Microsoft Word Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows | MakeUseOf

Microsoft Word is undoubtedly one of the best word processors around. Whether you want to write a letter, story, essay, or something else entirely, Microsoft Word can handle it.

To become a Word expert, you need to master its keyboard shortcuts. They can help you speedily navigate the Ribbon, apply formatting to text, justify lines and paragraphs, and much more.

Using keyboard shortcuts can save you time, meaning you don't have to fiddle with your mouse and get distracted from the all important task of writing. That's why we've put together this list of Windows shortcuts that you must know for Word.

FREE DOWNLOAD: This cheat sheet is available as a downloadable PDF from our distribution partner, TradePub. You will have to complete a short form to access it for the first time only. Download Microsoft Word Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows.

Soon these keyboard shortcuts will become second nature and you will be able to speed through documents, formatting and customizing with ease.

Of course, Word comes part of the Microsoft Office package, so there's much more to learn. That's why we have collected the ultimate Microsoft Office tips and tricks.


Podcasts Are Now Streaming on Amazon Music | MakeUseOf

Amazon is making a move into the world of podcasts by adding them to its Amazon Music service.

It follows the likes of Apple and Spotify, who have both made large investments to draw in podcast creators.

If you live in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan, podcasts are now available on Amazon Music across all price tiers for no additional cost.

Whatever you use to listen to Amazon Music, be it web, mobile, or on the Amazon Echo, you will be able to hear podcasts.

Also, podcasts will sync across all of these platforms, so you can listen to one on your morning commute via your smartphone, then get home in the evening and ask Alexa to continue playing.

Amazon Music will offer you curated recommendations for new podcasts across a variety of categories, along with listing the most popular podcasts.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Steve Boom, vice president of Amazon Music, said:

Despite all the hype and growth, podcasting is still at the early stages of mainstream adoption. Our entry will grow the pie for everybody and introduce new groups of listeners just like we do with music streaming. We think the timing is perfect.

The service has launched with over 70,000 podcasts, including existing popular shows like Crime Junkie, Radiolab, and Stuff You Should Know.

Though both Apple Music and Spotify host over 1 million podcasts, Amazon will keep adding to that catalog.

The service will also expand with original content, with podcasts hosted by big names like Will Smith, DJ Khaled, and Becky G.

Amazon will run its own adverts on this original content, while non-exclusive podcasts will retain ownership of how they advertise.

Fans of true crime podcast Disgraceland will need to use Amazon Music if they want to keep hearing more episodes, since the show will be exclusive to the platform from February 2021.

It's logical that Amazon is taking the step to host podcasts on Amazon Music. The company already owns Audible, a platform for audiobooks, and podcasts are the next part of Amazon's intended domination of the audio space.


8 Reasons Your Windows Key Isn’t Working | MakeUseOf

The Windows button is one of the most useful things on your keyboard. However, what if your Windows key is not working? Not only do you lose quick access to the Start menu, but it also breaks lots of handy shortcuts too.

We're going to guide you through troubleshooting steps you can take if your Windows key has stopped working.

Windows 10 includes many troubleshooters to try and automatically repair problems. There is a keyboard troubleshooter you can run which will hopefully fix your busted Start button.

  1. Right-click on the Start button and click Settings.
  2. Click Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Additional troubleshooters.
  3. Click Keyboard > Run the troubleshooter.
  4. Allow the troubleshooter to run. It will detect and repair any problems.

2. Re-register the Start Menu

Is your Windows key broken, or is it the Start menu? Click the Windows icon in the bottom-left of your screen. If nothing happens, the problem is with the Start menu.

If that's the case, you can solve it by re-registering the Start menu.

  1. Right-click your taskbar and click Task Manager.
  2. Click File > Run new task.
  3. Input powershell and click OK.
  4. Paste the following command and press Enter:

Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.ShellExperienceHost | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml"}

Once the command has finished, your Start menu should now behave normally.

3. Disable Gaming Mode

logitech g915 tkl

Many keyboards come with a gaming mode feature. This isn't to be confused with Windows 10's Game Mode, which aims to optimize your system performance for playing games.

Instead, a keyboard's gaming mode disables certain keys that are undesirable to press when gaming. As you might have guessed, one of those keys is the Windows button. You may have accidentally enabled it.

Each keyboard is different but scan the keys for something that might represent a gaming mode. It could be a joystick (as shown on the Logitech G915 TKL above) or a Windows logo with a line through it. Alternatively, it might be on a Function key---for example, some Razer keyboards use the shortcut FN + F10 to toggle gaming mode.

If you're unsure, Google the name of your keyboard along with "gaming mode" and you'll find out if it's a feature your keyboard supports.

4. Try Another Keyboard

Equipment can break and that's equally true of your keyboard. It's important to figure out whether the broken Windows key is because of the hardware (the keyboard) or the software (Windows 10).

If you have a spare keyboard, connect this to your computer and see if the Windows key works. If it does, you can assume your original keyboard is broken.

However, to be certain, connect your original keyboard to another computer. If the Windows key still doesn't work, it's definitely a dodgy keyboard. If that's the case, contact the manufacturer to see if the keyboard is still under warranty and valid for a repair or replacement.

5. Close Background Applications

If your Windows key works, but shortcuts involving it don't (like Windows key + L to lock your account or Windows key + R to open Run), it's likely that a program on your computer is overriding these shortcuts.

The best thing to do is open Task Manager, which you can find if you right-click an empty space on the taskbar. The Processes tab shows all the apps and background processes running.

windows 10 task manager apps

Go down the apps, closing one at a time, and testing the Windows key after each. Do the same for background processes. Leave the Windows processes alone.

Once you find the culprit, browse that program's settings to see if there's a way to disable its shortcuts. If not, you can either uninstall the program or contact the developer for support.

6. Update Drivers and Software

Drivers are bits of software that help power the hardware on your computer. Your Windows key may be broken due an outdated or faulty keyboard driver.

However, note that this might not apply if you're using a basic keyboard that doesn't have any other keys or functions, since standard drivers are built into Windows 10.

windows 10 keyboard driver update

You can scan for driver updates using the Device Manager.

  1. Right-click your taskbar and click Task Manager.
  2. Click File > Run new task.
  3. Input devmgmt.msc and click OK.
  4. Double-click the Keyboards category.
  5. Right-click the name of your keyboard and click Update driver > Search automatically for drivers.

You should also visit your keyboard manufacturer's website to see if they have any new drivers or software updates. Companies like Logitech and Razer have their own keyboard customization software---you should explore these to ensure you haven't disabled or remapped the Windows key.

7. Delete the Scancode Map

A Scancode Map is something which changes the function of standard keys on your keyboard. Your Windows key may be disabled due to a Scancode Map---either one you downloaded yourself in the past, or one that has been set by a program.

To remove this, you'll need to use the Registry Editor to delete the Scancode Map value. If you follow these instructions and find there is no Scancode Map value, skip this and move on to the next troubleshooting step.

  1. Right-click your taskbar and click Task Manager.
  2. Click File > Run new task.
  3. Input regedit and click OK.
  4. Go to View and click Address Bar if it isn't ticked.
  5. In the address bar beneath the menu, input: ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlKeyboard Layout
  6. On the right pane, right-click the Scancode Map value and click Delete > Yes.
  7. Restart your computer.

8. Disable Filter Keys

windows 10 filter keys

Filter keys is a Windows 10 accessibility function that, when enabled, ignores brief or repeated keystrokes. This may be interfering with your Start button, so try turning it off.

  1. Right-click your taskbar and click Settings.
  2. Click Ease of Access.
  3. On the left-hand menu, click Keyboard.
  4. Beneath Use Filter Keys, click the slider to turn it Off.

Hopefully now your Windows key is working again. Not only does the Windows key provide speedy access to your Start menu, it's also used in conjunction with other keys for lots of handy Windows shortcuts.

You should learn all the shortcuts you can, since you'll be able to navigate Windows with ease and speed.


CBS All Access Is Rebranding As Paramount+ | MakeUseOf

CBS All Access, the on-demand video and live streaming service from ViacomCBS, will be rebranded as Paramount+ in early 2021.

The service will also expand to serve more countries and host new original series.

CBS All Access launched in 2014, relatively early for a streaming service compared to competitors, and has around eight million subscribers.

CBS and Viacom re-merged in late 2019 to become ViacomCBS, having previously been joint before parting ways in 2006.

Now, the company has announced that it will rebrand CBS All Access in early 2021 to become Paramount+.

With the rebranding, the streaming service will also launch internationally. It will debut first in Australia, Latin America, and the Nordics, before expanding soon after.

The name change aims to reflect the broader content that the service will now offer. In a ViacomCBS press release, President and CEO Bob Bakish said:

Paramount is an iconic and storied brand beloved by consumers all over the world, and it is synonymous with quality, integrity and world-class storytelling.

CBS All Access is currently $5.99 at its lowest ad-supported tier, but it's not known if pricing will change with the Paramount+ rebrand.

Existing CBS All Access movies and shows will remain on Paramount+, but the service will also expand with new original series.

This includes a series based on the production of The Godfather, a spy drama, and a true crime docuseries.

Nickelodeon, which is owned by ViacomCBS, will provide children's content in the form of a new SpongeBob SquarePants series and movie.

Come the Paramount+ rebrand, the service will offer a combined collection of over 30,000 episodes and movies from its brands like BET, Comedy Central, and MTV.

The number of streaming services available continues to grow. Pricing competitively and standing out with enticing content is going to be vital.

For some, Netflix is no longer the best option. Will Paramount+ have a chance of claiming the crown?


Spotify Now Lists Upcoming Virtual Events | MakeUseOf

Virtual events are becoming commonplace now, with many artists hosting them as a way to generate revenue and connect with fans.

To aid with discovery of these virtual events, Spotify is now displaying them in listings on artist and discovery pages across the app.

The whole world has had to adapt from the impacts of COVID-19, and that's equally true of artists and bands. Many have been faced with canceled or postponed live performances, which is often one of their largest sources of income.

To mitigate this, artists have staged virtual performances to provide the magic of live music direct to fan's homes.

As announced on For the Record, Spotify will now list these virtual events on the desktop and mobile app, much like how it already does for traditional live shows.

Any event listed on Songkick will automatically sync to Spotify, along with a select number of Ticketmaster events. This includes shows happening on any external platform, like Twitch, Instagram, and YouTube---as long as an event is created on Songkick, it will display on Spotify.

You will be able to find virtual event listings in several places.

The Concerts hub lists all upcoming virtual events, with some highlighted as recommended based on your listening patterns. This can be found within the Browse section on desktop and Search on mobile.

You will also see virtual events on artist's profiles, within the Concerts (desktop) and On Tour (mobile) sections. It may also be displayed as the artist's highlight at the top of their page.

Finally, Spotify will occasionally email you with personalized virtual event recommendations to ensure you never miss out.

Although virtual performances have risen in popularity due to many people being stuck at home, they could be here to stay.

Companies like Google are certainly banking on it, since it recently launched a platform designed specifically for creators to host paid online events.


5 Reasons Why You Need a Mouse Pad | MakeUseOf

For some, mouse pads are a relic of the past. For others, mouse pads are a vital computer accessory. Are mouse pads necessary? Do they provide any benefit?

We're going to explore the advantages of having a mouse pad, along with why you might decide to forgo one entirely.

Do you find that your hand is stiff after a full day of using your mouse? If so, it might be that your wrist doesn't appreciate resting against a hard desk or being at an awkward angle.

A standard mouse pad is great in itself, since it's much nicer to have your wrist on a soft surface than it is a desk.

However, you can take it one step further and buy an ergonomic mouse pad. These have cushions at the bottom that raise your wrist up to a more natural angle. It means you won't have to bend to use your mouse, resulting in a more comfortable experience.

Dragging a mouse across the same part of your desk for hours every day is eventually going to wear down the desk.

If you have a quality desk surface, like a thick wood, then you may never encounter this problem. However, the cheaper the desk materials, the more likely it is that your mouse is going to scratch or wear down the top.

Of course, mouse pads aren't invincible either. After a while, you might notice scuffs on these too, but it's far easier and cheaper to replace a mouse pad than it is the surface of your desk.

Over time, your mouse will pick up the dirt on your desk---dust, skin, and all that grub. This is either going to stick itself to your desk, the bottom of your mouse, or both. Whatever the case, it'll degrade the accuracy of the mouse.

Plus, it's gross.

Mouse pads can help with this. The pad contains your mouse to a specific area. While that dust and grime isn't going to magically vanish just because you use a pad, you will be more likely to remember to clean the pad.

It's really easy to clean a mouse pad too. For most of them you need water, soap, and a bit of elbow grease. Rinse it, then leave to dry for at least 24 hours. Some mouse pads can even be chucked in the washing machine (check your manufacturer's information before doing so).

If you like to play a lot of games that require quick and precise mouse movements, like first-person shooters, then a mouse pad can improve your performance. You can even buy gamer-specific mouse pads.

Mouse pads can have different surfaces, but the important thing is the texture is consistent and that's key for optical mice. Pads don't have the imperfections that your desk might have, which can interrupt mouse movement.

Mouse pads are also designed to stay in place and provide necessary friction, so your aim won't suddenly swing off unexpectedly due to an overly smooth desk surface.

Of course, a mouse pad isn't going to suddenly turn you into a professional gamer, but you might be surprised at the difference one makes.

Wireless mice used to be considered inferior to wired mice due to their slower response times. Nowadays, providing you're willing to pay for it, that's not an issue. You can even get wireless keyboard and mouse combos.

Wireless mice are excellent because you don't get that annoying cable drag, which increases the weight and impacts the smoothness of the mouse. They're also more portable and versatile.

That said, the biggest downside to wireless mice is that they need constant charging. If you forget to charge the mouse overnight, then you need to plug in the cable while you're using the computer and you're stuck with a wired mouse for a while.

Here's where mouse pads come in. You can buy mouse pads designed to wirelessly charge your mouse while using it, meaning you never have to worry about manually charging ever again.

There are pads like the Logitech G Powerplay (note that this is only compatible with some Logitech mice) and the Corsair MM100. All the benefits of a mouse pad plus wireless charging---it's a certified win.

There aren't many disadvantages to using a mouse pad. Those that exist might not even be a problem for you.

The first is aesthetics. A mouse pad can dominate the look of a desk, especially if you're using one that is huge to support a keyboard and mouse. If you've got a quality desk, chances are you want to be able to see it rather than covering it up with a mouse pad.

Second, mouse pads don't lend themselves to a portable lifestyle. If you work from a laptop and are constantly on-the-go, it doesn't make much sense to bring a mouse pad with you. At that point, it's just an additional thing to pack that isn't going to prove worthwhile.

Finally, mouse pads do need maintenance. You will have to keep your mouse pad clean, though you should be doing that for all your computer peripherals anyway. However, you may find yourself disappointed at how quickly some mouse pads wear away, meaning you need to replace them often.

If you're using a cheap one that might not be a problem, but it is if you've got a large custom-designed pad.

The ultimate question: do you need a mouse pad? Technically, the answer is no. It isn't an essential purchase, in that you can happily use and game on a computer without one.

However, try one out and you'll likely enjoy the advantages it brings. It's a low-cost improvement to make to your PC life.

If you're new to PC gaming, a mouse pad is just one of the peripherals you should consider. There's also specialist mice, keyboards, headsets, and more.


Twitch Is Testing Automated and Mandatory Mid-Roll Adverts

Twitch is experimenting with showing users adverts in the middle of a stream.

Controversially, streamers have no control over if these adverts show on their broadcast or when they happen.

From September 15, 2020, some viewers will see adverts during the middle of a Twitch broadcast.

According to Twitch, this is an "ad experiment". It's not known how long this experiment will run, nor how many users will be exposed to it (though Twitch claims it to be a "small percentage of viewers").

When an advert is triggered, the stream will still run via picture-in-picture mode. However, the stream will be muted and you will only hear the audio of the advert.

Mid-roll adverts isn't a new concept for Twitch. However, they have always been controlled by the streamer. These new adverts are triggered by Twitch, not the creator.

Creators will be paid for running the mid-roll adverts, just like they are for other types, and you won't see them if you're a Twitch Prime or Turbo subscriber.

Some people who broadcast on Twitch are upset by the change. Currently, they have the ability to disable pre-roll adverts, but they have no control over these new mid-roll adverts.

Timthetatman, one of Twitch's largest streamers, responded to the company's tweet to ask how he can opt out.

Other creators responded negatively, claiming that it would reduce the impact of any exciting moments on the stream if an uncontrollable advert suddenly started playing.

In a Twitter response to one creator, Twitch noted that it "will be monitoring the data from this experiment coupled with your feedback to improve and provide a better experience over time".

Building a large and dedicated following on Twitch is no easy feat. It takes hard work, dedication, and lots of time.

Whether these new mid-roll adverts will impact viewing figures remains to be seen. No doubt many creators will be keeping a close eye on Twitch's experiment.


Disney+ Watch Parties Will Soon Be Available to Everyone

Disney is testing a new feature for Disney+ called GroupWatch, which allows subscribers to create watch parties.

A select group of users in Canada are trialing the feature, before it rolls out to everyone in the fall.

GroupWatch is what Disney is calling its watch party feature for Disney+. With it, you can watch any Disney+ title together virtually with your friends and family. Everyone's streams are synced, so you're watching at the same time.

The feature was first spotted on the Disney+ subreddit and then confirmed when The Verge contacted Disney.

The GroupWatch feature is currently being tested by some Disney+ subscribers in Canada, but Disney expects to make it available to everyone in the fall.

The news comes shortly after the introduction of Twitch Watch Parties, and also follows in the steps of similar features from companies like Amazon and Hulu.

GroupWatch allows you and up to six other people to watch something on Disney+ together. Four different profiles on a single Disney+ account can join a GroupWatch, though kids profiles cannot participate.

You invite people with a link, which can be shared through SMS, email, and so on, but participants must be a Disney+ subscriber in order to join. Also, someone cannot join the GroupWatch if they are in another country where the title being viewed is unavailable to them.

Anyone in the GroupWatch can control the viewing (pause, play, rewind, and so on). Everyone will be able to see who is controlling.

Participants can also send reaction emojis that will display to everyone else within the party.

Disney+ is available on lots of platforms; GroupWatch supports many of them, excluding the PlayStation 4, some Roku models, and some Fire TV models.

If you love watching movies and TV shows together with others remotely, you don't need to wait for Disney's GroupWatch feature. There are many services and third-party add-ons that offer synchronized watching.


9 Common Zoom Call Issues and How to Fix Them | MakeUseOf

Zoom is a video conferencing tool that saw a massive rise in users during 2020. As with any such program, you may sometimes encounter problems. The last thing you want when trying to talk is to battle against freezing video or echoing audio.

We're going to offer some general troubleshooting steps you can take to solve any Zoom problem you might have.

The first thing you should do is check Zoom's Service Status page. This tells you the current status of each component of Zoom, like meetings, video webinars, and cloud recording. With this, you can determine if the problem is on your end or Zoom's.

For each, you can see the status. Ideally everything should read "Operational", but you might also see "Degraded Performance" or "Under Maintenance".

Look further down the page and you will see more information about an issue, along with any updates and hopefully an estimated resolution time.

Zoom should notify you of any updates when you open the client, but it's always good to manually check if you're having issues.

To do this, click your profile picture in the top-right, then click Check for Updates. If an update is available, it will download, after which you need to click Update to install it. Zoom will automatically restart when it's done.

If you run into any problems with this process, you can also update Zoom by downloading the latest version from the Zoom Download Center.

Of course, you should always keep Windows 10 and its drivers up-to-date too.

When you join a Zoom meeting, you have the option to use your browser or the program.

Sometimes, you may not have a choice but to use the web version, like if you're on a computer where you don't have permission to install programs.

However, whenever possible you should use the downloadable client. This is because it supports more features (including screen share), is quicker, and more reliable.

If you use the web version and encounter a problem, chances are switching to the desktop version will solve it.

Zoom will send emails at various points, like to activate your account or remind you about a scheduled meeting.

If you aren't receiving these, and have waited at least 30 minutes, add to your email whitelist. This will tell your email client that anything received from that address isn't spam and shouldn't be filtered.

If that still doesn't work, check out the Zoom support page for a list of IP addresses that you should also whitelist.

Are you suffering from audio or video that keeps dropping out or lagging? Chances are, your internet connection is to blame.

First, ensure that nothing else is draining your connection, like any background downloads or someone streaming Netflix in the next room.

Second, click the settings cog in Zoom and go to the Video section. Ensure both Enable HD and Touch up my appearance are unchecked.

If it's still lagging, you may have to disable your webcam so that you're only sending audio and putting less of a strain on your internet connection.

If the problem persists across multiple calls, consider restarting your router or contacting your ISP to discuss your network speeds.

Zoombombing is a term used to describe unwanted intrusion into your Zoom call. Sometimes it could be a friend having a laugh, while other times it could be something more malicious.

When Zoom saw a surge in popularity due to the coronavirus pandemic, Zoombombing became quite the issue. Happily, the company released an update in May 2020 that made all meetings require a password for entry by default.

This was followed in June 2020 when end-to-end encryption became a feature for all members; it was previously a paid membership perk.

Zoombombing can still happen, though. An easy and obvious step is to not share your Zoom meeting details with anyone you don't want to join.

Also, once everyone is in the meeting, the host can click Participants > Three Horizontal Dots icon > Lock Meeting to stop anyone else joining.

For more advice, here are tips to secure your Zoom calls.

If the meeting host is on the free version of Zoom, meetings are limited to 40 minutes maximum. When the time limit is nearing, a warning message will display, after which the meeting will end.

Of course, you can stop this by signing up to Zoom's paid tiers. However, the easiest way is to simply create another meeting. There's no limit to the number of meetings you can host, so send out a fresh invite and get another 40 minutes.

One of the most annoying problems with video conferences is when the audio echoes or when you can hear background noise.

Echoing audio usually occurs because someone has their microphone too close to their speakers. Alternatively, it might be that multiple people have joined the call from the same room.

If you're the person at fault, consider buying a home office headset so that your audio and microphone is contained to a single device.

Whatever the situation, the best way to overcome this is for everyone to mute their microphone when not speaking. Press Alt + A to mute and unmute quickly.

An important part of many Zoom calls is being able to see the other participants on their webcam. However, what if your webcam isn't displaying?

On Zoom, click the settings cog and go to the Video tab. Use the Camera dropdown to select the webcam that you want to use.

If the webcam preview remains empty, it indicates a problem outside of Zoom. Press Windows key + I to open Settings and go to Privacy > Camera. Slide Allow apps to access your camera to On. Then, scroll down and slide Allow desktop apps to access your camera to On.

All being well, your Zoom issues should now be resolved so you can chat to friends, family, and colleagues to your heart's content.

To become a real Zoom pro, be sure to make ample use of the keyboard shortcuts that the program supports for ultimate efficiency.


Call of Duty: Warzone: The Terms You Need to Know | MakeUseOf

Call of Duty: Warzone is one of the biggest and best battle royale games. It's free-to-play, supports cross-platform matches, and features intense and hectic gameplay.

In Call of Duty: Warzone, it's incredibly important that you communicate with your team and pay attention to your surroundings. You also need to know the lingo so you can tell your companions what you're doing---whether that's deploying a UAV, thirsting another player, or rotating the map.

To help you become the best Warzone player around, we've put together this handy list of all the terms that you need to know. Soon they'll become second nature, so you can focus on getting kills and wins.

FREE DOWNLOAD: This cheat sheet is available as a downloadable PDF from our distribution partner, TradePub. You will have to complete a short form to access it for the first time only. Download Call of Duty: Warzone: The Terms You Need to Know.

We all start somewhere. Learn this lingo, teach your team, and you'll find that you quickly start working together far better than before.

Of course, winning Warzone is more about the slang. That's why we've put together tips and tricks to help you win Warzone.