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Introduction to Excel Shortcuts to Audit Financial Models

In a research company, Ms. Annie, a trainee with a basic knowledge of Excel, has built a financial model, but unfortunately, the financials of the model did not tally. Ms. Annie went to every cell to find out where the model went wrong but got confused going cell-wise and failed to determine the error.

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In this thought, Annie went to her friend, Ms. Annika, who was a senior research analyst in the same company. Annie told her the problem, and Ms. Annika helped her to explore some awesome Excel shortcuts to audit financial models. Let’s see what she taught Annie.

Financial Model and Excel Shortcuts 1. Ctrl page down / Ctrl page up

A financial model has different sheets to navigate. Using a mouse to navigate through these sheets every now and then can be a bit tough. So avoid using the mouse and use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+Page up OR Ctrl + Page Down to navigate different worksheets.

2. F2 Key

The F2 key of the keyboard is used if you want to know the following:

The formula used to calculate a certain item

The cells used to calculate the formula

Edit the formula

3. Ctrl {

To ensure an effective financial model, link cells from different worksheets within the same workbook, not just linking sheets from one worksheet. If your balance sheet is not tallying due to incorrect linkages of interest expense, check which cell it is linked to. The interest expense of the income statement must be linked to the interest expense schedule, which is available in different worksheets.

To overcome this, Use the shortcut CTRL + {.This shortcut will bring you to the cell it got linked from.

Now you need to check from where interest expense got linked, so go to the cell you want to check, then use the shortcut key Ctrl + {. This shortcut will bring you to the cell it got linked to from any worksheet available in the same workbook.

So in this example, the interest expense it will bring to the interest expense schedule, and the cell which got linked will be highlighted.

4. F5

Using the above shortcut key, you have reached the cell which got linked. But you have not completed the audit of the income statement completely, so you want to go back to the income statement and start from the same cell you were checking the linkage and completing the audit.

Again now what will you do? Getting the thought of doing it manually is a bad idea. To overcome this situation, use the F5 shortcut key.

This will bring you to the cell it was referring to. Reference will generally refer to the previous cell you were at.

5. Ctrl ~

You can use this shortcut to see the formulas used together for the entire worksheet. So go to any worksheet cell where you want to see only the formulas and press Ctrl +~.  This is how it would appear. 

Ms. Annie was delighted as she could explore some awesome Excel shortcuts to audit financial models. She thanked Ms. Annika for helping her. Ms. Annie returned to her financial model and easily went through the entire model using these shortcuts. She found her mistake, rectified it, and was very happy as her financial model got tallied.

Ms. Annie, with a sigh of relief, wondered, “Auditing a financial model was definitely a tedious job, but this awesome Excel shortcut has made it so easy.”

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How To Perform A Firewall Audit: 6 Steps

A firewall audit is a multistep process that gives organizations insight into the status and effectiveness of the firewalls installed throughout their network. These audits provide visibility into potential vulnerabilities and the health of connections going to and from firewalls. They also uncover information about firewall changes since the last audit. 

Firewalls are critical elements within a larger network security structure, serving as gatekeepers for incoming, outgoing, and internal network traffic. As traffic flows across the network, firewalls located at each network segment evaluate traffic packets, blocking traffic that does not meet pre-established security parameters. While firewalls are effective network security tools, they must be kept up-to-date and routinely monitored. That’s where the firewall audit process comes in. 

On a related topic, also see: Top Cybersecurity Software

The primary reason to invest time and resources into firewalls audits is the inherent nature of firewalls — they need constant updating to remain effective against rapidly evolving threats.

It’s also an important best security practice to monitor firewall rules to ensure they have been properly configured. Improperly configured rules can weaken firewalls and attract unauthorized access. If firewalls are unable to identify, isolate, and reject malicious traffic packets, an entire enterprise network can be put in significant danger. 

Firewall audits are also important for maintaining compliance with various industry regulations focused on network security and data protection. By performing in-house audits, organizations can feel assured they will be ready for an unexpected network audit by a regulatory body.

Firewall audits address the fact that firewall management can be complex and time-consuming. Having a step-by-step process for working through the review process helps to make sense of what can feel like an overwhelming task. 

For more information, also see: What is Big Data Security?

These 6 steps will help you develop a firewall audit plan. For organizations operating in sectors like finance and banking, healthcare, and other industries where sensitive public data needs to be protected, you may need to seek out additional checkpoints to include in your firewall audit process. 

Before you launch your firewall audit, it’s important to ensure you have good visibility into your network, including a good handle on hardware, software, policies, risks, and how users interact with the network. Gather the following information:

Information from prior audits, especially documents and reports covering firewall objects, policy revisions, and most importantly, details about firewall rules that have been applied.

List of every internet service provider (ISP) and virtual private network (VPN) used by the organization.

Security policy documentation (including updates that have been communicated but not added to official documentation yet).

Firewall log reports (at least at a high level — make sure you know how to quickly access more detailed information you may need later).

Firewall vendor information like OS version, default configurations, and reporting on the latest patches that have been provided onsite or remotely.

At this stage, be sure to centralize this information in a place where other people involved in the firewall audit can access it. This will make it much simpler to keep everyone on the same page and to avoid situations where time is being wasted tracking down redundant information. Establishing a “single source of truth” goes a long way toward conducting a good firewall audit. 

A firewall audit is a good opportunity to determine the effectiveness of the organization’s change management processes. Before making firewall changes, it’s a good idea to make sure the process is well-documented and uniform. The goal should always be to have a stable, reliable change management process. When changes are made in haphazard ways, myriad issues can arise. Consider these questions as you evaluate the change management process:

Who is implementing changes? It should be easy to determine who “owns” every change made to a firewall. 

Are changes being tested? Documentation about testing should be available to review during a firewall audit. 

Who is approving requested changes? Ideally, there should be a reliable “chain of command” when it comes to making substantial changes to any firewall across the organization’s network. 

Ultimately, firewall changes should be governed by a formal, documented process that maintains integrity. Every category of firewall changes should be handled in the same way, every time. 

For more information, also see: Data Security Trends

This step relates to the rate of responsiveness an organization has for neutralizing cyber threats. Can your organization quickly isolate and stop attacks before they spread throughout the wider network? A close examination of each firewall’s physical and software security perspectives can help to answer this fundamental network security question. Here are a few ways to perform these evaluations:

Introduce controlled access to secure firewall and other relevant servers.

Determine if the operating system conforms to standard hardening checklists.

Examine device administration procedures to ensure they are robust enough.

Verify that vendor patches and updates are being implemented fully and in a timely manner.

Review a list of authorized users who can physically access firewall server rooms.

Are there rules in the mix that don’t serve a purpose?

Can you disable any unused or expired objects and rules? 

Are firewall rules related to performance and effectiveness prioritized correctly?

Are there any unused connections, including irrelevant routes?

Are objects labeled according to standard object-naming conventions?

Are VPN parameters up-to-date? Are there any expired or unattached groups, expired or unattached users or unused users? 

Do firewall logs reveal whether policies are being applied adequately? 

Are permissive rules still relevant or do these need adjusting or updating?

Are there similar rules that could be merged into single rules?

Risk assessment is a major component of any firewall audit. After all, your main goal is to determine whether the organization’s network is sitting vulnerable due to firewall inadequacies. Take your time to determine whether firewall rules truly comply with internal policies and evolving industry regulations and standards. 

This step will be unique to each organization, so be sure to apply the industry standards and best practices that apply to you. Every organization also carries its own determination of acceptable risk (a financial services company may have a much lower tolerance for risk versus a small outbound call center, for example, though both rely on up-to-date firewall protection). 

As you evaluate the list of rules, consider whether:

The rule permits risky services from your demilitarized zone (DMZ) to the internal network.

The rule permits risky services inbound from the internet, in general.

The rule permits risky services outbound from the internet.

The rule contains “ANY” in any user field.

The rule runs afoul of corporate security policy.

The rule falls short of corporate security policy requirements.

It’s also a good idea to review firewall configurations and rules against any regulatory standards that may apply, including:





ISO 27001



Keep the momentum going. Once you’ve had success with your first firewall audit, make a goal of continuous compliance. These steps can help:

Create a process that can be replicated in the future, and make sure the process is well-documented so that any analyst can conduct the audit based on the materials.

Consider smart automation that could be integrated into the process, with a goal of eliminating error-prone manual tasks.

Be sure any significant changes impacting firewall policy and rule changes are communicated to the point person or team responsible for conducting firewall audits so that these modifications can be considered during the next audit.

For more information, also see: Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity

By creating a process for conducting ongoing firewall audits, you’ll have a better handle on your organization’s overall security posture. Firewalls are integral to any network security approach, so it is vital they are maintained and monitored as thoroughly as any other network asset. 

While this process can feel overwhelming, having a firewall audit checklist like this can help keep things organized and straightforward. 

Techtarget Reports Second Quarter 2008 Financial Results

TechTarget, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTGT) today announced financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2008. Total revenues for the second quarter increased by 19% to $29.4 million compared to $24.6 million for the comparable prior year quarter. Online revenue increased by 28% to $20.8 million compared to $16.3 million for the second quarter of 2007 and represented 71% of total revenues. Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, as further adjusted for stock-based compensation) for the second quarter decreased by 1% to $7.5 million compared to $7.6 million for the comparable prior year quarter.

Total gross profit margin for the quarter was 69% compared to 70% for the comparable prior year quarter. Online gross profit margin for the quarter was 74% compared to 76% for the comparable prior year quarter.

Net income for the quarter was $1.7 million compared to $3.2 million for the comparable prior year quarter. Adjusted net income (net income adjusted for amortization and stock-based compensation, as further adjusted for the related income tax impact) was $4.3 million compared to $4.9 million for the comparable prior year quarter. Net income per diluted share for the quarter was $0.04 compared to net income per diluted share of $0.08 on a pro forma basis for the comparable prior year quarter. Adjusted net income per share (adjusted net income divided by adjusted weighted average diluted shares outstanding) for the quarter was $0.10 compared to $0.13 on a pro forma basis for the comparable prior year quarter. As of June 30, 2008, TechTarget had $67.7 million of cash, cash equivalents and short term investments, and bank debt of $4.5 million.

Recent Company Highlights

Won 12 Awards for editorial excellence from independent organizations, including eight Awards of Excellence from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) and four awards from Trade Association and Business Publications International (TABPI).

Financial guidance

In the third quarter of 2008, the Company expects total revenues to be within the range of $25.0 million to $26.0 million and adjusted EBITDA to be within the range of $4.3 million to $5.1 million.

As previously announced on July 24, 2008, the Company expects 2008 total annual revenues to be within the range of $108 and $112 million and adjusted EBITDA to be within the range of $25 and $27 million. Additionally, the Company expects its online revenue for 2008 to grow between 24% – 30%.

Conference Call and Webcast

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Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This press release and the accompanying tables include a discussion of adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA Margin, adjusted net income and adjusted net income per share, all of which are non-GAAP financial measures which are provided as a complement to results provided in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”). The term “adjusted EBITDA” refers to a financial measure that we define as earnings before net interest, income taxes, depreciation, and amortization, as further adjusted for stock-based compensation. The term “adjusted EBITDA Margin” refers to a financial measure which we define as adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of total revenues. The term “adjusted net income” refers to a financial measure which we define as net income adjusted for amortization and stock-based compensation, as further adjusted for the related income tax impact for the specific adjustments. The term “adjusted net income per share” refers to a financial measure which we define as a djusted net income divided by adjusted weighted average diluted shares outstanding. These Non-GAAP measures should be considered in addition to results prepared in accordance with GAAP, but should not be considered a substitute for, or superior to, GAAP results. In addition, our definition of adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA Margin, adjusted net income and adjusted net income per share may not be comparable to the definitions as reported by other companies. We believe adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA Margin, adjusted net income and adjusted net income per share are relevant and useful information because it provides us and investors with additional measurements to compare the Company’s operating performance. These measures are part of our internal management reporting and planning process and are primary measures used by our management to evaluate the operating performance of our business, as well as potential acquisitions. The components of adjusted EBITDA include the key revenue and expense items for which our operating managers are responsible and upon which we evaluate their performance. In the case of senior management, adjusted EBITDA is used as the principal financial metric in their annual incentive compensation program. Adjusted EBITDA is also used for planning purposes and in presentations to our board of directors. Adjusted net income is useful to us and investors because it presents an additional measurement of our financial performance, taking into account depreciation, which we believe is an ongoing cost of doing business, but excluding the impact of certain non-cash expenses and items not directly tied to the core operations of our business. Furthermore, we intend to provide these non-GAAP financial measures as part of our future earnings discussions and, therefore, the inclusion of these non-GAAP financial measures will provide consistency in our financial reporting. A reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to GAAP is provided in the accompanying tables.

Forward Looking Statements

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How To Select Multiple Photos In Lightroom (Shortcuts)

Are you still working with just one photo at a time in Lightroom? Whether organizing, editing, comparing, or syncing, doing it one photo at a time can be time-consuming. 

Hey there! I’m Cara and if you don’t know how to select multiple photos in Lightroom, I’m about to blow your mind! And save you countless hours in Lightroom. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to select multiple photos at once in Lightroom. You can use the keyboard shortcut to select or manually select photos that you want to export, batch edit, or delete. 

Note:‌ ‌the‌ ‌screenshots‌ ‌below‌ ‌are‌ ‌taken‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌Windows‌ ‌version‌ ‌of‌ Lightroom ‌Classic.‌ ‌If‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌using‌ ‌the‌ ‌Mac‌ ‌version,‌ ‌they‌ ‌will‌ ‌look‌ ‌slightly‌ ‌different.‌ 

Shortcuts to Select Multiple Photos in Lightroom

If you know how to select multiple photos in your operating system’s file browser, you’ve already won the battle. It’s basically the same when you mass select photos in Lightroom.

Select Consecutive Images

Select Individual Images

Select All Images

Press Ctrl + A (Windows) or Command + A (macOS) to quickly select all the images in the active folder or collection.

Where to Select Multiple Photos in Lightroom

These are the basic shortcuts and they work in all the Lightroom modules. However, where you select the photos from will change slightly.

Library Module

What’s the easiest way to select a large number of photos? Use the Grid view in the Library Module.

From anywhere in Lightroom press G on the keyboard to jump to this view and module. If you’re already in the Library module, you can press the Grid button in the bottom left corner of the workspace. 

When the grid opens, you will see the photos in your active folder or collection displayed in a grid format. You may also see the same photos displayed in a filmstrip across the bottom.

Use the keyboard shortcuts as we described to select your desired images in the grid. Shift for consecutive images, Ctrl or Command for non-consecutive ones. 

Other Lightroom Modules

None of the other Lightroom modules have this handy grid for viewing photos. However, they all have the filmstrip at the bottom. Toggle it on with the arrow, if necessary. 

You can select photos from the filmstrip using the same shortcuts we’ve discussed. Scroll down with your mouse hovering over the filmstrip to scroll to the right and access all the photos. 

How to Select Multiple Photos to Import in Lightroom

Selecting photos on the import screen also looks a little different. This is an important place to learn how to select multiple photos as you will need this trick nearly every time you enter Lightroom.

Step 1: In the Library module, press the Import button near the bottom left of the screen.

On the left side of the screen, select the folder which you would like to import the photos from. 

Any photos not already imported into Lightroom will appear in the grid with checkmarks in the top left corners. The checkmark indicates the photo has been selected for import into Lightroom.

If you want to only import specific photos, press the Uncheck All button near the bottom of the screen.

Step 2: Select the photos you want to import as usual. Hold Shift to select consecutive images and Ctrl or Command for non-consecutive selections.

However, if you stop here, these images will not be imported into Lightroom when you press the Import button. The images have to have a checkmark in the top left corner. 

Step 3: Hit the Import button on the right, and all your selected images will be imported into Lightroom.

Super easy, right? 

Lightroom makes it very easy for photographers to work with a large number of images at once. After all, some of us work with hundreds of images at once and manage collections of several thousand images. We need all the help we can get to do those tasks quickly!

Curious about other helpful tools in Lightroom? Check out our tutorial on the soft proofing feature and never print an oddly-colored image again!

37 Tech Shortcuts From The Experts

Your time is valuable. On the Gmail team, we work hard to offer a user ex­­perience that won’t bog you down. But we also want to share some tips for be­­ing even more productive with Gmail.

Focus on search, not folders: Google was built on search, and we’ve aimed to bring that same search experience to Gmail. Studies show that users save time when they search for an email instead of categorizing it into a folder. In Gmail, you can quickly find the exact message you want by typing keywords into the search box, or you can rely on the program’s search autocomplete to specify the attributes you want (try typing ‘from:[sender]’ or ‘has photos’).

Let Gmail do your filing for you: Instead of individually finding and filing messages, try a search in Gmail for a specific type of message (for example, all email messages ‘’). Then select Filter messages like this from the ‘More’ drop-down menu to set up a filter that will automatically label, archive, delete, or “star” similar types of incoming messages.

Use Priority Inbox: If you receive a lot of email, use Gmail’s Priority Inbox to automatically separate your important mail from the rest, based on various signals. We found that Priority Inbox users spend 43 percent more time reading important messages than unimportant ones, and that they spend 15 percent less time reading email overall than do Gmail users working without Priority Inbox.

Keep your contacts up-to-date: Nothing saps time like having to deal with bounced email messages or waiting for a reply to a message that you sent to an outdated email address. You can ensure that you have the latest and most accurate contact information by taking ad­­vantage of Gmail’s new profile integration with Google+, which automatically brings any information that your contacts share with you through Google+ into your Contacts list in Gmail.

–Alex Gawley, Gmail Product Manager

Create a Schedule for Your Distractions

Instead of reacting to various notifications–email alerts, incoming instant messages, Twitter messages, and other needy software on your machine–as they arrive, consider dedicating a few half-hour blocks of time during the day to distractions, and leave the rest for focused work. I use this strategy, which I first heard from Gina Trapani, when she was at Lifehacker.

To save time, the first thing I do after setting up a new PC or Mac is to disable all notifications for everything: pop-up windows, audible sounds, bouncing icons­–all of it, for every application, including calendar appointments, email messages, and instant messages. Every time those notifications fire, they pull my attention from whatever I’m working on­–and I can’t instantaneously re­­focus my attention on my task.

My approach won’t work for people whose jobs require them to respond immediately to every email or tweet. For most people, though, the vast majority of incoming messages can wait an hour or two for a response. Every few hours during my workday, I take a 20- to 30-minute break and use it to re­­spond to email and instant messages. When I’m finished, I use whatever remains of my allotted break time to check in on my various social networks.

I apply even more scrutiny to notifications on my phone and tablet. You don’t need your phone beeping for every piece of spam you get throughout the night, so limit your phone to notifying you of just the interruption-worthy messages. On my phone and tablet, the only apps that I permit to send me modal alerts–which require interaction before I can do anything else with the device–are text messages and calendar ap­­pointments; everything else is pushed to the notifications list, where I can address it when I want to (or ignore it indefinitely). Computers should help you make better use of your time. Don’t let yours boss you around.

Next: Tips for Facebook productivity, printer efficiency, and Android typing speed.

Be More Productive on Facebook

Facebook may be your go-to site for goofing off when you should be doing something productive instead, but you have plenty of options for improving your efficiency while you kill time there.

–Brittany Darwell, Lead Writer, Inside Facebook

Adjust Your Printer to Print Faster

Some printers are slow no matter what you do to accelerate their performance, but try these tips to speed up the printing process.

Print in draft mode: If you don’t need your printout to look especially pretty, using your printer’s draft mode will generate output more quickly and–as a bonus–use less ink. The names that vendors give this feature vary; look for a setting in your printer driver called ‘draft’, ‘fast’, ‘eco’ (as in “ecological”), or something similar.

Print using black or grayscale mode: If you print in a single color instead of four, you’ll save at least a little time because the other colors won’t need to mark the page. This mode is especially important if you use a color laser printer, since the toner cartridges in such printers rotate and take turns laying color onto the drum. In our tests, we’ve had to sit and listen as the cartridges slowly rotate; it takes a while. Changing the printer to use just black mode has consistently sped up the process.

Print two pages per sheet: Pulling paper through a printer takes time, but you can cut that time in half by telling your printer to print two pages per sheet. The pages will be smaller, but readable in most cases. Check your driver for a feature called ‘n-up’, ‘multiple page’, or something similar.

Keep file sizes small: Photos and complex graphics significantly in­­crease the size of your document file and, consequently, the time it will take for the printer to digest the file and generate your pages.

–Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld

Type Faster With a Third-Party Android Keyboard

Using a third-party keyboard is a great way to get more out of your Android phone. Such keyboards provide different features than the stock keyboard that comes on most Android phones, and they can help you send text messages or compose email messages more quickly.

Work faster with Swype: If speed is your main concern, I recommend the Swype keyboard. Swype, which comes installed on most Samsung phones, lets you slide your finger across keys to form words. The process takes some getting used to; but once you’re acclimated, you’ll be cranking out messages in a jiffy. If your phone didn’t come with Swype preinstalled, download the general Android beta from Swype’s website.

Get spelling help with SwiftKey: If the autocorrect feature on your An­­droid device hinders you more than it helps, give the SwiftKey keyboard a try. SwiftKey analyzes the words you use most frequently in your text messages, email, and social media ac­­counts, and predicts the words you’ll type based on how you’ve constructed similar sentences in the past. This approach can save you tons of time. The latest version of the keyboard, SwiftKey 3, makes typing even faster than its predecessors did, by removing the need to use the spacebar. You can type entire sentences without putting spaces between the words, and SwiftKey will intelligently insert spaces as needed. Priced at $4, SwiftKey is available from both the Amazon App Store and the Google Play market.

–Armando Rodriguez, PCWorld

Next: Keyboard shortcuts, Google search speed-ups, photo tips.

Learn to Love Your Keyboard

Nothing saves me as much computing time as keyboard shortcuts. Think of them as gesture controls for your PC. Here are my top three keyboard tricks for saving time (and starving my mouse of attention).

Memorize the shortcuts you use most commonly: The shortcuts at your command should go far beyond Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V. Think about the actions that you frequently repeat in your favorite applications. For example, if you work with Excel, acclimate yourself to switching between worksheets by holding down Ctrl and tapping Page Up or Page Down. With a little practice, you’ll find that using these shortcuts becomes second nature.

Stop relying on your mouse: Put it down and don’t let yourself even think about it; instead, keep your hands on the keyboard, and give yourself a chance to operate your computer at something closer to the speed of thought.

Work With Windows Shortcuts

Most Windows users know about using Ctrl-C to copy, Ctrl-V to paste, and Ctrl-Z to undo. But other Windows keyboard shortcuts can be just as helpful.

Control your tabs: In a browser, press Ctrl-T to open a new tab. Use Ctrl-Tab to switch between open tabs; if you close a tab by accident, press Ctrl-Shift-T to reopen it­–a lifesaver in some situations.

Quickly navigate between windows: Use Alt-Tab to bring up an overlay in the center of the screen showing all your open windows and letting you choose which to pull to the front. For Windows Vista and later, Flip 3D turns open windows into a virtual stack that you can flip through. To activate Flip 3D, press Windows-Tab. For additional control, use Windows-Left arrow or Windows-Right arrow to snap your window to the left or right side of the screen, Windows-Up arrow to maximize the window, or Windows-Down arrow to minimize it.

Use keys to open programs mouselessly: In Windows 7, press Windows to open the Start menu. Afterward, you can start typing to search through programs in the All Programs menu. Press Enter, and the top program in the search results will open. Press Windows, and type wo to bring Microsoft Word to the top in the search results; press Enter, and you’ll be typing in a new Word document.

–Michelle Mastin, PCWorld

Accelerate Google Searches

Find films fast: To get movie times at local theaters, type movies followed by your zip code into the Google search bar; Google will display a list of what’s playing at every nearby cinema. For greater specificity, type movie title followed by your zip code to narrow your search to a single film.

Follow your flight: To see your flight status without having to hunt through your airline’s website, type the name of your airline and your flight number (JetBlue 846, for example) into the Google search bar. Google will provide your flight information, with an up­­date on whether the plane is on time.

Watch the weather: To check the weather before you go, type weather and your destination (‘weather Las Vegas’, say). Google will supply the relevant area’s four-day forecast. Now there’s no excuse not to be prepared!

–Alex Wawro, PCWorld

Save Time While Shooting Photos

Learn to use burst mode, and then learn to love it: Some of the hardest things to capture with a camera can be the most memorable: a smiling baby, a pet doing something awesome, or the moment-of-impact shot of your kid getting his first Little League hit. Instead of relying on an impossibly well-timed shutter finger, set your camera to its continuous-shooting (or “burst”) mode and start snapping rapid-fire images. Not only will you have a better chance of nabbing the perfect shot, but also you will have many pictures to choose from.

Edit as you go, but not after every shot: “Chimping”–the habit of immediately checking out every image you snap on a camera’s LCD screen­–is frowned upon in serious photography circles, and it’ll cause you to miss a lot of good shots. Once you’re done shooting an event, however, take a few minutes to review your batch of pics on the camera itself and delete the ones that you know you won’t use. Doing so will save you time importing photographs to your PC, but proceed with caution: If you’re not sure whether a picture is a keeper, it’s best to refrain from deleting it until you see it on a bigger screen.

–Tim Moynihan, PCWorld

Next: Tips for using Office more effectively, and more.

Get More Out of Your Day

Here are a few of my favorite Office tips.

–Jevon Fark, Office Team, Microsoft

Quick Tips

Activate ‘Quick Controls’ in your Android browser: Save time while browsing the Internet on your Android device by enabling ‘Quick Controls’ in the stock Android browser. First confirm that you’re using Android version 3.1 (Honeycomb) or later; then open your browser settings menu, tap Labs and enable Quick Controls for faster browsing. This will eliminate the address and status bars from the top of your display, giving you more screen space for browsing the Web. To access browser settings, perform a search, or open a new page, simply place your thumb on the left or right edge of the screen, and a circular menu will pop up with full navigation options.

Edit PDFs with Google Docs: You can save time by using Google Docs instead of a more-expensive PDF editor to alter a PDF document. First, upload your document to Google Docs; then check the Convert text from PDF and image files to Google documents box, which converts a PDF document into an editable rich-text document (this works best if the PDF is mostly text). You can then edit it online and redownload the document as a PDF or text file.

Use DropBox to set up an online backup: Create a free (2GB) DropBox account, and link it with your desktop’s Photo directory. DropBox will automatically upload everything in that di­rectory to cloud storage–a very useful backup.

Forward calls to yourself via Google Voice: Sign up for a free account with Google Voice and link it with your home, office, and mobile phone numbers so that you can forward calls to whichever phone is appropriate based on your location, thereby reducing the amount of time you spend checking messages. You can also record calls, send them straight to voicemail, or even shut down your phone entirely during certain hours to let you focus on the task at hand.

Create a custom alarm or timer with Timer Tab: Turn your browser into a productivity tool with the free Timer Tab app. Simply open a new tab in your browser of choice and navigate to chúng tôi where you can set up a custom alarm or timer to keep you on track while you’re working. Set the timer for 25 minutes and focus on work for the full time period; then take 5 minutes to relax and browse the Web.

Save Serious Money With A Business Energy Audit

Sluggish sales and hard-to-get loans may blight the business landscape, but cutting energy waste can bring a big payoff to a small company. To shave liabilities off your profit-and-loss statement, aim to slash your power consumption instead of your workforce or the crucial projects that could help your company expand.

“We all have incentives to manage our utility bill, but many people don’t try because they don’t know how,” says Geoff Overland, who runs IT and data-center programs for Wisconsin’s statewide Focus on Energy program. “By efficiently managing our energy, we have an immediate impact on our bottom line.”

DIY or Hire a Pro?

Although you won’t find a one-size-fits-all approach to an energy audit, you will have to assign someone to be in charge of the project.

If your headquarters is at home or in a similarly small space, free online tools for residential audits will walk you through the process. Utility companies, Energy Star and similar programs, and groups such as the Residential Energy Services Network offer checklists and online calculators.

Once you gather a years’ worth of utility bills, spending about half an hour with Enercom Energy Depot software will break down your consumption and suggest ways to trim it.

Pacific Gas & Electric on the West Coast, Duke Energy in the South, and other utility companies also provide Web-based audit tools for small businesses operating in spaces ranging from an apartment complex to a small warehouse. If your business has multiple locations, dozens of employees, or specialized needs beyond those of the usual small office or shop, seek a professional auditor through your local utility.

Checklists and First Steps

Among the major first steps is to examine doorways, windows, and insulation for leaks of cool or hot air. A building shouldn’t “breathe” unless you’ve opened a window for air. Heating and cooling are the biggest building energy hogs, so perform regular tune-ups and updates on heating and air conditioning systems, and seek Energy Star-rated equipment.


Consumer electronics account for one-fifth of home energy use, according to the government, but no hard-and-fast figure exists for small businesses. The more your company relies on hardware, the more energy it tends to use.

To measure exactly how much each gadget and appliance in your workplace costs in watts and dollars, devices such as the Watts Up or the Kill-a-Watt cost around $100, and some are integrated into power strips. Some utility companies lend watt meters to small businesses for several weeks at no charge.

Studies show that, in a home, electronic devices waste up to one-fifth of their energy consumption on standby power, plugged in but not in use–an easy opportunity for savings.

A typical computer can use 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity or more per year, Overland says. If you pay 8 cents per kilowatt-hour, that’s $40 per year to run just one computer. Multiply that by two or three if you don’t turn off the PC at night.

In Windows 7’s Control Panel, for example, choose Power Options and select the Power Saver plan to turn off a display after 5 minutes of inactivity and then put the PC to sleep after 15 minutes (or even 5 minutes). Advanced options provide more controls, such as setting a laptop to sleep when you close its lid.

Put Electronics on an Energy Diet

Among the simplest methods for reducing your devices’ electrical load is keeping them plugged into a surge-protecting power strip that can flip off at the end of the day. Power strips with occupancy sensors, such as those from Belkin, shut down attached peripherals when you step away from a PC.

To put an existing PC on double duty (or more), Ncomputing offers multiuser tools for PCs that enable one computer to serve more than one staffer simultaneously.

Power-controlling devices can reduce the energy consumed by big, old appliances, such as an aging refrigerator in the office kitchen.

In the Data Center

Businesses that maintain large storage needs or that manage a data center have additional energy concerns. For them, virtualization is a blessing. Overland has seen virtualization save companies $280 and 3500 kilowatt-hours per year per server, thanks to the reduction in server, cooling, and UPS power. Plus, a blade or blade chassis is a wise replacement for other physical servers.

Energy and Money Saved

A business renting 2000 square feet of office space in San Francisco could save $1360 by optimizing its electronic devices’ power settings, purchasing Energy Star equipment, and using fluorescent lighting, according to PG&E’s SmartEnergy Analyzer.

If you work at home, look for consumer tax credits for upgrading windows, doors, and heating and cooling systems, as well as for installing solar, wind, fuel cell, or geothermal energy systems.

Commercial-building owners can enjoy federal tax breaks of $1.80 per square foot if they halve their yearly energy costs. States including California offer additional efficiency incentives and rebates.

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