10 August 2010

Let your fingers do the walking: Quick keyboard shortcut keys

I am on vacation and on my home computer I do not have a mouse so rely on keyboard shortcut keys, which reminded me again how helpful they are and how they are a big timesaver rather than reaching for the mouse all the time.  Better for you ergonomically as well. 

I must admit that it helps that I learnt to use a computer on the old DOS system and shortcut keys were the only option, but even those who normally use a mouse can transition over quite easily.  Once you see the benefits and get into the habit, I am sure you will not look back.

Most of them are fairly easy to remember because the letter relates to what you want the program to do.  For instance pressing the Ctrl key plus the s saves your work.  I have gotten in the habit of doing this frequently during the day and hardly even think about it until the system shuts down for some reason and then I breathe a sigh of relief when I open the document (by pressing Ctrl + o by the way) and find that I have not lost any of my work.  Here are some more that are really easy to remember:

Ctrl + b - Turns on bold
Ctrl + i - Turns on italics
Ctrl + f - Opens the Find dialogue box
Ctrl + g - Opens the Go-to dialogue box, type the page number, press Enter and you will go directly to it
Ctrl + u - Turns on the underline feature

Are you starting to see how easy it is?  Here are some more:

Ctrl + p - Opens the Print dialogue box
Ctrl + n - Opens a new blank page
Ctrl + F4 - Closes a document
Alt + F4 - Closes the program
Windows Key + L - A quick way to lock your computer
Ctrl + c - To copy text
Ctrl + x - To cut text
Ctrl + v - To paste text
Ctrl + Shift + < - Decrease the font size (My old math teacher told us a way to remember this is the < symbol looks like an L - as in 'Less than')
Ctrl + Shift + > - Increase the font size

If you hover over the options in the tool bar, if it has a shortcut key you will see it, so experiment and see if some of them appeal to you and will be easy for you to remember.

If you have multiple programs open you can press Alt + tab and you can either arrow over to where you want to go or just keep pressing Alt + tab until you get to where you want to be. 

Ctrl + Home moves the cursor to the beginning of the open file or document and Ctrl + End moves the cursor to the end of the open file or document, but if you are in the middle of a document and want to select everything from there down, press Ctrl + Shift + End or if you want to select everything from there up, press Ctrl + Shift + Home.  Ctrl + a - Selects the whole document.

You can change the spacing by selecting the paragraph or page and press Ctrl + 1 for single space, Ctrl + 2 for double space and Ctrl + 5 for space and a half.

To change the case, select the text and press Shift + F3.  Keep pressing it and it will toggle through upper, lower or initial caps.

To select text, press Shift and the arrow key left, right or up or down depending on how much text you want to select. 

Ctrl + Z - Undoes the last thing you did
Ctrl + Y - Undoes the last undo (or redoes)
Windows key + m - Minimizes everything and brings you to the desktop (Windows key + d does the same thing)
Windows key + Shift + m - Brings everything back up (If you used the Windows key + d to minimize, press it again and it brings everything back up)

Type the ones you think you will use on a piece of paper and have it available so you can refer to it until you get used to it.  They say when you do something for 30 days it becomes a habit, so try some of these and make it a new habit that will save you a lot of time.  Of course these are only a portion of the shortcut keys that are out there, but unless they are easy you won't remember them.

These work in Word, PowerPoint, and (Excel and Outlook with some exceptions).  I even used them when I posted this blog so most of them are pretty universal in many programs.

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