99 Tech Life Hacks You Should Know

A life hack is a strategy, technique, trick or shortcut that can help make life easier – by speeding up efficiency, enhancing productivity and sometimes minimizing a source of annoyance with a quick trick. That’s as close to a dictionary definition as you can get.

Love them or hate them, life hacks have become so engrained in our online lives that there are sites and videos dedicated to sharing these hacks (or debunking them).

In this compilation, we want to share with you 99 of our favorite tech life hacks. You might have heard of some of them, especially when it comes to keyboard shortcuts and handy online tools and websites, but it doesn’t hurt to know more of them.

  1. To quickly change the case (upper vs. lower) of text in Microsoft Word, highlight the phrase, then hit Shift + F3. Changes cycle through all lowercase, first letter capitalized, and all in uppercase. (Related: 200 Windows Keyboard Shortcuts)
  2. To get quick summaries of articles online, get and use the Chrome extension TLDR. The plugin shows you the gist of the article so you can figure out if you want to read the whole thing. (Here are more Chrome extensions)
  3. To re-open an accidentally closed browser tab, use Ctrl / Cmd + Shift + T.
  4. To get a tough-to-crack password, use non-English characters on your keyboard.
  5. To proofread a long essay, paste your article in Google Translate and listen to it. This makes it easier to pick up mistakes, and the tool itself can help you pick up minor typos. (Related: How To Improve Your Proofreading Skills)
  6. Run your writing or document past PolishMyWriting.comto clear typos, grammar mistakes and get help with writing styles.
  7. If you save your Powerpoint presentation in .PPS instead of .PPT, your file goes into slideshow mode when you open it.
  8. Want to charge your phone faster? Put it in Airplane Mode. (Editor’s note: We did a small experiment on this and found the difference to be only 3 minutes, but technically, it’s still “faster”.)
  9. Search for a domain name across multiple TLDs and how much they cost via iwantmyname.com. (Related: Generic TLDs & How They Change The Web)
  10. Have a lot of files stored in various cloud storage services? For an easy and secure way to manage all of them from the same spot, use Otixo.com.
  11. Want a quick way to unfreeze a frozen phone? Plug it into its charger.
  12. Hitting the Spacebar scrolls down a web page; hitting the Spacebar + Shift lets you scroll back up.
  13. Attach bread clips to each cable or power cord, then label the clips with a pen or marker to reflect which cable is which.
  14. Keep a list of numbers of your credit card companies or hotlines to cancel your cards quickly, in case you lose your wallet or phone. You can do this on paper on in an email.
  15. Store some emergency cash in between the small space of your phone and its phone case, just in case.
  16. Someone needs to use your iPhone to make a call? Use Siri from the lock screen to make the call. The person has no access to any other app on your phone this way.
  17. Got yet another call from a telemarketer? Press the volume down button to quickly mute the ringer.
  18. Your best search mate for college assignments is not google.com. Use scholar.google.com instead. Try adding “PDF” to find downloadable copies.
  19. Laptop batteries can last longer if you charge them up to only 80% instead of the full 100%. (Related: 10 Tips to Conserve Smartphone Battery Life)
  20. If you can’t remember the title of a song but you know the melody or lyrics to it, hum/sing it on Midomi to get the title.
  21. When booking flights or hotels online, clear cookies before you start looking, or shop in Incognito mode, for lower prices.
  22. The best background music to work to with minimal disruption is video game soundtracks.
  23. Want to play Tetris on Mac? On Terminal, type Emacs then press Enter. Press Esc + X, type tetris and Enter. Use the arrow keys to move and rotate your Tetris blocks.
  24. To find the solution to one of your many computer troubleshooting issues, add “Solved” to sift through the results.
  25. Use SelfControl to block social network sites for a period of time. Cool app, ironic name. (Related: 5-Step Guide To A Complete Tech Detox)
  26. For an equal split of sound of your tunes when sharing your headphones with a friend, turn on the Mono audio option on your phone.
  27. Shave a few bucks off your groceries, by using Lozo to find discount coupons for the stuff you need.
  28. Saving an Excel file as an .XLSB will shrink the size by half or 75%.
  29. Someone’s incessant morning alarm is going off but the owner is refusing to get up and turn it off? Call the phone to turn it off for them.
  30. If you buy a product on Amazon, and there is a price drop within 7 days, you can get a refund on the price difference.
  31. To prevent sending emails to the wrong person, write your email first, and write your recipient last.
  32. If your printer is out of black ink, change the font color to #010101 for 99% grey.
  33. The best type of music to work to is a video game soundtrack because they are designed to not mess with your focus.
  34. Find yourself in a hotel without your charger? Check the TV for a USB plugin.
  35. The Bohemian Rhapsody is the perfect music piece to test headphones and speakers to because of the range of highs and lows.
  36. Have an old cassette case lying around? Don’t chuck it out, use it as a holder or stand for your mobile phone.
  37. Want a quick way to turn part of a YouTube video into a GIF? Add “GIF” after “www.” and before “youtube” in the URL of the video .(Related: More YouTube tricks)
  38. To paste copied text without the formatting, use Cmd / Ctrl + Shift + V.
  39. In Chrome, click Cmd / Ctrl + Shift + Del to quickly access the “Clear Browsing Data” Window.
  40. To find sample tests for a looming exam, search “site:edu [subject] exam”. (More Google Search tips)
  41. Can’t watch YouTube videos that have been age restricted but don’t want to sign in to do so? In the URL, delete the “watch?v=” and replace it with “v/”.
  42. To bypass a website block by your school or office, use Google Translate as a proxy by pasting the url of the site into it. (Related: 9 Ways To Access Blocked Websites)
  43. Make a small knot at either side of the earphone to identify left or right side of the earphones.
  44. In the iPhone Calculator app, swipe left or right to delete the last number.
  45. If you live near a stadium or a hall that hosts public venues, set Google Alerts for the location to avoid being “surprised” by sudden traffic congestion.
  46. Take pictures of important notices, receipts, invitations, business cards, shopping lists for easy access. Never lose your paper trail again.
  47. If you need to remember the time for something, make a miss call to any number to get a (very precise) timestamp.
  48. Want to surprise someone at the airport but don’t know their arrival time or flight number? Google where they’re flying from and to, and the airline they are on e.g. Singapore Airlines Singapore to London. You’ll get all the info you need.
  49. Set important lists e.g. schedule, events, shopping list, errands, as the wallpaper for your phone.
  50. If you hit Shift + Volume up / down on Mac, a sound is emitted indicating the intensity of the volume.
  51. The easiest way to crank up your smartphone’s speaker volume is using an empty cup.
  52. Take a picture of business cards people hand you, just in case you lose it.
  53. Bounce batteries to see if their are good or bad. The higher they bounce, the lower the charge they have in them. Here’s a cool video illustrating that.
  54. This one’s for developers who wonder what technologies and services are running under the hood in websites. Dissect a site with BuiltWith.com.
  55. Send notes that will self-destruct after it is read or after a specific number of days, via privnote.com.
  56. Need sound clips? Check out downloadfreesound.com for very specific sound bits.
  57. To delete files or folders quickly without dragging it to the trash bin, just use Shift + Del .
  58. Smallpdf is a fun place where PDFs go to be converted to and from other formats such as JPG, PPT, Word and Excel. They also unlock, split and merge PDFs. (Related: 80 Tools to Master PDF)
  59. Have a lot of tabs open on Chrome? Use Cmd + 1, 2, 3 to go to specific tabs based on their position, or use Cmd + Tab to just cycle through the tabs.
  60. Tap on K to pause a Youtube video, no matter where you click last in the same page.
  61. To scroll sideways or horizontally on a web page, press down on Shift then scroll on your mouse.
  62. Pressing down on Cmd then scrolling on your mouse, zooms in or out of the web page you’re on.
  63. Click on a link with your mouse’s scroll button to open it in another browser tab.
  64. Have a lot of tabs open? Click on a browser tab with your mouse’s scroll button to quickly close tabs you don’t need.
  65. Install multiple applications at once with the help of Ninite. It’s the ultimate time-saver.
  66. On Mac, Ctrl + Click works the same way as a right-click on the mouse.
  67. Don’t want your searches on Google to be location-based? Then go to google.com/ncr. NCR stands for “no country redirect”.
  68. Turn your handwriting into a font with MyScriptFont. (Related: How to Turn Your Handwriting Into A Font)
  69. In Excel, to highlight the whole row (horizontal) use Shift + Spacebar, and to highlight the whole column (vertical), use Control + Spacebar.
  70. Many tech companies have a status page that lets you know of their services are down. For instance, here are the links to go to for the status pages for Apple and Facebook.
  71. The Youtube Audio Library has music you can download and put into any of your YouTube videos. (Related: 20 Websites To Download Creative Commons Music For Free)
  72. Stay ahead of important dates like game, movie and album releases, major events and more with the help of Forekast.
  73. Need a mirror fast? Turn on your smartphone’s front-facing camera, like you would when you take a selfie.
  74. Don’t know which smartphone to buy? Use this ProductChart to help you narrow down your choices based on your preferences. (Related: 20 Apps for Shopping Discounts & Deals)
  75. Shop with Honey to get the best coupons collected and applied to every online purchase you make.
  76. Want to insert a new key into your keyring? Use a coin to keep the ring apart and slot in your new key.
  77. Don’t throw away the box your smartphone came in. They are great, sturdy storage spaces to store charging cables and earphones you want to keep with you while travelling.
  78. To make sure someone isn’t giving you a fake number, read the number back to them incorrectly and see if they correct you. If they do correct you, then it’s the right number.
  79. Stumped by a math problem? Get the PhotoMath app and scan the math problem with your phone and the app will solve it for you.
  80. Put an emergency contact number and a name on your lock screen, in case you lose your phone.
  81. Use crocodile clips to organize, separate and keep your cables within reach.
  82. For quick dictionary meanings, google “define: [your search term]”.
  83. Learned a new word but not sure how to use it? Google the word then refine the search results to “News” to see the word in practical use.
  84. If you see an attire on TV and want to own the same attire, this site WornOnTV.net helps you to easily find the clothes they were wearing
  85. To download a Youtube video, insert “ss”, after www. and before youtube.com.
  86. When playing a mobile game, the easiest way to stop ads is to play it in Airplane Mode.
  87. For smarter search results, use WolframAlpha.com.
  88. View, Edit or annotate PDF documents online via PDFEscape.com.
  89. With Marker.to you can highlight parts of a webpage with “yellow marker”, then share the annotated page with friends with a link. (Related: Top Web Annotation and Markup Tools)
  90. Write, edit, print and share complete music sheets with Noteflight. It’s also a great collaborative tool used in music classes.
  91. Darker wallpaper or themes can help save 6%-8% of battery life for smartphones with AMOLED screens.
  92. To runs searches in Gmail more accurately, use quote marks “” with your keyword for example “invoice“. (Related: Gmail Advanced Search – Ultimate Guide)
  93. Use has:attachment in Gmail search to list all emails that have attachments.
  94. To get the time and weather of a city, just google “[location] time” or “[location] weather”. Example “LA time” or “LA Weather“.
  95. Do Nothing for 2 Minutes is a website that wants you to do nothing except stay calm, and listen to their wave music for 2 minutes.
  96. With TextExpander’s bit.ly script, you can shorten any URL in practically less than 1 second.
  97. By using Dropbox’s Carousel media gallery, you will be rewarded with 3GB additional storage space in Dropbox. (Note: This has been discontinued March 31, 2016).
  98. To shoot Panorama photos on iOS in a different direction, simply tap on the arrow to switch from left to right, or right to left. (Related: 15 iPhone Tips & Tricks You Probably Don’t Know)
  99. You can take a snapshot of video you are watching via VLC Media Player. Hit Shift + S on Windows, or Cmd + Alt + S on OS X.

Know of more tech life hacks you want to share with us? Tell us in the comments section.