are selected from the start cursor position.

There are shift keys, by the way, at both ends of the keyboard, usually above the ctrl key on the left and the cursor arrow keys on the right.

Pressing and holding ctrl then using the left or right cursor arrows moves the cursor to the start of the next word to the left or right. This is useful if you want to insert a word in the text

Have a go at moving one word at a time: with the text entered in the previous trial, put the cursor somewhere in the centre then press and hold the ctrl key and try the left and right cursor move arrows: the cursor is placed at the start of words to the left or right

Ctrl with the up or down arrow keys moves the cursor to the start of the previous or next paragraphs

Have a go at moving the cursor one paragraph at a time: ensure you have more than one paragraph in the trial document, place the cursor somewhere in the middle then press and hold the ctrl key and then the up or down arrow keys

There’s one more option for the cursor keys - can you guess?

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Simple computer tips - the keyboard

Enough of copy and paste, and of shortcuts - although I expect there’ll be more of the latter. Now let’s look at the keyboard, in particular some of the odd keys. I’m assuming everyone knows the basic letter and number keys but what are the others?

Let’s start with the cursor move keys. These are normally bottom right on the keyboard and look something like this:

Not surprisingly, these move the cursor up, down, left or right. The cursor (not the mouse pointer) must be in an editor, e-mail composing program or similar for them to work this way. On some web pages, the up and down keys scroll the page - but not on all pages.

Have a go at moving the cursor: while editing a document in Word or an e-mail, try the cursor move arrows and move the cursor in all four directions.

There’s more to these keys - watch this space!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Simple computer tips - two more CTRL shortcuts

These are two shortcuts I use every day. The first is CTRL-Z - as always, press and hold the ctrl key the tap and release the z key. This undoes the last change you made. Most programs support this and allow you to correct an error. The range of corrections is quite wide: from deleting text, through typing additional text to pasting.

Have a go at undoing: create a Word document or e-mail and type some text into it. Then make some changes - such as pasting additional text or moving text or deleting text. Following each change, type ctrl-z - the last change you made is reversed. 

Most editors will support multiple consecutive uses of ctrl-z - i.e. the previous changes are reversed.

Have a go at multiple undoing: make two or three consecutive changes (remember what they were!) then type ctrl-z repeatedly to see if the changes are undone.

The second shortcut is ctrl-a - this selects the entire file. It is very useful when using Notepad as an intermediary to remove formatting as discussed a few days ago. After pasting the selected text into Notepad. Ctrl-a will select it all before copying again. So to use Notepad quickly, copy the text from the source, switch to Notepad then, in sequence: ctrl-v, ctrl-a, ctrl-c. This is paste, select all, copy.

Have a go at copying through Notepad: copy some text, perhaps from this web page. Switch to Notepad then ctrl-v, ctrl-a, ctrl-c. Then switch to the destination editor and paste (ctrl-v).

By the way, in case you hadn’t worked it out, ctrl is short for control!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Simple computer tips - simple copying by dragging

Here’s another very simple tip - how to copy or move text around in a document. Many editors (such as MS Word and most e-mail programs) allow selected text to be moved or copied to another location simply by dragging it. 

Have a go at moving: type some words into Word or into a new e-mail. Mark one or more of the words using one of the techniques described before. Then click and hold down the mouse button on the selected text and drag it to a new location. As you move the mouse, you’ll get a cursor showing where the text will go to. Release the mouse button when this gets to the right place.

You can also copy (rather than move) text using this method: mark the text as before but before clicking and holding, press and hold the ctrl key. When you then drag, the marked text will stay in place and a copy will be placed at the location of the cursor when the mouse button is released. The ctrl key is usually located at the bottom left of the keyboard.

Have a go at copying: as before, type some text into an editor and select one or more words. Press and hold ctrl then drag the text to a new location. 

More about this simple dragging soon

Monday, 6 May 2013

Simple computer tips - copying only the text

Sorry for the long delay - a few days away and then a concert to organise in Church on Saturday, but here goes...

Often you want to pick up the words from a web site or somewhere without all the formatting. Or perhaps you want to copy words from inside a table without picking up the structure of the table. The way to do this is to find Notepad - it’s a simple program that only saves text so any formatting is lost when when text is pasted into it. I have notepad open all the time so that I can use it to remove formatting.

The notepad icon looks like this:

To us it is very simple: open notepad, copy the text from wherever, then paste into notepad. Then mark and copy it again and past into the final destination

Have a go at copying from this page: first try copying text directly from here into a word document or similar. Probably you’ll pick up the colour and font. Now try pasting into notepad as an intermediary, then marking and copying again then pasting in the destination. The formatting should be removed completely

Notepad is very useful for many things - more to come!