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Speed Tips

We develop our keyboarding and mousing habits while we are still novices at the computer, and often we learn the slow way of doing things. Once ingrained, it is difficult to change these habits. Here are a few new habits that can help you compute more efficiently. One or more are bound to speed up your navigation and possibly even save your wrist from the strain of mousing. Pick a couple and practice using them to see what a difference a small change can make.

Did you know?

Keyboard instead of Mouse :

  • If a button is blue on a Mac, or highlighted with a border on a PC, just press “return” or “Enter” to accept that choice. No need to move your hand to the mouse, and navigate to click on the button.
  • When you are filling out a form, such as a login window, press the Tab key to move to the next field. Again, it is not necessary to move your hand to the mouse and navigate to and click in the password or whatever field is next.
  • When you go to Webmail, why not select “Helios - Faculty/Staff E-mail, while you are using the mouse to get to the Username login field. That way, you only have to use the mouse once, instead of twice.
  • Shortcut keys are another way to keep your hands on the keyboard, instead of making frequent trips to the mouse to click on menus to perform common tasks. Shortcut keys are noted to the right of a menu item.  On a PC, you usually hold down the “Ctrl” key plus the letter. On a Mac, it's the Apple key plus the letter.  A few common ones:
                    Ctrl or Apple + S (to Save a file)
                    Ctrl or Apple + P (to Print the entire document to your default printer)
                    Ctrl or Apple + C (to Copy a highlighted block of text)
                    Ctrl or Apple + X (to Cut a highlighted block of text)
                    Ctrl or Apple + V (to paste the copied or cut text to a new location)

Web Browsing :

  • On a Mac, highlight the entire web address in the URL bar by clicking on the icon at the far left of the address. On a PC, just click on the address itself.
  • When the web address is highlighted, no need to delete or backup to erase the address already there. Just start typing. This also works in filename dialogue boxes and other locations. Wherever text gets highlighted, just type to replace.
  • To quickly get to a site that you have recently visited, after highlighting the current page address just type the first two or three letters of the new address. (no need to type “http://www.” first.) When you see the address in the history list drop down below the URL address bar, click on the down arrow until you select it, then press “return” or “Enter”.
  • Another quick way to get to your most common sites is to place a bookmark on your “Bookmarks” (Firefox and Safari) or “Favorites” (Internet Explorer) toolbar. Go to the page you want a quick bookmark for. Click on the icon at the far left of the address and drag it down to the Bookmarks or Favorites toolbar. (Don't see it? Go to the View menu and select the Toolbar to display.)
  • On campus, you can type just the first part of a web address and press “return” or “Enter” to get to a Hampshire site. For example, type ________, to get to
                    intranet =
                    webmail =
                    thor =



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Information Technology
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Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Fax 413.559.5419

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