Our computer keyboards can appear as mystifying as a duck-billed platypus. If you have a standard Windows keyboard, look down and you’ll see 104 keys winking back at you, not to mention that over 30 of them represent more than two elements. If it’s a sleek Mac at your fingertips, you’ll have 109 staring back at you.
They’re pretty impressive figures if we’re talking about the run returns from your first two Test innings in the Baggy Green but they’re pretty bewildering when it comes to typing an email, formatting a Word document or searching the web.
And when you think that Mozart composed some of the greatest music known to ears on a piano with just 61 keys, you can’t help but feel we’ve over-egged the pudding (with platypus eggs).
Well, we’re here to make the keyboard work for you, whether that’s sending emails to loved ones far away, preparing pitches for professional purposes or just making the Internet work better for you. If we’re teaching granny to suck eggs then we’ll just add them to the pudding, but we’re sure you’ll find a few gems from our two lists below, known or unknown.
Top five known shortcuts
- CTRL (CMD on Mac) + C and CTRL + V = cut and paste
Once upon a time, the only people who cut and pasted anything were Year 3 kids or newspaper-buying ransom-holding kidnappers. These days how else would teenagers lift their homework straight from Wikipedia without having to type it all out. There’s no need for a right-click to bring up a drop-down menu, to select the second option with the overlapping …I’m bored already with the long cut, just CTRL + C, CTRL + V.
- CTRL (CMD on Mac) + Z = undo
The old mulligan of the typing world. Your cat has just slunk all over your Qwerty and it all looks a little Slavic. Well, let’s CTRL + Z the hell out of that vbf\nbkjnfkbnkbv. Just deleted a chunk of well-crafted copy (no, me neither) that took longer to type than it did to hammer in the Dingo Fence, just CTRL + Z it back to life.
- CTRL + Y (Shift + Command + Z on Mac) = undo the undo
Just realised that that well-crafted chunk of copy you have brought back to life read like it had been written either by a dingo or a fence? Know in your heart of hearts that it needs to be sent back to the sleep with the fishes? No worries, just CTRL + Y and undo the undo.
- CTRL (CMD on Mac) + A = select all
You’ve got six pages of text you need to CTRL + C, what do you do? Left-click on the mouse and drag and drag and drag and damn! Your finger slips off the trackpad at the last moment rendering all the scrolling a waste of time. Well, fear not. Next time all you need to do is hit CTRL + A and every word, every comma, every paragraph space will be highlighted, ready for you to do with what you will.
- CTRL (CMD on Mac) + F = find word/phrase
The perfect shortcut for when you’re wading through scroll after scroll of webpage searching for just that one phrase you know is there, somewhere. It makes looking for a needle in a haystack a lot more like looking for a haystack amid a bunch of needles. You just hit CTRL + F and that brings up a search box, enter the name, the phrase, the whatever, hit ‘Find’ and it will show you every reference.
Five unknowns you should know about
- Windows key + L (Control + Shift + Eject/Power on Mac) = lock screen
Whether in the home or at the office this shortcut can save face, heartache, jobs and being made to look like a fool. No more will you have to suffer that feeling off dread when it dawns on you that you’ve left your screen wide open on your email account, your one-click Amazon account or, worse, [enter your guilty web secret here]. Winkey + L will password lock down your screen in half a heartbeat.
- CTRL + Shift + T (CMD + T on Mac) = re-open just closed tab
The CTRL + Z of the web world. You’ve twenty-odd windows open in your browser, their tabs squeezed together like fans at a footie final, there’s just one of them you really want, that you really need. And that’s the one your trigger-happy mouse finger clicks ‘x’ on. Fear not, like a web wizard you can call it back from beyond the darkness with these three combined keys.
- Shift + F3 = changes text between sentence case, Title Case and UPPER CASE
Does exactly what it says on the tin and is exactly the shortcut I used to alter the text above and it took all of an instant.
- CTRL + K = select text to insert a hyperlink
Say I want to make this blog even more informative than it already is (hmmm), I might want to point you in the direction of a blog on, say, password security and protecting your personal data. Instead of having to add an ugly looking link, I can just highlight the relevant text click and copy the web link into the box that appears.
- Windows key + M = minimise all opens
The boss/wife/husband/kids/girlfriend/boyfriend walk in on you and your laptop and you’re in the middle of sorting out their surprise birthday present. Quick, panic, panic, quick, hide, toss laptop aside, no, don’t. Breathe, calm and just hit Winkey + M and it will all ‘poof!’ collapse in on itself as if it was never there.