Tip o’ the Week #180 – A touch of magic

As more and more of us continue to enjoyclip_image002 new laptops courtesy of the Windows 8 Refresh program, the fact that most of them are touch-enabled is causing delight and surprise. The best things about touch on traditional laptop devices may be the less obvious uses – scrolling up and down a web page with a lazy flick, or highlighting something to a colleague by pinching to zoom.


clip_image006Tim Hall suggested a couple of cool tips, namely the new icon that’s appeared on the Office Quick Access Toolbar, to enable Touch Mode – a feature covered in the Office Preview, in ToW 142, but it’s changed the UI and become a good bit more functional. Tim also points out on his Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch, if you double-tap on the screen it will zoom in.

Meanwhile, Darren Strange has also become a huge fan of the Touch Mode in Outlook – not only does it space out the menu options and folders, but it introduces a new shortcut icon list on the far right (beyond the Reading Pane). Darren advocates triaging email by holding the sides of the super thin screen on his shiny Asus Zenbook, then tapping with his right thumb. It’s especially easy to flick up and down through the mailbox, then tap on Reply, then drop your hands to the keyboard for when you need to type.

Here he is, poised to delete some nonsense email that’s cluttering up his inbox:


Tip o’ the Week #178 – Copy as Path, turbocharged

Long-term readers of ToW may recall tip 101, which featured clip_image001the “Copy as Path” command in Windows 7. In a nutshell; hold the Shift key as you right-click on a file in Windows Explorer, and you’ll see the Copy as Path option, which copies the entire path to that file (eg c:\blah\blah\file.doc) into the clipboard. Handy for when you want to point a dialog box from an application at a file you’ve been working on.

Well, Windows 8 goes one better. The Explorer desktop application features an option on the Home tab – clip_image002simply select a file or folder, then click on the Home menu option to show the tabs (assuming they’re not already visible), and you’ll see Copy path.

If you like to have one-click access to these kinds of super-user functions, there is an even quicker way.


Look above the File menu in the Explorer window, and you’ll see a Quick Access Toolbar – something that’s been in Office for a while, as a place to dock common commands.  If you click on the down arrow at the end of the QAT, you can enable and disable the commands which are already on it, but not add new ones. If you want to add the Copy Path command, for example, clip_image004simply right-click on the command clip_image005on the Ribbon tab, then Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

Tip o’ the Week #176 – F(u)11 screen ahead


This week’s tip might seem a little obvious to some, yet partially unknown to others. Internet Explorer has offered the capability to display a page in full-screen mode, since IE4. Just like the “content, not chrome” ethos of the “Metro” Modern UI design language, reducing the various window borders and controls, menus, toolbars etc (aka the “chrome”), leaves more room on screen for the web page or other application/document content.

Now, we all know there are two versions of Internet Explorer 10 – the Modern UI version (full-screen, hiding all controls unless you swipe from the top or bottom of the screen or press WindowsKey-Z to display the address bar, tabs list etc), and the more traditional browser with tabs, icons to control the browser behaviour, menus etc. If you’re using the desktop version of IE, try flicking to and from full screen mode by hitting the F11 key – the same shortcut clip_image003that’s been in IE for 15 years.

Other applications have full screen modes too, and some, like OneNote, also use the same familiar F11 – making your current OneNote page fill the entire screen (apart from the taskbar, unless you’re hiding that too), so useful wclip_image004hen you’re note-taking in a meeting and want to make it clear to anyone peering over your shoulder that you’re not just doing email or wasting time.

Office 2013 applications let you switch to/from a full screen view too, by clicking on the Auto Hide option at the top right of the “Ribbon” – like the browser or clip_image006OneNote applications above, it’s a handy way of making the most of screen real estate, especially if your laptop has a physically small screen. Like a Surface, for example.