Top tech tips to use your computer like a pro

tech tips

Ever wanted to recall an email or restore a browser tab you accidentally closed? Follow these handy tech tips to get the most out of your machine.

No matter how well you think you know your computer, there’s a good chance there are some tricks you aren’t aware of.

Check out these tech tips to see what your PC or Mac is capable of.

Retracting an email

Who hasn’t accidentally hit ‘Reply all’ when you just meant to email one person? Well, most modern email clients can recall emails you’ve sent – if you’re quick.

Read: How to find missing files on your computer

If you’re using Gmail, once you hit ‘Send’ on a message, a dialog box will appear in the bottom left of your screen giving you an option to select ‘Undo’ or ‘View message’. Clicking ‘Undo’ will reverse the sent email.

By default, this option will be available for just five seconds after you initially hit ‘Send’, but you can increase the time limit. From the main Gmail screen, select ‘Settings’ in the top right of your screen and then ‘See all settings’. Next to the ‘Undo send’ option you can select a send cancellation period of five, 10, 20 or 30 seconds.

If you’re using Outlook, there is a recall option, but be aware that if people have already read your message, you won’t be able to recall the email from them.

To recall an email in Outlook, select the ‘Sent items’ folder and double click the email you sent by mistake or want to unsend. Then click ‘Message’, then ‘Actions’, then ‘Recall this message’ to reverse the send.

Read: Is it worth having a printer at home?

Inserting a USB drive correctly first time

You’d think this would be simple, but everyone at some stage has tried inserting a USB the wrong way around.

Here’s a trick you can use to get it right every time. If you look at any USB connector, you’ll notice one side has a logo that resembles a three-pronged fork.

It’s not just there for decoration. If you’re inserting the USB horizontally, then the symbol will face up and if you’re inserting it vertically the symbol will face towards you when inserted correctly.

Restore a closed browser tab

Another frustrating one is when closing a stack of web browser tabs you have open, you accidentally close the one tab you needed. And now you can’t find it.

Read: Do you know what happens to the location data on your phone?

You could open your ‘Internet history’ and trawl through everything until you find what you’re looking for, but there’s a quicker way.

To restore the last tab you closed, simply hit Ctrl + Shift + T on a PC or Command + Shift + T if you’re using a Mac. Note that this only works for the last tab you closed, so if you’re looking for an earlier tab, you’ll need to go through your internet history.

Take and crop a screenshot

When taking a screenshot, you don’t want to reveal too much of your screen as it could be a security issue if sensitive information is shown.

To take a screenshot of just the area of screen you want, hit Command + Shift + 4 if you’re using a Mac, and a rectangle will appear on-screen that you can drag and manipulate to capture what you want.

If you’re using a PC, you’ll need to use the Windows Snipping Tool, which can be found by using the Windows menu search function.

The Snipping Tool gives you a similar box that allows you to highlight and select only the area of screen you wish to capture.

What’s your favourite computer shortcut? We’d love to hear your tips in the comment section below.

Written by Brad Lockyer

Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.

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One Comment

  1. If you’re using windows 11, to take a screen shot, you can also use : Shift, + windows logo + S, pressing them all at the same time. This darkens your scree , not too dark to obliterate what you want to screen ‘shoot’. using mouse, place cursor top left corner and drag what you want to cover.. Then remove mouse and click on where you want it to go, click to paste, and voila.. Good if you don’t have a Snipping tool there. I haven’t used snipping for over 4 years now, and I believe it’s the same., just another method.

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