6 Time and Trauma Saving Digital Technology Tips for Working Remotely

Written by
Charles Booth

Have you ever watched someone at the computer seemingly typing a 1000 words a second and darting between a dozen windows without lifting their hands from the keyboard, making it all look so easy?

Whatever device you are using, the chances are that it has dozens and dozens of shortcuts built into it to make it easier to use and to help you work more efficiently. Some are obvious, some slightly less well known. I want to show you a few of my favourite short cuts and time savers that have helped make working from home much more relaxed.

Huge Time Saving Shortcuts for Creating Links and more

The first life changer I need to share with you is this little trick to turn something into a hyperlink; it’s incredibly useful when writing blog or e-learning content as it allows you to quickly place a link to a source document or more information easily, without all that right clicking and searching for the right button.

Hyperlink Shortcut

Try this; highlight some text, then click CTRL-K… take a moment to let that sink in, think about all the minutes a day you could save. It may seem like I’m over-exaggerating but believe me, in my role, this one is life changing.

Open link in a new tab shortcut

Don’t you just hate it when someone has placed a link that takes you away from the page you were looking at when you just want to open it for reference. Why not try CTRL-click next time you find a link and watch it open up in a new tab every time.

Shortcut to find something on a page

When there is just too much text on a page and you cant find the bit you are looking for, try CTRL-F to bring up the “find” box; then type what you want to find and it will take you to the next time this word occurs on a page.

Classic shortcuts

Let us never forget the importance of our long-time friends:

  • CTRL-C – to copy whatever we have selected
  • CTRL-X – to cut out whatever we have selected to move somewhere else
  • CTRL-V – to paste what we have selected in place
  • CTRL-Shift-V – to paste the selection as plain text only

Password Protecting and Encryption files on Office

Working remotely in most companies means working on the company shared folders or cloud services, whatever that might be; OneDrive or Dropbox to name a few. There is always the risk that you might save a file that needs to be kept confidential in a place where others in your company could see it, when perhaps they shouldn’t.

Of course I am not talking about confidential information protected by GDPR regulations; by now everyone should have that under wraps, but those secret plans for the office party quiz, or those documents outlining your colleague’s poor performance review should probably be protected.

In this video I explain how to do this using; File>Info>Protect Document>Encrypt with Password.

Saving Presentation Slides to the Small File Size PDF

At Apprentify we have been delivering online training and remote virtual meetings since we first started, and I think it is definitely fair to say that we are pretty good at it by now.

One thing we have found is that after every online session, there are always a few people who ask for a PDF of the slides and resources we used. Sometimes these files are huge and not suitable for email, however Microsoft office has a facility to save as a PDF in a really small file.

This video explains how to save the file this way by:

  • Clicking; File>Save as>Browse
  • Selecting PDF from the dropdown list of file types
  • Then click on; Minimum size (Publishing online)>Save

Freezing Rows and Columns in Microsoft Excel

When it comes to using Microsoft Excel, people have mixed feelings; some folks love it and use it for all manner of complex computations, perhaps to the point of vastly over complicating matters. On the other hand some people shy away from anything that looks like a spreadsheet, being overwhelmed by all that data.

This video explains a very simple technique to make your data more accessible and less confusing. Firstly by Freezing the top row to preserve all your column headings, then adding filter buttons to your column headings to allow you to look at only the data you need.

To freeze the top row, click on View>Freeze panes> Freeze top row

To add a filter, select the entire top row then click Home>Sort & Filter>Filter

Navigating your own Documents Super Quickly

In Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) circles; people often talk about including keywords in your headings, but did you know you can do the exact same thing in Microsoft Word too?

First you need to highlight your heading lines and click on the correct Heading setting in the Styles section on the home tab for each heading. Note this is the same in Google Docs, Pages and WordPress and many other Writing tools, offline and online.Adding Styles to Elements

Next, click on “View” then click on the checkbox for “Navigation Pane” and this will show a contents panel for the entire document, where you simply click on the heading you want, to go straight to it.Display the Navigation Pane in Word

Instantly Styling your Documents to Look Professional

Finally, as we have just been talking about using headings, you can take this one step further. Once all your document is split up into headings, you can change the overall style of the document in the “Design” tab; Word will even provide some template styles to start with.Choosing a Design Style in Word

You can also quickly change the colour scheme...

Microsoft Word Colour Scheme ...and... Microsoft Word font scheme...the font scheme.


You can even add a contents page following the same style.Adding a contents section in Microsoft Word

You can explore this further and make fully personalised style sheets for all of your documentation, to make branding any company documents as simple as selecting it from the design templates, though I will explore this in more detail in a later article.

Thanks for reading

Please let me know if any of these ideas were helpful; and let me know if you have any shortcuts that have made remote working easier for you. Thanks very much!

Blog Disclaimer

Any opinions expressed within the blog are those of the author and not necessarily held by Apprentify itself. Please be aware that information provided by this blog is subject to change. We recommend that you do not take any information held within as a definitive guide to the law or the relevant matter being discussed. You are advised to seek legal or professional advice where necessary rather than relying on the content supplied by the author(s) of this blog.

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