5 productivity tips for Windows

1. Print from Windows Explorer

If you need to print a document, let’s say a Microsoft Word document, there’s no need to launch Word first. Browse your hard drive for the file that you want to print, right-click its icon, and then click Print. This will automatically send the document to your printer without launching Word.

Windows 7 Print command on the shortcut menu
Windows 7 Print command on the shortcut menu
Windows Vista Print command on the shortcut menu
Windows Vista Print command on the shortcut menu
An example of the Windows XP Print command on the shortcut menu
An example of the Windows XP Print command on the shortcut menu

2. Pin programs to the Start menu

Want to add your favorite programs to the Start menu? From the Start menu, click All Programs. Locate a favorite program, right-click the program’s icon, and then click Pin to Start menu. That’s it.

You can also pin an application by dragging and dropping its icon from All Programs to the Start menu. The program is now “pinned” to your Start menu. To remove it, right-click the program icon on the Start menu and then click Unpin from Start menu or click Remove from this list.

Pinning a program to the Start menu in Windows 7
Pinning a program to the Start menu in Windows 7

3. Use small icons on your Start menu

After you install a few dozen applications, your Start menu can become very crowded. One way to reduce the clutter is to use small icons.

  1. To switch to small icons, click the Start button, right-click in the Start menu, and then click Properties.
  2. Click the Start Menu tab, and then click Customize.Windows 7 and Windows Vista users: Scroll to the bottom of the list, clear the Use large icons check box, and then click OKtwice.Windows XP users: Select Small icons, and then click OK twice.
An example of the Windows 7 Start Menu dialog box
An example of the Windows 7 Start Menu dialog box
Windows XP Customize Start Menu dialog box
Windows XP Customize Start Menu dialog box

4. Search a folder

When I’ve misplaced a file, I almost always know which folder it’s in, but it’s usually lost in a maze of documents or buried in a subfolder. I just can’t remember which subfolder. This is a great way to search a folder quickly.

Windows 7 and Windows Vista users: Locate the folder where you think the file is located. Use the Search box at the top of the open window to search the contents for the selected folder. Type part or all of the name of the file or folder, or type a word or phrase that is in the file. The results list will be updated as you type.

An example of the Windows Vista Search box
An example of the Windows Vista Search box

Windows XP users: Locate the folder where you think the file’s located, right-click the folder, and then click Search. A Search window will open, ready to search for the selected folder and only that folder. Type part or all of the name of the file or folder, or type a word or phrase that is in the file. This is much quicker than launching Search and navigating your hard drive to the folder.

An example of the Windows XP Search command on Shortcut menu
An example of the Windows XP Search command on Shortcut menu

5. Send an email attachment from anywhere on the desktop

Here’s a really handy tip.

  1. Locate a file anywhere on your hard drive that you want to email, right-click the file’s icon, click Send To, and then click Mail Recipient. A new mail message will open with the file attached and ready to send. But what’s really speedy about this tip is that your mail program doesn’t open. This action creates only a single new mail message.
  2. To send your attachment, type the recipient’s email address in the To text field, add any accompanying message, and then click the Send icon. The subject and attachment fields are already set.
In Windows Vista, you can send an email attachment directly from the desktop
In Windows Vista, you can send an email attachment directly from the desktop
In Windows XP, you can send a file by email directly from desktop
In Windows XP, you can send a file by email directly from desktop

*Many of these tips are from the book, “Windows XP Killer Tips” by Kleber Stephenson, ISBN 073571357X. Published here with the permission of Pearson Education, Inc.

Source: Microsoft at Work

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5 comments
  1. Thats an all ’round well written article

  2. Mesa THOUN said:

    Thanks.

  3. At least some bloggers can write. My thanks for this blog post

  4. What an all around amazing blog post

  5. Awfully well written piece of writing!!

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