Using Your Keyboard Instead Of Your Mouse*
I do pretty well, but I am not a fast typist. This is due to the fact that I just never seemed to get the hang of touch typing (read: never made the proper effort in mastering it). I use a bizarre self-invented method of two-handed hunting/pecking and common key memorization that astounds observers.
The reason I am as fast on a computer as I am is my use of keyboard shortcuts to navigate, edit, and control the machine. (A brief aside: I have tried voice recognition, but just cannot get used to talking to my computer– it makes me feel foolish.)
In the Realm of the Geek, one measure of your skill is how much you can do without touching your mouse. You may not know this but there is almost nothing you cannot do using only the keys on your keyboard. Using keyboard shortcuts is much faster, and gives me more granular control over my selections.
Tip(s) of the day: Use some common shortcuts to maximize your efficiency (and Geek Quotient).
I will start by pointing out what a quite a few of us simply were never told (unless we’ve been using Windows for many generations). You may have noticed (in some programs) that there’s a single letter underlined in each menu choice (and that this is standardized across all programs), such as the “F” in the File menu, “E” in Edit, and the “o” in Format– and this carries to submenus as well.
These are “Alt shortcuts”– hold down the “Alt” key and hit F, and the File drop-down menu opens; press the down arrow one time, and the Open dialogue opens; use the up and down arrow keys to select your file and hit Enter, and your file opens. All without touching the mouse.
One more important Alt shortcut is Alt+Tab: this cycles through your open program windows.
You may have also noticed a weird key located on the lowest left, between the “Ctrl” and “Alt” keys, that has the Windows logo on it. Believe it or not this “Windows” key actually serves a purpose and does things.
A single tap opens your Start menu (again, the up/down arrows will allow you to select [highlight] your choice of the options). Combine it with other keys to: Winkey+R, opens the Run tool; Winkey+M, minimizes all open windows (sometimes handy for when the boss walks by); and Winkey+E opens Windows Explorer.
For navigating, the tools to use are the arrow keys. To move around in a document, a single click on an arrow key moves it one character; this is not a fun way to move whole sentences or paragraphs, so add the Ctrl key to move by whole words (or other blocks of characters) with the left/right arrow keys. And jump paragraphs with the up/down keys.
[Bonus tip: A Windows feature called Mousekeys allows you to mover your cursor with the arrow keys on your number pad. Turn it on by pressing Left SHIFT + ALT + NUM LOCK]
To highlight (select) the text, add the Shift key. Say I wanted to delete this whole paragraph, I would hit Ctrl+Shift+up arrow, and then either Delete or Backspace.. or just combine Ctrl+Backspace, and erase a sentence-a-press. Ctrl+A selects all.
The Page Up and Page Down, Home and End keys can speed your scrolling.
“Command shortcuts” are typically done with the “Ctrl” key, and you probably already are familiar with some of them: Ctrl+C is the Copy command, Ctrl+V is Paste, and — my favorite — Ctrl+Z is the Undo command.
A few others are: Ctrl+P followed by Enter will print your current page/document, Ctrl+S will Save it.
These are “universal” commands and can be used no matter which program or application you happen to have open. Most programs have their own set of shortcuts built in as added features, and if you use them a lot learning these can be a real boon. As a for instance, Microsoft Word has a whole slew of shortcuts (and the ability to record “macros”) to reduce the number of steps you need to accomplish tasks. If you spend a lot of time in Word, I suggest a search for “Word shortcuts” will be a big benefit to you as there’s a lot of published guides out there. I have only presented a very short list of the shortcuts available!
Today’s free link: While not everyone is a Word user, most people are web browsers (how else did you find Tech–for Everyone?). The official Microsoft list of Internet Explorer shortcuts can be found here.
Today’s free download: 10 Finger BreakOut is a real arcade game, in which you are escaping from invaders, shooting and trying to hit balls, but don’t worry, by playing 10 Finger BreakOut you sure will be learning to type. Improve your typing skills with this free typing tutor – typing game.
Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix
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