I’m all for saving time, especially when you have to get something done that is tedious or downright boring. Heck, even when the work is fun or interesting, you can use that extra time to watch a favorite show that you recorded two weeks ago and haven’t had time to watch, or take a leisurely bubble-bath instead the usual three-minute shower.

Recently, an e-zine to which I subscribe sent out a brief article about keyboard shortcuts.  It got me thinking about all kinds of shortcuts.  So, here are a few of my favorites.  Put your feet up on your desk, and try a few.

Fast and Easy Templates

Some projects are repetitive. For example, I have several clients for whom I create the same or similar documents — only with updated information — every week or month. A great way to save time is to design the format of such documents once and then use that as a template.  The quickest way to do this is to open the document you designed and then click File > Save As (or the equivalent operation in whatever software you’re using) and give the document an updated name. Then, all you have to do is go in and change the information.  TA DA!  But be careful — make sure that you change everything in the document that needs to be updated — read through it thoroughly.  

Keyboarding for Lazy Fingers

There are tons of handy keyboard shortcuts. Here are a few I find most helpful.  You may know about all of them, but then again, you may find one or two new ones that might save you a few clicks.

  • CTRL + C copy: highlight text or objects, then use this shortcut to place them on the clipboard
  • CTRL + V paste: pastes the last text/objects you copied
  • CTRL + X cut: works like delete, except that the material is on the clipboard to paste elsewhere
  • CRTL + Z undo: reverses the last action you took; can be pressed repeatedly to undo a series of actions
  • CTRL + ESC bringa up the Start Menu
  • CTRL+ F find: opens the find function in  most programs, including on the Web
  • CTRL + ALT + DELETE Task Manager: shows you what’s running and allows you end a program that may be unresponsive
  • CTRL+B bold highlighted text
  • CTRL+U underline highlighted text
  • CTRL+I italic highlighted text

What You Need, Right on Top

I often work on projects that require going into a variety of folders and documents in different places on my computer. It can get tedious and time-consuming to keep searching  for these or keep opening up multiple levels of saved files to get to them. And keeping them all open for easier access clutters the desktop. Plus, what happens when you have to reboot?  They go away.

My solution? Create some temporary shortcuts on the desktop.

Simply navigate to the files and folders that you need to work with, but don’t open them. When you’re in the right place, right click on the file or folder. In the drop-down menu that appears, choose “Send to” and click on “Desktop (create shortcut).”  Now you have a shortcut on the desktop to what you need, without having to move it from where it belongs. Once you’re done working with it, you can trash the desktop shortcut with no consequences to the actual saved files or folders.

Correct Yourself — Ahead of Time

If you’re like me, then you have some words and phrases that you mistype constantly! Do yourself a favor, and program these into your MS Word proofing corrections.  In Word, go into Word Options (in Office 7, you do this by clicking on the Office button at top left of Word and then clicking on “Word Options” in the lower right corner of the dialogue box). Choose “Proofing” and then click on “AutoCorrect Options.”  You can type in your frequently misspelled words and phrases and tell Word what you want them changed to. For me, that includes things like “ont he” being changed to “on the” and”expereince” becoming “experience.”  I’m sure you have some little gems all your own. (Note: If a certain misspelling is already in the corrections menu, it will come up so that you don’t duplicate it.)

OK, those are the tips for today.  If you know of others that people may find helpful, feel free to share them in a comment.

Happy computing!