Use your computer more efficiently by learning basic keyboard shortcuts


It’s Labor Day in the United States, and today I want to help you work a little less by doing more with your keyboard and less with your mouse.

A recent report from The Atlantic stating that 90% of computer users don’t know what control-F does. Do you? If not, maybe it’s time to get to know your keyboard a little better–it can save both time and, if you’re like me, wrist strain.

You probably know about the basic clipboard shortcuts for copy (control-C), paste (control-V), and cut (control-X). You can also use these on a Mac by replacing control with command (the “Apple key” on older Mac keyboards). These shortcuts are fairly ubiquitous in your software, so they should work in any app that supports the clipboard.

There are plenty of other useful shortcuts, though, that keep you from reaching for your mouse for common, simple tasks. Lifehacker lists six important shortcuts that you should begin practicing. I also suggest control-tab (or command-tab on your Mac) to toggle between your open programs.

If you use a Windows computer, and want to train yourself to make keyboard shortcuts second nature, check out Efficiency, a new tool to help you learn Windows’ and Office’s built-in shortcuts. If you’re on a Mac, I don’t know of a similar training option, but you may want to peruse Apple’s list of Mac keyboard shortcuts. Here’s a little primer on keyboard shortcuts written for Leopard (OS X 10.5), but it pertains to newer versions of the Mac operating system.

One other tip: If you’re skeptical about keyboard shortcuts saving you time, watch a programmer in action sometime. The goods ones will seldom lift their hands from the keyboard and move text, windows, and more at blazing speeds.

Efficiency link via Lifehacker

Image: ion-bogdan dumitrescu on Flickr


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  3. 4 iPad keyboard options
  4. 3 tips for more productive iPhone and iPad use
  5. links for 2008-12-06

Aaron Sumner

Aaron Sumner is the Director of Technology for Research and Development at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. He has worked in web development and instructional technology since 1994.