If you’ll recall, before the mouse existed, there were lots of keyboard commands that you needed to remember in order to run your computer. Thankfully, and many of you may find this statement to be difficult to understand, they are still around.
Keyboard shortcuts are your ticket to a faster computing experience. What’s the drawback? You have to learn them, and the only way to learn them is to practice them. Here are some of my favorite shortcuts that I use every day:
CTRL-ESC – Opens Windows Start menu. Once a menu is open, the arrow keys on your keyboard will scroll through available options.
Window-R – Using the windows logo next to the space bar or alt key and R will open the run dialog box which allows you to type the name of a program you want to run to run it. For those of you with faster typing skills, this is a quick way to get to another application quickly.
ALT-S – This is one keyboard shortcut that everyone who uses Outlook should learn. It’s the same as clicking SEND after typing a message to someone.
1. Press CTRL-ESC. Your start menu will open. Now tap the M key repeatedly and watch the menu highlight every item that starts with M in alphabetical order. Pressing ESC again will close the Start menu.
2. Start the Windows Calculator. Press the Windows key, hold it, then press R. In the only available field, type CALC and press enter on your keyboard. You should see the Windows calculator. To close the calculator without touching the mouse, hold down one of the ALT keys on either side of the space bar and press F4. This is the same as using the mouse to “EXX out of that window.” It’s called closing the application.
3. Open Outlook. Go on the wild side and leave your mouse out of the equation after Outlook opens. In Outlook, press CTRL-N, which is the same as clicking the “new.” If you’re addressing your e-mail folders, you should see a new e-mail message pop up. Choose a recipient, type your message, and then using your keyboard, hold one of the ALT keys (I usually move my right thumb under my palm to reach the right ALT key next to the space bar) then press S (I use my left ring finger). Sending a message has never been easier and I never touch my mouse.
Windows and all of the programs that run within windows compile a list of thousands of possible keyboard shortcuts that are designed to keep your hands on the keyboard and away from the mouse. Why? Because it saves you time.
Those of you who aren’t interested in learning more in life or have resigned to being a prisoner of your own ways will gain nothing from this article, which is a shame, because you just spent time reading it. If you’re akin to the concept of life-long learning, you just discovered a better way to run your computer.