Learn how to use your tools

In the digital world, most of our tools (as software developers, system administrations, web designers) are multi-faceted. They have a lot of depth to them. Think about what a good text editor can do:

  • Edit text
  • Manipulate text (search/replace/transform)
  • Syntax highlight based on languages
  • Launch external tools on that text (preview/validate/compile)
  • Manage files and versions
  • Much more … (many have plugin systems to add what isn’t in the core)

If you are using a full IDE for software development the list is even longer.

The question is, do you know the tool you are using well? Have you been through the documentation, learnt what it can do, how to get to things (shortcuts) and where it can save you time?

If you are going to be working with such software on a regular basis, then that is a very important “Step 0” before you start doing anything. You build¬†familiarity¬†over time, but even a cursory glance of the documentation on the tool, may give you insights into how to use it better (or perhaps into a better tool for the job).