I work in an office where technological efficiency and speed are vital. As such, I am always on the lookout for new ways to make my day more productive.
Two strategies in particular have substantially reduced the amount of time that it takes me to perform almost every task:
1. Keyboard shortcuts
2. Simple, yet powerful productivity software
Until about a week ago, I thought that most people knew about these tools and shortcuts, however, after I learned that a coworker had never heard of them, I asked around the office if anyone else is using them. As it turns out (to my surprise) most had never used them and rely on the mouse for every little task.
So, I decided to write this article to introduce some of my favorite shortcuts and tools. We all know and use Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V to Copy and Paste, but here are some others that will help to shorten your workweek.
KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS (for Microsoft Windows)
Keyboard shortcuts essentially eliminate the need for a mouse, and although it may not seem like you lose that much time while clicking around, being comfortable with keyboard shortcuts allows you to work much more efficiently. There are dozens of shortcuts out there for Windows. Here are a few of my favorites:
Switching between applications and open windows
If you need to cycle through programs instead of browser tabs, there’s no need to minimize every window-just press Alt + Tab. This can be especially useful if you have several windows open or if you’re running a program that doesn’t readily have the minimize option available.
Closing programs and open windows
Alt+F4 is the fastest way to close any window. Whether you’re closing a Web Browser, Microsoft Word or Excel, Alt+ F4 can help. It is especially useful for programs that remove the mouse cursor or don’t have an “X” at the top-right corner of the window. Also, if you have multiple windows open and wish to close them all, simply click Alt + F4 multiple times, and you’ll have a clean desktop.
SHORTCUTS FOR THE BROWSER
Browser shortcuts are meant for use while you’re operating within a web browser i.e. Firefox, Chrome, IE.
New Browser Tab
The first is the most basic and arguably the most useful: To open a new tab in your browser, just press Ctrl + T.
Close Browser Tab
This shortcut closes the currently open tab or window. So, if you’re in your Internet browser and press Ctrl+W, the current tab will close, or, if there’s only one tab open, the browser window will close.
For those moments when you close out a tab that you still need, don’t panic! Ctrl + Shift + T will open the most recently closed tab. This shortcut works ad infinitum, so if you close out of a whole tab series, you can use this shortcut until everything has been re-opened.
Cycle Through Tabs
If a lot of tabs are open and you’re constantly changing which one you’re looking at, try using Ctrl + Tab. This shortcut allows you to cycle through tabs without using the mouse or clicking multiple tabs until you find the right one.
To jump up to the address bar to search or enter a new URL, press Alt + D or F6
Ditto Clipboard Manager
For most of us, copying and pasting content is an everyday practice. Whether you’re typing an email or posting a quote to Facebook, copying and pasting content is a lot quicker than typing it all out.
Ditto allows users to copy multiple groups of text before pasting it and to revisit the last 500 copies. So, if you need to copy several text snippets from the same source or if you need to locate something you copied two days ago, Ditto can save you loads of time.
Ditto will copy anything, from, plain text, images to html. The program is absurdly easy to use, with a very intuitive interface. This is must-have software for anyone who uses copy-and-paste functions, which is pretty much everyone.
This program basically eliminates the need for you to fuss with desktop icons, the file manager or even the start menu. Rather than wasting time looking through every icon or file, just press Alt+ Space to open up the program.
From there, you can type in anything from an application name to a file name, and Launchy will find and open it for you, instantly. This program is essential for anyone who opens files, programs or simply uses folder shortcuts. You can even use it as a calculator.
Goodbye Windows Start menu, hello productivity!
These programs and shortcuts save me lots of time and make me much more productive. I strongly recommend you give them a shot.
If you know of another useful shortcuts or productivity tools, please share them below!