“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics” Robot Solow (b. 1924), American economist.
As we now know, computers and the internet have sped up the exchange of information. Except for the elderly and those in developing nations, everyone knows how to type on a computer.
This is very true for those born between the 1980s and the 2000s. In fact, most will have learnt this in school. However, there are plenty of people who don’t know exactly where they should put their fingers on a keyboard.
The same couldn’t be said for grandparents who learnt to be typists. How quickly can they type? How can you learn all the different shortcuts on a qwerty keyboard and what are they for?
Whether you’re using Windows or a Mac, the keyboard shortcuts will help you save plenty of time when working on a text document or touching up digital photos.
While there are many who swear by their Macbook Air or Macbook Pro – known for being less susceptible to viruses -, Microsoft’s Windows operating system is still used by over 80% of computers.
Knowing the keyboard shortcuts and how to type more quickly without making errors is key to increasing your productivity when working with computers.
You probably know what the letter and number keys do, but have you ever considered why the keyboard layout includes the Windows key, control key (ctrl), function keys (F1-F12), and the buttons next to the keypad?
These can all be used to control your computer far more effectively and activate certain functions that you didn’t even know your computer keyboard was capable of. You can use the ctrl key and alt key in combination with other keys to perform tasks when the mouse doesn’t work, too!
In this article, Superprof is going to show you a few tips and tricks and how you can become a better and a quicker typist.
Once you’ve worked out where all the keys are on a keyboard, you’ll drastically speed up how quickly you can type.
How could you even type quickly if you’re constantly looking for the keys at the ends of your fingertips?
Here is our crash course for those wanting to type more quickly with both their left and right hands.
If you want to learn where each letter is, you need to have a good posture and sit correctly to avoid physical problems: lumbar problems, tendinitis, skeletal muscle problems, muscular tension, carpal tunnel syndrome.
When you work, ensure that you’re sitting correctly. (Source: pixabay.com)
So how can you position yourself in order to type as quickly as possible with both hands like a courtroom stenographer?
Never type in bed, on the sofa, or lying horizontally
Sit with a straight back with your feet on the floor
Bend your fingers as you would playing the piano
Type using the ends of your fingers
Pull your shoulders back so you can fully inflate your rib cage
Do regular breathing exercises
Have a break every two hours to avoid eye strain
Don’t forget that if you have a qwerty keyboard, you should learn some of the keyboard shortcuts for typing accents (especially if you need to write in foreign languages).
You’ll need to firstly be able to type without looking at your hands. This means you’ll need to know where every key on your keyboard is and where you should put your hands.
Here’s one tip that’ll save you a lot of time: practise typing letters directly without looking at the keyboard.
Every budding typist should learn exactly where to put their hands and fingers when they’re using a keyboard. You’ll obviously be quite slow when you first start typing or coding.
Make sure your fingers are in the right position. (Source: pixabay.com)
However, not everyone is a web editor.
How do you remember where all the keys are without making typos?
To improve your dexterity when using a qwerty keyboard, you need to form some good habits.
Lock your hands. It’s your fingers that should move and not your hands.
Find the middle line of the keyboard (which goes from a to 😉
Place your left index finger on the “f” key and your right index finger on “j” (these keys often have a small raised dot or bar on them and are known as the “home keys”)
Both thumbs should be on the Space Bar.
Furthermore, there are sets of keys allocated to each finger.
Do you know how to type upper case letters?
All you have to do now is practise typing increasingly quickly. To improve your speed, you should always use keyboard shortcuts.
Learning the keyboard shortcuts for Windows can save you a lot of time since you won’t have to constantly open context menus. This can help you save a lot of time over the course of the day.
Copying and pasting on a computer isn’t as messy. (Source: Bamusiime Sylvia)
Here’s a quick list of some of the most important keyboard shortcuts that you should learn.
Copy and Paste: You can do this by pressing ctrl + c (copy) and ctrl + v (paste)
Cut and Paste: Instead of ctrl + c, you can press ctrl + x (cut) and ctrl + v to paste the removed text or image in its new place.
Undo: If you’ve accidentally highlighted something and deleted it, you can use this shortcut to undo the last action. By pressing ctrl + z, it’s like nothing ever happened.
Find: ctrl + f
Select All: ctrl + a
Switch windows: Alt + tab
Hide all windows and return to the desktop: Windows + d
Move windows: Windows + Shift + arrow keys (left or right)
Create a virtual desktop: ctrl + Windows + d
Move an active window: Alt + Space Bar + l + arrow keys
Delete a file directly without sending it to the recycle bin: Caps lock + del
Print: Ctrl + p
Close the window: Alt + F4
Bold: Ctrl + b
Italics: Ctrl + i
Show the properties of the selected file: Alt + return
Web editors will also appreciate the following keyboard shortcuts for when working in WordPress. Here’s a few of the best:
Unordered bullet list: Shift + alt + u
Ordered bullet list: Shift + alt + o
Title headers (h1, h2, h3): Shift + alt + 1, 2, 3…
Underline, justifiy: ctrl + u, alt + caps + j
Whoever works with a keyboard should quickly learn these shortcuts as they’ll save a lot of time over the course of a day.
Let’s quickly move over to Mac to have a look at some of the best Mac keyboard shortcuts you should learn.
Shortcuts can come in really handy when coding. (Source: pixabay.com)
Here are the keyboard shortcuts for any budding Mac user. In addition to the time you’ll save by learning these shortcuts, they can also be really useful in the event that your mouse, touchpad, or wheel breaks.
You don’t need a mouse, after all, to open a file, system settings, or file browsers, print documents, or save files.
While a lot of the shortcuts are similar, there are a few key differences when it comes to the Mac shortcuts:
Copy and Paste: Press the Cmd (⌘) button and c to copy or the Cmd (⌘) button and v to paste. Cmd (⌘) + x is cut.
Select All: Cmd + A
Find: To save time when looking for a particular word or sentence, you can press Cmd + F and a dialogue box will appear. This is great for finding how many times a given word appears in a text.
Undo or Cancel an Action: Cmd + Z
Save: Cmd + S
Print: You just have to press Cmd + P
Change the colours of iOS to save energy (black screens use less energy than white ones). The command to do this is Ctrl + Alt + Cmd + 8.
Increase the sharpness of an image: Alt + shift + plus or minus
Restart your Macbook Pro: Ctrl + Cmd + Power Button.
Sleep Mode: Ctrl + Shift + Power Button.
Don’t forget that there’s a plethora of keyboard shortcuts and almost every action on a computer can be done with a shortcut. Whenever you right-click, the context menu will show the keyboard shortcuts to the right of the operation. Think about making writing some useful ones down and keeping them in a notepad next to your computer in order to practise.
To work even more effectively, you should learn keyboard shortcuts specific to the different programmes you use regularly. If you work with graphic design software, you can speed up the whole process with keyboard shortcuts rather than having to navigate a variety of different drop-down menus. Why not start with the “File” menu as it’s the most common drop-down used in programmes? Learning these shortcuts will save a lot of time each day.