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20 Keyboard Shortcuts to Save Time at Work

keyboard shortcuts

Note: These keyboard shortcuts are for Windows. Most, if not all, of the following exist on Mac and Linux.

Over a lifetime we spend, on average, 90,000 hours at work. It can be the cause of stress, weight gain, sleep deprivation, and all sorts of detriment. Knowing the fastest way to do the simple tasks can make an hour’s job into 20 minutes. Using these shortcuts are just the beginning, but saving 2 seconds however many times a day can really take the pressure off.

You’ll find you have more time for the important tasks when you can use your computer efficiently. At work, this is time spent actually thinking things through, rather than trying to get them done on time. At home, these shortcuts can free up time to cook a nicer meal, or spend time with your loved ones.

The Basic Shortcuts

These keyboard shortcuts are the ones you’ll use 100+ times a day once they’re muscle memory. They’re what makes working on a computer so useful, as things can be moved around, undone, and redone endlessly and instantly.

First of all, the Windows clipboard. Use “Ctrl + C” to copy. Select a file, a word, a paragraph or a link. Press the “Ctrl” key, and while holding, press the C key, then let go of both. Now you’ve copied whatever it is you selected, exactly as you would by right clicking and finding the option to copy. Alternatively, use “Ctrl + X” to cut. This removes the word, file or other selection from where it is, and lets you paste it somewhere else to move it. After either copying or cutting, use “Ctrl + V” to paste whatever you’ve put into your clipboard most recently. To really show off, try using “Windows + V” to see your copy history and to choose which recently copied item you want to paste.

Secondly, undo and redo. These are most useful shortcuts when moving files around and typing into documents/searches. “Ctrl + Z” to undo the last action. If you undo too far, or undo accidentally, use “Ctrl + Y” to redo (these can be a saviour after accidentally deleting files or paragraphs).

Finally, simple navigation.Ctrl + Scroll Wheel” to zoom in and out. Roll the mouse wheel up to zoom in, and down to zoom out. This is mostly useful in Microsoft Office programs, and your web browser. “Ctrl + F” (or the F3 key) can be used to find. It’ll bring up a box somewhere on your screen, depending on the program. You can use it to search for a word or phrase in the document, spreadsheet or web page.

For your browser:

If you use Google Chrome (like 65% of the population do), these keyboard shortcuts will all apply. If you don’t, some of these shortcuts may be slightly different, but they will definitely exist. A quick Google search will tell you what keys are different.

Use “Ctrl + T” to open a new tab, or “Ctrl + N” to open a new window entirely (or even “Ctrl + Shift + N” for Incognito mode). The opposite, “Ctrl + W” will close the tab you have open. If you close a tab you didn’t want to, “Ctrl + Shift + T” will restore the last tab you closed.

If something isn’t loading properly, is acting slow, or is outdated information, try the F5 key to refresh the page.

To flick through input boxes, text fields and dropdowns when filling out forms, use Tab to move to the next box, and “Shift + Tab” to move to the previous box. This does work for moving through pages other than forms, but with varying levels of practicality.

Productivity in Windows:

If you’re using 2-4 programs at once, Windows has a built in way to snap windows into split screen layouts. This feature is very versatile in Windows, allowing all sorts of grid layouts of programs, so it’s worth experimenting with.

Windows even has a way to have multiple desktops at once. If you’re working on two entirely different projects in one day (for example, IT Sales and Blog Writing!), you can create multiple desktop views that you can flick between. Discover more about this feature.

The keyboard shortcuts for productivity in Windows are as follows:

  • Alt + Tab” to flick between your open programs. Keep holding Alt after pressing Tab, then keep hitting Tab to see the selection move along the list. Let go of Alt to open the selected window.
  • Windows Key + Tab” to see your open programs, suggested programs, and multiple desktops. This is essentially a slower but more open alternative to Alt + Tab.
  • Windows Key + Any Arrow Key” to snap your open window into the split screen grid mentioned above. Again, this is quite a versatile feature, so try pressing all the arrow keys and get a feel for how it works.
  • Ctrl + Windows Key + Left or Right Arrow Key” to move between any open desktop views.

The last resort: “Ctrl + Shift+ Esc” for Task Manager. Be careful with this program. If your browser (or any other program) has crashed, and you’re not at risk of losing work, Task Manager can be used to “kill” processes, even when they’re not responding. Only use Task Manager if you’re familiar with it’s capabilities, as it’s easy to make a system unusable.

Want to know more about Windows and how to streamline processes? We can help you find the right computer solutions for you, your home or your office. Contact us at 03333 055 055.

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