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Leave early on Friday: time-saving PC tips and tricks

Alex Castle | May 3, 2013
What's the best way to tell an expert PC user apart from a bumbling amateur? The expert doesn't waste time. Time is money, after all, and there are tons of ways to speed up even the most basic computing tasks.

OneTab, an add-on for the Google Chrome browser, can help. Whenever tabs start to get out of hand, just click the little OneTab icon. Poof! All of your open tabs will close and automatically be stored in a list. Later, you can browse through the list and either reopen that one tab you need, or all of them at once.

10. Use a business card OCR app

It's hard to believe that so many business introductions still use a little card-stock rectangle. If you intend to contact somebody in the future, after all, that business card is probably going to wind up digitized in your Outlook or smartphone address book eventually.

If you're entering business cards into your address book by hand, you're wasting time. Instead, get one step closer to going paperless by using an app with optical character recognition skills. Evernote Hello (available for iOS and Android) lets you snap a photo of a card from your smartphone, then scans the text, digitizes it, and adds the deets to your contacts list.

11. Make sure you're malware-free

Even if your computer isn't displaying the classic signs of infection--such as software crashes or bizarre browser behavior--malware could be sapping system resources and slowing you down. It's worth taking a moment to check.

If you have a good, up-to-date antivirus suite, you've already got a solid first line of defense. However, some malware can slip through the cracks. Set a reminder to run a monthly active malware scan, such as the one provided by the free version of Malwarebytes. It will do whatever it takes to neutralize any malware it finds.

12. Search Windows with precision

One surefire way to save time using Windows is to stop wading through it. Instead, use search as often as you can. Windows search used to be a mess. Now, however, nine times out of ten, you'll find a file or program quicker by hitting the search shortcut (Windows-F, or just the Windows key in Windows 8), then typing in what you're looking for.

Consider reading up on the advanced search operators in Windows. These advanced commands let you do things like search for files of a certain type, files created after a certain date, or files of a certain size.

13. Save commonly used documents as templates

If you frequently create similar documents, such as expense reports or invoices, it's tempting to  open an earlier file of that type, edit key sections, then save it with a new name. But there's a better way to go about it that will prevent you from accidentally addressing Sam as Frances in that offer letter.

 

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