Be More Productive with Easy Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

If you’re using a laptop, you may want a quicker way to get things done. Luckily, both Windows and Macs have a huge list of keyboard shortcuts. In this post, we’ll go over Windows keyboard shortcuts. Stay tuned for a Mac edition!

Windows

On a Windows computer, most shortcuts involve a combination of keys which often include the Windows key, CTRL, and ALT.

picture of Windows keyboard with the control key, Windows key and alt keys highlighted.

With keyboard shortcuts, press multiple keys on the keyboard at the same time to preform actions.

Control Keys

CTRL + C = Copy. First, highlight a word, block of text, or click on an object. Next, hit CTRL+ C. Copy adds the object to the clipboard so it can be inserted (pasted) later.

CTRL + V = Paste. Paste inserts the copied text or object to the current place in the document or into a new file explorer location. Go to the area where you want to insert the copied or cut text or object. Next, hit CTRL+V to paste the copied text or object.

CTRL + X = Cut. Highlight a word or block of text in an editable document such as a Word document, Google Sheets or Excel Spreadsheet. Using Control + X will delete the selected text and add it to the clipboard. When you are ready to paste it, use CTRL+V or other methods for pasting.

CTRL + F = Find. To find a particular word or phrase in a document or on a webpage, hit CTRL+F to open up a search box. If the word or phrase is found, the document will advanced to the first instance of the word or phrase. Depending on what program you’re using, the word or phrase may be highlighted as well.

Copy, cut, and paste can all be used in File Explorer as well. To duplicate or move files around, click on the file and use any of the keyboard shortcuts.

CTRL + Z = Undo. Made a mistake? CTRL + Z undoes whatever action was last performed.

CTRL + Y = Redo. Hit CTRL+Z by mistake? CTRL+Y redoes what was undone.

Windows and Alt Keys

ALT + TAB = Switch between the current open window to the most recently accessed window. Quickly hitting ALT+TAB will automatically go to the most recent window accessed. To access a different window, hit ALT+TAB, hold down ALT and then tap TAB to choose a particular window.

ALT + Windows Key = See all the current open programs on one screen. This is also a way to easily create separate desktops. For more info on separate desktops, check out this helpful article from Microsoft.

screenshot of what happens when you hit ALT+Windows. Picture shows the desktop background and mini views of the two open windows.

Windows key + L = Lock your PC. This will show the screen seen when you first log on to the computer. If you use a password to get on to your computer, you will need to re-enter your password to access your computer after hitting Windows + L.

Windows key + D = Show or hide the desktop. If you have any Windows open, this will minimize them all and show your desktop. If you are viewing the desktop, hitting CTRL+D will switch to the most recently used window.

Function Keys

If your keyboard has a row of Function Keys (F1, F2, etc), there are also some helpful shortcuts using those keys.

F2 = Rename a file or folder in Windows Explorer. Select the file you want to rename, and then hit F2. You can quickly rename the file.

F3 = When using web browser (such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge) or Windows File Explorer, quickly pull up a search box to search the web page or for a file or folder.

ALT + F4 = Close the current window.

Those are just a sample of the many, many keyboard shortcuts available. To see a complete list, check out this helpful article from Microsoft.

Goodreads: A Fantastic, Free Way to Track Books Read

It’s happened to the best of us. You found a book at the library or bookstore that sounds great based on the blurb. You start reading and it seems familiar and can’t help but wonder, have I read this before? With Goodreads, you can easily check to see if you have already read a book.

Goodreads is a website that helps you keep track of what books you have read and what books you would like to read. There are also many other features of the website (and app!) that include reviews, book giveaways, recommendations, and more.

Getting Started

Screenshot of Goodreads homepage prompting user to sign up for an account.

You have the options of creating an account with Amazon, Apple, Facebook, or your email address. Note: the Goodreads website and app have slightly different layouts. In this post, I will be covering the website, which is accessible in a browser on mobile or desktop devices.

Shelves

Screenshot showing user shelves in Goodreads.

Once your account is created, you can start adding books to your shelves. By default, you are started with the standard shelves: Read, Currently Reading and Want to Read. You can make additional custom shelves as well by clicking or tapping on the add shelf button. For example, I have a shelf called Upcoming Releases, for books I want to read that haven’t been released yet.

Searching and Browsing

Screenshot showing search field auto populating results.

To find a book to add to your shelves, start typing in the search box. Results will auto populate based on what you’ve typed. When you see the book you’re looking for, click or tap on the title. When searching for an author or something with more than one result, hit enter on your keyboard or tap on the magnifying glass icon to see all the results.

Screenshot of search results.

Once you get to the results screen, you can limit by title or author. There are also other ways to filter your search by using the tabbed categories for the results. Groups are a social feature of Goodreads where users discuss certain authors, genres, topics, etc. The Quotes tab displays results for quotes (from books, authors, etc.) featuring the search term. People displays users with that search term. This is how you can search for people you know that may be on Goodreads. Listopia displays user created lists featuring that search term.

Book Listings

Screenshot of Goodreads book listing.

The main page for a book displays the average rating from Goodreads readers, a summary of what the book is about, the genres readers have tagged it, the length, and when it was first published.

On a listing for a book, there is the option to add the book to one or more of your shelves. Clicking or tapping on want to read adds the book to your to-read shelf. To add it to a different shelf, click or tap on the arrow next to want to read. Since Amazon owns Goodreads, if the book is available on Kindle format, the Kindle price is displayed. Adding a book to any of your shelves other than want to read or currently reading automatically marks the book as read.

To write a review, click on the number of star you want to give the book. From there, choose whether or not to add a review in addition to the rating.

Screenshot showing five stars being rated on a book listing.

Scrolling down farther on the book listing page, you’ll see if any of your Goodreads friends have read the book and beneath that, reviews from Goodreads readers. You can filter by the number of stars a reviewer gave, search for a word or phrase used in a review, sort by when the review was written, which edition, and the language of the review written.

Find New Books to Read

There are many ways to find books to read with Goodreads. I have found great suggestions by searching for a book I enjoyed and on the book’s listing, scrolling down to readers also enjoyed.

Screenshot of readers also enjoyed with similar titles.

Once you have rated a decent amount of books, you can view recommendations from Goodreads based on titles you previously rated. On the top bar, click on browse and then recommendations.

Screenshot showing Goodreads recommendations page.

Here are recommendations sorted by your shelves. Mouse over or lightly tap on a book cover to display a brief summary of that book. There is also a because you added field, which shows why Goodreads recommended that title.

Screenshot showing example of close up of book.

Genres

Another great way to find books is browsing a particular genre. Click on browse and then genres. There is the option to add your favorite genres for easy access.

Screenshot showing historical fiction genre page.

Within the genre, there are new releases within that genre, related genres, blog posts from Goodreads, giveaways for books in that genre, and the most read books that week in that genre. Mousing over any of the book covers shows the same synopsis discussed earlier.

Screenshot showing Goodreads giveaway page.

On the genre pages, there are also related reader lists and the most popular books overall in that genre. Also on the genre pages are new releases from authors you’ve read.

Friends and Communities

If your friends or family are on Goodreads, you can send them a friend request. Once they accept, you are able to see the books they’ve read and rated, along with any book reviews they’ve written.

Once you have added friends, you will see updates on the Goodreads homepage when friends have added a new book or entered a giveaway.

In addition to being able to add friends, you can follow your favorite authors and get updates when they release a new book. There are certain authors that have added the books they have read or are currently reading.

Giveaways, Awards, Blogs, and More

But wait, there’s more!

Goodreads has frequent book giveaways! Enter to win copies of books.

Every year, Goodreads holds their annual Readers’ Choice Awards where readers vote for their favorite book within particular categories.

There is a great news and interviews section, where they highlight upcoming new book releases and author interviews.

Readers can challenge themselves by entering the yearly book challenge with the goal of reading a certain number of books. Throughout the year, Goodreads gives you progress on how you’re doing towards reaching your goal. For example, they tell you “you are three books ahead of schedule” based on how many books you’ve read so far that year and how many you have challenged yourself to read.

Last but not least, the library has our own Goodreads profile where library staff rate and review books they’ve enjoyed.

Have you used Goodreads? Let us know in the comments!

A Quick Way To Name a Song With Your Smartphone

You’re listening to the radio or watching TV and a song comes on that you don’t know. You like the song, but how can you find out what it is? Luckily, there are built in features on your smartphone that allow you to name a song in seconds!

Apple

Screenshot of Shazam listening to identify a song

Starting with the release of iOS 14.2 in 2020, Apple devices offer built in song recognition, just by asking Siri, the built-in digital assistant. In your Siri settings, if you have “Hey Siri” enabled, simply say, “Hey Siri, what song is this?” when a song is playing. Another way to quickly activate Siri is to hold down the Home Screen button iPhones with a home button or hold down the power button on iPhone 9 and later.

You’ll get a screen that Siri is listening and then a screen will pop up with the name of the song.

Screenshot of Shazam identified song

To see a history of songs you have identified, download the Shazam app from the App Store. To see more detailed instructions, check out this helpful article from Apple.

Android

On Android phones, there is a similar method. Touch and hold the home button or say “Hey Google” and then ask, “What’s this song?”

Screenshot of Android listening for a song

Google Assistant will name the song and give you options to share the song, watch the video on YouTube, or add to a playlist on YouTube Music. Google has written a helpful article with more detailed instructions.

Use the Google App

You can also identify songs with both iOS devices and Android devices by using the Google app. The neat thing with the Google app is that in addition to identifying a song by playing it, you can also sing or hum it yourself. This is handy in case you have a certain lyric or melody stuck in your head.

Screenshot

Open the Google app and tap on identify song by listening. Another option is to tap on the microphone icon and then tap search for a song.

When I attempted to sing a song, I got a 48% match of the song I was singing.

Then again, my singing voice isn’t the greatest, so you may get better results. I only got a 34% match when I attempted to hum a song.

Have you tried identifying a song with your smartphone? Let us know in the comments!

Libby App Now Available for Kindle Fire

Recently, the OverDrive app was discontinued. In its place is the Libby App. Until recently, Kindle Fire users were unable to access the app on their devices. Luckily, this has changed!

The Kindle Fire app is now available for download in the Amazon App Store. The Kindle Fire Libby App is available for Kindle Fire models made in 2020 or newer. It is also available on the following models:

DeviceYear
Fire HD 102017
Fire HD 82018
Fire HD 102019
Fire HD 82020
Fire HD 102021
Fire HD 10 Plus2021
Fire 72022
Fire HD 82022
Fire HD 8 Plus2022

When visiting the Amazon Libby App download page, there is a box listing if your model of Kindle Fire is compatible with the app.

Screenshot showing Libby App in the Amazon app store with x marks next to the compatibility with your devices that aren't compatible.

After downloading the Libby App on your Kindle Fire, there is an option to read e-books either on the app itself or on the built in Kindle app on the Kindle Fire. For more information on how to deliver e-books to your Kindle App, check out our helpful Tech Tips article.

Discover a Unique Way to Search with Google Lens

Have you ever been out and about and wondered what kind of flower or species of bird you spotted? Now there is a way you can find out, with the help of your smartphone’s camera.

Google Lens allows you to search for an item with your camera or with an existing photo. It is available on both Android and iOS (Apple) devices.

Android Devices

On Android devices, there are a few ways you can access Lens. On most new Android devices, Lens is enabled by default and can be accessed directly from the camera app. Open the camera app, aim at the item (be it a flower, animal, type of water bottle, etc), and then tap the Lens button. Next, tap the magnifying glass icon to search for the image in your camera’s viewfinder.

Screen shot of mode options on Android devices

Depending on your device, you may need to tap the modes button to access Lens. To learn how to add more modes, check out this helpful video.

If you don’t have Lens within your camera app, you can download it from the Google Play Store.

Searching using the Google App

Alternatively, you can search a live photo view and a previously taken picture with the Google app.

Open the Google app and scroll down to Discover. Next, tap the Google Lens icon in the search bar. The Lens icon is shaped like a camera.

Screen shot of search bar in Google app

You can search for either a live view of an item in your surroundings or by using a previously taken picture. To search a live view, point to an object with your camera and tap Search Search To search with an existing image, tap Photo picker Gallery and select a photo. You’ll have the option to search the whole photo or part of a photo.

To search for a specific object in the image: If available, on the object, tap the Select icon . To search for part of an image, tap Select image area , then drag the corners of the box around your selection. Next, scroll to the bottom to see your search results. To refine your search, tap add to your search and add keywords.

Apple Devices

To use Lens on an Apple device (iPhone or iPad), download the Google app from the App Store.

Next, give permission for the app to access your device’s camera and if you would like to also photo search using pictures from your photo library, allow access to your photos as well.

Screen shot  of first time open of Google app on iOS devices

Once you have granted the appropriate permissions, you can choose to search a live view or using a previously taken photo.

Screen shot on iOS devices after granting permissions

You can start your search by tapping the camera at the end of the search field . Once you have the item you want to search in view, tap the magnifying glass icon to search.

Example of Google Lens showing a blue tumbler

Next, you’ll see your search results. Scroll down to view more results.

Screen shot showing search results

The tabs (homework, shopping, places, etc.) will give you more specific types of results.

Have you used Google Lens to search? Let us know in the comments!