Weekly Computer Tip # 338
21 April 2011

How to make desktop gadgets work for you
(Windows 7)

When I first swapped to Windows 7 I thought gadgets were for kids and although I am happy to embrace my inner child and stuck the flower clock on my desktop I could not see any business use for these tiny programs. But I've changed my mind - so it's about time I share my favourite gadgets with you - and why (and how).

First of all, the Calendar. Even though one of my customers and my trusted Cambridge based printers (thanks, Donarbon and Cambridge Print Solution) gave me a desk calendar as a Xmas pressie, I have the resized Calendar gadget on my desktop so that I not only see the day (I can see that in the bottom right hand corner of my screen anyway) but also the month. Secondly, because of my clients in Germany and France I like to keep an eye on how much I get for a Euro, so I now get obsessed with the fluctuating currency rates. And last, but not least, why not keep track of time in two time zones and add two instances of the Clock gadget and set the time of each accordingly?

Here's how:

  1. Right-click anywhere on the desktop.
  2. Click on Gadgets.
  3. Double-click on the gadget of your choice.

To get more out of our gadget (such as the calendar rather than just the date) simply right-click the gadget that you want to resize, point to Size, and then click Large size. If, like me, you want to keep an eye on what the pound is doing you have to search under B for British Pound, not G for GBP - as I did.

To tab through your gadgets without first having to minimize, say, your Word or Excel session, simply press WIN+G. To remove a gadget, right-click it and select Close gadget.

By the way, the large size of the Weather gadget forecasts 21 degrees Celsius on Friday, 23 on Saturday and 22 Sunday. Happy Easter!