4 Everyday Shortcuts to Save You an Hour a Day

4 Everyday Shortcuts to Save You an Hour a Day

by on 11/03/2015

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I really enjoy finding new tools to improve my productivity and here are four of the best.

All four of these utilities speed up common tasks you perform on your computer – finding files, navigating to folders, starting programs, and performing other tasks – much faster.

All four of these have a right to be included in the Windows operating system. But they aren’t. They should be!

All four of them are operated using hotkeys which means that they are ready to go to work for you almost instantly.

These Tools Amazed My IT Technician

My techie is absolutely brilliant with fixing up my software and computer hardware. But even he is amazed with these four tools. I’ve shown him one or other over the past four or five months and each time he’s gone home and started using it. Even he is impressed!

If you are not doing so already – and I doubt you are – you really should be using all four of the utilities I show you in the video. They really will help you get more done.

Spoiler title

4 Everyday Computer Shortcuts to Save you an Hour a Day

What you will learn

How to save an hour a day

Why do you need shortcuts?

The four essential shortcuts

Programme Launcher

Rapid search tool

Folder Manager

Clipboard Extender

4 Everyday Computer Shortcuts to save you an Hour a Day

When people watch me work on the computer they say: “Hey – slow down – how on earth did you do that?”

The truth is, what I do is really not that clever. It’s just that I have programmed a few shortcuts which I use dozens of times a day and so they have become second nature.

You can easily do the same and, I reckon, double your productivity in a week.

Why Do You Need Shortcuts?

If you use a computer regularly you need shortcuts to get you around it as fast as possible.

If you are like me, and you are on your computer all day, then getting shortcuts in place to bypass tedious tasks will easily save you an hour a day. It’s also going to save you a ton of frustration.

If you are a “part timer” on the computer, then all the more reason to make the most of your time by having these shortcuts at your fingertips.

Which Shortcuts?

For most people, these 4 shortcuts are the essentials:

A programme launcher

A rapid search tool

A folder manager

A clipboard “extender”

Let’s have a look at what these 4 do, then I’ll show you how to install them and set them up. Each one should take between 10 and 20 minutes.

A Programme Launcher

What is a programme launcher?

A programme launcher is utility which lets you launch any installed programme in two clicks and within ten seconds or less.

The problem

If you only ever used 10 or 20 programs on your computer then that’s fine. You can just use the Windows start dialogue when you want to use one of them or pin all of them to the taskbar. No doubt some people simply put shortcuts on the desktop although this does result in a bit of a mess.

The problem comes when you get over 20 programmes. You might have 50 or, you might be like me, and have over a hundred. The most used 10 or 20 can be kept on the taskbar – but the rest are more tricky to access.

The solution

Is a programme launcher, which lets you fire up the utility in one action and then shows you all your programme shortcuts instantly, in an easy to access form.

Usually there some sort of categorisation such as tabs or some sort of hierarchy so you can keep all similar programs together. For example, all design programs, all Internet browsers, et cetera.

FSL Launcher

I’ve used FSL launcher for 3 or 4 years and it is excellent.

To display FSL launcher you simply move your mouse cursor to the top left corner of your computer monitor and up it pops.

There are a few options you can set. Mine is set to change category when I hover over the tab, and start the application in one click.

I’ve got over a hundred shortcuts.

I’ve got many in the video category, utilities category, and design category.

I’ve also got one tab which lists all the Microsoft Office programs.

You can create any categories you like.


Download FSL Launcher:



Add a new program shortcut

I find the easiest way is to create a shortcut on the desktop then I display FSL launcher, drag the shortcut into it hovering over the correct category if necessary, and then I go and delete the shortcut from the desktop.

If you want to be able to open any of your programs in two clicks then FSL launcher is for you. I strongly recommend it.

Rapid Search Tool

What is a rapid search tool?

If you want to find a file or a folder really fast this is what you need.

The problem

Windows search is pathetic – it’s slow, and inadequate.

The solution

The solution is, simply, to find a utility which is so efficient in cataloguing all the files on your computer that finding one of them is almost instant.


And that solution is Everything. I have used Everything for about five years and it has no peer. Everything is virtually instantaneous and is very accurate. Everything allows you to set a hot key to show it and I’ve assigned

Ctrl +1.

It’s my most used hot key.

Everything finds files and folders so quickly that you will find you will often use it instead of navigating to a folder where you know your files are. It’s quicker to let Everything find it for you by typing into its search box and then double-click opens it, or right click/open opens the folder it’s in.

Everything is stunningly fast and once you’ve used it, you won’t look back.


Download Everything:


Everything indexes every filename and every folder name on your computer. It also will index these on network drives for you.

But it won’t…

Index words inside files

This is a much more complex and intensive process and for that you need a heavyweight solution.


X1 indexes every word inside virtually every file on your PC, including Outlook emails. It’s slow – because it’s indexing a lot of data. It takes probably 5-6 seconds to show you your results.

It’s also paid for – the only paid for tool here. But when you absolutely have to find a file X1 is the best tool I’ve found.

Download free trial of X1:


For everyday tasks – use Everything. For really tough tasks and when you are really stuck X1 almost invariably brings home the goodies.

A Folder Manager

What is a Folder Manager?

A folder manager lets you navigate to any folder on your computer in two clicks. It does this by letting yo u create a hierarchical tree of all the folders you want to get to quickly.

The problem

Have you ever taken five, six or even seven clicks to get to a folder to find a document that isn’t there? Then you have to work out where you actually did save it? Then it’s another 5, 6 or 7 clicks? Well, I did that lots of times – until I started using a folder manager.

The solution

If you only have 10 or 20 folders on your computer altogether then you probably don’t need a folder manager.

If you have a hundred or more – as many IMers do – a Folder Manager will save you a ton of hassle and time.

Let’s say you have a hundred folders on your computer and at the present time you pretty much only use 20 of them. Then you arrange those 20 in a tree structure – naming them whatever is best for you.

Whenever you want to open up one of these folders you can get to it in two clicks instead using Windows File Manager and maybe having to drill down 2, 3 or 4 levels deep.

Chameleon Folder

Chameleon Folder is a pretty good folder manager. I’ve used it for about three years now.

You can access it anywhere by using the shortcut key – I’ve programmed it to be Ctrl +2.

Furthermore, Chameleon works in most Open/Save As dialogue boxes which is absolutely brilliant. In other words, when you click Save as in any programme you can click the shortcut key you have set up to display all your Chameleon Folder shortcuts to save you navigating.

Chameleon Folder allows you to set a hot key to show it and I’ve assigned

Ctrl +2

A folder manager is a massive time saver and I recommend you get one if you have more than 25 or so folders.


Download Chameleon Folder:


A Clipboard Extender

What is a Clipboard Extender?

A clipboard extender saves all the copies you make in a database. So you can easily recall something you copied a few minutes ago – or even a few days ago.

The Problem

You copy something to the clipboard ready for pasting. You pasted a few minutes later – only to suddenly realise that you’ve copied something else over the clipboard and you’ve lost the thing you thought you were going to paste.

The Solution

With a clipboard extender, the clipboard is given new powers.

Instead of a new copy deleting the previous one, the previous one is saved to a database so you can recall it whenever you want.

A good clipboard extender will also have a search function. This means that if, for example, you know you copied and pasted a website URL yesterday, the by searching for www., or.com in your clipboard extender all the URLs you have copied lately will be displayed. You can select the one you want.


Ditto is a good clipboard extender.

When I open the Ditto window, it shows me the last 20 things I copied. Double-clicking any of the entries puts it back onto the clipboard and I can paste it again. Ditto has a search feature which is occasionally extremely useful.

A clipboard extender is one of those things which really should be built into Windows. Ditto will definitely save you time and stress.

Ditto also allows you to set a hot key to show it and I’ve assigned

Ctrl +1


Download Ditto:


If you want to be…

More efficient at your computer

…this is easily achieved if you have not got these four tools installed.

Each one will take

15 or 20 minutes

to set up at the most. And

Each of them is free.

Most people

See the power immediately

If you don’t, you will do within a day or two at the most. I predict that within a week you will have use them so often that the hotkeys

Ctrl 1, Ctrl 2, Ctrl 3

…will have become completely second nature.

What you learned

How to save an hour a day

Why do you need shortcuts?

The four essential shortcuts

Programme Launcher

Rapid search tool

Folder Manager

Clipboard Extender


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