I really like shortcuts. Shortcuts are quicker ways to get things done. We don't have enough hours in the day as it is, every little bit of time savings helps! Today's class I want to show you keyboard command shortcuts that you can use for common commands that you can do if you are using Windows (sorry Macs, although I have a feeling that you might have something similar if you look). This was one of the points that I demonstrated in a recent webinar, "So You Want to be a Power User". I will be recording these classes in the future, meanwhile I'll blog about some of these points.
As you probably know, in windows, the right-click on the mouse is a powerful tool. It brings up a pop-up menu, also known as a "context sensitive" menu. What that means, is depending on what you right-click ON TOP of, it will give you relevant choices. For example, if you right click on a file, you can see choices like Delete, Rename, and Copy. If you click on a blank space in a folder window, you get choices such as to create a new folder. So here is the power user tip: each command has a single key shortcut that is available ONCE THE POP UP APPEARS. The keys in the first example (delete, rename, copy) are D, M, C and in the new folder example, a press W then press F combo creates a new folder.
The shortcut keys are usually (logically) the first letter of the command (but not always!). Sometimes it is another letter of the command. Take W for new as an example. When a letter other than the first letter is used it means there are multiple commands with the same first letter, so they had to pick a different letter. However, it is extremely easy to memorize the command letters though and I don't give it a second thought now.
Can you imagine talking to your computer? With the right software and setup, it is possible to speak commands like "create a new folder" or "show thumbnails view" and your computer would respond. That would be a very quick way to work. However, in an office environment, imagine everybody doing that! It would be rather noisy and annoying. I feel like the keyboard shortcuts give you the same quick responsiveness as if you were speaking direct commands... only speaking silently with your fingers! "Create a new Folder" -> press W then press F ... "Show Thumbnails View" -> press V then press M ... ok that last one needs a little explaining - M is for 'medium sized icons' - My other favorite folder view is "Show Details View" -> press V then press D.
So how do you know what key IS the shortcut? Look for the UNDERLINED character. Windows by default turns off the underlines though.
Here's how you reverse that (bad) decision and turn underlines back ON!
in XP: control panel > display > appearance tab > effects > turn OFF “hide underlined letters”
in Vista: control panel > ease of access > make keyboard easier > turn ON “underline keyboard shortcuts”
Simply watch for the underlined characters and you will have all sorts of possibilities!
So a recap: frequently used commands can be called with single key presses. You have to right-click first to get the pop-up, BUT THEN you can press a key instead of clicking on the menu item. Once you memorize the "hot keys" you don't even have to look down. It is like talking to your computer, only you are talking with your fingers! Now, this truly is a "power user" technique and I know it won't be for everybody. But now you know! And I know there are some of you out there that this will be something you will benefit from!