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Monday, October 29, 2012

Keyboard Shortcuts

Have you ever envied the people on television and in the movies who hop onto a computer and type in codes for a computer in a few minutes? I have and I've gotten to the point at which people envy me especially since I've been able to, almost, completely refuse using the mouse and rely solely on the keyboard.

In the early days of computers, keyboards were all people really used until user interfaces became more common in Windows 95 and Macintosh versions which then resulted in the modern day mouse. But many people may be unaware that you can pretty much not even use your mouse. What is the upside of doing this? You never take your hands from the keyboard which can increase the speed of doing things like homework, coding, and other computer related things much more quickly.

For me, I can type very fast without looking except that I never truly learned how to type like the professionals in school would have you learn. Instead, I learned from trial-and-error. I learned where the keys were on a keyboard in the QWERTY fashion (QWERTY is the keyboard setup that is most commonly found in keyboard with the top row being Q-W-E-R-T-Y). So this method may be much faster for those of us who can type like so versus people who type the traditional way. At first, using keyboard shortcuts is slow because you are learning, but it becomes much faster for the methods that you use often.

For me, I first learned how to do keyboard shortcuts when I began using the CTRL + V to paste. CTRL will be very common in most of your keyboard shortcuts. These keyboard shortcuts should be universal with some keyboards being slightly different. Also, these keyboard shortcuts are for Windows computers. Macs use some of the same shortcuts but sometimes with different keys, but this "tutorial" will show you some of the basics and focus on the Windows UI.

(When the + sign appears, this is to say that you should hold down the key indicated before and after the + sign. Most of these shortcuts have the user hold down all keys simultaneously to perform the desired function.)
CTRL + V is to paste.
CTRL + C is to copy.
CTRL + A is to select all.
CTRL + S is to save.
CTRL + F is to open the find menu to find a specific character or group of characters.
CTRL + +/- is to zoom in/out.
CTRL + P is to print.
CTRL + O is to open.
Shift + "desired arrow key" can be used to highlight text.
(Key between right side ALT and CTRL) is another way of performing a right-click. Macs have a similar key here that has a similar function.
CTRL + ESC is to bring up the "Start" menu. Alternatively, the Windows icon near the left side of the keyboard can also do this function.
CTRL + Shift + ESC is used to pull up the Windows Task Manager (tried only on Windows 7 and Windows Vista).
ALT + F4 is used to close the selected window. (Very useful in games that have malfunctioned.)
CTRL + ALT + DEL brings up the Windows Task Manager for operating systems older than Windows Vista but in Windows Vista & 7, this brings up a new menu including a way to start the Windows Task Manager as well as some other functions.
ALT can be used in some Windows programs like Windows Media Player to bring up the classic menu at the top with the "Start", "Edit", and other buttons.
F11 in most web browsers will put it into full screen mode. Alternatively, F11 will also exit out of full screen.
ESC usually escapes out of full screen when using flash applications online like the full screen on a YouTube video.
FN is a very useful button that is found on most laptops and some high-end keyboards. FN stands for "function" and is usually colored a different color than the other keys, usually something like blue. You may notice that other keys on your keyboard are blue and smaller font. Pressing the FN key plus any of these blue keys will result in something like changing the volume or decreasing/increasing the screen brightness.

These are just some of the hundreds of shortcuts available to you. These are just the ones that I use the most. How did I find these? By accident.

The reason that I know so much in regards to computers is due to lots of different methods and problems that I began searching to find out myself. Other times, it was plain curiosity that ended me in asking any and all questions as well as the generosity and kindness of those giving me the answers. Most of my knowledge stems from just playing around with the computer and looking in every area possible. Of course, you should use caution in doing so as deleting just one file can ultimately destroy your computer. However, playing around with the internals can only really result in the malfunction of the software and can be easily fixed with a recovery disk so make sure to keep one handy and close by.

Often times, programs like Microsoft Word will actually tell you the shortcuts! Most people typically use the mouse to use "Copy", "Paste", and the other useful functions and usually through the "classic menu" with the "Start", "Edit", etc. buttons at the top of the program. When you click these and hover over the available options, look to the far right of the dialogue boxes and you'll notice some of the same functions that I discussed with above.

If you'd like to share any of your own shortcuts that you've found, we'd love to hear them in the comments section below!

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