Keyboard Shortcuts: Boosting Productivity a Few Seconds at a Time

mvi control keySimply put, a shortcut key, or Keyboard Shortcut, is a key or combination of keys that execute a specific function quickly and easily without the use of the mouse. For many users, especially those who haven’t been through any formal computer training, the use of shortcut keys has never really been embraced. It seems the time it would take to memorize the combination and re-train oneself to use them would outweigh any possible productivity gain. Let’s explore that a bit, shall we?

Shortcut keys are typically accessed by using the Alt key, the Cmd key(Apple), Ctrl, or Shift. The standard method for specifying a shortcut is to list the keys in the order that they should be pressed. (If you are new to shortcut keys, understand that you will not actually press the plus “+” key, but rather add the next listed key while holding down the first.) Example: CTRL + S would be instructing you to press the Ctrl key and, while continuing to hold it down, also press the S key.

Each time we remove our hands from the keyboard to grab our mouse or trackpad we lose a few seconds of time. Learning just one or two shortcuts, then, may not add up to all that much time savings overall. However, when a number of shortcuts are learned and put into practice, many users are amazed at the boost in their productivity. The time savings could even total 8 full days per year, according to Brainscape!

If you’re not already using shortcuts, you definitely should do so. Word processing, including email composition, is a great place to begin. Start by learning these 12 basics:

CTRL + ASelect all text
CTRL + SSave current document file
CTRL + XCut selected item
CTRL + CCopy selected item
CTRL + VPaste
CTRL + PPrint the current page or document
HOMEGoes to the beginning of the current line
CTRL + HOMEGoes to the beginning of the document
ENDGoes to the end of the current line
CTRL + ENDGoes to the end of the document
CTRL + Left ArrowMoves one word to the left at a time
CTRL + Right ArrowMoves one word to the right at a time

Ready for more? Find a more extensive list of Windows shortcuts HERE.