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Undo Tricks

Monday, November 15th, 2004 by | Filed Under: Shortcuts & Keyboard Tricks

If you use computers a lot, you probably find yourself out in the real world wishing you had an Undo command (you know, like just before you’re about to smash your new car). Well, the “universal” undo shortcut is: Ctrl+Z.

Ctrl+Z is normally used in word processing documents, but it also works just about anywhere in windows. Let’s say you accidentally drag an icon to your desktop and really wish you had it to do over. Well, hit Ctrl+Z and the icon vacates your desktop and jumps back to wherever it was before.

Works with Windows Explorer too. Let’s say you accidentally delete a file. Instead of going to the recycle bin to recover it, hit Ctrl+Z .

Note that this only works if you are sending the file to the recycle bin. If you hold down the Shift key while you delete thus bypassing the recycle bin, the file is gone for good. All the Ctrl+Z ing in the world won’t help.

In most programs, Ctrl+Z will undo whatever it was that you just did. Bad thing is that many programs only give you one or two of these “undos.” Then you’re stuck—or are you?

One clever way to make sure you can always go back is to save your file frequently (a simple Ctrl+S will do it)—especially if you’re about to make some big changes.

Then if you really mess up good, just close the file and DON’T SAVE IT.

When you open it back up, you’ll be back to the way it was when you last saved. This is really handy if you’re playing around with image manipulation and are “testing” different effects.

If you want to take this to the next level, you may want to save your file under a different name each time. After all, when it comes to computers, you just can’t be too paranoid.

I know, this all may seem incredibly obvious, but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen people waste half an hour trying to get a document back to the way it was originally when they could have just used this tip.

~ Steve

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