Everyone wants to work faster on their computer.
In business scenarios, we all embrace shortcuts that can save time and headaches. While there’s almost always more than one way to perform a command on the computer, some shortcuts are considered better than others. Everyone works at a different pace, but some universal shortcuts will save you time and frustration.
First, every computer (whether Mac or PC) has similar, related shortcuts. The major difference is that on a PC you use the “Alt” and “Ctrl” keys as keyboard modifiers, while on the Mac you use the “Apple” and “Cmd” keys.
If you look on the bottom row of letters on a standard QWERTY keyboard, the keys normally type their corresponding letters. However, they take on a new meaning if you use a keyboard modifier.
Universally, Ctrl+Z will undo your last action. The next three keys work as common partners: Ctrl+X will cut, Ctrl+C will copy, and Ctrl+V will paste. Hopefully, you already know the power of cut and paste, but these keys will work in any scenario in which you have selected text you need to edit or move.
Next, Ctrl+B will bold selected text, and Ctrl+N means “New.” That can mean a new document if you are in Microsoft Word or a new window in Google Chrome. The command has different meanings depending on the context but can help you save a few clicks in a lot of situations.
The next row of keys up the keyboard includes two important commands. Ctrl+A will select all content and is a personal favorite. Again, its use varies based on the context. If you are in Microsoft Word, you can type Ctrl+A to select all of your document’s text, but if you are filling out a description on an online form, you can type Ctrl+A to select the text in that form field only.
Next, Ctrl+S always means save. You can never save too often, so you should memorize this one and use it while working in an application such as Microsoft Excel. You should also note that when working in an Internet browser, there is no save option so, again, this shortcut is program specific.
Last, you can select text using keyboard shortcuts, too. If you hold down “Shift” and use your directional arrows, you can select text easily. With your cursor at the end of a line of text, click “Shift” and “Home” to select everything back to the beginning of a line. I use this one all the time, especially when writing these columns and need to revise a line I didn’t like.
Whether Mac or PC, a device with a keyboard follows similar rules. Take advantage of these shortcuts and learn more as you go to spend more time doing what you love and less time searching for the command you need.
[Originally posted in the Coloradoan on 12/19/13]