Everybody loves shortcuts, but sometimes we need a nudge in the right direction to find them. Follow these quick and easy tech tips for adding up numbers, getting a handle on your many browser tabs, simplifying your smartphone typing, seeking out keywords, and wrangling frustrating USB connectors.
1. Google your equations
You need to add up some numbers fast. What do you do? You could dig around in your desk drawer for a calculator. You could fish around on your computer for a calculator app. Or you could just use that Google search box you already have open in your browser. Google’s search box doubles as a quick and easy calculator. It’s pretty flexible about how you phrase your equations. For example, typing “12 x 2” or “12 times 2” will get you the same result. Google helpfully opens up a full in-browser calculator above the usual search results so you can keep going in your calculations.
Google’s built-in calculator can also handle some fancier equations. Try asking it for square roots or string together a series like “12 + 18 + 36 - 9.” If you get into more elaborate queries, remember to use parentheses so it knows what you’re asking. Searching for “12 + 5 - (2 x 2)” will get the answer you’re looking for: “13.”
2. Control your tabs in Chrome
Windows users are familiar with the concept of the task manager, a program that shows everything running on your computer. The Mac version is called the activity monitor. Google’s Chrome browser has a task manager of its very own and it’s a good way to keep a handle on your tabs.
If you have 30 tabs open, it can be hard to remember what’s where. Access the task manager through the settings (it’s under “more tools”) or use the shift + esc keyboard shortcut on a Windows machine. The task manager lists all your open tabs. Double-click on a tab’s description to make it pop up in view in the browser. There is also an “end process” option that lets you close tabs you no longer need or shut down a misbehaving tab.