[*Results may vary. Contains no traces of peanuts.] No matter what kind of web work you do there is a small quiver of keyboard shortcuts you should memorize. Shortcuts you’ll want to use over and over and over again. Think about it … in a single day a typical computer worker will run the same commands repeatedly; stuff like “Save” , “Undo” … right? Go with me here for a minute while we run some conservative numbers. OK, let’s assume it takes an average of 3 seconds to go mousing for menu commands that you use an average of 10 times an hour (3 seconds x 10 repetitions an hour = 30 seconds per hour). Then times that by a 8 hour work day (30 seconds x 8 hours = 240 seconds) and you get 4 minutes for the day.
Before you start thinking woopdey freakin’ doo … go ahead and multiply that 4 minutes a day by the 250 odd work days in any given year and you get: 1,000 minutes. Now replace those mouse actions with much faster keyboard shortcuts — which I estimate are at least two thirds faster — and you’re on your way to an extra 660 extra minutes (11 plus hours) in your life per year to spend doing something else than mousing for File > Save.
Feel free to correct my math, it’s never been a strong suit of mine.
Let’s begin. Note: I know you pros will be like “duh!” about these. This post is and was inspired for beginners like Anna from Twitter; who asked me what my favorite short cuts were and why. I’ve gone ahead and listed as PC and Mac shortcuts, what I think are the top three keyboard shortcuts that everyone should know. These go a long way to improving your productivity and in the case of our first one, prevent you losing your mind by not losing data.
Ctrl-S / Command-S
As far as I’m concerned, Ctrl-S (for “Save”) is the undisputed King of keyboard shortcuts. If you only ever learn one shortcut, learn this one and use it every single time you need to save. Do NOT save using your mouse (unless you’ve got food, drink, baby, cat or pistol in your keyboard hand). Eventually your subconscious will absorb Ctrl-S and it will become a reflex action to the point you won’t even notice you are doing it anymore — and your data will be nice and safe.
Ctrl-Z / Command-Z
Undo is probably the next most useful. The ability to take a step back and undo our last action is incredibly helpful. Out of all the keyboard shortcuts I wish I could have on my mouth, this is one. (My woman will confirm this.)
Fastest way to switch between applications is Alt-Tab. You can switch much faster than trying to mouse for the task bar or dock. I tend to “anchor” my left hand on these two keys while my hand is “idling” e.g. Not using a keyboard shortcut and laying at rest.
Between keeping your data safe with Ctrl-S, undoing your last action with Ctrl-Z and swapping between applications with Alt tab you’ll save minutes a day, hours in a year and just feel like an all round pro level geek.
Those are my top three. What about you … got any keyboard shortcuts you can’t live without?
P.S. Those of you who were having trouble with the RSS feed here at EliteFreelancing.com … it should be all good now. Google ate … er, bought … FeedBurner and I’m one of many sites that experienced a couple small glitches in the transition. Cheers.
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