Windows 7 Productivity Tips
Windows 7 has no doubt brought about lots of new changes and upgrades.
Most are simple and straightforward — new programs, features, and user interface changes. However, there are some features that aren’t necessarily as obvious, such as new keyboard shortcuts, Windows Flip, Jump Lists, etc.
Today, I’ll go over a few of these new features to help you be more productive when using Windows 7.
Windows 7 Aero Peek
For those multi-taskers out there like myself, sometimes you just need to take a quick look at your desktop.
Aero Peek does just that.
You have two options when using Aero Peek. Simply hover over the small Show Desktop box in the bottom-right hand corner of your screen, and your windows will become completely transparent, giving you a nice view of your desktop.
To minimize all windows, click that same box and they will be minimized to your taskbar.
To bring them back up, just click it again and your windows will be restored to their original positions and sizes.
Windows 7 Jump Lists
Jump lists are also new to Windows 7.
Jump lists are a great way to quickly control and manipulate your programs without leaving your current window.
When you right click on an icon in the taskbar, some programs will offer up a jump list — a list of functions for that application.
For example, in Windows Media Player, you may see your most frequently listened to music, play and pause buttons, among other features.
In Internet Explorer, you will see your most frequently visited websites. Each program can be built with different controls and functions, each of which helps you to be more productive in your day to day use.
Windows Flip (and Windows Flip 3D)
Windows Flip and Windows Flip 3D are functions which help to give you a more comprehensive look at your open applications and windows.
Windows Flip 3D is the new alternative to task switching in older generations of Windows operating systems and Windows Flip in Windows 7. Simply press Windows Key to bring up Windows Flip 3D. You will see all of your windows, opened or closed, as thumbnails organized in 3D across your screen.
While still holding down Windows Key, just click on the window you wish to open or scroll through them with your mouse wheel and continue about your work.
Windows Flip, as mentioned above, is an upgraded version of task switching in older generations of Windows. The usage remains mostly the same but adds a few new functions.
Hold ALT + TAB and you will see a list of applications just as you did before, but instead of showing an icon for the program, you’ll see live thumbnails of the contents of those open windows.
As an added function, if you continue to hold ALT + TAB and hover your mouse over one of the windows, you will be able to view a full sized preview of the window without having to bring it to the foreground. To keep the window up front, just click on the window.
New Windows 7 Shortcuts
Windows 7 adds a ton of new shortcuts that help to make you more productive when using your computer. I’ll go over my favorite new Windows 7 shortcuts, and explain why they help me be more productive in my work day.
• Dragging Windows
I would have to say one of my favorite shortcuts in productivity would be the new window drag methods. When working on multiple documents, you can simply drag your window to its desired location. For example, when working on a research paper, you may need to have both a browser, and a document open.
Just drag your document all the way to the left edge of the screen, and your browser to the right edge. Windows 7 will automatically maximize each window to exactly 50% width, and 100% height so you can see the full content of each window at the same time.
Dragging a window to the top edge of the screen will maximize the window to 100% of your screen automatically. As an added feature, when you drag a window away from its maximized/modified position, your window will return to its original size.
• Windows + T
Another fun shortcut to help increase productivity that I use on a regular basis is the Windows + T shortcut, which allows you to focus on the taskbar and lets you use the arrow keys to navigate applications. This is especially useful considering some applications contain so many focus points, that the “TAB” function can sometimes be cumbersome to use productively.
• Windows + P
The next shortcut is great for those who do presentations on a regular basis. The Windows + P shortcut brings up a nice Windows Flip-like dialog which lets you choose what mode you would like to use your projector with.
This includes Computer Only, Projector Only, Duplicate Desktop, and Extend Desktop. Using this shortcut is a lot easier than going into your control panel options every time you connect your projector.
• Windows + R
Next is a new shortcut that was almost in older generations of Windows. By pressing the Windows + R keys together, you will open the Run … dialog.
While this was not a shortcut in older generations of Windows, you could still press the Windows Key to bring up the Start menu, and then the R key to start the Run dialog box. This shortcut simply makes getting to it a bit faster.
Anyone who uses Windows Services like msconfig, Services.msc, etc. will appreciate this new shortcut.
For an exhaustive list of new Windows 7 shortcuts, you can visit LifeHacker’s article: The Master List of New Windows 7 Shortcuts.
Get More Productive with Windows 7
As you can see, there are lots of great new productivity tools and shortcuts in Windows 7.
While this article doesn’t cover all of them, I hope that these simple productivity tips will help to make your life a bit easier. Keep an eye out for more new tips and make sure to share them in the comments below.