Found by Accident: Tips & Tricks

Mark Canes

Did you ever accidentally discover a useful feature or function in a software package, or on a website, that you’d never previously known or realized? Most of us have, over the years. And when we do discover something, we seldom share this revelation with others; hopefully we remember it ourselves for future use, but that’s usually as far as it goes.

So I’d like to share a couple of my “finds” with you here, in case you don’t already know them (and find them useful).

  1. Google as an all-purpose calculator: type an equation into the Google search bar, and the answer displays above the list of search results. This is not limited to straight math. You can search for conversion between metric and imperial: type “2 miles in km” and Google will show the following: 2 miles = 3.218688 kilometers. Exchange rate conversion works too: “1 USD in GBP” returns 1 U.S. dollar = 0.609681746 British pounds. Experiment with this – it saves me a lot of time on a regular basis.
  2.  Microsoft Word: use Shift+F3 to toggle the current word (or currently highlighted words) between lowercase, mixed case and uppercase. It’s a really quick way to correct, for example, a heading that you inadvertently typed in lowercase instead of mixed case. And of course when you type an entire sentence before realizing Caps Lock was on….need I say more? [Note this can also work in Outlook, depending on version and editor settings.]

As I remember or notice more of these, I’ll keep a list and periodically post some updated hints here.

Please feel free to share your own discoveries by posting comments to this blog.