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  • Keyboard Shortcuts That Give Back 11 Hours of Your Life*

    By Danno

    [*Results may vary. Contains no traces of peanuts.] No matter what kind of web work you do there is a small quiver of keyboard shortcuts you should memorize. Shortcuts you’ll want to use over and over and over again.  Think about it … in a single day a typical computer worker will run the same commands repeatedly; stuff like “Save” , “Undo” … right? Go with me here for a minute while we run some conservative numbers. OK, let’s assume it takes an average of 3 seconds to go mousing for menu commands that you use an average of 10 times an hour (3 seconds x 10 repetitions an hour = 30 seconds per hour).  Then times that by a 8 hour work day (30 seconds x 8 hours = 240 seconds) and you get 4 minutes for the day.

    3 Must know keyboard shortcutsPhoto by nez.

    Keyboard shortcuts ... now 66% more profitable than your mouse.

    Before you start thinking woopdey freakin’ doo … go ahead and multiply that 4 minutes a day by the 250 odd work days in any given year and you get: 1,000 minutes.    Now replace those mouse actions with much faster keyboard shortcuts — which I estimate are at least two thirds faster — and you’re on your way to an extra 660 extra minutes (11 plus hours)  in your life per year to spend doing something else than mousing for File > Save.

    You’re welcome!

    Feel free to correct my math, it’s never been a strong suit of mine.

    Let’s begin. Note: I know you pros will be like “duh!” about these.  This post is and was inspired for beginners like Anna from Twitter; who asked me what my favorite short cuts were and why. I’ve gone ahead and listed as PC and Mac shortcuts, what I think are the top three keyboard shortcuts that everyone should know. These go a long way to improving your productivity and in the case of our first one, prevent you losing your mind by not losing data.

    Ctrl-S / Command-S

    As far as I’m concerned, Ctrl-S (for “Save”) is the undisputed King of keyboard shortcuts.  If you only ever learn one shortcut, learn this one and use it every single time you need to save. Do NOT save using your mouse (unless you’ve got food, drink, baby, cat or pistol in your keyboard hand).  Eventually your subconscious will absorb Ctrl-S and it will become a reflex action to the point you won’t even notice you are doing it anymore — and your data will be nice and safe.

    Ctrl-Z / Command-Z

    Undo is probably the next most useful. The ability to take a step back and undo our last action is incredibly helpful. Out of all the keyboard shortcuts I wish I could have on my mouth, this is one. (My woman will confirm this.)

    Alt-Tab /Command-Tab

    Fastest way to switch between applications is Alt-Tab. You can switch much faster than trying to mouse for the task bar or dock. I tend to “anchor” my left hand on these two keys while my hand is “idling” e.g. Not using a keyboard shortcut and laying at rest.

    Between keeping your data safe with Ctrl-S, undoing your last action with Ctrl-Z and swapping between applications with Alt tab you’ll save minutes a day, hours in a year and just feel like an all round pro level geek.

    Your favorites?

    Those are my top three.  What about you … got any keyboard shortcuts you can’t live without?

    P.S. Those of you who were having trouble with the RSS feed here at EliteFreelancing.com … it should be all good now.  Google ate … er, bought … FeedBurner and I’m one of many sites that experienced a couple small glitches in the transition.  Cheers.

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    About the author

    Danno started freelancing in 1996. He is the co-founder and (ex) President of Graphics.net, owner of FeedIcons.com, EliteFreelancing.com, FastCharacters.com and SteelAndSnow.com. He digs wind, waves, guitars and circles. Follow Danno on Twitter.

    Comments on this article...

    • CSS galeria:

      My addition: Ctrl + f / Command + f in Photoshop … it's applying last filter – you may be surprised how sometimes double or triple times repeated filter give fantastic effects.

    • Danno:

      Nice one.

    • csselite:

      And quick question … I'm just about start seriously working on my blog csselite.pl which will be similar to yours – I mean subject. You don't mind if I translate some of your articles, with of course info where is that coming from.

    • Danno:

      Yup, that's fine. Just hit me with a link back to any content you use.

    • Danno:

      Yup, that's fine. Just hit me with a link back directly to any content you use. For example if you use content from this page, then link directly to it. Thanks.

    • Landon A.:

      Hey there-
      I took your 1 question survey a few days ago in order to receive your ebook for free. I've yet to receive an email about. Give me shout on at my email and let me know
      Thanks!
      -Landon

    • Danno:

      Hey Landon.

      The free copies of my ebook are going out at the end of the month. Thanks for participating.

    • Kir:

      Hey, I'm using a lot of shortcuts (for Windows)
      F2 – Renaming folder
      Win+L – logout
      Win+D – minimize all windows
      Ctrl+T – new tab
      Ctrl + N – new window

      There are so much shortcuts in Midnight Commander.. omg
      I'm using'em all.

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    • Danno:

      I used to dig F2 as a Windows user. Still a little wigged out that Enter on Mac is rename.

      Ctrl-T for web browers is a great one. I use that literally hundreds of times a week. My buddy Paul just told me about Shift-Ctrl (or Command)-T which re-opens the last Tab you had open (if you close accidentally or want to re-open).

    • Homeworker:

      I come from a keyboarding background, traditionally trained as a secretary – and I've always loved keyboard shortcuts because they mean I don't have to stop typing and grab/position the mouse.

      Don't forget for most applications:

      Ctrl X – cuts the selected text
      Ctrl P – will print your document/page
      Ctrl A – will select All the text on any given page

      For browsers:

      Alt F4 – will close your browser window
      Ctrl W – will close the current pane in a tabbed browser

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    • OrangeCountyComputer:

      Also, if I may mention, when you're in remote desktop or terminal services mode, these are the equivalent shortcuts:

      * CTRL + ALT + END : Opens the Microsoft Widnows NT security dialog box.
      * ALT + PAGEUP : Switch between programs left to right.
      * ALT + PAGEDOWN : Switch between programs right to left.
      * ALT + INSERT : Cycle through programs in most recently used order.
      * ALT + HOME : Display Start Menu.
      * CTRL + ALT + BREAK : Switch the client computer between a window and full screen.
      * ALT + DELETE : Displays the windows menu.
      * CTRL + ALT + Minus Sign (-) : Place a snapshot of the active window in the client the terminal server, same as PRINT SCREEN on a local computer.
      * CTRL + ALT + Plus Sign (+) : Place a snapshot of the entire window in the client the terminal server, same as PRINT SCREEN on a local computer.