Every day, people do things on a computer that take much longer than they need to. People often rely on their mouse to select a menu and then look down the menu to find what they want before finally clicking. For example, in a word-processed document, you can save the document by clicking on the picture of the floppy disc in the top left, you can select File then select Save or you can simply press control (Ctrl) and S together. You might think that this is saving very few moments, but those who use a keyboard for much of their work or home life will save a huge amount of time over the day.
The example of Ctrl and S is a simple one and one which the majority of frequent word processor users are more than likely aware of. However, there are many more which may be new to some users. Perhaps bookmarking (saving the location of this page for reference) by pressing Ctrl and D simultaneously may be useful – try it now!
Not all short codes are easy to remember because they do not necessarily have letters that you may instinctively associate with the task. The easy ones to remember like Ctrl and S for Save are easy because S is associated with Save. The other example given above (Ctrl and D for Bookmark) is less easily associable (on this instance, Ctrl and B may be considered more memorable, but Ctrl and B has been assigned as a short code to make any editable text selected prior to pressing Ctrl and B into bold format).
The other thing to note (I have to write this because of real-life observations) is that there is no coordination or timing magical timing needed when selecting Ctrl and a letter or group of letters – simply press down and hold control, find the other letter needed e.g. S to save and then press the letter just once. You do not need to press it quicker than normal or hold it for longer than normal. Once the letter has been pressed, the action will be taken and you can let go of Ctrl. The whole process should take milliseconds, but of it takes several seconds for you to hold Ctrl, find the other letter and then press it, it does not matter.
On a similar note, I must point out that people should also make an effort to understand when a single or double click on the mouse is needed. When opening a program or folder within your computer’s operating system, a double click is needed. When clicking a link on a website or within a program (e.g. word processor) a single click is usually all that is required.
Commonly Used Keyboard Short Codes
- Ctrl and S = Save
- Ctrl and D = Bookmark
- Ctrl and I = Make Italic
- Ctrl and B = Make Bold
- Ctrl and U = Underline Text
- Ctrl and A = Select All
- Ctrl and C = Copy Selected
- Ctrl and V = Paste Selected
- Ctrl and X = Cut Selected (i.e. copy but remove selected at the same time)
- Ctrl and Z = Undo Your Last Action
- Ctrl and Y = Redo Your Last Action
- Ctrl and F = Opens a Search Box to Find Specific Terms
- Ctrl and N = Opens an New (usually blank) Window of Your Current Program
- Ctrl and P = Print (usually this will open active printer window and ask you to confirm before printing)
- Alt and F = Open File Menu within a Program
- Alt and E = Open Edit Menu within a Program
- F5 = Refresh (good when on a website that has frequently updated content)
- Home = Go to the Beginning of the Line That Your Curser is On
- End = Go to the End of the Line That Your Curser is On
Ctrl is the Control Button.
Alt is known as the Alt Button, alt meaning alternative or other function.
Additional disclaimer: The above relates to controls that appear to work within many commonly distributed and used pieces of software. Software is produced by induvial companies and as such may not function in the same way. Please make sure that the short codes are usable and function correctly within your own systems. We cannot be held responsible for loss of data or any other occurrence as a result of using this information. Continue and use at your own risk.