Computer Tips and Tricks, Part III

In the third and final part of this series, we’ll address a few tricks for internet browsing and file management to increase efficiency. You’ll learn how to cycle through your browser tabs, quickly open a link in a new tab, rename files sequentially, and more.  

 

Internet Browsing: 

If you want to close the current window/tab, simply press [Ctrl] + [W]. Don’t do it right now, or you’ll miss the rest of the article! 

Press [Ctrl] + [L] to jump to the search bar. [F6] or [Alt] + [D] will also perform this action. 

To cycle through all open tabs, use [Ctrl] + [Tab]; use [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [Tab] to cycle backwards. You can also press [Ctrl] + [“number”] (ie 1, 2, 3, …, n) to go to the tab in that numeric position. 

Most people are aware that internet browsers have an incognito or private mode that doesn’t save history or cookies (like for shopping for gifts on a shared computer, obviously!). This mode can be activated by pressing [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [N] in Chrome, [Cmd] + [Shift] + [N] in Safari, and [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [P] in Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Internet Explorer. 

Quickly open a link in a new tab without jumping to it is easily done by hovering your cursor over it and clicking on your mouse’s scroll wheel. 

To adjust the zoom on a webpage, use [Ctrl] + [+] to increase the zoom and [Ctrl] + [-] to decrease it. Press [Ctrl] + [0] to return the page to its original state. On Macs, use [Cmd] + [+] and [Cmd] + [-] to zoom in and out. 

 

File Management: 

Renaming files can get tiring and inefficient. Simply select the file and press [F2] to edit its name. To rename another file, just press [Tab] while the first file is still selected. On Macs, press [Enter] while a file is selected to rename it.  

Adjacent to the previous tip, you can rename files sequentially in a batch by selecting all of the files that you want to rename, pressing [F2], and typing in the new name. Your files will appear with a root name and a suffix, like test (1), test (2), etc. On a Mac, select files and right-click. Choose the option to rename the batch as a series. 

 

Adapted from https://www.techspot.com/guides/676-best-computer-tricks/  

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Tech Tip: Stop Location and Notification Browser Popups

You know the ones. They pop up when you’re least expecting them, asking if you want to share your location with this website or allow that website to send you desktop notifications. The good news is that you can get rid of them. 

On Google Chrome, go to Settings > Advanced > Content settings. Select “Location” and disable, then do the same for “Notifications.” 

For Microsoft Edge, open the menu, then go to View Advanced Settings > Notifications. This will let you customize what websites can send notifications, or block all websites from sending notifications. For location sharing, open the Settings application and go to Privacy > Location. Disable Location Services for Microsoft Edge. 

In Safari, open the drop-down menu and select Preferences > Websites. Click the Location tab and select Deny under “When visiting other websites.” In the Notifications tab, uncheck “Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications.” 

If you’re using Firefox, the process is a little more drastic. Type “about:config” into the search bar and hit [Enter]. It will warn you about proceeding. If you accept the risk, click to continue. Then use the search bar to find “dom.webnotifications.enabled” and “geo.enabled.” Double-click on each entry. 

 

Adapted from https://www.techspot.com/guides/1559-prevent-browser-prompts-location-notifications/  

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Lock Down Your Login

ITS doesn’t keep drilling the importance of strong passwords for nothing. In our increasingly online world, we can’t afford to have weak passwords that open us up to attack and identity theft. A strong password is an essential part of life as an internet citizen.

One way you can protect yourself is by using a passphrase instead of a password. A passphrase is just what it sounds like; a phrase in place of the traditional password. Passphrases are usually unrelated words with numbers, symbols, and capitalization to add to their complexity. Ilovespringtime! or ThemeetingisatNoon are examples of passphrases that are easy to remember, easy to type, and difficult for someone to crack. Try this site to generate passphrases.

In addition to this, use a fingerprint or other biometric identification when possible. This provides an extra layer of protection since these markers are specific to you.

Whenever possible, you should always use multifactor identification. This is when you need to provide several pieces of information to enter your account, rather than just a username and password. For example, you may be asked for your phone number so you can input a unique code that will be texted to you to gain access.

This service is becoming increasingly more common and for good reason. It’s a fantastic way to add another security layer to your accounts.

A side effect of all of these additional security methods is that it is much more difficult to remember multiple passwords than simply using the same password on every website that you visit. Luckily, password managers are a fantastic way to keep track of your login info in a secure place. You can try Password Safe, LastPass, or Dashlane for a simple password managing experience.

With all of these security-boosting methods in mind, go forth into the internet with the knowledge that you can protect yourself from identity thieves and other hackers.

 

Adapted from https://er.educause.edu/blogs/2017/9/may-2018-use-strong-passwords-and-passphrases-to-lock-down-your-login

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Tech Tip: How Your Phone Can Help You Sleep

You had probably just adjusted to a regular sleep schedule, and then you were thrown back into the chaos of school again. And just like last year, your sleeping habits are slowly deteriorating as the semester continues. While your iPhone cannot eliminate these problems, it does have a handy little program built-in to help you get a good night’s sleep and wake up rested and refreshed.

In the Clock app, there’s a feature called Bedtime. This allows you to tell your phone what time you want to wake up (and which days of the week you want to wake up at this time!), how many hours of sleep you want to get, when you want a reminder, and what alarm you want to hear in the morning. Just click on the Bedtime tab within the Clock app to get started.

If you have Android, check out Sleep as Android on the Google Play Store.

Here’s to a good night’s sleep and a productive day!

 

Adapted from https://www.popsugar.com/tech/What-Bedtime-iPhone-43406586

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IRS Scams: Happy Tax Season!

It’s coming. That dreaded day is coming. Tax Day. But not everyone loathes tax season. For some scammers, it’s payday. Thousands of people have lost personal information and countless amounts of money to tax scams. Here are a few common scams that the IRS warns consumers about.

First, note that the IRS does not:

  • Contact people via email or text messages.
  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first contact you by mail if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand payment without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Phone Calls Impersonating the IRS

One phone scam has been circulating involving a call from someone claiming to be part of the IRS, with a fake name and ID number. They demand to be paid through a gift card or wire transfer. When the victim doesn’t cooperate, they often become angry and threaten to do things from suspending a driver’s license to arrest or deportation. Some scammers even use video relay services (VRS) to scam deaf or hard of hearing victims, since VRS calls are not screened for validity.

Requesting W-2 Forms from Payroll Employees

Scammers who have done their homework may target people who work in a payroll office, emailing them a request for the W-2 forms of employees. If you think you may have received one of these emails, forward it to ITS at mailcop@etown.edu. If you have responded to one of these emails, please contact the Help Desk.

Phishing Emails

Some scammers have gotten very good at making emails appear to be official communications from the IRS. They will then try to acquire personal and financial information. These emails may even appear to be from a tax-related company that is not the IRS. Some scammers are even using text messaging to disseminate this scam. Be alert for emails and texts that ask for your personal information, even if they are official looking and include things like the IRS logo. If you think you may have received one of these emails, forward it to ITS at mailcop@etown.edu. If you have responded to one of these emails or text messages, please contact the Help Desk.

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first contact you by mail if you owe any taxes.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. You should also be advised of your rights as a taxpayer.
  • Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.

 

For more information, visit the IRS website.

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Five Apps for Saving Money

Are you one of the over twenty-seven million Americans who made a New Year’s resolution to make better financial decisions? Even if it isn’t your primary goal, handling money more responsibly aligns with the self-betterment promises that are commonplace in the new year. With that, here are five apps to help you keep those money-managing resolutions.

 

Wally

For a simple, accessible way to view your spending trends and budget your money, look no further than Wally. As their website promises, this app offers a “360 view on your money,” allowing you to input not only what your money was spent on, but where, when, and why as well. Best of all, Wally is free!

 

HomeBudget With Sync

If you have an entire household to financially manage, HomeBudget With Sync seamlessly integrates income and expense monitoring, bill tracking, and account information. While HomeBudget With Sync is a $20 investment, its syncing feature allows multiple family members to access the same synced data across different devices to make sure everyone is on the same page.

 

Level Money

This free app provides the answer to that age-old question: “How much money can I spend today?” It balances your income and expenditures to create a “Spendable,” a customized safe to spend amount of money for a day, week, or month. In addition to this, it provides spending projections based on your previous spending history.

 

Mint

Mint is a one-stop shop for syncing all of your accounts and bills together and doing all the irritating number crunching for you. It tracks your investments and allows you to divide your spending into categories to view long-term trends. Also, it features colorful geometric graphs and is free!

 

Mvelopes

Back in ye olden days before the advent of handy apps, many people managed their budgeting by dividing their money into envelopes. This app offers a modern approach to this method, allowing you to upload receipts and categorize spending, as well as becoming aware of hidden spending. This free app is a perfect way to meet your financial goals.

 

Adapted from https://www.popsugar.com/tech/Apps-Help-You-Save-Money-39390776?

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Tech Tip: Rogue Devices

Some personal devices emit a problematic Wi-Fi signal. These devices interfere with E-Town’s Wi-Fi signal and slow down the connection of nearby phones and computers. Please be sure to turn off wireless on:

  • Wireless printers
  • Cellphone or personal hot spots
  • Network routers
  • Google Chromecast devices
  • Other devices that actively use channels 2.4 GHz (802.11b/g/n) and/or 5 GHz (802.11a/n/ac).

Instructions on turning off wireless printers can be found here. For all other devices, please check the manufacturer’s website for instructions.

Please connect these devices via cables and refrain from using their wireless features.

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New Year, New You 2018

As few as 25 years ago, communication was mostly limited to face-to-face interactions or word of mouth. With the tech age we live in now, communication has changed, and so too have conventions and manners. Below are 10 tech faux pas to avoid this year according to Forbes Electronic Etiquette.

  1. Frequent cell phone use is annoying. We have all been guilty in the past of doing something on our phone when we should have been paying attention. Checking your phone too often can tell people that they are boring or that they are unimportant. Put the phone away and talk to the people around you.
  2. If you are on your phone, don’t forget to look up! We may think we are a generation of multitaskers, but in reality, we don’t realize all the mistakes we make by not paying attention. Did you see that bike almost hit you on the sidewalk? Not if you were looking down at your phone. Not paying attention to your surroundings isn’t just rude, it’s dangerous.
  3. Are you THAT guy talking loudly on the phone in the crowded Blue Bean? There is no such thing as a private conversation in a public place. People are always going to be listening in on your conversation. If you need to have a private conversation then make sure you head somewhere quiet first. Not only for your privacy, but out of respect for your caller. Too much background noise can make it hard to hear what’s being said and can distort your voice. Just do everyone a favor, and take your call somewhere a little less populated.
  4. How do you sign off your emails? Too personal or too professional can be equally awkward. Make sure that your email signature and sign off match the tone and level of professionalism of the email. Don’t sign an email to your best friend with your work title, and don’t sign an email to your boss with a cat emoji or slang.
  5. While we’re talking about emails, don’t be lazy! Take the time to write a full email before sending it. No one wants to get an email that has little to no content. Always include a descriptive subject line, address the person you are writing by name, and sign your email appropriately. Of course, not every email will be the same, but following a few simple rules will guarantee that no one ever calls you a lazy emailer. While you’re at it, double check your spelling and grammar. The last thing you need is for your boss to think you can’t spell “productivity” correctly.
  6. The best way to avoid a social media scandal is to avoid posting inappropriate things on social media. Remember who can see your social media posts. Does your boss follow you on Twitter? Is your grandma on your Facebook? Know your audience and tailor your posts to match. Privacy settings are often updated/changed on popular social media sites, so reviewing privacy settings regularly can help. As soon as something is posted online, it can never be truly deleted.
  7. Have you ever gotten an email that sits in your inbox for days or sometimes weeks before you get around to responding? Honestly, haven’t we all? Avoiding or ignoring contacts can be a bad idea. Never let an email, voicemail, or even that text from your mom sit unanswered for more than a day or two. If you really don’t have time to answer right away, it can’t hurt to read the email and send a quick response such as “I received your message and will get back to you soon.” You can flag your messages to be sure to get back to them later so they don’t get lost in your inbox. Keep up to date on your messages and call your mom!
  8. File attachments are scary. The last thing you need is to send that awkward holiday picture to the wrong person, or to send the wrong paper to a professor. Every time you send a file attachment, double-check to make sure the right file is going to the right person. Otherwise, you could end up in an awkward position. And while we’re on the topic, make sure that every file is named appropriately. We’ve all named our least favorite papers something…passive aggressive. Just remember to rename your files before you send them to avoid that awkwardness. Renaming files also allows the recipient to know exactly what they are receiving. Try naming a file with your last name, title of the paper, and date for the recipient’s and your convenience.
  9. Security is of the utmost importance. Cyber security is even more important. If someone hacks your account then they have access to some of your most personal information. The best way to protect your account and yourself is to keep your password private. Never enter your E-Town password into any unfamiliar website. ITS will NEVER ask for your password. And always use different passwords for different sites. Don’t use your E-Town password for other sites that you have accounts on. Check out these articles for more information on password security and phishing scams.
  10. Last but not least, the dreaded pocket dial. It happens to the best of us. Your phone is innocently in your pocket, and the next thing you know your aunt is on the line. To avoid the dreaded pocket dial, always make sure your phone is locked before placing it in your pocket. This prevents your battery from wearing down faster too. Also, putting a passcode lock on your phone protects your personal information that is on your phone in case it is lost.

Avoid these tech faux pas and you’ll be good to go for the new year. For more tech etiquette tips, read more on Forbes Electronic Etiquette article.

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Tech Tip: It’s Time to Change Your Password

Welcome back to campus! It’s that time of year again. Classes are starting and passwords need to be changed! It is best to change your password occasionally to maintain security for your account.

When you change your password, it must be at least 8 characters long and contain:

  • 1 uppercase letter
  • 1 lowercase letter
  • 1 number
  • 1 special character (!@#$ etc.)

By following these rules, your password will be stronger, and when all of the network passwords are strong then our entire network is safer.

You can change your password from the Outlook Web App (mail.etown.edu). For detailed instructions, visit our Knowledgebase article on Changing Your Network Password.

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Posted in Canvas, Digital Citizenship, Home Page, New Student Tips Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

12 Holiday Presents from ITS

ITS has a present for you this holiday season! We know that you’ll love it, because it’s a compilation of our twelve most-read articles of 2017. Happy holidays from ITS!

To-Do List Apps to Organize Your Life
Getting organized is a daunting task, so here are several apps to make your life easier. Here’s to less stressful organization!

2017 New Year, New You!
For the new year (be it 2017 or 2018), here are seven tech things to consider to make your tech-integrated life even better.

What’s Up with Those Robocalls From My Area Code?
A new technique is allowing scammers to make it appear as though they’re calling from your town. Beware of these smart robocalls and stay safe by never giving away your personal information.

Computer Tips and Tricks, Part I
This series by ITS chronicles a variety of computer tips and tricks to make your experience smoother and simpler. Part one covers miscellaneous keyboard shortcuts.

Happy Valentine’s Day – Chrome Extensions You’ll Love
If you want to be more organized, get more work done, and procrastinate less, then these Chrome Extensions might be perfect for you. Make your life easier with one or all of these apps.

Nicarry Renovations
All second-floor Nicarry rooms now feature new furniture and wrap-around whiteboards. The rooms are now outfitted with a Crestron control panel, PC, Blu-Ray player, a projector, and zoned and dimmable lighting, as well as a mic and webcam.

Organizational Apps for Busy People
Regardless of whether you’re a student or an instructor at E-Town, you’re probably a busy person who could use a little more down time to relax. These free organizational apps will help you get your life together and maximize your time.

Gmail Email Scam
Gmail has been the target of a few recent phishing scams.  Here’s how to spot and report a common Gmail scam.

Phishing Scams are Getting Smarter
Put your skills to the test. Can you spot the tell-tale signs of a phishing scam in this email? Give it a try. These phishing scams are getting smarter. Are you sure you can spot them all?

Chrome Extensions to Amplify Productivity
There never seems to be a quiet moment as a student. Have you used your studying time efficiently? Increase your productivity with these six Google Chrome extensions.

Clearing Space on Your Phone
Nearly all cell phone users have experienced the dreaded message telling them that they don’t have enough storage. Both Androids and iPhones have a variety of things that you can do to free up space.

Xfinity on Campus
Xfinity on Campus is here! Residential students can watch, stream, and record your favorite shows for free when you are connected to the college network.

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Tech Tip: Custom PowerPoint Templates

Have you ever created a PowerPoint that you really like and would like to save the exact formatting of for future use? Presentations can be saved as templates to easily create more files with the same customization settings.

First, open the presentation that you would like to save as a template. Under the View tab, click Slide Sorter. Press [Ctrl] + [A] to select all slides, then hit [Delete]. Deleting the slides sounds counterintuitive, but it’s part of this process and will not result in any loss of data.

While still in the View tab, click Normal. The presentation will be empty. Click on Click to add the first slide. The title slide will appear, formatted as it was previously. Under the File tab, click Save As, then select PowerPoint Template (*.potx) under Save as type. Rename your file if you wish, and click Save.

To use the template, open PowerPoint. Click the Personal tab, directly above PowerPoint’s built-in templates. You will see a template in the format that you just saved. Double-click to open it. As you create your presentation and add slides, they will all be in the format as your previous presentation.

For more information and step-by-step screenshots, visit our Knowledgebase article.

 

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Posted in Home Page, Office 2016 Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Studying Apps for Finals

It’s that dreaded time of the year again. Finals. Break is coming, but first you must make it through all of your tests and term papers. Fortunately, there’s a couple of apps and websites to help make that process smoother and less stressful.  

 

Hemingway App    

Do you have a big paper due? Try Hemingway App, an online paper editor that finds overly complex sentences, passive voice, adverbs, and more. While this will not guarantee a good grade on your paper, it will help find grammatical and stylistic errors that interrupt the flow of your paper. 

 

Grammarly 

In a similar vein, Grammarly will help smooth and refine your papers by finding grammatical errors. Grammarly will also suggest replacements for words and explain why your initial word was incorrect. It’s like having a second pair of eyes reading your paper without having to pester your grammar-savvy friend to read it for you. Grammarly offers an online editor as well as plugins for internet browsers, Microsoft Word, and Windows. E-Town offers students a discount for the paid version, which can be bought at http://bit.ly/1hDmdkO. 

 

StayFocusd 

You’re studying productively when that Facebook notification pops up. Before you know it, you’re an hour into stalking your old high school friends and any idea of studying is pushed into the depths of your brain. StayFocusd can prevent this seemingly inevitable aspect of using your computer to study. You can input websites that aren’t conducive to productivity, and set a timer. Until that timer is up, you won’t be able to visit any of those sites.  

 

Evernote 

This program nearly always ends up on these types of lists, and for good reason. Evernote allows you to create your notes in exactly the way that you want them to be, with a versatile system that includes bookmarking, clipping and inserting images, a tagging system, and more. Evernote can be accessed on the web and has apps and plugins for nearly every device and internet browser. 

 

Quizlet 

In this technological age, there’s no need for handwritten flashcards. Quizlet lets you create your own set of flashcards or search for other people’s sets. Content is created by both students and teachers and covers a vast span of topics. Use it for anything from reviewing anatomy with integrative diagrams to testing yourself on Japanese grammar with a multiple-choice test randomly selected from your flashcard set. 

 

Todoist 

Need a place to keep track of all your assignments with options to create smaller to-dos within a greater project and prioritization of certain tasks? Try Todoist. It features a smooth, distraction-free interface that allows for maximum productivity and it syncs across iOS, Android, web browsers, MacOS, Windows, and more. 

 

iStudiez 

If you want to visibly map out your schedule and add reminders for when assignments are due and when big tests are, try iStudiez! The free Lite version allows you to manage one semester with a maximum of five courses and 15 assignments. If you like the app, you can upgrade to iStudiez Pro for $2.99. This app is only available on iOS, so try the similar app Timetable for Android. 

 

 

Adapted from https://www.collegechoice.net/top-15-study-apps-for-college-students/. 

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Tech Tip: Office 365 OneDrive

Most students are aware of the Microsoft Office package that’s available to students. But did you know that Office also has an online component, called Office 365? Think the constant backing up of your files that you get with Google Drive, but with Microsoft Office’s more refined features and universal accessibility for E-Town students. Login to your individual OneDrive using your E-Town credentials, then choose the type of file that you would like to create. OneDrive allows you to make Word documents, Excel workbooks and forms, PowerPoint presentations, OneNote notebooks, and Visio drawings.

Files are easily shared and the same document can be edited at the same time on separate computers. The document is automatically saved each time a change is made. These files can be accessed anywhere on or off campus, including through Microsoft Office’s mobile apps.

For more information on using Office 365 OneDrive, check out our Knowledgebase articles.

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Posted in Home Page, Office 2016, Web Tips Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Computer Tips and Tricks, Part II

In the second part of this series, we’ll address typing tips and a few keyboard tricks to increase efficiency in common applications. Learn how to paste the plain text of what was copied with [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [V], minimize all windows with [Windows] + [D], and much more!

 

 

Typing Tips:

Sometimes, formatting doesn’t transfer well from one program to another. In these cases, you may want to paste the plain text of what was copied. This is accomplished by pressing [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [V] instead of [Ctrl] + [V]. This also works on Macs with [Cmd] + [Shift] + [V]. Note: some programs do not follow this parameter, notably Microsoft Office applications. You can use [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [V] to open a paste dialogue box and choose unformatted text.

If you want to delete an entire word, hit [Ctrl] + [Backspace]. This will make it quicker to delete text.

To quickly jump to the beginning of the previous word, press [Ctrl] + [Left Arrow]. On Macs, use [Option] + [Left Arrow].

In the same vein as the previous tip, use [Ctrl] + [Right Arrow] to move the cursor to the beginning of the next word. On Macs, hit [Option] + [Right Arrow].

To make sub or superscript text, which is most often used for mathematical-related writing, use [Ctrl] + [+=] for subscript and [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [+=] for superscript.

If you need to add a symbol that isn’t part of your keyboard, search “character map” in the Start menu. This will give you a window that lets you select and copy every character conceivable.

 

Keyboard Tricks:

Sometimes, you can find yourself overwhelmed by the number of programs that you have running and you just want to minimize all windows to access the desktop. Luckily, this is easily accomplished by pressing [Windows] + [D].

While adding a program to the taskbar adds to ease of access, you can launch a taskbar program via your keyboard for even quicker convenience. Use [Windows] + [the number that corresponds to the position of the program] to open it immediately. For example, if Microsoft Word was the third icon on your taskbar, you would tap [Windows] + [3].

If you want to close the program that is currently running, use [Alt] + [F4].  This will save a small amount of time, but be sure that you’ve saved anything that you’re working on! The MacOS equivalent is [Cmd] + [Q].

 

 

Adapted from https://www.techspot.com/guides/676-best-computer-tricks/

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Tech Tip: Customize Taskbar in Windows 10

Along the bottom of your screen in Windows 10, you’ll see the windows button, a search bar, a clock and calendar, and any icons that you have pinned. This is the taskbar, and it allows for easy access to the programs that you use the most. There are several options to customize the taskbar to your preferred configuration.

To change the location of the taskbar, right-click anywhere on the bar. Uncheck Lock all taskbars. Then click and drag the taskbar to your chosen edge of the screen. It will snap into place. Right-click it again and check Lock all taskbars.

To make the taskbar icons smaller, right-click the taskbar and click Properties. Check Use small taskbar buttons, then click Apply. The taskbar icons will become smaller, providing more space for additional icons. Click OK to save your settings.

To change the color of the taskbar, click the Windows icon and select Settings. Click Personalization, then click the Colors option on the sidebar. Scroll down and select a color tile that you like. Under the tiles, toggle on the switch for Show color on Start, taskbar, action center, and title bar. Your taskbar will now be whatever color you selected.

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