Does all that time clicking here and there on your keyboard really add up? It can if you’re an entrepreneur who follows the “time is money” adage. Most small business owners and their team members spend unnecessary moments clicking several times to get what they want when they could use simple keyboard shortcuts to get to their end results faster.
To be fair, there are plenty of keyboard shortcuts into its software that you’ll probably never use. However, that isn’t to say that that all keyboard shortcuts are irrelevant. The shortcuts below are not only practical, but can make your life a whole lot easier – there are more than just copy-paste basics that everyone knows.
1) Use Your Windows Key
We’re starting off simple. The Windows key is located in the lower left of the keyboard. It contains the Windows symbol, which is a sort of four-paneled flag within a circle. Yes, most people know what this looks like. But do you remember to use it, or do you reach for the mouse and aim for the lower corner of your screen instead? A simple tap of the key and all your programs’ names will instantly appear. If you start typing the first letter or main name of the program you want, such as “Cal” for calculator, that program will appear. No more searching through “All Programs” under the Start key. If you have a Mac, the Command key (⌘) does a similar task.
2) Switch Between Open Windows
Do you hate having to spend time switching between open windows using your mouse? Use the Alt key pressed at the same time as the Tab key. For Mac users, it’s Command, tilde (~). You’ll be able to switch through all your open windows at once. Pressing the wheel on the mouse also opens links in new tabs, so you don’t have to right-click and select that option. Pressing the wheel anywhere on the tabs will then close them, so you don’t have to search for the little X. Trust me; I wish someone would have told me this years ago.
3) Jump From Top to Bottom of Documents
Let’s say you have a 90 page document and you’re at the end of it. How do you jump to the first character instantaneously? Raise your hand if you scroll all the way up – I know I’m guilty of doing it. Just press down on Ctrl and Home at the same time. Conversely, if you’re at the first paragraph and you want to check something at the end of the document, press down on Ctrl and End. (Heads up – the Home and End keys are in the upper row of the keyboard, to the right.)
4) Search Within a Document
I’m amazed at how much time people will waste scanning an entire document looking for a specific word. Press down on the Ctrl and letter “F” keys. A little search box will pop up, and you’ll then be able to type in the keyword or term for which you’re looking.
By the way, this search tool isn’t just for Word documents. Use it on the internet, too! For example, if you’re on the Nike website and you’re only looking for soccer shoes, instead of scrolling through the page just hit Ctrl and “F” and then put the word “soccer” in the box. If the word shows up anywhere in the page, you’ll be directed to it.
5) Open Private Browsing
Private browsing can get a bad rap since it implies that you’re up to no good, but it can be necessary if you have a couple different email accounts open so that you don’t keep getting logged out. A quick Ctrl-Shift-N will open an incognito window right away. Mac uses can use Command-Shift-W. Keep in mind, however, this doesn’t completely make you invisible so use caution for private browsing.
Bonus Shortcut: Know How to Get Help Instantly
Finally, if you’re in need of assistance, immediately hit the “F1” key. You’ll be directed to a help screen and you won’t have to go through the motions of finding the help you need elsewhere. Very few people use this shortcut, so you’ll be a real lifesaver if you can introduce it to someone who needs it!
As with anything, it’s the little shortcuts of getting ahead in business that add up to productivity and profitability. The important thing is to get into the habit of remembering to use them to help save on time. Keyboard shortcuts are like arrows in an entrepreneur’s quiver; in other words, don’t go to work without them.
Scott Huntington is a writer and blogger. He lives in Pennsylvania and with his wife and son, writing about social media and doing research for UB Solutions. Follow Scott at @SMHuntington