Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We're not in typewriter land anymore

Computer keyboards may look like typewriters at first glance, but they have far more functions than an old-fashioned typewriter could ever have. An extended keyboard even has a 10-key pad if you have to do serious number-crunching like entering your library card number to reserve a computer or use an online resource. Right now, let's look at the direction arrows.

Even on small laptop keyboards you'll find four arrow keys. The most common use for them is to move the text cursor (the one that blinks so you can start typing) up, down, right and left.

Highlighting:  This tip is terrific for people who have trouble clicking and dragging. Press and hold the shift key, then press the arrow key in the direction you wish to highlight text. You can highlight anything from one letter in a word to an entire book.

If you're in Internet Explorer, holding the Alt key and pressing the left arrow takes you back to the previous Web page. This function replaces having to go up to the top of the screen with the mouse to find the back arrow.

Gamers: Arrow keys move characters.

Try playing with the arrow keys. You might find another use for them. If you do, don't be afraid to share your find with the rest of the computer world.