Keyboard Calisthenics

Monday Morsel - Keyboard Calisthenics

Keyboard calisthenics to stretch your fingers and increase your productivity

Good morning, Tech Me Back friends! One of the things I’m frequently asked is what I just did on my keyboard to cause my computer to do something. The answer is normally a great keyboard shortcut. Many of my clients are mouse-oriented, meaning they use the mouse to access menu items rather than using the keyboard shortcuts that are built-in the Mac OS. There are great shortcuts to discover and use, so for today’s morsel, I’m going to serve up a double helping of tips. For our last morsel of the year, let’s discuss 10 great keyboard shortcuts that can increase your productivity.

In this morsel, I’m referring to the “Command key.” This is also known as the Apple key or the propeller key. It’s the key directly beside your space bar.

1. Command-S to save
When you’re working on a document, save early and save often is a great mantra. Command-S ensures you won’t lose your work as you’re typing along. This is a pretty universal command and works in almost every application.

2. Command-Q to quit
The quick way to quit any application – not just close open windows in the application.

3. Command-Tab to move between open applications
Rather than using your mouse to go to the dock and switch between open applications, use Command-Tab to jump from one application to another. Simply hold down command and hit the tab key until you get to the application you want.

4. Command-C to copy and Command-V to paste
I suppose these are truly two shortcuts, but they go together like a grilled cheese and tomato soup. These two shortcuts are immensely faster than going to the “Edit” menu and selection copy and paste. If you want to cut rather than copy, use Command-X.

5. Command-A to select all
If you’re using Command-C to copy text, many you want to select all the text. Use Command-A to select all the text, then Command-C to copy.

6. Command-Click for selecting multiple items in a list
You’ll use your mouse for this, but it’s a great timesaver. If I want to select multiple files, select the first file and then press and hold the Command key as you’re selecting the other files. Bingo, you’re selecting all of the files at once.

7. Command-Delete to move items to the trash
This is such a great trick. If you’re working in a folder and want to delete a file, you don’t have to drag it to the trash. Simply click on it once to select it, then press Command and Delete on your keyboard to move that file directly to the trash.

8. Command-Shift-4-Space Bar to take a screenshot
This little-known keyboard combination allows you to capture a screenshot of the active window. You’ll hear a “camera shutter” sound as the computer snaps the screenshot. The resulting screenshot will appear on your Desktop.

9. Command-[ to go to the previous page in Safari
How often do you need to go back when you’re using Safari? Instead of using the mouse to click the back button, hit Command-[ (that's a square bracket).

10. Command-Z to undo
OH! I didn’t mean to do that. Most of us say that at least once a day when we’re at our computers. Command-Z undoes the last thing you did – as long as you haven’t saved the file in the meantime.

Some of these require that you stretch your hands a bit across the keyboard, but the benefits of working quickly and efficiently on your Mac are really impressive. I wish you a safe, happy, and healthy New Year!