Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Be a Keyboard Ninja: Word processing shortcuts

Last time, I showed you some basic keyboard shortcuts in Windows. I also linked to an old article of mine about web browsing shortcuts, which you must have seen. This time, I'll tell you some shortcuts that you can use to navigate around documents, and which will help save you time when selecting text, editing, deleting and replacing.

You may not start using them instinctively right away. Don't worry and leave the thought of becoming a Keyboard Ninja (like I almost did). Believe that you are capable, grasshopper. It's fine to take extra time in using these shortcuts. When you become an expert, they will save you more time than you wasted learning and practising them.

Let's begin. I'll point out some basic keys first, which will be used later on in the actual shortcuts. If you use your mouse to do what these keys do, you're wasting a lot of time, and you should begin using them immediately.

  • Page Up/Page Down: Scroll up and down a page at once
  • Directional keys: Move the cursor in any direction (not the pointer, that you move by the mouse)
  • End: Moves to the end of the line
  • Home: Moves to beginning of line
Let's bring on the keyboard shortcuts now. In this word processing section, you'll find a lot of new shortcuts by combining others.

Some things to remember:
Adding Ctrl to anything will skip stuff. The stuff here depends on the context. You'll understand this later on. Adding Shift to almost any shortcut will select text.

Let's start with navigation.
  • Ctrl+Left/Right: Skip a word to the left or right
  • Ctrl+Up/Down: Skip a paragraph up or down (doesn't work everywhere, for example in the blog editor I'm using as I type) 
  • Ctrl+End: Move to end of document
  • Ctrl+Home: Move to beginning of document
And then selection of text.
  • Shift+Left/Right: Select text to the left or right
  • Shift+Up/Down: Select a line up or down (after trying it, you'll know that you can press End and then use this combo to select whole single lines)
  • Shift+End: Select all text to the end of the line
  • Shift+Home: (ah, you guessed it) Select all text to the beginning of line
I started using these and noticed that I was saving a lot of time going here and there. Now let's start combining keyboard combos.
  • Shift+Ctrl+Left/Right: (you guessed it!) Select a word left or right.
  • Shift+Ctrl+Up/Down: (you probably did it again!) Select a paragraph up or down.
These really save a lot of time. There are many shortcuts that are hard to explain right now, but you'll learn these tricks as you use the ones I explained just now. These include unselecting text, even whole paragraphs at a time (move in the reverse direction of your selection). Don't worry. You'll become a champion soon.

Also try deleting entire words and sentences at once.

So stay tuned for my next post. Meanwhile, why not subscribe using RSS or social networks?