Windows From the Keyboard Tips, Windows List View and First Letter Navigation, January 22, 2020

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.

 

Windows List Views and First Letter Navigation

Whenever you are in a Windows list or tree view, such as when you open a folder in File Explorer, you may arrow up and down the list to find the item of interest. However, you can also type the first letter of an item and Windows will jump your focus to the first item that begins with that letter. If you have several items that start with the same letter, just type that letter multiple times and Windows will move to each successive item that begins with that letter. Or, if you type 2 or 3 letters quickly, Windows will move to the first item that begins with those letters.

 

First letter navigation also works on the desktop which itself is a list view. While on the desktop you may press the first letter of an icon to jump to that icon which is much more efficient than arrowing around the desktop icons. If you have multiple icons that start with the same letter Windows will jump to each successive icon when you type the letter.

 

For JAWS screen reader users, note that shortcut keys such as JAWS+F6 to bring up a list of headings on a web page/document, or Jaws key+F7 to bring up a list of links on a web page are also Windows list views so you can use first letter navigation to more quickly find the heading or link of interest within those lists.

 

That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.

 

Windows From the Keyboard Tips, Quick Key for Changing Case, January 15, 2020

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.

 

Windows Quick Key for Changing Case

Shift+F3 is a great way to quickly change from lowercase to uppercase or vice versa. Have you ever forgotten to capitalize the first word in a sentence? Just position  to the start of the word and press Shift+F3. Windows will capitalize the first letter or if it’s already capitalized it will change it to lowercase. Press Shift+F3 twice to capitalize

the entire word or if the word is already all caps it will change back to lowercase. Shift+F3 is a Windows

shortcut key available when editing documents such as in Microsoft Word or when typing emails.

 

That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.

 

Windows From The Keyboard Tips, Windows Run Dialogue, January 8, 2020

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.

 

Windows Run Dialogue

A quick way to run some programs or access specific resources is to use the Windows Run dialogue. Hold down the Windows logo key and press R. This opens the Windows Run dialogue with focus in an edit box. The      edit box will show the command that was last typed into the Windows Run dialog. You may repeat this previous command by just pressing Enter or, since the command is highlighted, you may just type a new command which will replace it. After typing a new command, press Enter to execute it.

 

In this command edit box you may type the name of some programs such as Notepad. Or, you can type the path to a device drive such as c: to open the root of your main hard drive, or F: to open the SD or USB in drive slot F. Or, you can type a folder path name such as C:\Users\Gerry\Documents to open your main documents folder. Or, you can type a web address such as www.cnib.ca to open that specific web page. In all cases, end your typing by pressing Enter.

 

The Windows Run dialogue remembers  the previous commands you have typed so, instead of typing a command, you may simply arrow down to choose from the list of previous commands. When you find the desired previous command, just press Enter to execute it.

 

Unlike the Windows search, which is invoked by pressing the Windows logo key, the Windows Run command will not perform a search. It requires that you type exactly the name of the resource you wish to run. It is useful if the resource name is fairly short and you know it precisely.  Otherwise; the more general Windows key search discussed in a previous tip is more efficient because it will search for matches to what you type including desktop apps, documents, or web sites and bring them up in a search results list simultaneously as you type.

 

That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.

 

 

Windows From the Keyboard Tips, Task Bar – A Productivity Tool, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year! All the best for 2020. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.

 

Windows Task Bar – A Productivity Tool

We have devoted several tips to using the desktop to make it easy to open folders, apps, and web sites. However, the Windows Task Bar is also very useful for quickly launching and switching to frequently used apps. You can easily reach the Task Bar in 2 ways:

From the Desktop press TAB multiple times until you reach the task bar, or from anywhere, press Windows Key + T.

While on the Task Bar you can arrow across and find apps that have been pinned to it or apps that are currently running. If you press the Applications key on any Task Bar item, a context menu opens that allows you to do various things such as closing the app, pin the item to the Task bar if it is not already pinned or unpin it if it is pinned. Pinning an item makes it available to launch quickly from the Task Bar by just pressing Enter on it. Or, from anywhere, you can press Windows Key +1, Windows key + 2, Windows key + 3 etc. to launch the first, second, third etc. item in the Task Bar.

 

Office apps such as Word or Excel may be useful to pin to the Task Bar. For example, to pin the Word app:

  • Launch Word so it is running.
  • Pres Windows + T to focus on the Task Bar.
  • Arrow across to find the running task for Word.
  • Press the Applications key to open its context menu.
  • From the menu, select Pin to Task Bar, and press Enter. Word will now be on the Task Bar permanently even after you shut down and restart your computer.

 

This does not mean Word will always be running when you start your computer. Rather, a shortcut to launch it will always be on the Task Bar. If it is positioned as the 4th item on the Task Bar, then simply pressing Windows key + 4 from anywhere will launch it. If you focus on the Word icon on the Task Bar and press the Applications key, you will find recently accessed Word documents listed on the resulting context menu also referred to as a jump list. Simply press Enter on any of those documents to open them in Word. If you later decide to remove Word from the Task Bar, the unpin option is also available in its context menu. IF you unpin it, any remaining pinned items after it will be renumbered. Any time you pin a new item it is always added as the last item on the Task Bar.

 

By default, File Explorer is pinned to the task bar which is very handy. You may also press the Applications key on it to open a jump list of recently visited folders as well as choices to open your Documents and Downloads folders.

 

Pinning a browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox to the Task Bar may also be useful because their jump list will remember recently visited web sites so you can quickly return to them.

You can access the jump list for your task bar icons directly without focusing on the task bar itself by inserting the Alt key. For example, Windows+Alt+1 will open the jump list for the first task bar item, Windows+Alt+2 will open the jump list for the second task bar item and so on. Thus, if Word was pinned as your third task bar item, you could bring up the jump list of recently used Word documents by simply pressing Windows+Alt+3 from anywhere.

 

That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.

 

Windows From the Keyboard Tips, Create a Desktop Shortcut to the Documents Folder, December 25, 2019

Season’s Greetings!. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.

 

Windows– How to Create a Desktop Shortcut to the Documents Folder

In a previous tip, a general method was provided for creating desktop icons, but Windows also provides a way to create shortcuts through the Applications menu on certain items. For example, it is very helpful to have a desktop shortcut to open your Documents folder. To accomplish this:

  • Press Windows key + E to open File Explorer.
  • Arrow down to your Documents folder but don’t open it. Instead, press the Applications key or Shift+F10. A context menu opens for the Documents folder.
  • Arrow down to the context menu’s Create Shortcut item and press Enter.
  • You will be informed that a shortcut to the Documents folder cannot be created here, and you will be asked if you want to place it on the desktop. This is precisely what we want, so TAB to the Yes button and press spacebar to activate it. Your Desktop will now have a shortcut icon to the Documents folder.
  • Press Alt+F4 to close the File Explorer program.
  • Return to the Desktop by pressing Windows+M. You may want to add the Control+Alt+D keyboard hot key to activate your new desktop Documents shortcut.
  • Press D multiple times until you reach the new Documents shortcut icon.
  • Press Alt+Enter to open the properties dialogue for the Documents shortcut.
  • TAB to the shortcut field and type the letter, D. Just type the single letter D because Windows will automatically add the Control+Alt keys.
  • TAB to the OK button and press spacebar to activate.

The Control+Alt+D hot key sequence has been attached to the desktop Documents icon. Now, to reach your Documents folder from anywhere, just press Control+Alt+D.

 

That’s it for this tip. Next tip is next year. See you in 2020!

 

Windows From the Keyboard Tips, Create a Shortcut Key for a Desktop Icon, December 18, 2019

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.

 

Windows Desktop Icon – How to Create a Shortcut key

It’s possible to launch desktop icons by holding down Control+Alt while pressing another shortcut letter. To set up a Control+Alt hot key sequence, select the desktop icon by arrowing to it or pressing its first letter. Then press Alt+Enter. Tab to the edit box that is labelled, Shortcut Key. Press the single key that you wish to use as the shortcut key. Just type the single key as Windows will add the Control+Alt keys. For example, if you have an icon to go to the CELA Library web site, you might type the letter C. It must be unique as you can’t use the same letter for multiple icons. After typing the single letter TAB to the OK button and press spacebar. You are done. Now, to launch the icon , simply hold down the Control+Alt keys while pressing the shortcut letter even if you are not on the desktop.

 

That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.

 

Windows From the Keyboard Tips, Rename a Desktop Icon, December 11, 2019

 

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.

 

Windows Desktop Icon – How to Rename

If you have a desktop icon that you wish to rename simply highlight (place focus on) the icon and press F2. An edit box will open where you can type the new name over the existing name. Press Enter when done and your icon will be renamed. Note that F2 can also be used to rename folder or filenames while browsing in File Explorer.

 

That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.

 

Windows From the Keyboard Tips, Create a Desktop Shortcut for a Desktop App, December 4, 2019

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.

 

Windows Desktop – Create a shortcut for a desktop app

Perhaps you want a shortcut on your desktop to launch a frequently used app like Excel, Word, or any other app on your Start menu.

  • Press Windows key to open the Start menu.
    • Tab to the all apps list and arrow through the list of apps to highlight the app you want and press the Applications key to open the context menu for the app.
  • Choose Open file location, or if that isn’t present on the menu, open the More sub menu, and then choose Open file location.
  • File Explorer opens at the location where the shortcut for the app is stored, and the shortcut to the app will be selected.
  • Press the Applications key to open the shortcut’s context menu.
  • From the context menu, choose the Send to sub menu, and choose Desktop (create shortcut).
  • Press Alt + F4 to close File Explorer. A shortcut to the app is now present on your desktop.

 

That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.

 

Windows From the Keyboard Tips, How to Create a Desktop Shortcut, November 27, 2019

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.

 

Windows Desktop Icon – How to Create

If you use a folder or web site often, you may wish to create an icon for it on your desktop.

  • Press the Windows key plus M to focus on the desktop.
  • Press Control+Space to unselect the icon you are focused on.
  • Press the Applications key or Shift+F10 to bring up the context menu for the Desktop.
  • Arrow down the menu and press Enter on the New submenu.
  • Arrow down the New submenu and press Enter on Shortcut.
  • A wizard opens asking you to type the target location for the new icon. This can be a folder or document or a web site. For folders or filenames there is a Browse button to allow you to find the exact path to that document or folder. If the shortcut is for a web site, you need to type the exact HTTP address. If it is a long address it may be best to first go to that web site and then press Alt+D to focus on the address bar and then press Control+C to copy that web page address to the clipboard. Then you can simply press Control+V to paste the web address from the clipboard into this location field of the wizard.
  • After filling in the target location, TAB to the Next button and press Space bar.
  • Then type the name of the icon as you wish it to appear on your desktop .
  • TAB to the Finish button and press space bar. The new icon will now be on your desktop.

Anytime you are on your desktop, you can select the icon and press Enter to activate it. To select the icon, arrow to it or type the first letter of its name.

That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.

 

Windows From the Keyboard Tips, Touch Typing Tutor App, November 20,2019

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions.  The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.

 

Windows Touch Typing Tutor App

If you are experiencing progressive vision loss, the old hunt and peck typing skills you developed over the years will not serve you very well if you can’t see the keyboard. It’s time to take the plunge and learn to touch type. Check out Typio, a Windows touch typing tutorial program from Canadian Assistive Technology that runs on Windows and has complete audio feedback.

 

That’s it for this tip. Until next Wednesday, happy computing.