Category: Quick Tech Tips

QTT: Only quote what you want (Gmail)

Quick Tech Tip for Gmail users.

Want to quote just part of an email message in your reply instead of the entire message?

Highlight the text you want, and then click the reply button or tap the ‘r’ key on the keyboard. Only the highlighted text will be quoted in your reply.

QTT: Drawing on PowerPoint Slides

Quick Tech Tip. Did you know that you can draw on PowerPoint slides during your presentation? You can use your mouse if you don’t have a touchscreen.

When you run your PowerPoint slides, in the bottom left corner of the screen are four hard-to-see transparent icons: Left arrow, pen, menu, right arrow. When you mouse over one of them, you can see it. In the image below is the pen.

Clicking the pen icon calls up this menu. Click the pen to draw; click the highlighter to highlight. Change the ink color if you’d like. When you want to go back to the arrow, for use when clicking on the slide, return to this menu and select the arrow.

Alternatively, right click on any slide to get this menu. Mouse over “Pointer Options” to get the pen/highlighter menu.

Or better yet, use the keyboard shortcuts.

CTRL+P: Switches to the pen
CTRL+A: Switches to the arrow
CTRL+E: Switches to the eraser
E: Erases all ink on the slide
CTRL+M: Toggles between showing/not showing ink on the slide

If you forget the keyboard shortcuts, run your slideshow, then press F1 to generate this information box. Choose the tab you want to see the shortcuts for that tab.

QTT: How Many People Have Clicked on Your Link?

Quick Tech Tip. For shortened URLS, did you know that you can get analytics by adding .info at the end of the URL? It doesn’t even need to be the URL you shortened.

Try it. Go to (page will open in new window). You will see how many people have visited that link, when they visited, how they got there, which browser they used, which country they’re in, and which platform they used.

It’s handy if, for example, you want to see how many of your students might be reading, or at least viewing/downloading what you’ve assigned. Remember, you can get URLs for any file or folder in Dropbox (see this blog post). Shorten the URL at, then watch what’s happening by adding .info to the end of the shortened URL.

QTT: Downloading Files (Chrome)

Quick Tech Tip: When using Chrome, downloaded files appear at the bottom of the browser window. Want to save it someplace rather than keep it in your downloads folder? Click and drag the file to your desktop or into a folder.

QTT: Jump to Address Bar in Firefox and Chrome

I’m a fan of keyboard shortcuts, so here’s another one. (Okay. I confess. My wife asked me to find this one for her.)

Let’s say you’re reading a webpage, and in the process, your cursor gets moved out of the address bar. You now want to type in another web address, so you reach for your mouse to move the cursor into the address bar ready to highlight the URL so you can replace it with a new one.

But wait! You don’t need your mouse.

In Firefox and Chrome, CTRL-L not only places the cursor in the address bar, but it also highlights the entire URL. Just start typing your new URL.

Use this keyboard shortcut in combination with Shortmarks (see this previous blog post) for blazing fast web-browsing.

QTT: Change Comment Color in Word 2010

Quick tech tip: Change the default color of comment boxes in MS Word 2010.

In any MS Word document, select the “Review” tab, click on “Track Changes” then select “Change Tracking Options.

Next to “Comments” click the dropdown menu and select the color you’d like.

Any document you open now will use that comment color.

Bonus tip: Use the keyboard shortcut to insert comments more quickly. Highlight the text you want to comment on, then press CTRL-ALT-M. After a little practice, the key combination will feel natural to you.

QTT: Download TED Videos

Quick Tech Tip: In a previous post (November, 2010) I suggested using Zamzar to download TED videos. Since then TED has added this functionality themselves. Below the video, click the “DOWNLOAD” button.

That will call up this window.

Right-click on the version you want, and select “Save link as…” Choose where you want to save the file, and the video will be saved on your computer. No need to have an internet connection to watch it. Save it in your Dropbox folder to have it available on all of your devices.

QTT: Using Folder Favorites

Quick Tech Tip.

In my last two posts I’ve addressed ways to get to the folder where your open Word document is located. Folder navigation in general can be a hassle – unless you’re the kind of person who just puts everything in the same folder, in which case you have other issues.

For Windows 7 users, you have a quick way to access your most-used folders. Open any folder. Here I’ve opened my Dropbox folder. On the left, see the favorites area? You can add any folder here. No matter what folder I navigate to, my “favorites” will always be listed here.

To add a folder, navigate to the folder you want and open it. Below I’ve chosen my syllabi folder. I right-clicked on the word “Favorites”. Now I can select “Add current location to Favorites”.


Now no matter what folder I’m in, I can get to my syllabi folder.

QTT: Firefox Search

Quick Tech Tip: In the Firefox search box, click the icon on the left side of the box to select other search locations. Click “Manage Search Engines” to find others to include.