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Thursday, 12 June 2008


How often do you take shortcuts? I use them tens of times a day. Probably even in the hundreds. You know, those shortcuts really change what you see in literally in a flash.

Tap, tap! Now you see it, now you don't! Get the idea?

Huh? What? Oh, sorry. I was talking about keyboard shortcuts for the computer.

Some people have been asking me for my collection of keyboard shortcuts after seeing me operate my computer. "How did you do that?" "Where did you learn those things?" "Can you tell me some of those?" are common questions.

Actually, I had several computer masters. I was very fortunate to have an advanced computer user as my first roommate of my life. Type faster than one can read, operate Microsoft Windows XP without the help of a mouse, and being able to recite all the bugs of Windows XP are useful skills of his, just to name a few.

OK, drop the last example. Maybe the first one is a bit exaggerated too. But the second one is definitely true. You don't need to rely a mouse to control Windows.

For example, alt + tab switches between opened windows. Hold down alt, and press tab until you've found the window you need, release alt, and tada! You'd landed yourself in the correct place. To go backwards, press shift + tab (with alt key held down, of course). This one is particularly useful - you can use it to jump out of full screen programs without having to quit the said programs. If you're running Windows Vista with Aeroglass features, try Windows + tab too.

A screenshot of alt+tab window in XP.

Flip 3D, a new feature introduced in Vista. Take note that this feature is not available in Vista Home Basic.

Second, try pressing windows + d. Erm, windows as in the key between ctrl and alt. It minimises all opened windows, showing the desktop. Well, if you already have all your windows minimised, it brings them forward again. Just remember - "d" for desktop.

Try another useful one, windows + e. If your computer is not exactly new, wait for a few seconds. A window will pop-up, and you get to explore your My Computer. Erm, your "My Computer". It's easy to remember too - "e" for explore.

To close a window, well, you can use the classic way. Use alt key to activate the Menu bar, and look for the exit item. Or just press alt + f4.

Not to mention to famous ctrl + c for copy, ctrl + v for paste, and ctrl + x for cut. Oh, and ctrl + z for undo. And also F5 for refresh and F6 to move the cursor to the address bar. All of these work in any folder, Internet Explorer, and Firefox.

These are only few examples of useful shortcuts. There are still dozens of shortcuts available to help you navigate around your computer! And, well, not to mention dozens more which are rather useless. So you see, you don't need to fidget around for your mouse to do every single task. Of course you don't always get a computer genius as a friend, but there is always help provided by my second master. The good thing about this second master is that he's in everybody's PC. In the Help and Support Center, type in the name of this article "Windows keyboard shortcuts overview" and search for it. There's a loooooonnnnnnng list of keyboard shortcuts available for Windows in there.

Surely you won't be inclined to unplug your mouse and throw it into a mouse-trap two minutes after reading the article, but after several weeks, I'm sure you'll find the keyboard a better friend than the mouse.

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