5 Ways Google Keep will Unclutter Your Brain

Google Keep

Remembering the little things are difficult, but incredibly useful.

Instead of telling you about the features of Google Keep (Which you can watch from the video below), let me tell you how it’s made my life so much simpler by using it every day for several months.

I’ve been using it for quite a long time: since it was codenamed ‘Memento’, and I’m still a daily user even now, when it’s the current Google Keep state, so everything I mention below is what I actually do, not what think the app could be used to do.

So here’s what I’ve been using it for:

1. Record down ideas throughout the day

When do you get your best ideas? It’s not usually ‘brainstrom sessions’, but it’s typically in places where you’re free of distractions, like in the shower, toilet, right before bed etc.

Those are also the times where ideas get lost. Recording down ideas as an when it happens is the best way to make sure you follow up on them. Because Google Keep can be integrated into my phone lockscreen, it just takes me no longer than a swipe and a button press to record an idea.

Having such a low barrier to entry also results in two things. You tend to capture ideas regardless of how strongly you feel about them at that point in time. You don’t limit yourself to capturing the ‘best’ ideas, you just capture ideas, and move on.

It can be pictures, sounds, text, a page in a book, anything.

There is currently no way to sort them, tag them, etc. but you can search, which is what you need 99% of the time, so speeding up the capturing of ideas is a worthy trade off, because things are so much faster. It’s absolutely frictionless.

2. Find Receipts and warranties when you need them

Sorting through mountains of receipts, adds a ton of stress when something breaks down. To solve this, just snap a pic with Google Keep, and label it “blender warranty” (if you bought a blender of course). Then just proceed to move on with life, and when you need it, just search ONCE and find the receipt.

3. Keeping a spare copy of transit maps

I don’t normally take the subway, but when I do, I’d like to use Google Keep to snap a map on my phone just in case I’m in a corner where I can’t see the printed map on the train. Again, this is something I want to find easily, and can pull up in seconds.

4. Making an on-the-fly-to-do-list

For very short term to do’s like making a list of things to buy once you arrived at the store, is something you can easily do, and Google Keep comes complete with checkboxes for easy task management. Dead on easy.

5. Never forget crucial parts of a manual

Manuals, especially for electronics (camera folks – I’m looking at you) tend to be a very extreme dump of information which makes no sense to most people (including me). Most of them are however, smart enough to include a ‘Quick Start’ section which you should read first. If you’re a first time user of the device, it also happens to be most read and used section.

The issue is that in most cases, you’re out and about and you don’t bring that unreasonably large manual with you. Just use Google Keep to keep photos of the parts of the manuals you actually want to read.

These are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, because I’m sure you’d have much more uses for it in your own life situations.

Try Google Keep, and leave a comment below about what you’re going to use it for!

How to Set the Default Zoom Level in ANY Web Browser

zoom

I love my 13 inch Macbook Air to death.  I also feel as if I’m blind when I try to read on the damn thing.   

That’s why learning to set the zoom levels on a browser is so valuable.  Most browsers respond to Ctrl + and Ctrl – to zoom in and out of pages (Tip: Press Ctrl 0 to reset zoom to normal levels).  Most of the good ones like Chrome also remember the zoom setting for any particular web page – which is a great if you ever revisit the page again.

The thing is – many a time, you’ll end up on a web page where you’ve never visited before, and then you’ve got to do the zooming song and dance again. 

What a drag.

Now you might be thinking – yeah the text is small, but I can read it, so what’s the big deal? 

Well try zooming in on text just a little bit and you’ll suddenly find that everything’s so much easier to read.  Keep at it a while and you actually feel less tired and more productive. 

So how do you set a DEFAULT zoom level on your browser so that all web pages have a zoom factor already automatically applied to it when it loads?

1. How to set the default zoom level in Chrome

autozoom chrome

Autozoom is my weapon of choice on Chrome, and this free simple extension will allow you to quickly define how much zoom you want all your pages to have, tweaked right from a discrete button near the address bar. 

2. How to set the default zoom level in Internet Explorer

 IE zoom

Interestingly enough, unlike most things involving IE, setting the default zoom on that browser is incredibly simple.  Just find the magnifying glass icon on the bottom right of your browser and select the default zoom. 

3. How to set the default zoom level in Firefox

firefox zoom

Default FullZoom Level is probably the most powerful of all the extensions on this list.  Let me tell you why I love this add-on.  Yes, setting zoom levels can easily be set just like on all the other browsers, but here’s what sets it apart: One of the issues most people have when zooming web pages is that images have the potential look incredibly ugly and pixelated once blown up.  To address this, you can configure it to ONLY zoom text, so it leaves your pictures unzoomed.

It also has some nifty features like ˜fit-to-window’ which automatically selects the optimal zoom for that particular web page so you don’t have to bother experimenting.  This extension really gets two thumbs up for ease of use and power.

4. How to set the default zoom level in Opera

opera zoom

Just like IE, you configure the default zoom levels by selecting that same magnifying glass at the bottom right of your browser.  It is slightly more feature filled than IE though and has Fit-to-Width capability as well.

What should your default zoom level be?  This differs from person to person, and really depends on the sites you visit, but I typically set my default zoom at 130%.

Do you use browser zoom to read the web?  Tell us about it in the comments :)

Update: 18/6/2011: Check out this video response!

How to Turn ANY Website into a Wireframe Mockup INSTANTLY : A Tutorial

wireframing

The everyday problem:

You really like the layout of a web page.  You want to build a wireframe mockup based on it, and it takes too long. 

Why not just screencapture the page?  Mainly because images and text distract your vision when you’re trying to figure out the best layout possible.  You may also want to compare different layouts and having everything mocked up on wireframe instead of screencaptured may provide a more unbiased view of things.

The simple solution:

Wirify is a cross-browser bookmarklet which instantly turns full blown web pages into wireframe mockups with a single click.

wirify

Step 1: Visit the Wirify webpage

Step 2: If you’re using Chrome or Firefox, just drag and drop the bookmarket onto your browser bookmark bar.  (If you’re using Internet Explorer switch now for a better experience)

wirify bookmarklet

Step 3: Click on the bookmarket whenever you want to turn the website into a wireframe mockup.

That’s it!  So simple :)

Check out the YouTube video below for a step-through Wirify

5 Quick Tips to Remove Unwanted Formatting from Your Documents

grafitti

Formatting is contextual.  One style may look great in one place, but look horrible in the next.  Here are a few quick tips on how to remove unwanted formatting from your documents.

1. How to remove unwanted formatting from your email

 emailindent

If you’ve received an email which has been forwarded multiple times, you’d notice that it can be hard to read if every line is prefixed with on more more ˜>’ characters.  Stripmail is a great piece of freeware which will help you strip any unwanted characters from your email and formats it into proper paragraphs and indentation so it’s much easier to read.  Stripmail is a free standalone utility which does not require installation so it’s incredibly light and portable.

2. How to remove unwanted formatting from any text in Google Docs AND MS Word and Powerpoint

googledocs

Want a quick way to remove formatting in your document? Select the text you want to remove formatting from, and click Alt + SpacebarThis built-in function will instantly do the job, and will work both in Google Docs and Microsoft Office.

3. How to remove unwanted formatting from Excel

formatpainter

The Alt + Spacebar trick doesn’t work in Excel, so what you can do is select an already unformatted cell, then click on the format painter button, and then select the area which you want unformatted.   

4. How to remove unwanted formatting when pasting web pages into MS Word

paste special

Things you copy from the web tend to end up looking really bad when you paste it into an MS Word file.  The way to get around this, once you copy the text, go to MS-Word and click Edit-Paste Special – Unformatted Text.  If you tend to do this very often, check out this excellent video tutorial on how to set up this up as a macro.

5. How to remove unwanted formatting when copying from your web browser

text

Have you ever copied something from your web browser to Outlook or Office and been annoyed that the text formatting (bold, font size, etc) came with it? Don’t you wish you could just copy the text itself, without having to copy it, paste it into notepad, then copy it again? This firefox extension gives you an option to copy text without the formatting. You can even set it to trim extra space in and around the copied text!

How do you deal with unwanted formatting?  Tell us in the comments!

How to Resume Right Where You Left Off in MS-Word

documents 

Here’s a simple tip which will save you oodles of time!  Suppose you’re working on a long and complex MS-Word document which can’t be finished in a single sitting. 

When you get open up the document later – you don’t have to scroll through multiple pages to get to the part where you left off…

…Just press ‘Shift F5’, and bang!  MS-Word will bring your cursor directly to where it was before you saved the file, so you can resume work right away.

Fantastic :)