To do this, you should learn how to use both the keyboard and the mouse simultaneously to do many tasks, such as ‘finding a computer on your network’ all the way to X with nothing but a quick and simple keystroke. This article’s learning exercises not only build up speed, and help you be efficient and more productive, but will also help you take the pressure off working with one hand, now you can work with two.
15 Helpful Keyboard Shortcuts
To take advantage of this drill, you should be comfortable using a keyboard, otherwise the speed you want to increase will be taken away by you not being entirely sure where a certain key is, so it helps to be familiar with the layout.
First, take a good look at your keyboard and be familiar with the layout. Most of you will have something similar to the illustration seen here as this is a standard 101 key keyboard layout.
Note: Laptop users may have the same keys on their systems, but in different places so take a second to familiarize yourself with key placement before you begin the exercise. If you have something similar, then you will be fine. Many peripheral vendors added a lot to their keyboards, such as multimedia options and etc.
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key
You may have a ‘very’ old keyboard that may not include the Windows Key on it. You will not be able to use this shortcut unless you get a new keyboard.
Tip 2: Quickly getting to your System Properties
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + Pause/Break
Tip 3: Quickly getting to your Run Dialog Box
Note: You can also quickly access websites by entering URLs in the Run dialog box …. http://cebutechblogger.com
-or- You can also open files with the following: file:///C:/filename.txt
Commonly, the quickest way to do this was to use the Ctrl+Alt+Del key sequence (will be covered shortly) which would allow you to select an option to ‘Lock Workstation’. Using this keystroke will allow you from moving to using three keys and the mouse to navigate to a simple keystroke that will lock your system immediately.
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + F
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + Ctrl + F
If you want to find files (and or computers, and other random things on your system) you will want to use the Search feature built into Windows XP. To use this, remember the old name for it, which was simply Find. Now – the Windows Key + F will invoke the Search function and within a few seconds, you should see your Search Results dialog box come up. Use this feature to find items on your system or on remote systems that you may have access and connections to. You can also use this feature to find other computers on your network if you wanted to add the ctrl key in that keystroke sequence. If not, you can use the original keyboard shortcut and then just select Computers or people as the criteria you want to search.
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + D
One of my favorite keyboard shortcuts is the Windows Key + D shortcut. Try to remember the word ‘desktop’ when you try to remember the D, think of using this shortcut to reveal the ‘desktop’ and it may help you remember it.
Many times I am very tied up (like right now) with many Windows open on my system. This is because most times, I am working within multiple applications. There are times where I may want to view the desktop for one reason or another, and that can ‘very’ quickly be done with a keystroke. There were many ways to minimize all Windows that may be blocking view of the desktop, but this is one of the quickest. Another very quick way is if you have the ‘quick launch’ toolbar setup in your Taskbar. If you do in fact have this set up, this is also a quick way to reveal the desktop, as well as to put it back again.
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + U
Users can start accessibility programs before logging on to the computer by using this keystroke. If you are fond of using the Utility Manager, then this keyboard shortcut will definitely help you to get to it. Tools such as ‘Magnifier’ and ‘Narrator’ can be set to start automatically and so on with this system utility.
Note: Utility Manager enables users to check an accessibility program’s status and start or stop an accessibility program. Users with administrator-level access can designate to have the program start when Utility Manager starts. The built-in accessibility programs available from the Utility Manager are Magnifier, Narrator, and On-Screen Keyboard. Narrator, a text-to-speech program, starts when Utility Manager opens. This gives users who are blind or have impaired vision immediate access to Utility Manager. Using Utility Manager, you can tell Windows to automatically start accessibility programs each time you log on to your computer, when you lock your computer desktop, or when Utility Manager starts.
Tip 8: Quickly getting to Help and Support
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + F1
If you are in need of help or support, look no further. By using Windows Key + F1 (the F1 key), then you can use the help and support system that comes with Windows XP.
Note: Help and Support may take a second to load on most systems, so be patient.
Tip 9: Quickly getting to Windows Explorer
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key + E
Here is another great shortcut you may not know about. If you want to access Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer – the Web browser), you can use the Windows Key + E shortcut. This will open up Windows Explorer for you so you can manage files and other forms of data on your system.
Be aware that this may take a moment to open if you are working on a network and have mapped drives, so be patient if it takes a moment.
Tip 10: Quickly delete something without being ASKED to
Keyboard Shortcut: Shift + Del
Note: This is only dangerous if you are not sure if you want to delete something or not, but honestly, with the fact being that you have to ‘empty’ your recycle bin anyway… as long as you don’t have a task set up to do it – then this is definitely something you want to consider.
Tip 11: Quickly getting to your shortcut menu
Keyboard Shortcut: Windows key
Newer keyboards have a key that allows you to now get properties menus from anything you select that can provide you with a menu. For instance, if you have Office document on your desktop (let’s say, a spreadsheet named tax.xls) then you can select it and press the Window key and then the shortcut menu key and you can now quickly view properties for a selected object. Although this is not the ‘fastest’ keystroke sequence in the world, it happens to be a very helpful one especially if you do not have a mouse attached to your system.
Keyboard Shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + Del
By far the most commonly used keystroke sequence used on just about any and every Windows system ever created. By pressing (and holding down) the Control key (ctrl), then the Alt key (Alt), and then the Delete key (Del), it will allow you to lock your workstation, change a password as well as use Task Manager.
Tip 13: Quickly switch between running programs
Keyboard Shortcut: Alt + Tab
If you work with many programs (most people who work on computers these days fit this description) then you will definitely want to learn about and master the Alt + Tab keystroke sequence. By selecting the Alt key and then holding it down (try this with your left thumb) and then use the tab key to switch between running programs, highlighting and selecting a specific program will bring that one to the foreground, maximized in your screen so that you can work within it. Releasing the Alt key brings up the program you want to use.
Tip 14: Quickly Getting to Full Screen Command Prompt
Keyboard Shortcut: Alt + Enter
If you want to see the Command Prompt in full screen (not in a small Window), you can quickly expand it to full screen with the Alt + Enter keystroke sequence. The only problem with this is, you need to have the Command Prompt open to expand it to full screen, so, to open it you can use the Run dialog box.
Here is a way to use two keyboard shortcuts at once… as you may recall, we already learned the shortcut to get to the Run dialog box, which was using the Windows Key + R. Now, once open, type cmd and hit enter. This will then open your Command Prompt.
CMD gives you full screen mode only if you select it from the properties of the Command prompt Windows – you can select full screen mode by default, but I don’t like it this way, it is too intrusive and cumbersome – using the Keyboard shortcut will give you want you want very quickly and give you access to both types (Windows or Full Screen) as quickly as you can hit the keystroke sequence.
Note: Alt + Enter can be very confusing because its one keystroke that does ‘many’ different things depending on where you are at the time of usage. Alt + Enter with no programs open it may do nothing. Just be aware of how you are using the command keystroke and what you have open at the time.
Tip 15: Quickly make your own Shortcut
To make a shortcut, follow these steps:
1. Simply right-click an application shortcut in the Start menu or on the desktop and choose Properties.
2. If not already selected, select the Shortcut tab.
3. Click in the ‘Shortcut key’ box and press your desired shortcut keys. I use a lot of Ctrl + Shift + Alt key sequences. You can use your own desired sequences as well. One prerequisite of Windows is that your shortcut must use at least two modifier keys (Ctrl, Shift, or Alt and/or a function key or a key on keypad.
Note: If you want to remove your shortcut, follow the same path into your properties dialog again and just select the ‘Shortcut Key:’ field and then backspace one time to remove the shortcut. Click Ok to close the properties windows and the shortcut keyboard sequence will be removed.