Ancient tools, technologically speaking, are not that ancient chronologically considered. Five years ago Reliable Tech News featured an article, “Seeing is Believing,” which presented several tools to help you see better what was on the screen. Do you remember that ancient day when “the screen” was a 15″ CRT that took up 50% of your desk space? Now you have a 22″ flat screen that fits neatly at the back of the desk. But, you still need help to see what is actually on the screen. And you don’t turn to your smart phone.
During the time frame of September 2013, there was very little concern or interest in what could be seen on your smart phone. Now, however, more people are using their smart phones than their PCs. At least, they do when they are out on the street. In the office, however, the percent of people who work from a PC and flat screen monitor is still predominant. So with the demise of Windows 7 and the uptick of Windows 10 users imminent, it will be very valuable to remind you of ancient tools still viable. But on Windows 10 OS. We provide worthwhile tools specific to Windows 10 and some really helpful keyboard tips.
The first ancient tool is the Snipping Tool. Go to the Windows Start Key (Flag Key) and begin typing “Snipping Tool.” The Start menu will provide a link to this tool which when you click will open the tool. You can create a shortcut or pin to your start menu by right clicking.
Menu items are easy to figure out. New is the starting point for creating a box around the item you wish to snip. Mode allows you to choose: Free form, Rectangular (default), Window and Full Screen, as the scope of your snip. Delay is a feature that allows you to capture a drop down. Normally, if you select a drop down menu and then click “new” on the Snipping menu, the drop down will disappear. If however, you select a delay of 3-5 seconds, you can first select “new” and then the drop down so that you can draw your box around the drop down. Helpful!
Other menu items are common: save, copy, email. There are tools for writing, highlighting and erasing. The Snipping Tool is a refinement of the Print Screen (PrtScn) button, usually found on the upper row of your keyboard buttons to the far right. Print screen, selected everything! Snipping allows selectivity. You simply draw a rectangle around the portion of the document or web page you want. Then “Snip!” and you’ve created a picture which you can enlarge, save and paste into an email or Word document, write on, underline, draw arrows on, cross out objects, etc. Great tool! Easy to use.
Zooming In (Click Wheel)
Another important part of data gathering is being able to physically see the data itself. Email or Web pages that are below the level of normal vision are very trying. Putting your face closer to the monitor is probably not a good option, as your eyes will tell you at the end of the day if not immediately. But there are several options for making the text on the page larger.
Five years ago we called this the “Zoom Tool,” unadvisedly. There is now an app called Zoom Cloud Meetings. With the advance in time and program names, we’ll call this next tool the “Click Wheel” tool, which works with any Web browser and many of the Microsoft Office programs. With your Web browser open, navigate to a page that you want to enlarge, presumably because you can’t see what is there.
Position your mouse pointer anywhere in the browser window. Hold down the Ctrl button on your keyboard and move the Click Wheel on your mouse forward. The browser image will zoom in 5-10% for each mouse wheel click forward. To return, simply roll your mouse Click Wheel back towards you while holding down the Ctrl button.
I especially appreciate using this tool in Office productivity software. I can quickly expand the Word page to fill the width of the screen (now 22″ not 15″). Excel formulas are much easier to read. You may wonder how to get back to “normal,” that is, 100% instead of 150%. Easy! In Word or Excel go to the View menu item and select the 100% button. In your web browser, select the three buttons at the upper right corner and on the drop down adjust the zoom level.
When you need to drill in really close to see if the tiny face in that group picture really is who you think it looks like, you’ll find Magnifier useful. Find this by going to the Windows Start Key and typing Magnifier (by the way, no need to select a field or area to type; just start typing as soon as the Start Menu shows up; it’s smart enough to receive your data). You’ll receive a link to click on.
This tool is very simple. There’s a large “-” and “+” on the menu. Click on “+” to enlarge from 100% to 200%. You can continue up to 1600%! Large. To go back, click “-” until you reach normal – whatever that is for you. There’s also a settings gear which will allow you to change the default increase/decrease from 100% to 25%, 50%, 150%, 200% and 400%, depending on your needs. The Views button allows you to switch from the typical Full screen mode to a Lens that you can move about the screen to enlarge just that 200 x 400 area. The Docked option allows you to view a menu strip at the menu bar. Rather odd.
Windows 10 Tools
Google reports, “Right-click the Windows icon/Start button. A pop-up menu will display with a variety of administrative tools, as well as shutdown options and a Desktop link for quickly viewing the desktop. If you’re using a touchscreen, you can access this menu by tapping and holding the Start button for a couple of seconds.” Another way to get to this menu is Flag+X.
This is quite a list of Tools. Let’s take a look at some of the more common tools you can readily use. Menu items not covered are more advanced and not common tools you would find useful.
- Apps and Features allows you to manage those Apps and Features you have previously installed. A list is available;
- Mobility Center provides immediate access to such elements like Display brightness, Volume, Battery Status;
- Power Options allows you to set options for battery power to screen and when computer sleeps;
- System provides specific information about your device and its security;
- Device manager is a list of devices on your computer showing their status;
- Network connections is a good place to see your current network status with further advanced elements;
- Disk management shows the functional status, capacity and free space of your storage disk(s);
- Task manager is a helpful way to see what programs are running in the background;
- Settings is a high level settings location, including common elements like Personalization and Time/Language;
- File explorer is the common interface for browsing your files, also reached with Flag+E;
- Search is a convenient access to search for apps, documents or anything on the web;
- Shut down or sign out – one convenient way is accessed here;
- Desktop – probably your starting point!
In the event that you were looking for some Windows 10 shortcuts instead of these system tools, here are some that you might useful:
- Windows Flag key + Down arrow key – once minimizes the current open windows; down arrow a second time reduces the window completely;
- Windows Flag key + Up arrow key – reverses the steps of the down arrow key or restores to maximum size;
- Windows Flag key + Comma – Temporarily shows the desktop until you let go of the Flag key;
- Windows Flag key + Left arrow vertically sizes a window on the left; release the Flag key and if you have other windows open you will be able to select a second window with the left arrow key to vertically size on the right by hitting enter so that you can compare two windows;
- When in Browser: Alt + Left arrow key goes back a page; Right arrow key goes forward a page (if it exists).