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Productivity secrets from the tech pros

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technology and productivity chartsTechnology has the power to greatly enhance productivity, but if you’re like most of us, on average you only use 13% of the features in your software tools. PCWorld went to the experts to glean their favorite tricks and tips:

•  Forget folders, just search. Alex Gawley, Gmail Product Manager: “Google was built on search, and we’ve aimed to bring that same search experience to Gmail. Studies show that users save time when they search for an email instead of categorizing it into a folder.

In Gmail, you can quickly find the exact message you want by typing keywords into the search box, or you can rely on the program’s search autocomplete to specify the attributes you want (try typing ‘from: [sender]’ or ‘has photos’).”

•  Love your keyboard. Brittany Darwell, Lead Writer, Inside Face­­book: “Instead of clicking the Like button, type L while viewing a photo to achieve the same result. Also, use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate through an album.”

•  Print in draft mode. Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld: “If you don’t need your printout to look especially pretty, using your printer’s draft mode will generate output more quickly and—as a bonus—use less ink.

The names that vendors give this feature vary; look for a setting in your printer driver called ‘draft’, ‘fast’, ‘eco’ (as in ‘ecological’), or something similar.”

•  Share your PowerPoint remotely. Jevon Fark, OfficeTeam, Microsoft: “To share a PowerPoint presentation with a remote audience, click ‘Slide Show’ in the tool bar at the top, and then click ‘Broadcast Slide Show.’ When the dialog box appears, click ‘Start Broadcast,’ and a unique URL will appear. Copy and send that URL to remote attendees, and voilà! Participants listening on the phone can open the link and see your slideshow in their web browsers.”

•  Employ Windows shortcuts. Michelle Mastin, PCWorld: Go be­­yond the basic shortcuts: Close a tab by accident? Press Ctrl+Shift+T to reopen it. Flip through a virtual stack of open windows with Flip 3D. Press Windows+Tab.

— Adapted from “37 Tech Shortcuts From the Experts,” PCWorld.

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