If you could sum up my laptop life in a few words, it would be these: keyboard shortcuts. I’m almost to the point at which I don’t have to use my touchpad at all. (There’s actually a setting to use your keypad instead of your touchpad to control the cursor, but I haven’t messed with that so much.)
Shortcuts have truly changed my life. Having a techy family helps because we share keyboard shortcuts with each other sometimes. Some shortcuts are tricky to remember & even trickier to get used to, but in the end it saves me loads of time! I have such a surplus of extra time due to these shortcuts that I’m using it to write this post.
So here we go.
You can get yourself around fairly quickly by pressing down Ctrl with your left hand & using the small panel of arrows with your right hand. Right & left arrows move you word by word, while the up & down arrows move you paragraph by paragraph.
Well, to select all the text you want, just hold down Ctrl + Shift together & use the small panel of arrows as you would if you were just pressing down Ctrl.
Ctrl + C: Copy selected text.
Ctrl + X: Cut selected text.
Ctrl + V: Paste selected text.
Ctrl + I: Italicize selected text.
Ctrl + B: Bold selected text. I’ve been using this one a lot.
Ctrl + U: Underline selected text.
Alt + Tab: Enter your last-entered application. To cycle through all applications, press Alt+Tab, then release the Tab button & press it again to move through applications.
Alt + Shft + Tab: Move through your applications backwards.
Ctrl + Tab: In a web browser, this shortcut moves you to the tab to the right of your current one.
Ctrl + Shift + Tab: Takes you to the tab to the left of your current one.
Ctrl + 1 – Ctrl + 9: Switch to the tab at the specified tab number. (For example, Ctrl + 3 switches you to tab #3.)
Space bar: Use this when you’re on a webpage; it scrolls you down. You can also press that little button, PGUP—you know, the one in the upper right, the one you never thought had a purpose—to quickly get yourself to the top of your document. Its brother, PGDN (which stands for Page Down), gets you to the bottom of said document with one motion.
Windows Key + M: Minimize all windows. A lot smoother than haphazardly clicking the minimize button a hundred times when someone approaches your laptop.
Ctrl + Z: Undo. Yes or no, this is or will be the most frequently used shortcut for you?
Ctrl + T: When in a web browser, this opens a new tab.
Ctrl + W: When in a web browser, this closes the current tab.
Ctrl + Shft + T: When in a web browser, this reopens the last tab you closed.
Ctrl + R: Refreshes current webpage. You’ll use it more than you think.
Alt + D: Selects the link in your web browser. Ah yes. This is especially helpful when I’m switching among tabs, collecting links to add to my posts.
Ctrl + D: Bookmarks your current webpage. I myself love this because I have a complicated system of bookmarks on my laptop & I’m always adding new ones. Another reason I use bookmarks so much is because I never fully trust my laptop to bring up all my tabs when it’s finished installing updates & restarting, so I bookmark all my tabs before a restart.
FN + PRTSC: When NumLock is enabled, it takes a screenshot. I don’t think this is a very nice interface because it gives you no sign that it actually takes the screenshot. However, it’s on your clipboard & you can paste it into a document.
This isn’t a keyboard shortcut, but I use it a lot: If you drag your current application to the far, far left or far, far right, a translucent frame should appear. Release the application & it’ll take up exactly half of the screen. I like using this split screen to compare my writing side-by-side.
F5: This is one of those keys I don’t understand, like INS (see below). It wasn’t very long ago that my cat stepped on my laptop & after I shooed him away, I found that I couldn’t move my mouse at all. Fortunately, I was able to use my keyboard shortcuts & a plug-in mouse to look it up & figure it out. Turns out that F5 locks the mouse – pressing it again will remedy the problem. (The key probably varies by PC, though.) So who was the genius who decided that? At least have us press Ctrl + F5 to make it harder for it to happen by accident! Because of that abysmal design, my cat caused me a good ten minutes of absolute panic!
INS: This a truly unfortunate situation to have pressed it by accident. If you press this wacky little key without realizing it or knowing what it does, I promise you, it’s an absolute horror. It makes anything you type replace the letter before it. I once got it stuck & didn’t know what to do about it. CHAOS. Again, where were sane designers for that?
Alt + 0151: I don’t know about you, but I love long dashes (—). I use this one rather long “shortcut” very often. If you use this one, though, be sure NumLock is on & that when typing in the numbers, you use the set of numbers to the right of the keyboard, not the top.
- Ctrl + Shft + L: Insert a bullet list like this one. This doesn’t work in all applications, but it does in Wordpad. Other applications will make it easier for you & turn any of your hyphens to bullets automatically.
Last notes & advice now, I guess.
I could go on & on about how awesome shortcuts are, but I think everyone has varying degrees of awe for them anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.
So, I’ll just have to end it on one piece of wisdom:
We’ve all experienced situations of uncertainty concerning our PCs. I experience it almost daily. It’s that embarrassing moment when I have no idea what it’s downloading, what it’s asking, or what it’s doing. So, my final & most important advice to you:
When in doubt, press ESC.