Previously we discussed the function keys located at the top of your keyboard; this week will discuss the “short cut” keys, a combination of key strokes from the main body of your keyboard.
Some general keyboard-only options will replace some of the mouse click buttons. “Now why would I want to know how to do things on the keyboard that my mouse already does” you might ask. There are a number of reasons for this such as your mouse just died but you still need to finish this document before going out and purchasing a new mouse. Using the keyboard shortcut keys will help you accomplish this task. With that said, let’s learn some keyboard shortcuts.
Of course most of us are familiar with the often used shortcut key combinations: Ctrl + A = Select all, Ctrl + C = Copy, Ctrl + V = Paste, Ctrl + B = Bold, Ctrl + U = Underline and Ctrl + I = Italic. Pressing and holding the Ctrl key while pressing the appropriate letter on your keyboard will alter the text you have highlighted in the respective manor. If you do not have anything highlighted then it will only apply the changes to to space your cursor is presently at. This would be an option for the bold, italic or underline options if you want to start with that font enabled from this point on. Pressing these combination keys again will toggle the option off.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the less commonly used shortcut combinations. Ctrl + X will cut or delete the highlighted text or images and Ctrl + Z will undo your last action. Pressing the Ctrl + Esc button will open the Windows Start menu and just pressing the Esc button will close it. Pressing the Shift key and the F10 key will open a context menu. Shift plus F10 opens a shortcut menu much like the “right” click button does on your mouse. Alt plus Tab switches to another running program. On a side note, using Ctrl + Tab will switch you between different open documents within a particular program. For example; if you have multiple Excel sheets open, you can switch or pivot between the open spreadsheets using this keyboard shortcut. Pressing the Alt + F4 will close the program.
When you have a program open you can press the Alt + Shift key to open its window’s menu. Pressing the Alt + F6 will toggle between the “Find” dialog box and the document. So if you are looking for a particular part or word and want to toggle between these two to follow the suggestions in the “find” dialog you can do so with this shortcut.
Pressing the Shift key 5 times in quick succession toggles the Sticky-keys on and off. Okay, before you get all flustered and pour syrup on your keyboard to make them sticky, here is what the term “Stick-Keys” means. They are an accessibility feature on most Graphical User Interfaces (GUI’s) to assist users who have physical disabilities. Basically this option will “serialize” keystrokes alleviating you from having to press multiple keys at a time.
Now let’s take a look at that infamous “Windows” key on your keyboard. It’s there, one on each side of your space bar and we know that when pressed it will open the Windows Menu, “but what else can I do with it?” I’m glad you asked. Below is a brief list of options to use the Windows key and their outcomes. For the sake of making it easier to follow we will call it the Logo key.
Logo + R = Run a dialog box
Logo + M = Minimize all
Shift + Logo + M = Undo minimize all, or maximize
Logo + E = Open the Windows Explorer. (Note this is not Internet Explorer but rather it opens the “explorer” much like when you double click on “My computer.”
Log + F = Find files or folders
Logo + D = Minimize all open windows and show the desktop.
Ctrl + Logo + F = Find Computer – okay at this point you are probably thinking “Oh my, the computer guy is losing it, I don’t need to find my computer, it’s sitting right here in front of me.” And you would be correct on the latter part of that, but this is an option for you to find computers near you (on the same network) as your computer. This is one of the options to set up file sharing with another computer.
If you want to insert a CD/DVD ROM in you computer but do not want the “auto-play” or “auto-run” to start, simply press and hold the Shift key while closing the DVD ROM drive. Wait a few seconds while holding the shift key for the DVD drive to spin up and recognize the DVD. Now you can go to “My Computer” on the desktop and tab over to the DVD drive then press Shift + F10 to open the drop down menu and select “open” to view the contents of the DVD.
A side note for Firefox users – Are you getting annoyed with those ever so irritating little pop-up boxes asking you to share your location. If so, here is a tip on how to disable that feature so you can get straight to the site you intended to reach.
Open Firefox, in the address bar (where you normally type www.google.com or what ever site you are going to) and type in “about:config” Don’t type in the quotation marks,just the words. Next you will be taken to a confirmation screen where you will need to click on the “I’ll be careful, I promise” button. Yes, it actually says that. Once you click on this button you will be presented with a list of options to modify. Here we are looking for the “geo.enable” option. You may scroll down the list if you like or just simply type “geo.enable” in the address bar provided. Once you are here simply double click the “geo.enable” line and you will notice that it changes from “True” to “False.” Now you can close this tab as your changes are automatically applied. Restarting Firefox is not necessary.
I know this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as shortcut keys go, but we have to start somewhere and there will be more to follow in later issues so stay tuned. If you find any or all of these helpful then bookmark this page and come back to it as often as needed.