I’m typically a patient person. Really, I am. But if I find myself repeating the same task or action over and over and over again, I get very frustrated.
One of the biggest timesavers I’ve come to rely upon are keyboard shortcuts. Fortunately for me, most operating systems have made it much easier to locate the shortcuts and often list them right in the menu. This makes it amazingly simple to find and use the commands you use the most. That said, there are a few shortcuts that I’ve used across many businesses almost universally.
(Note: Ctrl is for PC users, Cmd for Mac users. For the purposes of this article, I’ll use the PC keys. I’m a Mac girl, really I am.)
A few that I can’t live without:
Alt + Tab = Switching between windows
Seriously. I use this about a million times a day. I’m always jumping back and forth between different programs (though I should probably try to limit this behavior). Bonus points if you hold down the Alt button and hit the Tab just once (while still holding Alt), you get a nice little snapshot view of your open programs and can quickly navigate (using Tab) to the one you want next.
2. Ctrl + C/V = Copy/paste
If I don’t have to touch my mouse, let alone right-click, I’m a happy girl. Using the mouse can be a huge time suck for me (I get made fun of often for how quickly I type). Ctrl (for PC) or Cmd (for Mac) + C works for copying your selection and Ctrl/Cmd V is to paste. Amazing.
3. Ctrl + T = New browser tab
How often do you find yourself replying to an email or putting some information together in your browser when you suddenly remember a certain site or article you read that you want to refer to. For the life of you, you can’t remember the name! Rather than saving your work and having to come back to it or trying to find that teeny tiny “new tab” button, you easily open a new browser tab with this shortcut!
4. Ctrl + (numbers 1 – 9) = Switch between browser tabs
After you’ve opened up all those new browser tabs, you need a way to move between quickly! This shortcut is my new best friend. I could definitely see myself creating some structure around the way I order my tabs so I can quickly navigate to the ones I use most without having to read each tab. Milliseconds will be saved, I’m sure of it.
5. Ctrl + Shift + (arrow keys) = Select text
How many times have you attempted to highlight a few words or lines and had to repeat the process three times until you got the exact highlight you wanted? Be honest now, we’re all friends here. This little shortcut can be a life saver, especially when you want to hurl your mouse at the wall.
6. Ctrl + Z = Undo (and Y to Redo)
If you’re anything like me, your brain is about five steps ahead of your fingers at times. When you find yourself wondering how your credit card number got dropped into your latest blog article draft, Ctrl Z can quickly remove it again.
Mac Only: (for PC I use the Snipping Tool)
7. Cmd + Shift + 4 = Screenshot a section of your screen
I tend to find myself trying to explain something to someone (or want to make a reference for later) and just want to screenshot a small portion of my screen. Hit these three keys and your mouse becomes a set of crosshairs. You can then click and drag to select the area you want and it saves directly to your desktop. So handy! (You can replicate this on PC using Ctrl + Print Scrn, however you need to already have the snipping tool open.)
There are many more keyboard shortcuts that can make your life immeasurably easier. Many online tools and programs have their own, so if you find yourself repeating certain actions over and over…it may be time to pause and see if you can find a shortcut.