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50 time-saving tips for Windows, Google, Gmail and Android

Faster ways to navigate, launch programs, browse the web and find what you need


We all spend a considerable amount of time on the internet, whether it's for work or pleasure. Here are a bunch of great tips which should save you time.

11. Save time typing website addresses: When typing a website address into your web browser you can add the 'www.' and '.com' parts without typing them. Simply type the main part of the address, for example 'google', then press Ctrl-Enter.

12. Use App Tabs in Firefox: If you have certain websites which you visit on a regular basis, you can create App Tabs in Firefox to permanently keep them open. Click on the desired tab and choose 'Pin as app tab' – it moves to the far left and takes up less space.

Mozilla Firefox App tabs

13. Control your tabs: In a browser, press Ctrl-T to open a new tab. Use Ctrl-Tab to switch between open tabs; if you close a tab by accident, press Ctrl-Shift-T to reopen it.

14. Pin key pages: Get to your favourite sites straight from the Windows 7 taskbar without having to open Internet Explorer. Just click the icon to the left of the web address in the One Box, or the tab for the website, or the website's icon on the New Tab page, and then drag it to the taskbar. When a site is pinned it shows up as its own thumbnail, with a Jump List. Some sites also have thumbnail preview controls, others have icon overlays providing live information such as the number of new messages in your inbox.

15. Get a better web browser: Our recent group test of the six most popular web browsers found Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox to lead the pack. If you often find your browser is slow to load your favourite sites, try downloading and installing an alternative tool. You may find some sites are optimised for particular browsers, and it won't hurt to install more than one on your machine.

 16. Get faster broadband: If you're still using a slow dialup or 3G broadband connection - or even if you have an entry-level home broadband package - you could be losing precious time from your online working day. The difference in page-load times may only be seconds, but all those seconds quickly add up. Check whether you're getting the broadband speed you're paying for at speedtest.pcadvisor.co.uk, then see if you could get a better deal at Broadband Genie.

17. Enable your browser's bookmark bar: There are a small number of websites which you visit regularly, probably: BBC News, Sky Player, PC Advisor (we hope!), Twitter… you get the picture.Instead of typing out the same web address over and over, bookmark or 'favourite' the pages so they're always there at the top of your browser. This way you can get to the page you want in one swift click. Show your bookmark bar in Google Chrome by pressing Ctrl-Shift-B. In Firefox, click the Firefox button at the top, then Options, then check Bookmarks Toolbar. For IE9, simply click the start at the top-right corner of the browser.

For hardcore web surfers, use two different web browsers, one with a bookmark bar full of work websites and another full of personal ones. Do that and your internet productivity will rocket. Don't forget to bookmark PCAdvisor.co.uk - it's an excellent read!

18. Use your browser's autofill and password manager: As long as you're the only user of your PC (or you have separate user accounts with passwords), you can save a lot of time by letting your browser remember your details - address, email, phone number and even partial credit card details (never save the security code on the back). When you're buying things online, these details can be entered automatically. The same goes for usernames and passwords for website logins.

19. Turn your browser into a productivity tool: Use the free Timer Tab app. Simply open a new tab in your browser of choice and navigate to timer-tab.com, where you can set up a custom alarm or timer to keep you on track while you’re working. Set the timer for 25 minutes and focus on work for the full time period; then take 5 minutes to relax and browse the Web.

20. Write a to-do list: By working smarter and becoming more productive, you can save time in the long run. Writing a to-do list will prevent those thumb-wiggling moments as you wonder what to do next, and stop you starting one thing only to become distracted by another. We like Remember The Milk as it's online, but countless other free utilities are available. If you have lots of different duties to remember at work which have other information attached (such as a job's status and cost) try using an Excel spreadsheet and using different colours to highlight cells.

Remember the milk

21. Edit PDFs for free: You can save time by using Google Docs instead of a more-expensive PDF editor to alter a PDF document. First, upload your document to Google Docs; then check the Convert text from PDF and image files to Google documents box, which converts a PDF document into an editable rich-text document (this works best if the PDF is mostly text). You can then edit it online and download the document again as a PDF or text file.

Next page: Search use Google like a pro with our power-searching tips

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