You know how to do your thing on Google or Bing. You text and share photos with your friends and family. As far as you know, you’re using your smartphone wisely. So maybe the following tech tips are old hat. Perhaps others are news to you.
In any case, it’s an eye-opener to discover when a shortcut has been under your nose…or at your fingertips…all along, and you just didn’t know it.
Most of these tips are from David Pogue, personal technology columnist for the New York Times and a tech correspondent for CBS News, who thrills in empowering everyday people to feel like techies and cut to the chase with fewer keystrokes, minimal mouse drags and the like.
Here are a handful of his top tech shortcuts…
When You’re on the Internet:
Ups and Downs. To scroll web pages, don’t bother grabbing the mouse and placing your cursor on the scroll bar to anchor a page. Simply hit the “space” key to move down the page and “shift” plus “space” key to move back up.
Faster Forms. When filling in online forms (such as your address), most folks know they can “tab” through to save time, but what about that cumbersome state pull-down? When it’s time to state your state, simply type the first letter of your state (e.g., “T” for Texas). The first time you hit “T’ you’ll see Tennessee (alphabetical order), hit T twice and there pops Texas.
Size Matters. To enlarge your Web screen, when on a PC, hold down the “Ctrl” key while tapping the “+” (plus) key to get your desired screen size. Too big? Again, hold down the “Ctrl” key, but tap the “-” (minus) key instead.
When on your iPhone, Android, Blackberry:
Pitch the Punctuation. You want to sound intelligent in your texts, minding your periods, sentence capitalization and all that. Not necessary, though. Your smartphone is smart, too. Just hit the space bar twice and it’ll enter periods, spacing between sentences and sentence caps for you.
Finish Your Conversation. Once upon a time *69 was the quickest way to call someone right back. For today’s smartphone users, the “call” button is all it takes. You don’t even have to go into recent calls to redial your last contact.
Voicemail Hangups. If having to hang on for long-winded voicemail instructions/intros makes you want to scream, hang on. Your mobile phone offers a keyboard command allowing you to skip straight to recording your message. Commands vary by carrier (for example: Verizon: *, AT&T and T-Mobile: # and Sprint: 1).
ADDITIONAL PHONE TIPS:
Worried about your phone minutes? Quickly check your balance, by carrier:
- AT&T: Dial *646#
- Sprint: Dial *4
- T-Mobile: Dial #646#
- Verizon: Dial #646
Want to save/send an Internet image? Touch the image on your phone screen and wait for the option prompt. You can save it on your phone or copy it to an email or text. Pretty cool.
Text with Dexterity. Who hasn’t reread a text and found a misspelled or simply wrong choice of words? Don’t bother backtracking and retyping. Just tap twice on the word in question. You’ll get a prompt allowing you to “cut” the word. Hit “replace” and get a choice of alternatives (e.g., change petstore to pet store).
Get more easy tech timesavers straight from David Pogue himself by checking out this video clip.