Give the Mouse a Rest and Speed up your Productivity

Give the Mouse a Rest and Speed up your Productivity

October 24, 2022

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From time to time, we like to visit some helpful shortcuts and productivity tips that are built right into Windows and work across all of your applications. Keeping your fingers on the keys can speed up your work, and keyboard shortcuts eliminate all of the inaccuracies of using the mouse (especially for dragging motions). Today we’ll look at some fundamentals for using the keyboard exclusively and giving your mouse a rest.

If you spend a lot of time writing emails or documents, you know how obnoxious it can be to use the mouse to select text, especially if you have your cursor speed set high. Using these pro keyboard shortcuts is far more accurate and versatile, since you don’t have to right click and choose options from a menu.

There are the foundational ways of moving the cursor:

Move the cursor letter by letter (Arrow)

Move the cursor like a boss, word by word (Ctrl+Arrow)

…and combine them with Shift to select:

Selecting text like a pro (Shift+Arrow)

Selecting text word by word (Shift+Ctrl+Arrow)

Once you have your text selected, you can cut/copy/paste just like you can with files and anything else that you can select (ilke files in Windows Explorer):

Copy (Ctrl+C)

Cut (Ctrl+X)

Paste (Ctrl+V)

Just the text, please (Ctrl+Shift+V)

This last one is a special paste command that doesn’t copy the text’s style and is available in some programs (like your web browser or Word).

Creating a folder in Windows Explorer:

New folder without the song and dance (Ctrl+Shift+N), especially helpful in dialogs like when you download a file in your web browser

Here are some other useful functions for managing the layout of your applications on the desktop:

Get your screen organized (Win+Arrows)

Selecting active programs like a boss (Alt+Tab)

Micromanage windows and virtual desktops (Win+Tab)

Remember, you could also set up FancyZones (by installing Windows’ PowerToys) to have more detailed layouts for specific workflows. Activate your custom layouts by holding Shift while dragging a window.

I need all of the available space for this window (F11), makes the current window full screen

I don’t trust my officemates (Win+L), locks the screen immediately

I’d rather you not see what’s in this window (Win+D), hides all of your open windows immediately

I plugged in my extra monitor, but it’s doing the wrong thing (Win+P), lets you select if/how your desktop gets extended onto a second screen

Quick Accent (in PowerToys)

As mentioned above, PowerToys is a Microsoft project that gives you cutting-edge features, some of which are activated by keyboard shortcuts. I use a lot of “accented” characters (like ö and ó) for certain types of work, so the new PowerToys app “Quick Accent” is perfect for me.

If you have PowerToys installed, you can accent a letter by typing it but holding it , then pushing space. A popup will show you all of the options, which you can cycle through by continuing to push space. It’s perfect if you do a little typing in a language other than English, but don’t want to set up a whole input method for the other language.

-Written by Derek Jeppsen on Behalf of Sean Goss and Crown Computers Team