Tuesday, May 22, 2012

5 keyboard shortcuts to make Windows easier


Have you ever watched someone work with a program where you know how to do it better/faster/easier? It's maddening! These 5 shortcuts are easy to use and are available throughout the Windows environment - Word, Excel, Internet, Evernote, and so on.

1. Copy (Ctrl + c)

Whether you're trying to copy a letter, word, block of text, photo, or file, reaching for your mouse and searching around for menu options is so tedious. Once you select the text, just hit the Ctrl key and the "c" key, and Bam - your text (or image, or file) is copied to the clipboard.

2. Paste (Ctrl + v)

The copy shortcut is great, but you get to finish off the 1-2 combination by quickly and easily pasting whatever it is you just copied.

3. Select All (Ctrl + a)

Selecting long blocks of text may be one of the most frustrating events you do during the course of the day - you're holding down the button and dragging the mouse, wondering if you started in the right place, or if you you're going to be able to stop at the end. Don't do that anymore! Just place the cursor anywhere in the block of text, then hit Ctrl and "a". (probably immediately  followed by Ctrl + c, right?)

4. Find (Ctrl + f)

Being able to quickly find a word in a document is very helpful. It's even better when you trying to find something specific buried within a long web page or PDF file. Press Ctrl and the "f" key, and you'll see a pop-up box asking what it is you're trying to find.

5. My Computer (Windows Explorer) (Win + e)

From anywhere within Windows, press the Windows key and “e” to open up a new instance of My Computer - ideal when you're trying to find a particular file, or when you need to copy a file from one location to another. (using ctrl +c and ctrl + v, of course!)

Conclusion

These are the most common things that drive me crazy when I'm watching somebody else work inefficiently within Windows. i bet you'll feel the same way too, once you get used to these..

Fluency + 1 - I wrote about fluency not too long ago. It's easier to add one new thing to your current workflow than it is to try to remember 5 things you should be doing. I'd recommend picking one of these 5, and start using it today, like Now! Then, as it becomes 2nd nature, come back to the list and try adding another one.

What are some other good shortcuts out there? Do you have a favorite I didn't mention? Let me know..

-Chris Butterworth