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Keyboard shortcuts can save valuable time

July 12, 2016

By Kathie M. Rotz, CPTM, Director of Corporate Learning

I guarantee you will save minutes in your day if you abandon the mouse and only use the keyboard. I have proven that I save 1.8 seconds every time I save a document by selecting Ctrl > S instead of using my mouse to find a save option. If I save every ten minutes throughout the day that is a savings of 86.4 seconds. Sure, it is only a minute and half, however the little seconds and minutes add up.

Here are some common keyboard shortcuts to get you started.

1. Tab = moves focus to the next field
2. Arrow keys = move cursor in direction of the arrow
3. Shift > Ctrl > left arrow = highlight word to left of cursor
4. Ctrl > left arrow = move cursor one word to the left (without highlighting)
5. Ctrl > C = copy
6. Ctrl > V = paste
7. Home = moves to the beginning of the row
8. Ctrl > B = bold
9. Ctrl > Z = undo
10. Ctrl > End = move to end of the document

So, let’s put these all together in a real-life office example. You need to create an email to notify your entire IT department of an upcoming assignment (assuming you’re using Microsoft Outlook).
1. In the To field you enter the email addresses of your IT team. (Or enter the distribution list name. See future blog for distribution list tips.)
2. Press Tab twice to move to the Subject  field. Type “Computer implementation assignment due in 6 weeks” as the Subject
3. Press Tab once to move to the Body  field. Type

“Good news! Management has approved new laptops for all employees! We have the opportunity to install the new computers in the next 6 weeks. Please come to our meeting tomorrow with the following plans.
Albert – create implementation plan
Sara – ordering specs
Tom -“

4. Sara and Tom need to create the plan for ordering specs together. You want to copy “ordering specs” from Sara’s line and paste next to Tom’s name. Push the up arrow once. The cursor should be before “ordering”. Select Shift > Ctrl > right arrow > right arrow. This will highlight “ordering specs”
5. Select Ctrl > C to copy this text
6. Push down arrow once and select Ctrl > V to paste this text next to Tom’s name
7. You realize that you want to add “create plan for” to the left of “ordering specs.” Push up arrow once > select Ctrl > left arrow > left arrow. Type “create plan for”
8. Select Shift > Ctrl > left arrow > left arrow > left arrow to highlight “create plan for”
9. Select Ctrl > C to copy the text
10. Select down arrow > Ctrl > left arrow > left arrow
11. Select Ctrl > V to paste text
12. You decide to bold the employee’s name to draw attention to that section. Select Home to move to the beginning of Tom’s name. Select Shift > Ctrl > right arrow to highlight Tom’s name. Select Ctrl > B to bold his name (Repeat for Albert’s and Sara’s name)
13. Wait! You change your mind. No bold needed. Select Ctrl > Z to undo (3 times)
14. You want to continue typing the email. Select Ctrl > End to move your cursor to the end of the entire message body

These 14 steps took me 76 seconds using these keyboard shortcuts. Give it a try! How long does it take you? Try it again. Did your time get better? The more you use these shortcuts the more of a habit they will become for you.

Very quickly you will save yourself 5-10 minutes in your day. You now have a little extra time at the end of your day to clean out your Inbox.

Stay tuned for more computer shortcuts that will improve your workflow efficiency.

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