Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

Avoid your mouse

Moving your hand off the keyboard wastes time, a little bit each time you do it. Get into the habit of learning and using keyboard shortcuts for things you frequently do on your computer.

Here are a few sample shortcuts you might want to practice:

General OS shortcuts

Windows Start Menu Windows key
Spotlight (Mac) Cmd-Space (then type your search)
Windows Search Windows key (then type your search)
Switching programs Cmd-Tab (Mac) and Alt-Tab (Windows)
Switching windows in a program Cmd-tilde (~) (Mac) and Ctrl-Tab (Windows)
Save document Cmd-S (Mac) and Ctrl-S (Windows)


Microsoft Word-specific shortcuts

Left-justify a line Cmd-L (Mac) or Crtl-L (Windows)
Centre-justify a line Cmd-E (Mac) or Ctrl-E (Windows)
Right-justify a line Cmd-R (Mac) or Ctrl-R (Windows)
Track Changes mode Cmd-Shift-E (Mac) or Ctrl-Shift-E (Windows)
Spell check F7 (Mac or Windows)


Finding shortcuts

Next time you open a menu, check the shortcut key combinations listed. And if you want even more shortcuts, browse the software online help or these websites:

Similar pages exist for other software – just google “keyboard shortcuts (application name)” (e.g. “keyboard shortcuts Microsoft Word”)

Creating shortcuts

I use comments all the time in Microsoft Word 2008, but the menu command doesn’t come with a corresponding shortcut. Fortunately, the Mac lets you create your own shortcuts using the Keyboard System Preference. Similar tools exist for Windows and Linux.

1 Comment
  1. In my work I use these two Excel frequently: to put in today’s date, CTRL-semi-colon, and to put in the time, CTRL-SHIFT-semi-colon.