Keyboard shortcuts improve productivity tremendously. I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a good shortcut key!
Once I realise I am wasting time doing something repeatedly and I don’t have a shortcut for that, I Google it and usually find one. If it takes me 5 minutes to find it, I use it once a day and it saves me 5 or 10 seconds: I am happy!
Then I add it to my list – in Evernote – so if I forget it I can refresh my memory.
It’s a slight effort to remember a new shortcut: so you do need to make a commitment to learn them. So choose 3 or 4 to learn today – and boost your productivity!
Here are all my favourites… unashamedly leaning towards the PC user, as usual!
67 Keyboard Shortcuts to improve your productivity! Tweet this.
Favourite Keyboard Shortcut Keys
(Note: “Ctrl Sh Escape” means press and hold Control and Shift, then tap the Escape key. “Windows” means hold the Windows key.)
These Work for Most, or Many, Applications
Alt F4 – close application
Ctrl F4 – close window of application
F3 – find next. After finding the first instance of a search most applications will let you “find next” by tapping the F3 key.
Ctrl +roll mouse scrollwheel – zoom in/out
Ctrl S – save
Ctrl P – print
Ctrl F – find
Sh Right arrow – highlight next letter(s)
Sh Ctrl Right arrow – highlight next word(s)
Sh End – highlight to end of row
Sh Ctrl End – highlight to end of document
These shortcuts also work if you interchange left/up/down arrows, and the Home key rather than End.
Sh PgUp/PgDn – highlights a big chunk of a page (contradictorally, not a full page! In Word, it’s about 2/3 of a page)
Other selection techniques:
Mouse double click – selects that word
Mouse treble click – selects whole paragraph
Shift single mouse click anywhere – selects all text from cursor to where you clicked
Shift double mouse click – selects all text from cursor to end of the word where you clicked
Open Task Manager – Ctrl Shift +Escape (or Ctrl Alt +Delete then choose to open Task Manager)
Alt Tab – cycle between open programmes
Windows e – opens Windows Explorer
Windows d – hides/reveals all open programme windows (this is usually called “reveal desktop” which I find confusing!)
Windows Pause – opens the “System” window. This gives you access to features such as:
- Windows Experience Index (tells you which part of your hardware is slowing down your computer the most).
- Device Manager
- Advanced System Settings – eg to change location of pagefil.sys, or access System Restore.
Sh Right click, “Copy as Path” – See the “Evernote” section below for more detail on this one. Using “Shift” makes extra menu choices come up. This action works on any Windows Explorer window to copy the path to a file, which means you can hyperlink to it – for example from Evernote or Excel. I use this a lot to link from checklists I have in Excel, or project notes in Evernote.
Ctrl F6 – Move between multiple instances of the same Office programme. Eg, if you do this when you are in Excel and have 4 or 5 workbooks open simultaneously, it will cycle between those 4 or 5. Sh Ctrl +F6 reverses direction, which can really improve productivity if you’ve got 6 or 7 workbooks open and you are switching between just two of them for a while.
“Pin” documents you use a lot to the “Recent” screen – File/Recent, then under “Recent Workbooks” (Excel) or “Recent Documents” (Word) click the pin image to the right of document you’d like to be “pinned” to the top of that screen for easy access. A great time saver.
F12 – Save As dialogue
Sh F3 – toggles highlighted text between no initial caps, all caps and no caps.
Sh F1 – reveals formatting pane (so you can troubleshoot unexpected formatting on your page, for example)
Sh alt d – insert today’s date
Sh alt up/down arrow – move the complete paragraph up or down
Ctrl h – find and exchange (h? Go figger…)
Word Outlining feature (- a fantastic tool for planning)
(This feature is accessed from View/Document Views/Outline, or from the “Shortcuts” at the right of the bottom Status Bar. If these don’t show, right click the Status Bar and tick: “Shortcuts”.)
The brilliant thing with Word outlining is that you can collapse whole sections of text – by clicking the plus/minus key; and then you can easily move them around – up, down, left, right – by using the arrow keys while holding Alt and Shift.
This allows really elegant reorganisation of your document. And being able to toggle between seeing different levels enables you to switch easily between the overview and the detailed view.
Alt Shift + – expand item
Alt Sh _ (the -/_ key) – collapse item
Alt Sh 1 or 2 or 3 etc – show all levels up to that one for the whole document
Ctrl Sh m – new email (mail).
Alt s – send.
F9 – send/receive all accounts.
Change cell format
Ctrl # – date
Crtl Sh ~ – general
Ctrl Sh $ – currency
Ctrl Sh % – percentage
Ctrl Sh & – border around selection (black)
Ctrl Sh _ – removes border around selection
Ctrl spacebar – select column (for multiple columns, arrow left/right after selection), then:
Ctrl – – remove selected column(s), or:
Ctrl Sh + – add column(s)
Sh spacebar – select row (for multiple rows, arrow up/down after selection), then:
Ctrl – – remove selected row(s), or:
Ctrl Sh + – adds row(s)
Ctrl ; – inserts date
Ctrl PgUp/PgDn – move between worksheets
Ctrl Alt n – creates a new Evernote note on your screen
Windows a – text you have highlighted is transferred into a new Evernote note
Ctrl Alt v – pastes the clip board contents into a new note in Evernote
F11 – Toggle note list display on and off (see more of the preview)
Ctrl F11 Toggle note preview view on and off (See more of the note list)
Ctrl ; – enters date and time. (A bit of a weird one to remember – except it’s the same as Excel. So: learn once, use twice!) This is useful: I know that Evernote includes a note’s creation date or the time it was updated, but sometimes you want to record the date you added a particular piece of information within an existing note.
Shift right click on any file in Windows Explorer to get the option to “Copy as path“. You can paste this path into an Evernote note as a hyperlink (highlight text, right click/ hyperlink) making it easy to open those. I use this a lot in “project summary notes”, where I want to be able to easily open any of my 3 or 4 main project files. (Note; when you paste, it includes quote marks at each end which you need to delete.)
Ctrl Sh del – allows you to delete cookies, which is useful when you are testing various aspects of your internet marketing work. Also works for Internet Explorer and Chrome.
Click anywhere in the url box, then: Home, then Shift +End. I do this dozens of times most days – it’s second nature now. I use it when I want to delete the url and type my own in, or paste a new url over it from the clipboard.
F9 – reload the page (from the cache memory on your computer)
Shift F9 – force reload from the internet (don’t use the cache version). Again, this is used for testing, when you have changed some element of the page and your want to force a full reload. (If you are still not convinced the page is fully downloading when you “F9”, just use a different browser.)
These Personal Shortcuts Really Improve Productivity for Me
I use these three shortcut keys around 100 times a day in total!
Ctrl 1 – opens Ditto – 10-20 times a day
Ctrl 2 – opens Chameleon Folder – 40-50 times a day
Ctrl 3 – opens Everything – 40-50 times a day
These three keys are second nature to me now.
What are they?
Ditto is my “clipboard extender”. If I know I copied something ten minutes ago but I’ve since copied something else and obliterated it, Ctrl +1 shows me a list of everything I have copied all day.
If I double click the item I need, it is copied to the clipboard and I can paste it again. This saves me a ton of time every day – it’s really good.
Chameleon Folder is the “folder manager” I use. Ctrl +2 shows me a list of my commonly-used folders arranged in groups I choose.
In two clicks I am in any of the folders I have added. It saves me a ton of time searching for files which I could otherwise so easily lose. It is fantastic.
Everything is the best, super-fast, desktop file-and-folder finder. Install it and it indexes every file and every folder on your computer.
Ctrl +3 brings up a list of all these and as I type, the list is instantly filtered, narrowing down the results. A brilliant way to get to the files I want.
(The reason I can use Ctrl 1, Ctrl 2 and Ctrl 3 is that each of the these programmes lets you set a “hot key” because they realise just how valuable that is.)
Finally, a few special characters which I find I need now and again for various documents such as Word files. Being built into the operating system, they work in most programmes – but they probably won’t work on web pages.
(Even if you can see them on your web page, many users just won’t see these special characters online.)
First is how to get a “Euro” sign, then a few “alt” codes. To use alt codes, you press and hold the Alt key, then type in a 1, 2 or 3-digit number. When you finally release the alt key, the special character appears.
Ctrl Alt $ – Euro sign
Alt 169 – Registered Trade Mark sign
Alt 0169 – Copyright sign
Alt 26 – right arrow
Alt 27 – left arrow
Alt 167 – Degree sign
This includes many of the accents on e, a, o, and so on, you can find in France, Germany, Sweden, and other countries.
Shortcut World is a wiki with a ton of user-added shortcut keys to many applications. If you are looking for a specific one, check at the site.
And here is a list of shortcuts for Mac applications.
Fantastic Keyboard Shortcuts
Using the menus in programs gets things done. But it’s often a very slow way to access the features you want. Certainly in programmes you use regularly it’s going to help tremendously to learn a few of the shortcut keys you learn most often.
You can definitely improve productivity by mastering a couple of handfuls of shortcut keys. Learn a few of the ones on this page today, then come back next week and learn a few more. Practice them all week and they will be embedded in your memory.
67 Keyboard Shortcuts to improve your productivity! Tweet this.
Have you got any more keyboard shortcuts which you find really useful? Post about them in the comments below.