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Top Hotkeys You're NOT Using

Hey, we know you're busy - and whatever you can do to save time is always helpful. So, why aren't you taking advantage of hotkeys? These are shortcuts that perform functions you use often and save at least a few keystrokes every time.

Depending on the type of system you're on, these will involve the Shift, Control, Option and Command keys for Mac users; if you're on a PC, it's Shift, Control, Windows and Alt. You combine two or three of these plus a letter or function key to perform functions that may otherwise require clicking and dragging your mouse then right clicking and scrolling to find the operation.

Most likely, you already know a few of the basics: Copy is Control + C (PC) or Command + C; paste is Control + V or Command + V. (P is reserved for print.) Bold, italicize and save are a few others in your bag of tricks. But we thought you might like to commit to memory a few more that aren't as well known to make your life just a little're welcome!

Opening up Windows

The WIN button is that icon button nestled between the CTRL and ALT keys, and it's quite handy.

  • WIN + 1, 2, 3.... opens up the items in your taskbar, so if you have your standard set of programs you work in, it literally is as easy as 1 - 2 - 3 to open them to start your day.

  • If you're not ready to open all of your programs, but want to get to one quickly as you're working, WIN + T cycles through your taskbar, and a tap on your spacebar or the ENTER key will open them.

  • When you want to clear your space a bit, WIN + HOME minimizes all but the current window you're working in

  • WIN + Up/Down maximizes and restores the current window

And a few more we're fond of...

ALT + ESC - switches your open windows in the order they were opened

CTRL + ESC - opens the START menu

CTRL + ALT + UP/DOWN ARROW - flips screens that are touch enabled for laptop-to-tablet conversion

Working in your directories, there are quite a number of cheats you can apply as well:

  • ALT + UP navigates up one folder level, so you don't have to zero in on the little arrows to back up from the file or folder you're looking at

  • CTRL + SHIFT + N - creates a new folder in the directory

  • Feeling brave? SHIFT + DEL deletes a file without sending it to the recycle bin, no take backs.

  • F2 renames a file or folder, and it's better than clicking and accidentally opening the file or folder, closing and trying again.

  • Not in Explorer at the moment? F3 opens it, and presents the search bar for you. Just one tap. Really.


I'm a Mac...

And, not to be left out, for sure! Here are our favorite shortcuts:

  • COMMAND + Q - quits the current program you're working in (just eye the upper left corner to make sure it's the program you want to quit

  • COMMAND + Z - we all make mistakes, but this little-talked-of feature is your undo when you've entered a command or typed anything in that you want to take back. Fair warning...not all applications will bend to the will of COMMAND + Z.

  • COMMAND + TAB - opens the application switcher to let you choose among your active apps (just remember to keep these keys pressed)

  • COMMAND + T - opens a new tab in your browser

  • COMMAND + SHIFT DELETE - empties your trash

Snapshots are a snap!!

  • COMMAND + SHIFT + 3 - takes a screen shot of your entire screen and saves it to your desktop

  • COMMAND + SHIFT + 4 (a personal favorite) will give you a set of crosshairs to select exactly what you'd like a picture of and save it to your desktop. In either case, you'll hear the sound of a photo being taken if your volume is up

Navigating your Finder is also made simpler...

  • COMMAND + SHIFT + A - opens your Applications folder

  • COMMAND + SHIFT + U - opens your Utilities folder

  • COMMAND + SHIFT + D - opens your Desktop folder (see where we're going with this?)

  • COMMAND + SHIFT + H - opens Home

For using your device for music only without needing the screen on, you can also select CONTROL + SHIFT + EJECT (that up arrow button just above the DELETE key) darkens your screen without silencing your music.

Finally, when you're getting the "rainbow pinwheel of waiting," and you're out of patience, we recommend force quitting the app with a chord of COMMAND + OPTION + ESC.

Perhaps you'll use all of these, perhaps just one or two. Either way, it should serve to make you more efficient at whatever you're doing in front of your device. Got a favorite of your own? Let us know in the comments!!

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