Shortcuts using the control key make computer life easier |

Shortcuts using the control key make computer life easier

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a new friend. This is a friend who, though most likely unbeknownst to you, has always been there, a friend who has patiently waited a long, long time for you to notice.

It’s the Ctrl key on your computer PC keyboard.

On a Mac, it’s your “open apple key.” On PC keyboards, there are really two Ctrl keys that do the exact same thing. But for the sake of simplification, we’ll just refer to the Ctrl (pronounced “Control”) key located at the lower left corner of your keyboard).

The Ctrl key is the cornerstone of all the cool shortcuts I’m going to share with you. These shortcuts will not only allow you to move about the Internet faster, they’ll reduce the amount of time you spend moving your mouse around from point to point, trying to locate that one menu option S that one that was somewhere right around here S I think.

Let’s begin. First, open up your Web browser. For most of you, this means open up either Internet Explorer or Netscape. Please note that the following tips are directed at Internet Explorer users, but most will work just fine in Netscape.

Now you’re looking at your homepage. Let’s say you want to check out the weather at Normally, you’d take your hand, place it on your mouse, move your mouse so that the pointer on your screen is within the address bar, then click in the address bar, and start typing. Not anymore!

Your new friend the Ctrl key makes using your mouse unnecessary when switching to a new Web page. Simply hold down the Ctrl key, then hit the “O” key. (This command is normally written as Ctrl + O.) Voila!

A little window appears, with a cursor already waiting for you to type in “” Type it in, hit enter and you’re off. No mouse movement is needed. Precious time has been saved.

Next, let’s say you’re looking at a really interesting online news article at the Web site. You’d like to print it out and show a friend. Normally, you might put your hand on the mouse, move your pointer over to the File Menu, click, then move the mouse so the pointer moves down to the “Print S” option, click, etc. No more. Simply hit Ctrl + P and a print window will pop up for you. Thanks, Ctrl key.

Would you like to quickly view your list of “Favorites” without reaching for your mouse? Just hit Ctrl + I and your Favorites window will open up on the left side of your browser. (Hit Ctrl + I again to close the Favorites window.)

Likewise, hitting Ctrl + H will open up your History window, providing you with a list of all the websites you’ve recently visited. (Hit Ctrl + H again to close the History window.)

If you’re looking at a webpage and decide you’d like to open another webpage at the same time so you can flip back and forth between pages, simply hit Ctrl + N.

And now let’s say that you’re all done with the Internet. You feel that it’s time to go have some ice cream. And you want to close down your Web browser. No need to move your mouse up to the little “x” at the top right-hand corner of your screen! Just hit Ctrl + W and your browser will close down instantly!

I bet you never realized what a great friend that quiet little Ctrl key was, eh? The shortcut combinations are really quite easy to remember, if you think about it.

Just hold down Ctrl S and “O” stands for open (as in, opening up a different page), “P” stands for print, “I” stands for ME (as in MY Favorites and no one else’s!) “H” stands for history, “N” stands for new (page), and “W” stands for S um S well, it stands for S “whatever,” as in “whatever, I’m done with this Internet thing for now. Time to close this thing down and get some ice cream.”

I hope you enjoyed meeting your new friend, the Ctrl key (or open-apple key, if you’re on a Mac). Glad I was able to introduce the two of you; I just had this feeling you guys would get along splendidly.

Until next time, have fun out there!

Based in Frisco, eRin pheiL

is the primary creative force behind timeforcake

(www.timeforcake. com). She can be reached via phone at (970) 668-0709 or e-mail at

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