20 Tips to save some valuable time

12 May 2020



When designing and developing software, one of our aims is to ensure that each of our users is able to make the best use of their time. If you are using the desktop version of our software you are likely to be using Windows 10, which has a number of features and shortcuts that can result in simple tasks being completed in less time than may otherwise be possible.

It may well be that you have been using Windows for a number of years and are therefore already familiar with some of the features we are about to explain. If this is the case, then the following might act as a useful aide-memoire. If one or more are new to you, being aware of them might mean you can save some valuable time by completing simple tasks faster, or by organising your desktop in a more efficient way.


Windows 10 allows the creation of multiple desktops. You might find you want to start something new and a clean space in which to work would help you think more clearly. However, you may want to quickly move back to the original task without having to reopen and organise the windows you previously had open. To achieve this multiple desktops are the solution.

Click on the Task View icon close to the Windows Start button:

To then create a new desktop click on add a new desktop, and once you have created one or more – you can create as many as you need – you click on the one you want to work on from the same screen.


“Snap Assist” for split screen viewing – this allows you to display two windows, one on each half of your screen. Start by dragging the first window to the side – effectively “throwing” it at the side of the screen with the mouse (if you are using multiple screens make sure you “throw” it towards an outside edge otherwise it will merely move to the adjacent screen).

The window will then fill half of the screen allowing you to click on any other window that is also open (on the right hand side), which will then expand to fill the other half of the screen.


In a similar way you can also organise your screen by dragging windows into a corner of the screen. This time, instead of “throwing” the chosen window at the side, choose a corner. Choose up to four windows – with all four windows aimed at each corner you are then left with four perfectly arranged rectangles filling your screen.


In a similar way, to maximise a window quickly, again click on the title bar and drag it to the top of your screen.


Another way to snap a window to the side of your monitor is to hold down the Window key and then press either the right or left arrow, depending on to which side you want the window to move.


If you are using multiple monitors and want the window to move to the other monitor, then the procedure is similar to the above, this time you also hold down the shift key before pressing the arrow key.


Again, with a view to organising your desktop, you can quickly minimise all windows except for the one you want to work on. Do this by clicking on the title bar of the window you want to remain open, hold the mouse button down and quickly “shake” the window from side to side. All the other windows disappear, accessible again either from the taskbar, “shaking” the one window again, or scrolling through them individually by pressing simultaneously the Alt and Tab keys and stopping on the window you want to open.


To minimise all windows at once press the Windows key + the letter “D” key, saving you the time needed to minimise each one separately. Pressing Ctrl + W closes the current window.


Going back to the Taskbar, you can open items on your Taskbar with the following keyboard shortcut.

If you have programs pinned to your Taskbar you can open them from the keyboard. To do so use the Windows key on the keyboard and then the corresponding number key from the top row of the keyboard, counting from the left. In the example above, to open the Teams app use the Windows key + 1.


In a similar way, again without leaving the keyboard, you can scroll though the apps on the Taskbar by pressing the Windows key and tapping the key with the letter “T”. Release both keys once you have landed on the app you want to open, then press Enter to open it.


Focus Assist is a useful Windows 10 feature that helps you get on with the task in hand, free from interruptions from other apps. To set up your personal preferences, go to Settings>System>Focus Assist.

From here you have three options: the first is to disable the feature (which means you receive all notifications from all open apps); the second is to select notifications that you choose, any others being sent straight to the action centre, found on the far right of the Taskbar); or finally you can select alarms only. Further rules enable you to fine tune your preferences, for example applying your choice during non-working hours only.


If you are working from two or more windows at the same time, so called “background scrolling” is useful. For example you might be writing an email whilst referring to a pdf, then you can scroll on either having first hovered above it with your mouse. This will save time by avoiding the need to click backwards and forwards between the two windows.


You are probably already aware that by pressing Alt + Tab you can scroll through open windows, but if you find it easier to move in the opposite direction do so by holding down the shift key at the same time

…. and when composing emails


Deleting the last letter you typed is achieved by pressing the backspace key, but to delete the last word then press Ctrl + backspace – this should save you some time if you notice that you miss-typed a whole word.


Again, when editing emails, you can move the cursor manually from word to word while typing, moving it to the beginning of the next word by pressing Ctrl + right arrow, to the beginning of the previous word by pressing Ctrl + left arrow.


When composing emails it is helpful to know where to quickly find the hundreds of different symbols that come with Windows 10. To access the Windows Character Map app, type “character” in the Windows search box next to the start button. Once the app is open select the symbol you need in the font you need, press “select”, then copy – you are then ready to paste the symbol into your email.

…. or when using a browser


To move down a webpage one page at a time, tap the spacebar, to move up it keep your finger on the shift key when tapping the space bar.


In order to zoom in and out of a web page without opening the settings on your browser, Ctrl + the minus or the plus key reduces or magnifies the page respectively, with Ctrl + zero resetting it to the default magnification.


If you are halfway down a web page and want to quickly jump up to the address bar simply press Ctrl + the “L” key, or even quicker, F6.


If you have a number of tabs open, for example if you are composing two or more emails at the same time in CompassAir, you can cycle between the tabs by simply clicking Ctrl + Tab (or backwards by pressing the shift key at the same time). Pressing Ctrl + a number will take you automatically to the tab counting them from the left hand side. For example, if you had three tabs open and wanted to jump to the third by only using the keyboard, press Ctrl + 3 from the top of the keyboard.

A few words about CompassAir

Creating solutions for the global maritime sector, CompassAir develops state of the art messaging and business application software designed to maximise ROI. Our software is used across the sector, including by Sale and Purchase brokers (S&P/SnP), Chartering brokers, Owners, Managers and Operators.

Through its shipping and shipbroking clients, ranging from recognised World leaders through to the smallest, most dynamic independent companies, CompassAir has a significant presence in the major maritime centres throughout Europe, the US and Asia.

Our flagship solution is designed to simplify collaboration for teams within and across continents, allowing access to group mailboxes at astounding speed using tools that remove the stress from handling thousands of emails a day. It can be cloud based or on premise. To find out more contact us at [email protected]If you are new to shipping, or just want to find out more about this exciting and challenging sector, the CompassAir Shipping Guide might prove to be an interesting read.