As a Microsoft user, you know that uncovering many of the efficiency tips and tricks within Microsoft Office and Windows can seem like a full-time internet search job at times. As a result, you likely continue working through your normal day, using the same productivity methods you’ve used for years, because they work. However, here are 5 productivity efficiency tricks that I use every day, which I usually find that most people don’t know.

1. Quickly Zooming in/out

Have you ever needed to zoom out to show multiple pages on your screen within Word, or quickly zoom in so people in your Teams meeting can see the Excel spreadsheet you’re sharing? Sometimes, finding and using the zoom controls feels cumbersome and time consuming. This simple trick will help you do so QUICKLY, saving time in your meetings.

Hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard and use the wheel on your mouse to zoom. Wheel UP to Zoom IN, and wheel DOWN to Zoom OUT. Yes, it is really that simple. By the way, this works in all Office apps as well as your web browser.

2. Search

Have you ever spent five minutes, or what felt like a few hours, looking for that function that you know exists in your toolbar in Excel or PowerPoint, only to go to the web to do a search so you can find it? No, I’ve never had that experience either (*sarcasm*). A while ago, Microsoft introduced the Search bar at the very top of your Office applications. You may not have even noticed it at first (like me), but it’s up there, in the middle of your screen.

Can’t find your pivot tools in Excel, type “pivot” in the Search bar. Forgot where the document comparison tool is in Word, type “compare” in the Search bar. Heck, type whatever can think of in that search bar because Office will find it.

3. Control K

Do you insert a lot of links/URL’s in your emails and documents? Maybe you like to (or would like to) embed those links behind certain words in your text to clean up the message and the formatting? Using the embed feature is great, but this shortcut makes that process INCREDIBLY fast.

Select the text within which you would like to embed the link. Like this text here. Press CTRL-K and either enter or paste the destination in the Address bar, then click “OK.” That was easy.

4. Windows left/right

Working in multiple spreadsheets and documents at the same time can be tough, especially when you need to quickly refer between those documents. This is where the Windows “Snap” feature helps. However, sometimes it’s not easy to snap (with your mouse) when you’re using multiple monitors. Here’s a quick way to get two files side by side on one screen.

Select the window that you want to show on the left side of your screen. On your keyboard, hold down the Windows key and then hit the left arrow key. You will see your window snap to the left and you’ll likely see all of your other windows “squeezed back” on the right side. Simply select the other window that you want on the right side of your screen.

However, if the “squeezed back” view doesn’t work (which happens sometimes) you will need to open the other window to display on the right side of your screen – hold down the Windows key and hit the right arrow key. Pretty easy, right? In case you are wondering, hitting the UP or DOWN arrow will maximize or minimize the window.

5. Alt/Tab & Alt/Window

Ok, if you don’t know this trick, don’t feel bad. This is one of the most used and also most commonly missed tricks in the book. I use this COUNTLESS times each day. You likely have a ton of windows open on your screen right now. Toggling through them with your mouse is… well, it’s a pain. Here is how you speed things up.

Right now, hold down your ALT key and then press the TAB key. You will now be able to see all of your open windows in a small screen. Don’t let go of that ALT key, but keep hitting TAB over and over until you get to the window you want, then let go of ALT. Congratulations! You just toggled windows in milliseconds.

Perhaps you want a better view of your windows? Hold down your Windows key and tap on the Tab key. You’ll see a “squeezed back” version of all open windows across your screens. Let go of the Windows and Tab keys and use your mouse to pick the screen you would like to view.

Every time I share one of these tricks with someone who doesn’t know, it’s like their mind exploded. Hopefully, yours just exploded also. 😊 In all seriousness, I hope you found some tricks that will help you speed up your workday, gaining precious minutes that you can’t afford to lose.