Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

Yesterday I wrote about how helpful it can be to develop useful habits. I would like to continue that train of thought with today’s post, which reflects those sentiments. My advice for today will take some practice, but it can really come in handy over time.

Learn keyboard shortcuts.

I know it might sound silly or not worth your time, but I am constantly amazed at how frequently I use keyboard shortcuts and I am even more amazed at how much more effective I am on the computer when I use them.

Whether it is the quick use of Ctrl + C to copy and Ctrl + V to paste, hitting Ctrl + B to put text in bold, or randomly useful shortcuts like holding Alt and pressing Tab (if you keep 3-5 windows open at a time, you’ll see why this one is useful), keyboard shortcuts help me use my time much more efficiently when I am on the computer.

I am going to list some of my most used shortcuts, but I would encourage you to use (and share) whatever shortcuts are most useful to you. The results should speak for themselves.

My most-used shortcuts include:

Ctrl + C – Copy
Ctrl + X – Cut
Ctrl + V – Paste
Ctrl + B – Bold
Ctrl + I – Italics
Ctrl + U – Underline
Ctrl + S – Save
Ctrl + Z – Undo

Alt + Tab – Quick switch between windows

Also, I really started focusing on using keys that are not necessarily shortcuts but do help speed along typing efforts. Those keys (which I also recommend learning) include:

Home – Typically in the 6-button cluster above arrow keys (or along the right side of a keyboard on laptops)
End – Same area, below Home button
Delete – Same area, to the left of End

If you have some other useful shortcuts, pass the word along in the comments below. And happy learning. I hope learning keyboard shortcuts helps you as much as it has helped me.

Photo (“Keyboard”) c/o Dan Foy. Thanks Dan!


3 responses to this post.

  1. I don’t know what I’d do without hot keys in the programs I use on a daily basis. V for the move tool, A for the selection tool, R for the rotation tool, plus shortcuts like Cmd+Alt+Shift+P for packaging a document, etc. etc. Some of these things I don’t even know where to find in the tool bar….computers are awesome.


  2. I love the reaction when you show someone Alt Tab on a windows machine. There’s this strange blip of icons and suddenly you’re in another application. Even if you’re mid-sentence in an explanation of their anti-virus software problems, they’ll stop you so you can say “Oh, that? That’s just a little trick…”

    Then you blow their mind.


  3. Holli – I agree 100%. I’d lose my mind if I had to go back to using my mouse as much as I used to before learning the shortcuts. I actually find myself getting irritated when I do need to use it. And computers are awesome.

    m!les – Not only was my mind blown the first time I learned it, but I was the first of all my friends to learn it, so I got to show EVERYONE how amazing Alt Tab was. And I did it exactly like you described, except it was back when people would sit with their friends and chat on AIM and I would just bounce from window to window like a ninja who grabbed the mouse and clicked to a different chat box faster than their eyes could comprehend. And then I’d do the… “You mean…you DON’T know how to do that? Wow.” And it were as if I had been blessed by the computer gods with incomparable power.

    Thank you for that. Your description made me laugh out loud.


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