More Basic Tech Tips

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It seems that there’s no core curriculum for technology. Nobody teaches you the basics. You just pick stuff up as you go along. As a result, everybody, even experts, winds up with knowledge holes—things everybody thinks everybody else knows about the basics of consumer electronics. Here are some things we think everybody knows.

Screenshots
*Especially if you’re a beginner (or an expert), it’s frequently useful to capture the image of what’s on the screen— an error message or diagram, for example. *In Windows, PrintScreen key copies the whole screen image, as a graphic onto your invisible Clipboard, so you can paste into an e-mail message or any other program (“This is what I’m seeing!  What do I do now?!”). If you add the Alt key, you copy only the front window.

*On the Mac, press Command-Shift-3. (Command is the key with the propeller on it, next to the Space bar.) You hear a snapshot sound, and you get a graphics file on your desktop—a picture of the entire screen image. *If you press Command -Shift-4 instead, you get a crosshair cursor; you can draw across just one portion of the screen. Or, if you now tap the Space bar, you turn the cursor into a little camera icon. You can now click on just one window or toolbar that you want to copy.

*In both cases, you can hold down the Control key to copy the image to the Clipboard instead of leaving a file on the hard drive.
Editing Text
* On your keyboard, there’s a difference between the Backspace and Del keys. Press Backspace to delete the typed character to the left of the blinking insertion-point cursor, as usual. Pressing Del, however, removes the character to its right.

* In Microsoft Word, when you paste in text from another document—say, a Web site — you may not want all the boldface,  colors, fonts and other formatting from the original source. Instead of using the regular Paste command, in that case,  open the Edit menu and click Paste Special. Click Unformatted Text.  You’ll get just the text, without the fanciness.
iPhone
* You can magnify the iPhone’s screen, for ease in reading tiny type, by double-tapping with three fingers. Then pan around by dragging with three fingers. Of course, you first have to turn this feature on. Do that by tapping Settings,
then General, then Accessibility. (On the same screen, you’ll find an option to make the text bigger in the built-in iPhone programs, which is handy in its own way.)

* Has your iPhone screen image suddenly become mysteriously enlarged? There’s nothing quite as alarming as seeing jumbo text and graphics, and nothing restores the phone to the way it’s supposed to be.  I can’t tell you how many people trek off to the Apple Store to get their “broken” iPhones fixed. Of course, the real problem is that you’ve accidentally turned on screen zooming (described in the previous tip). Double-tap with three fingers to restore the screen magnification.

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