Keyboard functions save time by taking out the need to scour options. It takes less than a second (and absolutely no thought) to copy text without touching the mouse. Once I learned how to operate this way, I never went back to right-clicking. How do you start using these wonderful time-savers? You just have to get comfortable enough to use them.
In the movies, the main character gets lost or hurt while taking a shortcut. Rarely does it produce good results in a storybook setting. With our computers, however, the outcome isn’t nearly that dramatic. Shortcuts are our way of showing how familiar we are with software. The more comfortable you are with your computer, the more shortcuts you’ll learn. The more shortcuts you learn, the more time you save by avoiding all the clicking and searching through dropdown menus.
This is a list of basic functions that many of us use daily. Take a look and see if you can learn a few tricks to save time throughout your day.
(If you’re using a Mac, use the Apple key instead of CTRL.)
CTRL + U will underline whatever you have selected. This is convenient when that stupid button disappears from wherever it’s supposed to be.
CTRL + B will bold whatever you have selected to make it stand out. Do this instead of clicking on the “Bold” option.
CTRL + I will add italics to whatever you have selected. This is very nice for emphasis. Do this instead of looking for the “Italicize” button.
CTRL + C copies the selected text or picture. You can use this instead of right clicking and selecting “copy.”
CTRL + X cuts the selected text or picture. This is faster than right clicking and selecting “cut.”
CTRL + V pastes the text or picture that you’ve recently copied or cut. Again, this is much faster than right clicking and choosing “paste.”
7. Delete word
CTRL + Backspace will delete the entire word. This is, by far, much better than hitting Backspace until the word is gone. I mean, think of trying to delete antidisestablishmentarianism. That’s a lot of backspaces.
CTRL + Z will undo whatever action you have previously taken (and if you keep hitting it, a few more steps backward). Have you ever moved something and ruined your whole document? Or accidentally deleted something that you wanted saved? Undo saves you a LOT of time. Now, CTRL + Z saves you even more frustration (and possibly even saves your monitor from being thrown across the room).
CTRL + Y will redo whatever you just undid. If you hit “undo” one too many times, hit redo to get it back. This is handy when you get a little undo-happy. I use this all the time, and it literally saves my work.
10. Select all
CTRL + A selects everything on the page (usually text and pictures). This is a huge time saver for me. It’s better than highlighting text by scrolling through and holding down your mouse button.
CTRL + F brings up a little search box for you to type in. This is very convenient if you want to find where you added that story about cookies ‘n cream shakes. In my case, it helps me find the keywords in my articles so I can either replace them, or count them. Please, don’t ever scroll through and read a huge body of text when all you have to do is hit CTRL + F. It makes me cringe every time I think about it!
CTRL + S saves your current file as it is. This is a quick way of ignoring that little box up at the top of the screen that says “save.” It’s nice to hit this every once in a while so you don’t lose any of your work.
CTRL + P brings up the print options. This is much faster than going up to your menu and searching through to find the print button.
14. Close a window
CTRL + W closes your current window. This is faster than going up to click on the “x” in the corner of your screen.
15. Switch between open programs
ALT + Tab or ALT + Escape will switch between programs. If you have Microsoft Word and the internet opened up, hit ALT + Tab to switch without going down to click on the program. Try it right now. It’s pretty fun, and it makes you feel really good with the computer.
16. Create a new tab
CTRL + T will open up a new tab in your internet browser. Do this instead of clicking “Create New Tab.” This is pretty fun to hit right before typing the web address you need. It’s quick, and here’s no mouse work involved to get to your favorite sites or search engines.
17. Reopen last tab
CTRL + Shift + T opens the last tab you closed. I tend to close tabs on accident, so this is a life-saver for me. I wish I’d have learned this one sooner – it would have saved me a lot of grief.
18. Beginning or end of page
CTRL + Home brings you to the very top of the page without scrolling all the way there (and wearing your finger out). CTRL + End puts you at the end of the page in the same manner. This is so convenient, I use it daily. It’s definitely a time-saver.
Learn More Keyboard Shortcuts, Save More Time
It’s crazy to think of how much time and grief we can save ourselves by using keyboard shortcuts. By hitting button combinations we can shave off all those extra minutes it takes to find the right options. How many of these functions do you use when you’re on your computer? How much time do you save just by hitting these shortcuts? I found this infographic to demonstrate how much time you’re saving (or wasting). What are you waiting for? Start saving time now.
Are there any keyboard shortcuts that are missing from this list? Let us know in the comments below.