I’m not as computer savvy as my adult children are (who among us is?), but I spend a lot of time on the computer, writing, editing, emailing, and more. So I rely on keyboard shortcuts to work faster and smarter. Each shortcut may save only a few seconds at a time compared to using the mouse or trackpad and pull-down menu; but when those seconds are multiplied over the course of an 80,000-word document, for example, the time savings add up quickly.
I know these shortcuts are specific to Mac users, but there are close Stone Age equivalents (that is, in the non-Mac world). Of course, everyone knows that Command-C means “copy,” Command-V means “paste,” Command-A means “select all,” and Command-X means “delete.” Beyond those obvious shortcuts, here are the commands I use most frequently (using the US keyboard layout):
- Command + Z
I make mistakes. That’s a shock, I know. But it happens every so often. Happily, I have Command + Z, which reverses whatever the heck I just did. Whew! Hallelujah.
- Command + B/I/U
Everybody knows this, right? Even so, it’s so much easier to use Command + B to bold text, Command + I to italicize, and Command + U to underline. Unless you prefer the scenic route.
- Command + F
This shortcut opens a search window on the computer or in a document or email, allowing me to search (and even count) occurrences of a word, phrase, or symbol.
- Command + Shift + 4
This shortcut turns the cursor into a target-like symbol, allowing me to take a screen shot of some or all of my computer screen (Command + Shift + 3 takes a screen shot of the whole screen).
- Command + Q
Sure, you can use your mouse and pointer to pull down a menu and quit an application. Or Command + Q. Easy peasy.
- Command + up, Command + down
No need to scroll all the way to the top or bottom of a long document. Command-plus-the-up-key sends you to the top of whatever document, email, or box you’re in. Command-plus-the-down-key sends you to the bottom.
- Command + Option + ESC.
Sometimes an app freezes or stops functioning properly, at which time it’s helpful (and quick) to Command + Option + ESC to open the “Force Quit” window.
- Command + P
To print whatever document or window you’re in, press Command + P to open the printer connection.
These are my go-to shortcuts. I use them many times every day, saving myself a lot of clicking and dragging.
But you probably have others. What shortcuts do you use most in the course of your writing, editing, emailing, etc.?