Unlock all the possibilities of your keyboard and it will become just another extremity.
During the degree, the professor of Software and web page localization told us that it is silly not to learn what the keys and keyboard shortcuts do of the programs and operating systems we use, because if we spend hundreds of euros in them but the only thing we use is the mouse, we are largely wasting that investment.
Clearly, this perspective makes more sense when applied to programs like Tradosan assisted translation tool that costs around 500 euros, and not when we spend just 15 euros on OEM licenses. But the important thing is that since then I acquired the habit of incorporating the use keyboard shortcuts whenever I canand not only do I work much more efficiently, but I have also come to solve technical problems thanks to that knowledge.
Also, when we get to this deep understanding of keyboard functionalitieswith its limits and possibilities, it is as if we accessed a mental space in which the connection between the origin of an action and the start up it’s a quick physical push away. How can I know I sound like Morpheus right nowI explain: if we use the mouse to interact with the computer, we need to identify and locate the cursor with our eyes, so sensory intermediaries hinder actions; but with a keyboard the interaction is much more immediateimpulsive, as if the keys were one more phalanx (especially when we write without lookingSure).
Since it occurred to me to propose this kind of guide, it has taken me a long time to decide to write it, because when you incorporate these keyboard shortcuts they end up becoming actions so automatic and instinctive that you do them without realizing it. I would like to update the list below, because even though I have managed to record the most frequent ones, I keep locating more in my day to day. On the other hand, I encourage you to propose yours. Let’s make this article a healthy learning space, not something else.
Keyboard shortcuts and keys that save me time
- Directional keys: seems obvious, but not everyone uses them, and the arrow keys make interaction with text and browsers much easier in any field. In this very document that I am writing, if I want to move faster, I just have to press Ctrl+Left or Right to move to the end of each wordHome or End to go to the beginning or end of a line, Ctrl+up or down to move between paragraphs, Page Up or Page Down to move between pages… If we talk about a browser, although the mouse wheel does things very well, sometimes times a press to Space fixes unnecessary mouse movements.
- Shift: This key has many functions, and is used both to write with capital letters and place specific characters and to reverse the action of another key or, for example, select text, and it works as you expect if you add it to the arrow keys. If you press it while moving, you will select as much text. Again, I feel that I am entering into explaining things that everyone knows, but the mouse has done a lot of damageLadies and Gentlemen.
- Tabulator: In dialog boxes, Windows explorer windows, browsers, etc., this key allows us to move forward to the next option from that environment. It does it in a rotational way, so if you keep pressing, you will go back to the beginning, but if you want to go back, apply the Shift modifier and that’s it.
- Windows logo key: This key has many shortcuts associated with it, but the way I use it separately is to open the Start panel, and even if I have programs pinned there, I usually type the first letters of the one I want to run directly, especially if it is a system tool or settings panel. That is, for example, Win + “Disp” and it already appears “Device administrator“. However, I have the programs that I use the most in the toolbar, and for that, read on.
- Ctrl+C, X, V: again, evidence where there is, but this combination is essential in the workflow… Copy, cut, paste: the holy trinity of Windows.
- Alt+Tab: when you have the browser window open, the text processorPhotoshop, the file explorer and Spotify at the same time, to choose the one you want to have in the foreground, there is nothing like this shortcut to rotate quickly.
Windows logo key shortcuts
- Win+Number: runs or maximizes the program pinned to the toolbar located at that position, up to a total of 10 (because there are no more numbers on the keyboard). In my case, for example, I have, from left to right: Edge, Total Commander, Spotify, VLC, Word, Reaper, Photoshop, Premiere, OBS, and Discord. Then there are others, but since I do not consider them productivity, they are left out of this shortcut. To cast, say, Reaper (the DAW I use to record voice), I would press Win+6 and put on my headphones.
- Win+D, Alt+F4: the first combination is used to minimize all windows and “go” to the desktop. In this way, if you press Alt+F4, the window to shut down, restart or suspend Windows appears. It’s a Incredibly fast method of shutting down, restarting, or suspending the computer at once if you have the tower out of hand or want to perform a specific action and you have another associated with the off button, go.
- Win+R: This combination opens the “Run” window. serves for open lots of system utilities. Some as frequent as command prompt (cmd), notepad (notepad), the DirectX tool (dxdiag), Word itself (winword); and other more specific ones, such as the user account manager (netplwiz), the registry editor (regedit), the system configuration to refine the startup options (msconfig)…
- Win+arrows: since Windows allows you to maximize windows on one side or the other of the screen, as well as in the corners, when you are operating in one and press, for example, Win+Left, will be placed on that side of the screen, and if you have another window open, the system will suggest placing it on the opposite side, occupying all that space. By the same logic, if you press Win+up, the window in question will reduce its size by half to occupy only one corner. It is very comfortable to work. Try combinations!
- Win+Print Screen/Win+Shift+S: The first combination allows you to take screenshots of the entire screen, but if you want something finer or more specific, try the second shortcut, which is used to use the Snipping toolan excellent way to capture both windows and specific parts of what you’re seeing on the screen.
More shortcuts that give life
- Shift+Delete: When I am organizing files to free up space and I know for a fact that I will not want to recover the file or whatever folder it is, I use this combination to skip the recycle bin step. As you can imagine, this way of erasing has a lot of dangerbecause once Enter is pressed, the only way to restore the deleted file will be using a recovery program, and there are few that work well (I know from sad experience).
- Ctrl+Shift+Esc: one day I realized that 90% of the times I pressed the famous Ctrl+Alt+Delete it was to run task manager, so I looked for the shortcut to launch it directly, and it is the one that begins this paragraph. Eliminating intermediaries!
- Alt+Enter: I reserve this combination almost exclusively for games. When one gives display problems, I try to press this shortcut to rotate between different screen modes (full, window, borderless window) to identify the problem or directly solve it (such as when I have been in full direct and OBS has played me).
- Browser shortcuts: To work with Chrome, Firefox or Edge, I am used to using a series of shortcuts that lighten the actions of tabs and avoid scares. Ctrl+T opens a new one, Ctrl+Tab allows you to rotate between the open ones (and Ctrl+Number, go directly to one of them), Ctrl+W closes the one you have open, Ctrl+Shift+W is a blessing which opens the last one you closed and even a whole group if the last thing you did was close the whole window. Ctrl+L
- Ctrl+U: This shortcut still belongs to the browser collection, but I think it deserves a separate section. It is used to open the source code of the pages and, together with the “Inspect” option of your browser, it is one of the best ways to extract embedded or uploaded files to a specific page. In this way I have managed to extract images and videos that seemed inaccessible by right clicking.
Keep track of this humble experiential guide. I plan to remain very attentive to my habits with the keyboard to add them to the list as soon as I have a new juicy batch. By the way, you may have noticed that no mentions of shortcuts for Windows Explorerand this is a personal matter: I have always used Total Commander. I think I’ll have to put together another article to talk about it, right?
More about: Keyboard, PC and Windows.
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