The Quickest Way to Get Free Help

If you can read, you can learn to do anything. My father was fond of saying that, and he was right. Anytime I’ve wanted to know how to do something, I’ve been able to find a book or two that would tell me. That goes for using computers too.

Yet, computer books are large, expensive, and go out of date really quickly. They’re also hard to find outside of larger towns and cities.
But, that’s okay.

Did you know almost every program you use comes with its own How-To book? It’s true! If you’ve got a Windows computer, all you have to do is press the F1 key on your keyboard to access it. You can find the F1 key near the top left corner of your keyboard. Yes, often there is a Help button you could click on, but the F1 key is so quick and easy to use. And as the infomercial says, “But wait! There’s moreā€¦”

F1 Help Key

Often, when you press the F1 key, the help that it will bring up is directly related to what you’re doing. In computer jargon, that’s called contextually aware help. What’s great about this is that you don’t have to go searching through pages and pages of stuff you don’t need to know right now. How’s that for convenient?

If the help file doesn’t give you what you need when you press F1, there is often a search box that you can type your question into. If you’ve used Google, Bing, or Yahoo before, it works much the same way.

Be aware though, that not all programs will respond to the F1 key. Yet most of them will, like Microsoft Word, and web browsers like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox.

That’s a lot of free help right there at the end of one finger tip. No trip to the library or bookstore, no more money spent, and only minutes instead of hours trying to figure out how to do something. Just press F1.

First Published: The Guysborough Journal, Vol . 21, No. 13, April 1, 2015

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