If we replace every standard light bulb with an energy efficient light bulb, we’ll save enough electricity to go to the moon and back 11 times. Everybody knows that, of course. But what you may not realize is that if you use the commonly available shortcut keys that were designed into your computer, you would save enough keystrokes that all the computer keyboards in the world would last an extra 11 years. Honest.
So, we are going to start learning some shortcut keys.
The way to learn shortcut keys is to write down or otherwise record a small number of them in a handy place. Then, when you encounter an opportunity to use a shortcut key, and you can’t remember how to do it, you look it up and use the shortcut. This way, the short cut takes LONGER than not using it, which forces you to learn.
You are typing along and you wake a mistake somewhere earlier in the sentence.
So you either use the mouse to go back (to change “wake” to “make” or you backspace backwards, change the letter, and retype. Or some other totally dumb-ass thing.
But instead, using this method, you reach over to the piece of paper on which you’ve written your shortcuts, or open the “tomboy” like post-it notes on your computer, and look up the short cut key. You re-learn for the third or fourth time that Ctrl-arrow (in this case left arrow) moves you back one word at a time. This gets you back to the point you need to be to make the correction much more quickly than you can get any other way.
Now, of course, you will have to find out what the short cut keys are for each application you use, but there is more consistency than you might realize between both applications and operating system.
Here are the first few short cut keys you need to learn. These work in a Firefox web browser window:
1: Ctrl – Arrow Move one word at a time
2: Shft – Arrow Select one letter at a time
3: Ctrl-Shft -Arrow Move one word at a time while selecting it
Almost any software will use some subset of ctrl/alt/shift and the arrows to do something interesting and useful.
This public service announcement inspired by this post.