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Directive Blogs

Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

How to Ensure Your Business is Hurricane-Ready

As headlines shout about Hurricane Florence approaching the East Coast later this week, with Helene and Isaac also stirring in the Atlantic Ocean, it seems as good a time as any to discuss preparing your business for hurricane season; and, really any adverse weather effects that could negatively influence your business. Preparing your business for events like these is key to its survival, making it crucial that you know what your responsibilities are when awaiting a potentially devastating event such as a hurricane.

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How to Boost Your Business’ Success in 3 Easy Steps

Running a business is never easy. There are so many moving parts to juggle and decisions to prioritize, it can be easy to skip over key steps on the path to success. While good business savvy is obviously a key requirement for this success to happen, there are certain things that can be done to give your business an extra push in the right direction. Today, we’ll go over three such seeds of success.

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Tip of the Week: 3 Google Drive Tips You May Not Have Heard Of

If you use Google Drive as your preferred cloud provider, you know that it’s a dynamic service that offers everything from word processing to spreadsheets to file storage. However, there are many other ways to use Google Drive that you may not even be aware of. Here are three secret tips that can help you get a little more value out of Google Drive.

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Tip of the Week: How to Search Within the Content of the Webpage You are On

Not all Internet search tools are created equal. For example, sometimes you may use a website’s search feature, only to discover that it doesn’t provide the quality of results you’re used to getting from a major search engine like Google Search. When finding yourself in such a predicament, you’ve got a few options to help narrow down your search.

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Tip of the Week: iPhone Too Full? Try Renting a Movie! Seriously.

b2ap3_thumbnail_iphone_storage_tips_400.jpgLike many mobile devices, iPhones don’t have a slot for an external memory card, which means the device can easily become too full to use. When this happens, pictures can’t be taken and some apps just won’t work. If you’re experiencing this issue with your iPhone, just rent a movie. It works. Seriously.

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10 Common Security Mistakes That Can Sink Your Network

b2ap3_thumbnail_mobile_security_400.jpgMost companies have to have a workforce, generally one of considerable size. Unfortunately, the more users you have, the more potential risks you run into. Of course, your workforce doesn’t collectively intend to be a security risk, but the digital world is a complicated place, with threats around every corner and malicious programs just waiting for your employed end-users to slip up. Here are ten such honest slip-ups to watch out for:

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CTRL - One Key to Rule Them All

b2ap3_thumbnail_sb_meme_400.jpgLet's face it, no matter how quickly you can type, there is only so much you can accomplish without the use of keyboard shortcuts. Perhaps you never cared to learn them, or maybe you never had the opportunity. Now that you own a small business, your productivity and efficiency is at stake. Thankfully, some of the most useful shortcuts utilize one common key: the Control key.

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How to Properly Cite Sources in Microsoft Word 2013

b2ap3_thumbnail_word_2013_400.jpgMost people think of Microsoft Word as a normal word processor, and to an extent, that's exactly what it is. But did you know that Word 2013 has a built-in citation mechanism for your research needs? Say you are writing a white paper for marketing use, and you took specific statistics from a website. You want to make sure you cite these facts. Why? Because if you cite them, it makes your business look professional, and it looks good when you know how to credit someone else's work.

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Use These 5 Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows like a Boss!

b2ap3_thumbnail_keyborad_shortcuts_400.jpgThe computer mouse makes navigating your PC easy. However, the mouse isn't always the most efficient way to get computer work done. By taking advantage of keyboard shortcuts, you can shave precious seconds off your workflow and wow your coworkers with your computer prowess. Here are five time-saving keyboard shortcuts to get you started.

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Tips to Search the Web like a Pro, Part 1

b2ap3_thumbnail_goog400.jpgThe Internet is a place of wonderment where you can find almost anything you can imagine, but you have to know how to find it. How good are you at online searches? Anybody can type a query into Google, Bing, or Yahoo, but a simple search like this may not yield the best results.

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3 Easy Tips to Improve Your PC’s Boot Up Time

b2ap3_thumbnail_turnon400.jpgImproving your computer's startup time is a great way to get more productivity out of your work day. Studies have shown that people are most productive during the early hours of the day; therefore, you don't want to waste your best hours waiting for a PC to load. Here are three easy tips you can do to improve your PC's boot up time.

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End Your PowerPoint Presentation with Movie Credits!

b2ap3_thumbnail_ppcred400.jpgEverybody loves a pat on the back, especially after contributing to a great project. When you end your next PowerPoint presentation, don't just list your sources, give thanks to those who helped you in your research by epicly animating their names, movie credit style!

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Tip: Quickly Zoom Your Web Browser In and Out

b2ap3_thumbnail_zoom400.jpgSometimes, you just need to take a closer look at the Internet. For this article, we are not referring to a search engine; instead, we're talking about literally taking a closer look by using your Web browser's zoom feature, and it's as easy as giving your mouse click wheel a spin.

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What to Look for in Another User’s Excel Workbooks

b2ap3_thumbnail_Excel400.pngCollaborating with a team to complete a project helps everything go smoothly. Although, poor communication and mistakes can actually make the project drag on. Passing on a Microsoft Excel workbook from one employee to another is an example where communicating all the details can help. Here are three important steps to take when inheriting an Excel workbook

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Tip: Use Word to Fill in Scanned Documents

b2ap3_thumbnail_word400.pngHave you ever got stuck having to fill out a paper document, only to butcher it with your handwriting? Paper forms filled out with sloppy handwriting are unprofessional and may even miscommunicate an important detail. To help your paper forms look professional, Microsoft Word allows you to scan the doc and then enter text; we'll show you how!

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Tip: Use Microsoft Office without the Mouse

b2ap3_thumbnail_Keyboard400.jpgThe mouse may look like a helpful piece of technology, but be warned; it's actually a tool of destruction. If your mouse has been your sidekick for years of heavy computer usage, then your wrist might be in danger of carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes, it's nice to take a break from the mouse and use your keyboard to navigate Microsoft Office.

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6 Office Snacks That Take Forever to Burn Off

b2ap3_thumbnail_snack400.jpgWith office work, a lack of physical activity is often coupled with extra calories from mindless snacking. Office snacks are great for your appetite, but bad for your waistline. These extra calories require extra physical activity to burn off. If you understand how much exercise a little snack will ask of you, then you might think twice about eating it.

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Tip: Launch Word with Your Recent Project

b2ap3_thumbnail_Bookmark400.jpgIf you have a big Microsoft Word document that you chip away on every day, then you can save time by opening up Word directly to your project. By doing this, you can get more out of your workday. Here’s how you do it.

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When 600 Fonts are not Enough, Make Your Own!

b2ap3_thumbnail_FontFamily400.jpgAre you the type of person that gets a little excited when it comes time to choose a font? Have you had to force yourself to stop and just pick one, otherwise you would sink too much time into font shopping? If this describes you, then you will enjoy taking your fascination with fonts to the next level by making your own!

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Tip: Select Text to Reply in Gmail

b2ap3_thumbnail_Highlighted400.jpgDo you consider yourself a person who likes to get down to the point? If this is your personality, then you likely have little patience replying to every e-mail in your inbox. To help speed things up, we have a Gmail tip that allows you to quickly reply to a specific point so that you can better make your point.

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Tip: Improve Your Writing with Squigglies

b2ap3_thumbnail_MicrosoftWord400.jpgUnless you are an English major, writing a well thought-out message without any spelling or grammatical errors can be a challenging task. There is not yet a technology that will transform a couple of bullet points into a detailed thesis paper, but Microsoft Word does include helpful tools that will improve the spelling and grammar for any aspiring writer.

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Tip: Prevent Reply All Slip-Ups with TuneReplyAll Add-On for Outlook

b2ap3_thumbnail_TuneReplyAll_NewMessage2_20121214-061501_1.jpgThe Reply All feature of e-mail is both a tool of great convenience and great embarrassment. Not since the nuclear bomb button has there been a single button that can do so much damage. To help you avoid making this fatal mistake with your e-mail, we will share with you a free Outlook add-on called TuneReplyAll.

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Tip: Good Filenames Will Save You Time

b2ap3_thumbnail_filenames10.jpgWhat feelings are conjured up by the phrase, "file not found?" If you are unable to locate an important file on your PC, you are going to have a bad time. Insult is added to injury when you cannot find a file that you created because you do not remember what you named it.

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Tip of the Week: View Text in Windows Clearly

b2ap3_thumbnail_focustext10.jpgSpending hours every day staring at a computer monitor can cause strain to your eyeballs. Computer vision syndrome (CVS) affects 50 to 90 percent of computer workers physically with headaches, eye twitching, and physical fatigue. CVS can decrease productivity and even increase work errors. To help alleviate eye strain, Windows has an easy-to-use feature called ClearType.

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Weekly Tip: Email Attachment Shortcut for Outlook

b2ap3_thumbnail_emailattachmentred15.jpgChecking and replying to emails can be a drain of precious time in your day. For this week’s tip, we have a shortcut to share with you that will quickly attach a file to Microsoft Outlook; saving you the time of searching your documents in order to locate a certain file.

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3 Secret Tricks You Can Do with QR Codes

b2ap3_thumbnail_qrcode100.jpgMarketers love to paste QR codes on just about everything; from newspapers, DVD cases, retail displays, even fast food wrappers! QR codes are great for marketing, giving consumers instant access to a company's website, but QR codes also have many practical uses beyond advertising. Here are three helpful tricks you might not have known.

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Weekly Tip: Quickly Close All Windows Programs

b2ap3_thumbnail_sdwctrlaltdel10.jpgHow many different programs do you have open in Windows right now? Three? Five? More than ten? The more programs you have open at once, the longer it takes to close everything down. And what if you find yourself in a storm and need to shut down everything before a power outage strikes?

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Weekly Tip: Take Screenshots to Communicate Support Issues

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Have you ever been working on your computer when suddenly a wild error appears? If you need to better explain your problem to tech support, snapping a quick screenshot can be super effective.

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5 Tips to Make Yourself a Better Presenter


a1sx2_Original2_girlgivingpresentation.jpgSpeaking to a crowd, especially one comprised of your peers or potential clients, is a nerve wracking experience. All too often, a speaker will put all his/her effort into a PowerPoint with graphics worthy of James Cameron or distracting animations that spin, sparkle, and pop. As the speaker, you're the focus. Here's a few tips to keep your audience captivated:

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Handling Criticism and Adversity on Social Media

Like and Don't Like keyboard keysSocial Media is a far-reaching, extremely valuable tool for advertising and marketing. That is, well... until it isn't. Being able and prepared to handle negative online criticism can be the difference between a small but unfortunate event your company can learn from and 'irreparable damage that your company may never recover from.'

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Collaborate and Share Notes with Microsoft OneNote

multiple people looking at printed out graphsIf you use Microsoft OneNote for jotting down quick meeting notes, phone calls, and personal memos, you've probably had information you needed to share with other co-workers in your OneNote Notebook. This quick walk-through will show you how to set up a Shared Notebook that others can access and modify.

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Creating Gmail Filters to Organize Your Email

Gmail app logoWhether using email for work or pleasure, it is important to ensure that we receive the messages we want while avoiding spam and other junk. Furthermore, it is extremely useful for your email to be presorted into the appropriate folder for review. Here's how to create filters for one of today's most popular email services, Gmail:

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Business vs. Pleasure: Managing Your Facebook Persona

facebook logoLike most business owners, you probably have a Facebook page set up for your organization. Like most people, you likely also use Facebook to communicate with friends and family. Here's a simple method for doing so seamlessly.

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Gliffy Makes Building Flowcharts Easy

Ever need to put together a quick flowchart or diagram but the tools in Microsoft Word aren't quite giving you the results you need? Gliffy is a quick and easy online solution that's free and simple to use.

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Health for the Office

woman stretching in chairDo you work in an office and sit in front of a desk all day? Chances are, you have experienced back pain or tight shoulders. Maybe you get headaches from staring at the computer all day. Well today we will discuss some tips on how to reduce the negative effects that office work can have on your body. Working these tips into your day can have a dramatic effect on your mental and physical health and you will feel all the better for it.

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Pin Folders to the Windows 7 Taskbar for Fast Access to your Files

Do you find yourself constantly navigating to a certain directory on your network to access the files you use the most? With this quick and easy tip, you can browse the contents of that folder with a single click without needing to dig around for it first.

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Disabling Those Pesky Browser Toolbars

Browser toolbars: some people love them, some people hate them, others just don't care. Browser toolbars can make surfing the web easier, but sometimes they can get in the way and slow things down, and even open you up for potential risks.

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Top Ten Keyboard Shortcuts To Get Things Done

typing on keyboardMicrosoft Office and Windows 7 provide many keyboard shortcuts that can improve your ability to multitask and get things accomplished quickly. Most of these shortcuts will work in previous versions, like Windows XP, Vista and the Microsoft Server Operating Systems as well. Give them a try, and the next time your tech comes by, be sure to show off your new skills.

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Why Should I Safely Remove Devices?

unplugging USB from laptopIf you've used a USB flash drive or other USB devices like cameras, smartphones, and external hard drives, you've probably seen Windows request you to safely remove the device as opposed to simply unplugging it from the PC when you are done. How important is this? Very.

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Resize Image Attachments in Outlook

crop / resize symbol

Most digital cameras produce very high resolution images, which is fantastic for printing, but higher quality image files means larger file sizes, and these days images aren't quite as portable as they used to be. Fortunately, Outlook has a great feature to reduce the size of image attachments for you.

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Quick Tip - Generate a Sum or Average in Excel 2010

Excel 2010 screenshot

Microsoft's Excel may look daunting, but it can be incredibly useful for presenting and organizing massive amounts of data. While it is capable of letting you put together advanced formulas, much of the time it's just nice to see a sum of a column of figures.

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Manage your Views in Outlook 2010 for Better Organization

pixelated envelope download icon

Email is a huge part of day-to-day business, and it can take a lot of time out of your day to manage it. Fortunately, Outlook has a lot of great features that will help you manage your inbox and effectively handle your email as efficiently as possible.

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How to Monitor your Smartphone Data

number circled on paper

Unfortunately cell phone service providers are discovering that smartphone users love their bandwidth. With the majority of carriers dropping unlimited data plans, when a user goes over their limit massive charges can apply. Let's cover a few tips to limit the amount of bandwidth you use on your smartphone.

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Scan Documents with your Android Phone

Whether you are going completely paperless or just want to send digital copies of paper documents, there are a lot of solutions out there for quickly scanning a doc and converting it to PDF for easy archiving and emailing, but most of these devices aren't exactly portable. Here's a quick way to digitize documents with the camera on your Android smartphone.

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15 Quick Twitter Tips to get your Business Tweeting

Twitter bird shouting

Twitter is a fantastic networking resource for professionals, brands, and businesses. Having a strong presence on Twitter can mean more traffic to your website and an easy way to get in touch with customers and prospects. The hardest thing about diving into social media is knowing what to say. Here's a quick list with a few ideas to get you started.

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Quick Tip: How to Backup your OneNote 2010 Notebooks

Microsoft OneNote makes it very easy to take and organize all of your daily notes. Today we're going to show you how to ensure your OneNote Notebooks are backed up so you don't risk losing any information in the event of a computer issue.

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Displaying Data Charts in PowerPoint and other Microsoft Office Apps

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Last time we went over how to dress up your PowerPoint presentations with SmartArt, a feature in many Microsoft Office applications. Today we're going to be showing you how to create charts to display various types of data in PowerPoint, but like before, these will work much the same in other Office products such as Microsoft Word.

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Dress up your next PowerPoint with SmartArt

SmartArt icon

PowerPoint has been, for a long time, the staple of presentation software. The last few incarnations of Microsoft PowerPoint (especially 2007 and 2010) have some great tools to spiffy up your presentations quickly and easily.

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Tutorial: Master the Art of the Mail Merge, Part 2

laptop mail

Last time we spoke about creating your contact list in Excel when performing a mail merge. Of course, you can also use your Outlook contacts, and if you are running any sort of CRM software it is pretty likely it exports its own spreadsheet that can be used in a mail merge. Let's go over how to perform a mail merge now that you have your list.

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Tutorial: Master the Art of the Mail Merge, Part 1

excel screenshot

Want to send out a large number of documents that are almost the same aside from a few specific areas? One example would be a letter to all of your existing clients about a new product or service, but you want each letter to address the recipient's name and company. This looks like a job for the mail merge!

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Taking Microsoft OneNote With You

onenote icon

Recently we mentioned Evernote as a great note taking app that is supported across multiple operating systems and mobile devices. We compared it to Microsoft OneNote as a lighter alternative that is easy to set up and sync across a plethora of devices. However, diehard fans of OneNote probably don't want to make a switch to a whole other platform. Today we're going to talk about ways to mobilize your OneNote notebooks as well as some other features that are exclusive to OneNote that you might not know about.

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Remember Everything from Everywhere with Evernote

evernote logo

Are you the kind of person who takes meticulous notes? Do you carry around a pen and pad with you so you never forget a single line item from meetings, presentations, or your grocery list? Enter Evernote, a free application that gives you an easy-to-use note taking solution that syncs your notes across multiple devices.

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Speed Things Up in Outlook 2010 with Quick Steps

outlook 2010

Like any Microsoft product, Outlook 2010 has a lot of neat features that get stepped over. One of these is the Quick Step box, which is found along the top on the Home tab in Outlook 2010. Utilizing Quick Steps can shorten the time it takes you to manage your inbox.

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5 Steps Toward Making Documents Presentable with Microsoft Word

microsoft office icon

Plenty of Upstate New York businesses use the Microsoft Office suite of productivity tools. From Office 2007 and on, Microsoft has made it extremely easy to dress up your documents and presentations. These tricks will typically work with most Office products, from Word to Power Point, even Outlook; although in some apps the options might be in different places. Today's tutorial will focus on Microsoft Word.

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9 Secret Google Search Tricks to Impress Your Coworkers

Google logo

The Internet is without a doubt the largest collection of information humanity has ever seen. The trick is getting the information you want quickly. That's where search engines come in, and no search engine has received more recognition than Google. These 10 tricks will help you master your Google searches like a pro and get you to the information you seek faster, and you might be able to impress a colleague or two.

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7 Steps for Mastering your Inbox with Outlook

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Email has integrated itself into the way we do business.  If you use Outlook as your primary email client, there are plenty of tricks you can do to increase your productivity and practice better email etiquettes.

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Get More Range from Your Wireless Signal

wireless signal

Wi-Fi can drastically increase your mobility around the home and office, and over the past few years wireless technology has become faster and incredibly reliable. Unfortunately, the signal only goes so far, and can be obstructed by walls, metalwork, and other features throughout the building. If you want to boost your signal, you can try out some of these tips.

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Quick Tips - Master the Windows 7 Taskbar

windows 7 icon

Want to look like a PC Pro and get more done faster? With these simple tips, you'll have the skills to impress your co-workers with a few keystrokes. The Windows 7 Taskbar is the menu bar that stretches along (typically) the bottom of your screen. These are some lesser-known productivity tips to streamline your Windows 7 experience.

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Quick Tip - Access Common Folders Faster

Looking to increase your effectiveness by reducing the time it takes you to perform simple tasks on your computer? In today's Quick Tip, we're going to cover a couple ways to access the directories you need to access the most so you don't need to hunt for them to access your files.

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