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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
6:27 PM Tue, Sept. 25th

Computer column: Keyboard shortcuts eliminate need for a third hand

Q: In your talks at the Prescott Computer Society, you often describe various keyboard commands to be used instead of using the mouse. Why would I do this when I have a perfectly good mouse?

A: Here's the way I look at it. When working on some sort of document or form that involves typing, an accomplished typist or keyboarder uses two hands on the keyboard and needs a third hand for the mouse. Since no one that I know has three hands, it just makes sense to keep your hands on the keyboard and leave the mouse alone. Every time you reach for the mouse, you have to locate the mouse, move the cursor to where you need to click, click, and then return your hand to the keyboard. You'll probably have to sneak a peek at the keyboard to see that your hands are placed correctly and then you can resume typing. I usually have to follow this up with, "Now where was I?" This can be a huge concentration breaker and I may forget that great thought I had just before I found the need to mouse.

An important extra feature of keyboard shortcuts is that they save me a lot of time. I can accomplish tasks faster using keyboard commands than mouse-clicking an icon on the toolbar. There are hundreds of keyboard commands but don't try to learn them all at once. Instead, learn the shortcuts for common tasks. Examples, CTRL+S for save, CTRL+C for copy, CTRL+X for cut, and CTRL+V for paste. CTRL+S allows me to be working on something and quickly save it when the phone rings. Then if I accidentally close it while looking at something having to do with the phone call, it is safe and I can simply reopen the document and pick up where I left off.

Stop relying on your mouse. Put it down and don't let yourself even think about it. Instead, keep your hands on the keyboard, and give yourself a chance to operate your computer at something closer to the speed of thought.

Q: I have lost my router password and can't connect my laptop computer to it wirelessly. What can I do?

A: There are actually two passwords related to your router - one for the wireless Internet connection and another for accessing the internal router settings. If you have lost your wireless password, you will have to go inside your router to determine what that password is. Because you have probably lost that password as well, here are general directions for the entire procedure.

First, Google your router's make and model number along with the words "default password." This will lead you to the original factory-installed user name and password information along with the router's IP address (also called "default gateway") - usually it's 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1

Using that information, type the following into your browser: http://192.168.1.1 (or whatever IP address is provided). You will see a login screen where you should enter the default user name and password you have already obtained. If the factory login information has not been changed, you will enter the router's settings area. This information is generally similar between manufacturers and you should look for a "wireless" or "security" tab and then look around for the wireless password (also referred to as a "key" or "passphrase"). Write it down and then enter it into your laptop's wireless connection configuration and go surfing.

Of course, if the router's password has been changed, this procedure won't work and you'll have to take an additional step. Using information provided by the router manufacturer's manual, determine how to reset the router. Usually, there will be specific directions about leaving the power on or off and holding in a reset button on the back of the router. After a period of time, the router will revert to its original factory settings and the default user name and password determined above will allow you to access the router. At that point, you should continue on and choose a new wireless password.

And, of course, this would be a very good time to write down the two sets of user names and passwords for future reference.

The Prescott Computer Society (PCS) is a PC-based users group located in Prescott. We hold several entertaining and educational meetings each month to show you how to get the most out of your computer. For further information, visit www.PCS4me.com. Email questions for future columns to PCSquestions@gmail.com.