From The Tips Box: Switching Browsers, Quicklink To-Dos And More

From The Tips Box: Switching Browsers, Quicklink To-Dos And More

Readers offer their best tips for switching browsers with a hotkey, scheduling work time with rotating wallpapers, and using Gmail quicklinks as a to-do list.

About the Tips Box: Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips in our inbox, but for various reasons — maybe they’re a bit too niche, maybe we couldn’t find a good way to present it, or maybe we just couldn’t fit it in — the tip didn’t make the front page. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favourites for your buffet-style consumption. Got a tip of your own to share? Add it in the comments or email it to tips at

Switching Browsers with a Hotkey

Aaron shares an AutoHotKey script to instantly switch browsers:

I love the speed of Chrome and it has taken over from Firefox as my main browser. However, occasionally I need to use Firefox for a particular extension, for example I am an academic and use Zotero to keep track of my articles. I have written a short AHK script which switches between Chrome and Firefox, so if I am on a page and suddenly need the Fox, I just hit “Ctrl + Shift + F” and keep working. Feel free to improve the script, too:
;OPEN a GOOGLE CHROME URL in FIREFOX, ctrl + Shift + f

IfWinActive, ahk_class Chrome_WindowImpl_0; script only runs if Chrome is active
{ Send, ^l
Sleep 50
Send, ^c
sleep 50

IfWinExist ahk_class MozillaUIWindowClass; opens the URL in a new tab if Firefox if is already open
{ WinActivate ahk_class MozillaUIWindowClass
sendInput, ^t
sleep 50

IfWinNotExist ahk_class MozillaUIWindowClass; opens a new Firefox session if it is not already open
{ Run, C:ProgrammerMozilla Firefoxfirefox.exe
WinWait ahk_class MozillaUIWindowClass
Send, ^l
sleep 50
sendInput, ^v
sendInput, {Enter}

Schedule Work Time with Rotating Wallpaper

Andy shows us how he manages his time with wallpapers:

Using these two wallpapers I made in under five minutes, I can manage my time based on Windows 7’s wallpaper interval changer. Just set a new theme using only these two backgrounds and change the interval to whatever time you like (I use 30 minutes) to break up your time into two categories: Work and Play.

Of course, these wallpapers are a bit on the bland side. I’ll probably make another few that use more vibrant colour schemes for those who like colour.

This is a great idea, but if you are addicted to your wallpapers — like I am — instead of making your own, you can just throw your existing wallpapers in an image editor and add the text to a corner or something, so you get to keep your eye candy. Also, this works in OS X and Linux as well (though for some Linux distros you may need to download an app).

Using Gmail Quicklinks as To-Dos

giglby lays out a nice alternative to Google Tasks in Gmail:

I’m not sure if this is a commonly known trick, but I thought I’d share: I made a makeshift GMail tasks window using Quick Links. Basically, I send myself an email using the task info and due date in the subject line and detailed information in the body. With the email open, I create a quick link using the task info and due date as the title. That way, the Quick Links window serves as a summary of everything I have to do, and I can simply click a link to see the detailed info. (FYI The reason I enter the task info and due date in the subject line is because I have a “Tasks” label, which serves as a backup in case Google decides to pull Quick Links. I simply have to click “Tasks” to see my task list. Clicking a specific email takes me to the detailed info.)

This would be especially useful if the task you want to remember was sent to you in an email — just one click to add it to your to-do list!

Make a Custom Home Page with Quick Links

Edward shares his custom home page with us:

I have composed a faster way to get to the commonly used services of google. Instead of a simple search you have youtube, gmail, calendar, wave and other apps in one page. Just set it as your homepage and you’re good to go.

You can download Edward’s custom page here.

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