This article explains how you can become faster, more efficient, and potentially even reduce RSI by using your keyboard more often to do more of the tasks that you normally Windows 11 Activatorthink only the mouse can do. When testing this article on colleagues, I have yet to find a single person who hasn’t learnt at least something new, even 15 year IT veterans!
Keyboard Short Cut – Copy, Cut and Paste: The most common keyboard short cuts used are Copy CTRL+C, and Paste CTRL+V which are used by selecting (or highlighting) text, pressing CTRL+C to Copy this text to the clip board (a Windows temporary storage area that can only remember 1 thing: always the last thing Copied) and then Pasting this text to another Text Box using CTRL+V. Instead of copying however, the original text can be removed using Cut: CTRL+X. This deletes the original text but also copies it to the clip board so it can Pasted somewhere else.
Additionally, highlighting text with the keyboard can be done using the SHIFT key. Hold down SHIFT and use with different combinations of ARROW keys, CTRL key and END and HOME keys. Here are some possible combinations to try: SHIFT+ARROW; SHIFT+CTRL+ARROW; SHIFT+END; SHIFT+HOME; SHIFT+CTRL+END; SHIFT+CTRL+HOME, SHIFT+CTRL+PAGEUP AND SHIFT+CTRL+PAGEDOWN. Try them out, they all make highlighting blocks of text much faster.
Keyboard Short Cut – Switching Between Applications: ALT+TAB: Use this keyboard shortcut (or keyboard combination) to change which of the open applications is the one that’s active at the moment. A small window will appear with small icons representing all the applications currently running. Whilst keeping ALT pressed with your left thumb, TAB can be pressed multiple times to cycle along the list to the application required. It is similar to using the mouse and clicking an application in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen.
Keyboard Short Cut – Tabbing Through Window Controls: TAB: Looking at an application window (or form if you prefer), there are many controls that can be accessed, including Text Boxes (sometimes called “fields” are the usually white areas where text can be typed in), Command Buttons, Tick Boxes, and List Boxes. Normally the mouse would be used to click on a control, however pressing the TAB key cycles through all the accessible controls on the form in what’s called the Tab Order, just like clicking each one in turn. This method can be used to activate all the controls on the form, adding text or making selections as appropriate. Note that sometimes the Tab Order can be unintuitive.
Keyboard Short Cut – Clicking Command Buttons: Command Buttons are the grey rectangles clicked to make things happen. ENTER (or RETURN if you prefer) is the equivalent of clicking a Command Button once it has been Tabbed to and activated. Or indeed the space bar can be used instead.
SHIFT+??? Additionally many command buttons have specific keyboard short cuts that have the effect of clicking them without the need to Tab to them. Some command buttons have a letter underlined, like the Cancel button often has the “C” underlined. However the ESC (Escape) key is often also tied to a Cancel button directly. Cancelling a pop up window for example can often be quickly done using ESC.
Keyboard Short Cut – Selecting Radio Buttons: Radio Buttons – like circular tick boxes, except only 1 can be selected in the group. ARROW keys are used to move the selected option in a list of Radio Buttons, once this control is the active control. Up and down Arrows can be used, or Left and Right as preferred.
Keyboard Short Cut – Selecting Items in List Boxes: List Boxes (sometimes called “Drop Down List Boxes”) drop down a list of items when the down triangle is clicked from which a pre-existing value in the list can be selected. ARROW keys are again used here to move the selection. Up and down Arrows can be used, or Left and Right. However this only moves the selection without actually showing the list. ALT+ARROW will drop down the list, and is the equivalent of clicking the down arrow on the right hand side of the control. Only Up and down arrows work here to show the list.
Another useful keyboard feature of List Boxes is quickly jumping to an item by typing the first letter of the item being sought. E. g. if the List Box contains the list: Blue, Green, Pink, Purple, Red, Yellow; and the desired selection is Yellow, instead of pressing the DOWN Arrow 5 times, simply pressing the “Y” key will select Yellow immediately. Pressing “P” will select Pink, and pressing “P” for a second time will start moving down the list of P’s, hence selecting Purple in our example. Keyboard Short Cut – Navigating The Toolbar Menus: ALT+??? As Command Buttons can have specific shortcut keys used with SHIFT and shown as an underlined letter, so too do the Menu’s on the Toolbar also have short cut’s to access them directly with out clicking. These are accessed not with SHIFT but with ALT. The first 3 menus at the top of Word for example are: File, Edit and View, but as with Command Buttons it’s not always the first letter, for example Format. So to access the Format menu, use ALT+O. Once a menu is being displayed, the ARROW keys can be used to navigate around the various menus using up, Down, Left and Right arrows.