How keyboard shortcuts can save you loads of time

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I’m not sure when I discovered the beauty of a computer shortcut or exactly when I dubbed myself the Queen of Keyboard Shortcuts. 🙂

But I LOVE them.

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I had used PC systems at all four of my summer newspaper internships, but it wasn’t until my senior year of college, when the school paper replaced its clunky old computer system with Macs (cue celestial music), that I realized just how technology can make our lives easier.

I bought my first computer in November 1996 (I remember because it was Election Day and also because I just remember stuff like that), and I’ve spent the past two decades learning how to make computers work faster and more efficiently for me. I love passing along my little tips to anyone who’ll listen. (You’re welcome.)

While PCs and Macs use different operating systems, the platforms accommodate many of the same keyboard shortcuts. Also, different software programs (“apps,” for you young whippersnappers) use different shortcuts, meaning that not everything is universal, but many things are.

Why am I so in love with keyboard shortcuts? Let me count the ways:
  • They save a lot of time. (Duh.) I’m serious. Little detours away from the keyboard add up. Having to take your hands away from the keys to grab the mouse is time consuming. If you type fast and know the shortcuts, you can zing through those paragraphs like nobody’s business. I cannot tell you how much time I save by favoring the keyboard over the mouse.
  • No need for a mouse. What if you’re in a mouseless situation (or maybe the little critter’s battery is dead) but still need to perform a function in your document? Two strokes (or a combination of keys) and you’re all set.
  • They’re more precise. Have you ever tried to close a window on your screen where the little exit x or red dot was small, and maybe your mouse was a little uncooperative – maybe it wandered around the screen when you didn’t tell it to? Keyboard shortcut.
  • They cut down on “mouse hand.” (I’m not sure that’s a real term, but I know it’s a thing.) Haven’t you experienced cramps in your mouse-wielding hand that could be eased with a little break from the normal position? I sure have.
  • It’s cool. No, really. It just is.

I’m going start you with five of my favorite shortcuts for each of the two major operating systems; if you’d like to learn more, I’ll add to the collection in a later post. And feel free to suggest other tech lessons you’d like to explore.

SAVE Command + S Control + S
UNDO Command + Z Control + Z
COPY Command + C Control + C
CUT Command + X Control + X
PASTE Command + V Control + V

If you’re reading this post on a computer, take a few moments to try these keyboard shortcuts. Open a document, type a few words and try the commands. Don’t worry: If you make a booboo, there’s always Command Z!

Do you already use keyboard shortcuts? What’s your fave? (Mine is Command + Z – undo!)

Next tech lesson: text-replacement apps (also a terrific timesaver).

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9 thoughts on “How keyboard shortcuts can save you loads of time

  1. My favorite keyboard shortcut is BY FAR this one:

    Shift + Option + Command + V

    You use it on a mac to paste UNFORMATTED text. It is SO helpful for copying things when you don’t want the font or color or funny formatting from the internet. I use it every single day. 🙂

    I’m a big fan of keyboard shortcuts too!

  2. Thank you–I use Ctrl C,V,X all the time–now I’m going to start using S and Z. I have a touchpad mouse on my laptop but sometimes it’s too sensitive so I have to cover it up when typing longer emails or blog posts and use the external mouse.

    1. Candy, my hubby reminded me that Command Z is not my fave – Command S is. He is so right. I’m OBSESSIVE about saving my changes as I go. I don’t want to have to redo anything I’ve already typed, so Command S “saves” me!

      I’m glad I’ve given you a couple of extras to use. 🙂

  3. I love shortcuts! Sometimes I feel as though I don’t have enough fingers for them though:)I use the ones mention all of the time along with command N and command Q. I can never remember all of the special key options, however.

    1. I know what you mean about the multi-key shortcuts, Debbie. But once you learn them and they’re second nature, it goes a lot faster. I’ve actually worn the “e” off my laptop keyboard from using it to center text in Word. 🙂

  4. OH YES! With an IT son, and spending some time in news writing, myself, I’ve really gotten into those shortcuts!!! Ahh..
    I love Z as much as you, Suzy! And E and C,V — cannot do without C,V! Also L or R for undoing E, although repeating E will undo it, also. J justifies, if you ever need that. AND Y! Oh, for Y! (re-do, for when you overdo undo!) Z is also very marvelous for when you accidentally highlight and erase things on facebook. Just control Z! Whew! Entire long comments have been saved that way! I think I need a t-shirt that just says it, already!
    I also use me a bit of W, which on a PC will close a doc. Ahh… <3

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