Tips & Tricks



It seems like we discover new techniques and shortcuts every day. Some of them come from newsletters, some from simply trying new things and some from our customers (we always like learning from them). As these come up we'll try to include them here so that you can make it easier and faster to use your computer. Some of these tips may seem obvious to you, others may be more advanced. With the varied customer base of Maverick Systems we're trying to cover all the bases. Take some time to glance through the lists though. We're sure you'll find some that work for you.

Learn to use the keyboard

This is a real time saver.  For those of you who are more adept on the keyboard, learn to use keyboard shortcuts for common functions instead of moving your hand to the mouse to click on icons or menu options.  It doesn't sound like much and the thought of having to remember all those 'Ctrl' and 'Alt' commands may seem daunting, but, if you learn the shortcuts one at a time for those things that you do all the time, you'll wonder how you managed without them. 

Flip between programmes with a keystroke

Many people have asked about this one when they've watched me working on a computer.  When you have more than one program running at a time you can quickly switch from one to another by holding down the 'Alt' key and pressing 'Tab'.

How often should you do backups?

Here's the test: if you lost everything on your hard drive today, how far behind would you be? How many hours would you need to re-enter transactions or re-post changes to data? If losing even one day's work would either hinder your ability to do business or put undue stress on your people to recreate the work, then you should back up every single day. Some people back up twice a day -- at noon and at the end of the day -- especially if there's a lot of data entry going on.

Finding a Contact Quickly in Outlook 2000

Trying to find an Outlook contact but can't remember the person's last name? Or do you remember a contact's catchy e-mail address, but can't remember their name? Use the Find a Contact box on the Standard toolbar in Outlook to quickly locate the contact without even opening your Contacts folder. On the toolbar, type the name of the contact you want to find in the Find a Contact box. You can enter a partial name, such as Judy L, a first or last name, or an e-mail alias. To quickly open a contact you previously searched for, click the Find a Contact arrow and select a name.

Faster AutoSum in Excel

Don't bother reaching up to the AutoSum button on the toolbar; use this shortcut key instead. 

Insert AutoSum Alt + =

This will insert the =SUM() function in the selected cell and suggest a range to insert into the function. Double check the suggested range of cells to make sure it's what you really want.

Special Print Settings, Install Printers Twice

On a daily basis, we routinely print out several types of documents, including mail, formatted Word documents, and web pages. For most of our web page printouts, we often only need the "text" content and not the full web page's graphics. It gets extremely frustrating when we have to change printer properties for a specific print job.

Your printer may actually be capable of the naming and saving of custom printing settings, but that still forces you to open up your printer settings and make the change. Is there a better way? Sure!

You can install your printer driver twice under different names and settings. If you do this, simply select the specific printer name (and custom settings that you've already configured). One printer listing could be labeled "Draft" for quick low resolution printing, while you could label the other "Full Color" for full-resolution, high-quality output.

Installing a second copy of your printer is fairly simple. Do this by selecting Start, Settings, Printers and clicking on "Add Printer". Some printer installations require a special driver/setup disk, so make sure you have it available. As you proceed, you will be prompted by Windows to label this particular printer, and this is where you would label it "Draft" or "Full Color", depending on how you've already labeled your current installed active printer.

After the successful installation and labeling of the added printer, click the icon's properties to your appropriate custom settings. The next time you're in your word processor and want a quick draft, just select the specific printer name from your word processor's Print Dialog box.

Right-Mouse Commands

Did you know that many of the options available through menu commands are also available in the right-mouse context menu in Windows 98? Right-click a blank area inside an open window and check out the resulting list. There, you'll find almost every command from the View menu (except Folder Options and the three toolbar commands). Additionally, you'll see a couple of favorites from the Edit and File menus. Hey, why waste all that energy clicking on an exact menu command when you can right-click anywhere in a window and accomplish the same thing?

Shrink the Start Menu

If you add a lot of shortcuts and folders--say, more than seven--to your Start menu, an arrow appears at the top so you can scroll up to the entries that don't fit on screen. To avoid all that cumbersome scrolling, make your entire Start menu smaller. Right-click a blank area of the Taskbar, select Properties, select Show Small Icons On Start Menu, then click OK.