Ever notice that some of life’s best lessons aren’t learned in the classroom? Think about where you learned how to ride a bike and how to hit a baseball! Ok, so the lessons I am talking about probably don’t have as fond a memory, but they can still have a remarkable impact on your life. I am talking about computer command shortcuts. These shortcuts are not really taught in any class. There is a HUGE list of shortcuts available for use with Microsoft Windows. However, I am going to focus for this blog post on the ones I find the most useful.
Once you learn and use these shortcuts, you will shave time off each and every action you complete on the computer. If you get into the habit of using them, your computer use will go much more smoothly and take far less time! Here are some of the most popular shortcuts.
Highlight with your computer mouse whichever text or image you wish to copy. Hit the Control key marked ‘CTRL’ on the bottom left or right of your keyboard, and then hold down the letter ‘C’ key at the same time. This is a shortcut for ‘copy’. You can copy text from one place in your program and paste it to another place. Copy also works from application to application. So, you can copy some text or a photo from the internet and paste it into an email or Microsoft Word document. (Note: only copy and use information you are allowed to use!) Once you highlight and copy text, you won’t be able to tell whether it’s been copied because it remains copied behind the scenes in your computer on something called the ‘clipboard’. But you will know when you go to paste it somewhere, which is the next shortcut.
Click with your mouse on the place where you wish to paste something . Hit the Control key marked ‘CTRL’ on the bottom left or right of your keyboard, and then hold down the letter ‘V’ key at the same. This is a shortcut for ‘paste’. (Of course, you will have needed to first copy something.) You can paste text or photos within your program or from application to application.
When you have completed an action on your computer you wish to reverse, use the CTRL-Z function to quickly ‘undo’ what you’ve done! Simply hold down the ‘CTRL’ key along with the letter ‘Z’ key and you will see what you’ve recently done become instantly undone. Perhaps you’ve just deleted two paragraphs of text in a Word document or inadvertently replaced the contents of a cell within Microsoft Excel by accident. CTRL+Z can save you in so many cases by undoing mistakes in an instant! (Note: the opposite of ‘undo’ is ‘redo’, which can be done by clicking on CTRL+Y.)
This shortcut is a bit obscure and a well kept secret that is extremely useful once known. When using Windows, most people use many different programs at one time: e-mail, Word, Excel, the internet, and the list goes on! If you have a multitude of programs open and want to minimize them all at the same time, click on the ‘Windows’ key (next to the CTRL) plus the ‘D’ key at the same time. This minimizes all of your programs without closing them and brings you right to your computer desktop.
As with so many functions within the Windows operating system, there are several ways to perform the cut, past, undo and minimize all functions, whether it’s right clicking or using the icons at the top of your screen. Personally, I find the command shortcuts much easier and faster to use!