Gboard: A Super Smart Upgrade for Your Phone

When you’re on your phone, searching and sending stuff can be challenging. For example, sending directions to the place you’re meeting a friend for lunch involves a lot of frustrating app switching, searching, copy & pasting, more app switching, etc. It’s enough to make many of us give up.

Fortunately, Google has come up with a new keyboard you can add to your iPhone that lets you search and send all kinds of things—restaurant info, flight times, news articles—right from your keyboard.

If you can find it on Google, you can find it with Gboard. The best part is that you can send your results (directions, phone numbers, etc) with a single tap. No muss. No fuss.


Glide Typing

As if that isn’t enough, my favorite Gboard feature is glide typing.  If you’ve never tried this, I think you’ll love it too. It works by letting you simply slide your finger from key to key instead of tapping each one individually—so much easier and faster.


Emojis & GIFs

Emojis and animated GIFs have become quite popular lately and they’re represented here too. Instead of scrolling through a massive library of icons, with Gboard you can just type what you want and Gboard will offer up a few relevant options. Again, so much easier and faster.

You can get Gboard for both iOS and Android.


Dress Your Slides for Success

If you want to make a positive impact with your presentation slides, you’ll need some great looking images. Since Microsoft retired their built-in online image library, a lot of people might be stranded without any good image resources. Fortunately, there are tons of great websites offering free images. Unfortunately, they’re scattered in a zillion different places all across the web.

Since we like to work smarter instead of harder around here, I’d like to share three free PowerPoint plug-ins that will give you access to first-rate image libraries right inside PowerPoint. No more wasting time jumping between browser tabs looking for just the right photo.

Visit my recent post over on my personal website to get the scoop on these free awesome image libraries and how you can use them without ever leaving PowerPoint.

  1. PickIt:
  2. Pexels:
  3. Shutterstock:


Web Browser Shortcuts

These days, more and more work is getting done inside web browsers. Every so often, you need to switch from one browser to another to use certain apps or access certain sites. This week I’d like to share these speedy shortcuts you can use no matter what browser you’re working in.

These should all work the same in Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and even the new Microsoft Edge:

Zoom in or out to get a better view  »  CTRL + [plus sign] or Ctrl+ [minus sign]

Return your zoom level to 100%  »   CTRL0

Jump to the  next tab   »   CTRL + Tab,

Jump to the  previous tab   »   SHIFTCTRLTab

Jump directly to one of first eight tabs  » CTRL + (number)  Ctrl+1 through Ctrl+8

Jump to the last open tab   »   CTRL + 9

Along with zooming, one of my favorites is F11 to toggle on and off the full-screen view. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Got any others that you couldn’t live without?

Using Advanced Gmail Search To Find What You Need

A lot of people use their email as a ginormous repository of information. If you’re one of them you’ll be glad to know that Gmail’s advanced search operators can make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for.

When you have a huge inbox, simply searching basic keywords in the Gmail search isn’t always very helpful. Here are a few tips to help you zero in on exactly what you want.

Let’s say you’re looking for an email that you sent to John with a file attached.You’ll find it quickly using this search: has:attachment

Or maybe you’re looking for all emails from May with .zip files attached.

in:anywhere has:attachment filename:zip before:2016/06/1 after:2016/4/30

Even if you don’t want to remember any of these operators, you can still tap into the power of advanced search by clicking the down arrow in the Gmail search box to access a more user-friendly search form.


Here is a list of helpful Gmail search terms from Google.

Operator Definition Examples
from: Used to specify the sender Example: from:amy
Meaning: Messages from Amy
to: Used to specify a recipient, including “cc:” and “bcc:” fields Example: to:david
Meaning: All messages that were sent to David (by you or someone else)
subject: Search for words in the subject line Example: subject:dinner
Meaning: Messages that have the word “dinner” in the subject
OR Search for messages matching term A or term B*
*OR must be in all caps
Example: from:amy OR from:david
Meaning: Messages from Amy or from David

Used to exclude messages from your search Example: dinner -movie
Meaning: Messages that contain the word “dinner” but do not contain the word “movie”
label: Search for messages by label Example: from:amy label:friends
Meaning: Messages from Amy that have the label “friends”Example: from:david label:my-family
Meaning: Messages from David that have the label “My Family”
Search for messages with an attachment Example: from:david has:attachment
Meaning: Messages from David that have an attachment
list: Search for messages on mailing lists Example:
Meaning: Messages with the words in the headers, sent to or from this list
filename: Search for an attachment by name or type Example: filename:physicshomework.txt
Meaning: Messages with an attachment named “physicshomework.txt”Example: label:work filename:pdf
Meaning: Messages labeled “work” that also have a PDF file as an attachment
” “
Used to search for an exact phrase*
*Capitalization isn’t taken into consideration
Example: “i’m feeling lucky”
Meaning: Messages containing the phrase “i’m feeling lucky” or “I’m feeling lucky”Example: subject:”dinner and a movie”
Meaning: Messages containing the phrase “dinner and a movie” in the subject
( ) Used to group words
Used to specify terms that shouldn’t be excluded
Example: from:amy (dinner OR movie)
Meaning: Messages from Amy that contain either the word “dinner” or the word “movie”Example: subject:(dinner movie)
Meaning: Messages in which the subject contains both the word “dinner” and the word “movie”
in:anywhere Search for messages anywhere in Gmail*
*Messages in Spam and Trashare excluded from searches by default
Example: in:anywhere movie
Meaning: Messages in All Mail, Spam, andTrash that contain the word “movie”
Search for messages in Inbox,Trash, or Spam Example: in:trash from:amy
Meaning: Messages from Amy that are inTrash
Search within messages thatPriority Inbox considers important. Example: is:important from:janet
Meaning: Messages from Janet that were marked as important by Priority Inbox
Search for messages that are starred, unread, or read Example: is:read is:starred from:David
Meaning: Messages from David that have been read and are marked with a star
Search for messages with a particular star Example: has:purple-star from:David
Meaning: Messages from David that are marked with a purple star
Used to specify recipients in thecc: or bcc: fields*
*Search on bcc: cannot retrieve messages on which you were blind carbon copied
Example: cc:david
Meaning: Messages that were cc-ed to David
Search for messages sent or received during a certain period of time
(using the date format yyyy/mm/dd)
Example: after:2004/04/16 before:2004/04/18
Meaning: Messages sent between April 16, 2004 and April 18, 2004.*
*More precisely: Messages sent after 12:00 AM (or 00:00) April 16, 2004 and before April 18, 2004.
Similar to older and newer, but allows relative dates using d, m, and y for day, month, and year Example: newer_than:2d
Meaning: Finds messages sent within the last two days.
is:chat Search for chat messages Example: is:chat monkey
Meaning: Any chat message including the word “monkey.”
deliveredto: Search for messages within a particular email address in the Delivered-To line of the message header Example:
Meaning: Any message with in the Delivered-To: field of the message header (which can help you find messages forwarded from another account or ones sent to an alias).
circle: Search for messages that were sent from someone who you added to a particular Google+ circle Example: circle:friends
Meaning: Any message that was sent by a person in your “Friends” circle.Examples: circle:”soccer friends (team blue)” or circle:”my \”fab four\””
Notes: For circle names that include a space, parentheses, curly brackets, or vertical bar, add quotes around the name. For names that include quotes, add a back slash immediately before the quotes.
has:circle Search for all messages that were sent from someone who you added to your Google+ circles Example: has:circle
Meaning: Any message that was sent by a person in any of your circles.
category: Search for messages within a category Example: category:updates
Meaning: All messages in the Updates category.Example: category:social Mindy
Meaning: Messages in the Social category that include “Mindy.”
size: Search for messages larger than the specified size in bytes Example: size:1000000
Meaning: All messages larger than 1MB (1,000,000 bytes) in size.
Similar to size: but allows abbreviations for numbers Example: larger:10M
Meaning: All messages of at least 10M bytes (10,000,000 bytes) in size.
(plus sign)
Match the search term exactly Example: +unicorn
Meaning: Finds messages containing “unicorn” but not “unicorns” or “unciorn”
rfc822msgid: Find a message by the message-id header
Meaning: Locates the exact message with the specified SMTP message-id. Learn more about headers.
Search for messages that have and have not had labels that you created applied to them.
NOTE: Gmail applies labels to individual messages, not to conversation threads.
Example: has:nouserlabels
Meaning: Finds all messages without any of your own labels (excludes automatic labels like inbox, spam, and trash). Since Gmail applies labels to individual messages, you might see results that appear to have labels; in this case, another message in the same conversation thread has had a label applied to it.

Stay Safe With LastPass Auto-Change

No doubt, you know that you’re supposed to change your passwords every so often to keep them secure. Nobody I know EVER does this. Maybe we’re all lazy, but the mere thought of changing the bazillion passwords I have makes my head hurt!!!

Enter the LastPass Auto-change passwords feature.



How It Works

For LastPass, click on the extension icon in your browser and select My LastPass Vault from the drop-down menu. Choose the account you’d like to change and select the wrench icon. Then in the pop-up window that appears, select Auto Change Password and the process begins.

Granted, it doesn’t work with every website out there, but automating password updates many of the popular sites you use probably makes it worthwhile.

If you’re not using LastPass already, grab the Chrome extension and let Lastpass generate secure passwords for you anytime you need one.

Recovering Unsaved Office Documents

Have you ever forgotten to save a document you were working on? Maybe you accidentally clicked the No button when prompted to save your spreadsheet on closing it? Lost power in the middle of working on an important presentation? Of course, we’ve all had something like this happen at some point….and most likely lost a lot of blood, sweat and tears recreating the work we had already done. (Man I HATE that!)

Well, the next time that happens you should know this handy trick for recovering unsaved Office documents. (Note that it’s not perfect but it has saved me hours of rework a few times.)

How It Works

Once you’ve realized you might have lost some unsaved work. Reopen Word, Excel, or Powerpoint and go to  File » Open then look for the Recent tab.


Scroll down to the bottom or the files list and click the Recover Unsaved Presentations button.

If you’ve got any unsaved documents you’ll see them and get a 2nd chance at saving them before they’re gone forever!

If the document has never been saved, it might have some weird name so don’t ignore it without opening it to see if it is what you’re looking for.


This little trick is based on the AutoRecover function so  don’t be surprised if  your recovered document doesn’t have everything you’ve already done.  Nothing you can do about that –other than remembering to save it in the first place! 😎


5 Time-Saving Taskbar Tricks You Should Know

You probably don’t give much, if any, thought the taskbar at the bottom of your screen. But did you know it can do some pretty cool stuff? Here are some handy tricks you can do with your taskbar.

Keep programs on the taskbar

Want your favorite apps always to be a single click away? Next time you open it, right-click it in the taskbar and select Pin this program to taskbar . Now it will always be there for you, ready for action any time you want it.


Launch apps with the keyboard

Once you’ve pinned apps you can open them with a keyboard shortcut. For example,  Press Winkey + 1, and the first program on the taskbar will open. If it’s already open, it will jump you there.


Open recent files

Right-click a taskbar icon and there’s a good chance you’ll find a jump list of files you’ve recently opened with that particular program. Select one to open it again.


Pin a file permanently to a program

The files on a program’s jump list will disappear over time…unless you pin them there. If the file is already on the application’s jump list, hover the mouse pointer over the filename, then click the pushpin icon that will appear on the left.


If the file you want to pin isn’t already on the jump list, open the folder containing that file, then drag it to the appropriate taskbar icon. When a “Pin to…” message pops up, let go.



Quick access folders and files

Right-click a blank spot on the taskbar and select Tools > New toolbar. This brings up File Explorer, where you can navigate to any folder or drive—I recommend Libraries.


After selecting the folder you want, you’ll have an on-demand  menu of folders and files always available from the taskbar.


AutoSum Multiple Excel Ranges in a Single Bound

This super slick tip comes from *THE* Excel guru himself – Chandoo.



If you need to total a number of different ranges in your spreadsheet, you can do them all at once with this ALT key trick.

How It Works:

  1. Use CTRL+Click  to select all the cells where you want an AUTOSUM formula.
  2. Press ALT=
  3. What? You want more? Too bad..that’s all there is to it. Now go have a cup of coffee or something to enjoy all the time you just saved yourself! 😎

While you’re enjoying your time-savings you might want to check out these other awesome CTRL+Click tricks from Chandoo.

If you use Excel much at all you should also subscribe to his newsletter so you’re plugged into his awesomeness directly!

Converting Your Bullet Points to Graphics in the Blink of an Eye

You’ve probably heard that bullet points are bad. (If you don’t believe me, here’s some scientific proof.) But most people are not graphic designers and many get stuck when it comes to thinking of better alternatives to the standard lists of text. Plus, who has time to do all that extra work right?! Wrong!

Converting your existing PowerPoint lists into attractive visuals  less than 3 seconds and makes your slides look WAY better. Here’s how it works.

Convert slide text to a SmartArt graphic

  1. Select the text placedholder on the slide that you want to convert.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click Convert to SmartArt Graphic
  3. In the gallery, click the layout for the SmartArt graphic that you want. Hovering over them gives you a real-time preview.

The gallery contains layouts for SmartArt graphics that work best with bulleted lists. To view the entire set of layouts, click More SmartArt Graphics.

Also, be sure to experiment with the colors and styles available from the Smart Art gallery to get an even better looking design.

So go and upgrade those boring text lists to nice looking professional visuals. When it’s this quick and easy there’s no excuse for not having great looking slides.