Warning: these tips are akin to choosing the red pill on the Matrix.
Below are 3 pro-tips that I learned in late 2012 and I plan to extensively use for the rest of my life. If you’re like me they will blow your mind. And we shouldn’t rest until the whole world knows about them (up to you; I’ll stop after I publish this article).
Keyboard Shortcut to Copy and Paste Without Formatting
tl;dr: Option+Command+Shift+V (Mac OS X) and Ctrl+Shift+V (Firefox/Chrome).
You copy a piece of seemingly harmless text. You paste it somewhere else. Damn, it’s infected with format!
This happened to me so frequently that I eventually started keeping a copy of Notepad (Windows) or plain text TextEdit (Mac OS X) always open, as an format-stripping tool: copy, paste into the text editor, copy again, then paste into the real destination.
Turns. Out. There’s. A. Keyboard. Shortcut. For. This.
On OS X you can paste without formatting1 with the “shortcut” Option+Command+Shift+V. That’s it. Neat, uh?
Also, both Chrome2 and Firefox3 support the shorter shortcut Ctrl+Shift+V. This works both on Windows and OS X.
Unfortunately there’s no general shortcut for Windows. You can either stick with Notepad-hopping, or use an app like PureText.
(credit to @stefanklumpp for enlightening me)
Multiple Users in Google Chrome
tl;dr: Google Chrome supports multiple users with separate history and cookies.
You have a personal Gmail account. And one or more Google Apps accounts. And maybe a separate email for YouTube or AdMob (or any other silly Google service that doesn’t support permissions).
You have a problem.
You tried Google multiple account sign-in and it failed you. Maybe you use one browser for one account, and another browser for the other, consuming half your RAM in the process.
Enter Google Chrome multiple user management. Turns out Chrome simply allows you to have multiple instances of Chrome with separate history and cookies. They call it “users”.
They say it is designed for people who share their computer. Pff. This is exactly what us Google account polygamists always wanted!
Here’s how I use it:
I actually have many more now. I’m addicted.
(credit to the GDG Barcelona organisers for showing me the path)
Auto-fill a Formula Downward in Spreadsheets
tl;dr: select the cell and double-click on the fill handle.
There’s this spreadsheet with thousands of rows. And there’s this cell in the first row whose formula you have to expand to all the other rows.
You select the cell, press the fill handle and begin scrolling, on and on and on. After passing the first thousand rows your mouse acts against you and you loose all your progress. Then you start again.
You were so close. Did you know that if you had double-clicked the fill handle it would have filled all those cells for you?
This simple gesture will automatically fill a formula downward, for all adjacent cells that it applies to. It also works for repeating values and is supported in Excel, OpenOffice and Google Docs. Wowza!
Hopefully at least one of the above tips was new to you and I just saved you a few minutes per year. Use this year’s to go outside and buy yourself an ice cream in my honor, please.
Wouldn’t it have been nicer if this article were “13 tips to save you clicks this 2013″ instead of 3? Yeah, it would. Maybe next year.
1. The OS X shortcut actually does something slightly different. Quoting the documentation: “Apply the style of the surrounding text to the inserted object (Paste and Match Style).” In other words, if you paste into something that doesn’t have formatting, the formatting of the inserted object will be stripped. If you paste into something with formatting, the inserted object will match the existing formatting.↩
2. Documented for Windows but not for Mac. On Mac, the behaviour of Ctrl+Shift+V on Chrome is the same than Option+Command+Shift+V (Paste and Match Style). ↩
3. Not that the Firefox documentation would tell you, but it works.↩