Every time you opt to use your mouse in place of your keyboard, you could potentially be wasting your time. This is because of the many keyboard shortcuts available that can save a considerable amount of your time. Keyboard combinations are not only faster for you to press, but they also tend to be far more accurate than using your mouse, this especially reigns true when it comes to highlighting text or selecting a spreadsheet cell.
Whenever I talk to family and friends, even those that are very tech-savvy, one thing that I notice is that most of them are only familiar with the more common and basic shortcuts, but are almost oblivious to the many other helpful shortcuts out there. That is one of the main reasons why I decided to put together this article, covering 10 of the most useful keyboard shortcuts.
Search for Text
You’re reading a document online and would like to know whether it mentions a particular topic. You’re editing a document in Microsoft Word and would like to find the appropriate section where a particular word is mentioned. Pressing Ctrl + F in pretty much every Windows application (word processors, web browsers, developer tools, spreadsheets) will allow you to search for a particular string of text.
If the program finds the string of text, then it will usually highlight it within the document. Some applications, such as Google Chrome will highlight all instances of the text within the document. If there is more than one instance of the text mentioned in the document, then you can move to the next instance by pressing the F3 key.
Open Previous Browser Tab
Have you ever closed a browser tab by accident, only to have to spend a considerable amount of time trying to remember where you were when you close it? If so, then you’ll love the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + T.
Select Address Bar
Would you like to take your URL into your browser as quickly as possible with little interference? Then I suggest you use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + L (of F6) to automatically highlight the address bar.
Select Multiple Items
Whether you’re attempting to select multiple rows in an Excel spreadsheet or a paragraph of text in a word document, you’ll want to use this shortcut. If all the rows in your worksheet are next to each, you can highlight all of them by simply using Shift + Click first one then hold down the Shift key and click on the last one.
However, if you wanted to select more than one non-adjacent item, you could do that by holding down the Ctrl key + (individually) Click on all the items.
If you forget to use the Ctrl key when pressing on any of the items, you will immediately lose all your selections.
Add www. To Address Bar
If you wanted to access a particular website as quickly as possible, all you need to do is type the web page name into the address bar (for example type ‘Yahoo’), then press Ctrl + Enter to add the http://www section at the beginning.
Alter Zoom Levels
Whether you’re surfing the internet or attempting to read a piece of text on a word processing application, you can zoom in and out by pressing Ctrl + Scroll Mouse Wheel.
If you would like to select all items within a given window, whether it’s a picture, document or a folder with a ton of files in it, you don’t have to press down on your mouse button and drag to highlight. Simply press Ctrl + A and everything will automatically be selected. You can then choose whether you would like to copy, paste or reformat the selected items.
Add a Bookmark
You can quickly and conveniently create a shortcut to your favorite websites by simply bookmarking them; in order to carry out this function press Ctrl + D.
Go Back on Browser
Most people who surf the internet will use the back button on their browser from time to time. That said there is a viable alternative to constantly using the back button. Simply press Alt + Left Arrow to go back and Right Arrow to go forward.
Paste as Plain Text
This is an issue that we as computer users are all too familiar with. You’re writing an email or editing a document online, and you decide to paste a piece of text from the internet to a word document. You highlight the text, then copy and paste it, only for all the formatting to carry over with it. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem, whether you’re on Firefox or Chrome. Simply press Ctrl + Shift + V and the contents that you copy will immediately copy as plain text, which you can then past elsewhere.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website compuchenna.co.uk.