Windows Tips and Tricks


Resizing Windows

You can resize a window by double-clicking anywhere on the title bar at the top (where the minimize, restore/maximize, and exit buttons are positioned in the upper right).  If the window is maximized, it will change to the sizable window.  If it is sized, it will become maximized.


The Print Screen Button

What does the "Print Screen" button do?  Back in the old DOS days, before Windows 1.0, pressing the "Print Screen" button actually printed out the screen display.  Many people today believe that it serves no purpose.

Ever wonder how people get those "Screen Shots" in some web pages?  You could purchase a screen capture program or you could use the built-in Windows feature.  That's right: the seemingly useless Print Screen does something valuable - it copies the screen to the Windows clipboard (the area of memory where items are stored when you "Copy" an item).

There are actually two methods for using Print Screen: 

  1. Press the Print Screen button to copy the full screen.  
  2. While pressing the "Alt" key, also press the Print Screen button to copy the currently selected window

To test this function, resize this window and press Print Screen.  Start the Paint program (Start / Programs/ Accessories) or any other program that allows copy & paste image functions.  Select "Edit/ Paste".  Should Paint ask you if you want to resize the bitmap, click "Yes".  You should see a graphic of the entire screen - minus the cursor.

To test the second option, resize this or another program's window to less than the full screen size.  Press [Alt] + [Print Screen].  Start Paint or another program that allows images and select "Edit/ Paste".  You will only see the resized window.  

Depending on the program you pasted to, you may also be able to select an area of that image and Copy and paste a section of that window.  Using that technique, I copied a Microsoft Word page with [Alt] + [Print Screen], pasted it to Paint, selected the "Paste" icon from the larger image, copied & pasted it to a new file, and saved it as the following image: 

Using one of those techniques, you can capture all or parts of a screen for use in other programs.  I have used the [Alt] + [Print Screen] keystrokes to do such things as create an image file for use as an attachment in an email message to some Tech Support member so they could see the exact error message that I received during an operation.


Windows Shortcut Keystrokes

Here are some undocumented or little known shortcut keystrokes that work in virtually all Windows programs:

Keystroke Action performed
[Ctrl] + [Insert] Copies selected text or image to the Windows clipboard.
[Shift] + [Insert] Pastes text or images from the clipboard.
[Shift] + [Delete] CUTS (i.e. deletes from the current location) selected text or image and places it in the Windows clipboard.
[Alt] + [F4] Exits current program.  If no program is open, it will bring up the Windows Shut Down screen.
[Alt] + [Tab] Lets you return to another program when more than one is running.
[Ctrl] + [Esc] The same as pressing the Windows "Start" button.
[F1] Starts Help for a program.
[Ctrl] + [Home] Takes you to the top of a document (works in your browser too).
[Ctrl] + [End] Takes you to the end of a document.
[End] Places the cursor at the end of a line.
[Home] Places the cursor at the beginning of a line.
[F5] Refreshes data.  Useful in Windows Explorer after files are modified by another program.
[Shift] + [Tab] Places the cursor in the previous box or item - the reverse of [Tab].

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