Take These 10 Shortcuts: Put Less Mileage on your Mouse
Shortcuts on road trips may be how too many horror movies begin, but they also make life easier. If you spend time on computers (and who doesn’t, these days), then knowing these shortcuts can save you some time. For Macs, a lot of the same keys apply, except with command (⌘) instead of Ctrl. Oh, and knowing shortcuts will also make you feel pretty cool.
Ctrl-alt-delete – Terminate Program
Classic. When a program freezes and it won’t let you close out, it’s probably time to take a step back and wait a minute. You may choose to spend the time appreciating all the ways that machines have made life easier, or maybe you’re too busy resisting the urge to bang on the keyboard. Control+alt+delete can end the offending program without the need to restart the whole machine. Task Manager will allow you to select which programs to terminate, and you’ll also have the option to restart.
Ctrl-a – Select Everything!
When you want it all—to select the whole page or everything in a folder—it can take a few seconds to go from one corner all the way to the opposite one. Rather than taking three or four tries to “select all,” just tap the Ctrl and “a” keys.
Ctrl-c – Copy (to clipboard).
Nowadays, this little trick is pretty standard for copying middle school book reports from Wikipedia. Please, just read Lord of the Flies. It’s worth it. When a complicated new password comes in your email, don’t try to copy it number by number, just copy and paste as needed.
Ctrl-x – Cut (to clipboard)
Same idea as copy, except this removes whatever you’re copying. Great if you’re moving a paragraph or sentence within a document. With both copy and cut, the text and/or image(s) go to a “clipboard” to be pasted as needed. If you’re copying your password on a shared computer, you’ll want to end by copying some other harmless piece of text. Otherwise, the next person to use the computer may accidentally paste instead of copy, and now they get to read whatever heartfelt nonsense you just copied into an email and decided not to send.
Ctrl-v – Paste!
Whether you “cut” or “copy” to the clipboard, “paste” is how you drop that information into place. Just because it’s non-toxic, doesn’t mean it’s edible.
Ctrl-b, Ctrl-i, and Ctrl-u – bold, italics, and underline
These shortcuts work in MS Word and a lot of other processors, and they’re pretty intuitive, with “b” for “bold” and so forth. If you want to emphasize text in an email or message, it’s generally best to avoid caps lock. Some people send messages in ALL capital letters and think nothing of it, but using all capitals generally implies that you would use a yelling voice to say the same thing in person.
Ctrl-z – Undo
Try to change the font size and accidentally delete everything? Crisis averted. Undo reverses what you just did. Life needs this button.
Ctrl-y – Redo
Pressed “undo” too many times? You tried to fix it, got it under control, and went just a little too far…
Ctrl-left arrow and Ctrl-right arrow – skip to the last or next word
Holding an arrow key and waiting for the cursor to arrive at the exact one you misspelled? A cool cat would jump straight to the problem with Ctrl and an arrow key.
Ctrl-f – Find
In most web browsers and MS Office software, you can zoom to the spot you need with this handy trick. It’s almost like you suddenly got really, really good at reading. Almost.
There are a lot of different shortcuts out there, depending on what kinds of software you use. When you access the drop down menus under “file” and “edit,” you’ll often see suggestions for the relevant shortcuts. Try to start by using the two or three that seem most useful, and they can make things go just a little faster. Sure, it probably won’t take hours out of your workday, but it’s hard to overstate how cool it feels to save three to five seconds with a button.
Computers should be useful tools that open up new possibilities, not hassles that cause more stress than necessary. To help make sure you’re getting the most out of your systems, visit our managed services page.