Keyboard shortcuts are a way to make your work much easier, much faster, and much more accurate. And keyboard shortcuts leave you free to focus on what you want to say or write; because they get rid of all the little interruptions you think you have to put up with, switching between mouse and keyboard, and choosing from menus.
They work in Microsoft Word, in Excel, and in emails. They also work in unexpected places, such as ProTools, the music-recording program.
Here's one of many examples: Let's add bold to several words that you just typed.
By Mouse: 7 or 8 Steps
1. move your hand from the keyboard to the mouse
2. bring the mouse pointer from wherever it was, over to the words you want to select **
3. select the words (accurately!!)
4. click the Bold icon on the Home ribbon
5. click outside of the selected area so you can go back to typing
6. move hand from mouse to keyboard typing position
By Keyboard: 3 Steps
1. Press control + shift + left arrow, to select the words.
2. Press control-B
3. Press right-arrow, to de-select the text.
Really -- You make hundreds or thousands of hand and finger movements every time you use the computer.
Using all of those tiny muscles in your hands and fingers, your wrist and arm. And you don't think about it, but you are working those little muscles of your for hours at a time. But we wonder where carpal tunnel and other damage to hands comes from! --Not to mention the amount of time it takes to do the simplest tasks.
A little exercise can make most body parts healthier and stronger. But what we do to our hands, fingers, wrists, and the nerves involved, is overuse. It makes them weaken and wear out. Making hundreds or thousands of finger / hand / arm movements is exhausting for those little muscles and nerves.
Body builders work out and they strain their muscles for a while; then they REST THEM for a day.
But not you, not me. We get on the computer EVERY DAY and wear out important and irreplaceable small muscles and nerves. Writing, rewriting documents or emails, posting the next Facebook message. Tapping and clicking again and again. And we sympathize with the cashier in the market who wears something on their hand or their wrist, not thinking that we're next.
For less hand injury and less wasting of time -- why not start using keyboard and mouse shortcuts? Here are a few examples that are easy to try:
· select a word from the keyboard ……… Shift + Control + Arrow right
· select a paragraph ……… Shift + Control + Arrow down
· indent a paragraph ……… Control-M
· bold, italic, or underline ……… Control-B, Control-I, or Control-U
· cut text ……… Control-X
· paste text ……… Control-V
· make typestyle (font) larger ……… Select, plus Control-Shift-Period
· make typestyle (font) smaller ……… Select, plus Control-Shift-Comma
· switch from one document to the next ……… Control-F6
· close a document ……… Control-F4
· close an application ……… Alt-F4
· switch to another open application ……… Alt-Tab
There are hundreds of other shortcuts for the keyboard; even shortcuts for mousing! Start using them! Get a list of shortcuts from us or from other sources.
Special bonus and surprise -- when you don't have to WORK so much at computer skills,, you enjoy it more. Your writing becomes better because it's not a big deal to make another change. All the little interruptions that made you hesitate to fine tune your writing are gone..
Stop wasting time! And your precious hands.
Joe Loesch teaches computer skills in private and group lessons for LRS Computer Techniques.