Increasing Productivity with Shortcut Keys
Today’s post comes from MyBinding.com Marketing Associate Richard McNeal.
Working in a fast-paced marketing environment, sometimes every minute literally does count. Whether you or your team are rushing to meet a deadline or you’re just trying to squeeze the most value out of a dollar, knowing how to work at maximum efficiency is imperative.
Since a large majority of business is conducted via the PC, I thought I’d share some of my favorite shortcuts for navigating the in and outs of computer software. And while some of these tips may be old news to some, others will wonder how they’ve been missing out on these time-saving functions.
Note: While the words below in [brackets] represent specific keyboard buttons, the “+” symbol is representative of pressing the referenced buttons at the same time. It does not mean to physically press the [+] key.
A relatively new feature found only in the latest versions of Windows (Vista, 7), the ALT+TAB function allows you to toggle between the windows currently open on your screen. You can either hold the ALT key and use TAB to scroll through a list of open windows, or you can press TAB once and the last viewed window will open (particularly helpful if you’re going back and forth between two windows).
Looking for a specific piece of information a midst a sea of data? The CTRL+F sequence is hands-down the function I utilize the most in my day-to-day assignments. In this case, “F” stands for “Find.” Simply type in the sequence, and a small search bar will appear in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. Type in all or part of the word, phrase, number that you’re looking for, and every instance of the searched term will appear highlighted in the current open window. If there’s more than one, use the arrows to jump to the next result. The beautiful thing about this particular function is that it is system-wide, so whether you’re in a document, spreadsheet, or web browser, CTRL+F will work.
Additionally, in most word processors the CTRL+F operation has increased functionality. Not only can it find every instance of a searched term, it can alter every instance as well. This is also known as the “Find and Replace” function. So if you’re proofing the final draft of an excel spreadsheet and find one column with a repeated mistake in it, use the Find and Replace function to fix the errors all at once instead of correcting each instance manually.
This key combination is simply a short cut to the spellcheck function. It is only operable in word processors and may vary slightly among different software.
[Shift]+[←, ↑, →, ↓]
On essentially any page with text, you can employ the use of this function. When holding down the SHIFT key, you can use the arrow keys (←, ↑, →, ↓) to highlight portions of text character by character. The HOME, END, PAGE UP, and PAGE DOWN keys also work with this function. I prefer using this function when editing to keep my hands on the keyboard and avoid reaching for my mouse to highlight text. I often employ it in tandem with this next function.
[Ctrl]+[X], [Ctrl]+[C], [Ctrl]+[V]
This series of shortcut combinations is known as “Cut, Copy, and Paste.” Simply highlight the content you want to edit (possibly using the aforementioned SHIFT function) and use one of these sequences to manipulate it. The Cut function removes the highlighted content and places it on an invisible Clipboard. The Copy function puts the highlighted content on the Clipboard but leaves the original where it is. Finally, the Paste function puts whatever was last moved to the Clipboard where ever you’ve currently selected. Generally, these functions cross software programs (i.e. you can “Copy” content from a web page and “Paste” it into a document or spreadsheet).
In closing, most of the functions I’ve referenced above can be accessed with your mouse under various toolbars and tabs. As I mentioned before though, I find it more efficient to keep my hands on the keyboard, especially when writing or performing repetitive tasks. Some of these shortcut keys have really revolutionized my productivity over the years, and I highly encourage you to give them a try. And always be on the lookout for more!
Any other favorites out there?