There Really Are Shortcuts In Life

April 23, 2018

Chances are you’ve heard the quote “There are no shortcuts in life…” at some point in your life. Whether it came from a teacher, a parent or a someone at work, I’m sure there was a great life lesson that came along with the use of the quote. But I’m here to tell you that, yes, in fact, there really are shortcuts in life. People use them all the time. You can use shortcuts while driving, walking, even cooking!

Another place that you can and should be using shortcuts is at work. Now, hold on. Before you gasp and wonder what kind of work ethic I have, you need to know I’m talking about keyboard shortcuts.

What is a keyboard shortcut? It’s a combination of one or more keys being pressed at the same time to perform a particular function within a computer program.

As someone who has been working in a profession that requires the use of a computer for the majority of her life, I have come to find that keyboard shortcuts are my best friend when it comes to helping me work efficiently and be more productive. If you are already using keyboard shortcuts, great! Keep up the good work. Give yourself a challenge to learn some new ones. And if you haven’t been using them, please keep reading.

This is something you need to start incorporating into your daily workflow… like now.

Have you ever watched someone work on something and thought, I know a better way to do that? Well that’s how people who are using keyboard shortcuts feel when they are watching or helping someone that isn’t using them. Let me tell you, it’s an incredibly painful process to sit there and watch someone copy some type, move their mouse up to the menu bar, select Edit, move their mouse down to Cut function, then reposition their cursor to where they want the copy to be within their document and then move their mouse back up to the menu bar, select Edit again and move their mouse down to the Paste function. I mean, seriously painful. All that could have been done with a couple of quick keyboard shortcuts.

Here are some basic keyboard shortcuts for the most common computer functions on both a PC and Mac.

Some keyboard shortcuts make total sense like Command/Ctrl + S to save, Command/Ctrl + N to create a new file, Command/Ctrl + O to open a file. These are logical. And some aren’t. Some are bit more difficult and they may take some time to memorize. Shortcuts like Option + 8, which adds a bullet, Cmd/Ctrl + W, which closes your document and Option-G on a Mac – that inserts the copyright symbol into your document. (It’s a bit more logical on a PC with the shortcut being Ctrl + Alt + C.)

But beware… not every shortcut works the same in every program. Of course, some shortcuts are universal… such as the save, copy, cut and paste commands. But every application can and will have its own shortcuts, wspecially if you are working within an application that is trade-specific. Be sure to get to know the keyboard shortcuts for that specific program before using some of the more generic shortcuts.

If learning a bunch of keyboard shortcuts all at once seems overwhelming, start by introducing one or two of the most common commands you use on a daily basis. Once you’ve mastered those and are using them 100 percent of the time. Pick a few more to start incorporating.

While learning, you might stumble a bit and accidently do something you didn’t mean to. But don’t panic, that’s why there is Cmd/Ctrl + Z. My favorite keyboard shortcut!

When you are ready to learn more advanced keyboard shortcuts, or shortcuts for specific programs, check out these links below. Or just Google it and you will find a plethora of websites that help you learn keyboard shortcuts for almost any program you can imagine.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12445/windows-keyboard-shortcuts

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201236

Another tip: Learning keyboard shortcuts for a specific program can be just as easy as looking within the menus of that particular applications. Most have the key commands and symbols right next to the function in their dropdown menus.

After you master a few easy shortcuts, you’ll be wondering why you never used them before. And before you know it, you’ll be an efficient and productive machine!