In my role as technology consultant I often have the experience of watching people using their computers and smart phones.
I see them wrestle and wrangle their way through Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, often without much finesse and even more often with a great deal of struggle.
Take this example from a few days ago:
One of our clients has a new staff member and during a site visit she asked me how to copy and paste data between their database and their accounting package.
“Obvious!” You cry – but not in this case.
You see in their Infinite wisdom the accounting package chose to disable the right mouse button Cut/Copy/Paste menu so it appeared as though these operations were not possible.
But all is not lost. These functions are still available via the keyboard.
Enter the CTRL key.
Using the mouse is an easy way to use a computer but it is not necessarily the most efficient.
If you’ve ever watched someone using a computer who is an expert you may have noticed that they rarely use the mouse.
Why? Because it takes a (relatively) long time to move your hand from the keyboard to the mouse and back again.
Instead they’ve learned the keyboard shortcuts to make them more efficient – and you can too.
Cut/Copy/Paste can now be performed using Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V respectively.
So to copy from the database to the accounting package our new staff member can:
- highlight the text they want,
- press the CTRL and C key together to copy the text to the clipboard,
- select the field in the accounting software, and
- press CTRL and V to paste the text
Voila! Simple when you know how.
But I promised you 4 keys and here is the last one: CTRL-Z – undo.
If every you’ve made a mistake typing, before you delete it all and start again, try pressing Ctrl-Z. It might save you some time by undoing the last thing you did.
And this doesn’t just apply to typing. In Word, for example, it could be changing the font or the page margins, or applying bullet points or any number of other operations.
And it doesn’t just apply to Word. These keystrokes will work in most Windows applications (and there are equivalents for Mac and Linux users too).
Got your own shortcuts? Feel free to share them below…