Most of us want to learn keyboard shortcuts. But the problem is that there are too many of them. For example, if you list down all the shortcuts in Word, it creates a 9 page document with 251 shortcuts!
Obviously, that is not the right way. Read this 3 min article to understand how to find out the shortcuts you need and how to learn them in a simple manner without stressing yourself.
Why do we need shortcuts?
The idea is simple. You want to work faster. So if something takes 4 steps you want to do it in one step. If something requires 4 clicks you want to do it in one click and so on… So here is how to learn keyboard shortcuts – without trying to memorize them.
How to learn keyboard shortcuts while you are working?
- Next time you are about to click on a button in the menus, STOP.
- Think whether you use this button often.
If yes, wait there for one second.
- You will see a tooltip. If that button has a keyboard shortcut, it will be displayed.
- Notice it. Notice it a few times…
- Then you will remember it.
- Next time you are about to click on the button, use the keyboard shortcut consciously.
- That’s it.
If there is no built in keyboard shortcut: Option 1
You have two choices. Press and release the Alt key and then follow the keyboard shortcuts which are displayed on top of the buttons.
Using this method you do not have to learn keyboard shortcuts. You just see the characters and type them as needed.
If there is no built in keyboard shortcut: Option 2
- Right click on the button and choose Add to quick access toolbar
- Now the button is shown in the custom toolbar in the title bar (next to Save, Undo and Redo buttons)
- Now each button there gets a shortcut. Alt followed by that number is your new shortcut.
For details, read the article: Increase efficiency by using or CREATING keyboard shortcuts
Word is a special case
In case of Word, any command can have a shortcut, which is customizable. With other tools, you have to do programming to create new keyboard shortcuts – which is usually not worth the effort. We will cover this in a separate article. But the above two methods are usually sufficient.
Choose which hands to use
Shortcuts are assigned by Microsoft with the keyboard layout in mind. Most common action we perform is UNDO. That shortcut is CTRL Z – as all of you know. Ideally it should have been CTRL U, but because the Z key is nearest to the CTRL KEY, this shortcut was chosen.
This is called “ergonomics” (or simplicity and convenience of use). If you do not notice this, you may end up using Ctrl key on the right side and Z key on the left side – defeating the purpose and making it a “loooooooong” cut rather than a short-cut.
Which buttons you should NOT put in QAT
Those buttons which already have keyboard shortcut. In fact, you should customize the QAT and remove the default ones – Save, Undo and Redo – because they already have shortcuts – Ctrl S, Ctrl Z and Ctrl Y.
Look at the context
If you are performing a mouse oriented operation, using mouse may be more convenient than pressing keyboard shortcuts. So don’t use either mouse or shortcuts blindly. Look at the current situation and then decide what is most convenient to you.