Spend ten minutes learning this simple trick that will save you thousands of hours over the course of your life.
There is a fundamental truth of the universe: Computers can be made to do mindless repetitive tasks for you. They can do this quickly, sometimes automatically and most of the time nearly effortlessly. Thus saving you time (maybe even.. MONEY?) and make your life just a teensy bit better!
I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve sat with somebody at their computer as they read through a long document trying to find something they wrote or skim through a webpage for a key piece of information they saw recently. When they’re done I’ll say to them, ‘Let me show one little trick here,’ and very often people will say, ‘I can’t believe I’ve been wasting my life!’”
Let me show you this trick…
Say you want to look for the word “helicopter” in a Word document or on a webpage.
On your keyboard, find the CTRL button – its usually in the lower-left and -right hand corners of your keyboard.
Press it and hold it down, then with your other hand, press the “F” key. (Note: When both CTRL and F keys are held down at the same time, we annotate that with the plus sign… thus: CTRL+F)
When you press CTRL+F somewhere on the screen (depending what program you are using) a text box will appear asking you what to search for. Type your word in that box. In our case…. helicopter.
Now, hit Enter.
Bonus: You can either click ENTER on your keyboard, or take your hand off the keyboard, take control of the mouse, maneuver the mouse to the find, enter, next or OK button… and go on from there. Can you tell which option I prefer? If you chose the ENTER-on-the-keyboard option, give yourself an extra five points!
In the blink of an eye, at the speed of heat, your computer will fly through your document looking for the word helicopter at breakneck speed. And before you can say “whoa how cool is that” it will zoom to the first time the word helicopter appears in your document or webpage.
And, if the word helicopter appears many times on the page, you can click “next” (or down arrow, or some other means to go to the next instance of your chosen search text) and the computer will jump to the next place helicopter is written.
In no time, you will have seen everywhere that word is typed. And it didn’t take you manually scanning your eyes line-by-line down the whole document!
In Microsoft word, clicking CTRL+F looks like this…
Notice how there is a find-and-replace, and even a “more” option that allows you to customize your search.
In Microsoft Wordpad, the options are a little less exhaustive, but useful for most people…
If you are on the internet, CTRL+F looks different depending on what browser you are using.
For example, in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (the blue “e” on your desktop) you will see this…
Notice how the search bar appears in the upper left hand corner of the browser window and as you type, it is finding your desired text in real time and highlighting the results.
In Mozilla’s Firefox, the search bar appears in the lower-left-hand corner, like so…
In the growing-ever-more popular Google Chrome browser, the search results appear highlighted as you type your target text.
So to summarize..
Stop looking through documents “manually” and just learn what the software can do for you – quickly!
Teach your fingers this little habit and you’ll save untold amounts of time in the future!
After all that…
And now… for a trick that will save you an additional “hundreds” (not thousands) of hours over the course of your life………. instead of hitting CTRL-F to find text, just click F3!
(hint… it does the same thing!)
Stay tuned for more keyboard shortcuts that make your life eeeeeeeeasy!