Forget the mouse – keyboard shortcuts

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Have you ever been completing a monotonous task that involves typing a bit then moving the cursor to another area of the document? Been typing a long document and have to keep stopping to click on different toolbars and options?

Maybe something has gone wrong and the mouse has stopped working.  Do you carry on regardless or have to stop everything because of a faulty mechanical rodent?

Don’t worry, help is at hand.  Do you know it is possible to access almost every menu, option and tool on your computer with the press of a key, as well as the click of a mouse button?  Here are a few of the most used options which should help make life a little easier.

The Windows Key – this can be found on most keyboards to the left of the space bar.  It has the Microsoft Windows symbol on it. This will open the Start Menu and you can then navigate using the cursor (arrow) keys (to the right of the main keyboard).  When you have highlighted your item, press enter.  To open a sub-menu (like All programs) press the right arrow.  Don’t have a Windows key? Control + Escape does the same thing.

Selecting text – Use the Shift key.  This can be found to the bottom right and left of the keyboard with an upwards pointing arrow on it.  Hold the Shift key down and at the same time use the cursor (arrow) keys to move along the text.

To select whole words, hold Shift + Ctrl and use the cursor keys.

To select whole lines use Shift + End or Home (can be found to the top right of the main keyboard section)

Copy, Cut & Paste – once you have selected your text you may wish to copy or cut it to do this use Control + C to copy or Control + X to cut.  To paste the text back use Control + V

Menus – most menus can also be accessed via the keyboard.  Any time you see a menu item with a letter underlined, this is the shortcut key for that item when used with the Alt key (next to the spacebar).  This will vary between applications but in Microsoft Office for example,  Alt+F will open the file menu and allow you to scroll down through print, save etc. If you are using Office 2007 or 2010, just pressing the Alt key will show you all the relevant keyboard short cut keys. Ctrl+P will open the print menu and Ctrl+S the Save menu in almost all applications.

Made a mistake? Ctrl+Z will undo your last action and Ctrl+Y will redo it. How many actions this will work for depends on the application but it can be a useful ‘get out of jail’ card!

Moving between documents – pressing Alt+Tab will take you through all the documents you have open.

The right-click menu. Some modern keyboards have a special key to the right of the spacebar for this, it has a symbol like a square with horizontal lines and an arrow, but if you don’t have this key it can also be accessed using Shift+F10.

The F (function) keys are located along the top of the keyboard and all have their own uses both on their own and when used in conjunction with the Shift and Control keys. F1 will usually open Help for the application you are in, F4 will close the application, F5 will refresh the view you are looking at.

Hopefully this has given a taster of the options available!

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