Growing up, Dad was a left-handed mouse-user and the rest of us were right-handed. Dad quickly adopted all of the quick-key shortcuts possible on the family computer to make his life easier, and I followed suit after I realized how much quicker I could accomplish tasks when I wasn’t moving my hand repeatedly from mouse to keyboard.
The shift key plays a huge role in many of my favorite quick keys.
Top 5 Windows Shift key tips
- Ever cut and pasted text into your document and had to reformat it? Try Shift+ Control + V – problem solved. The text will be uniform with your document.
- Use the Windows + Shift + Up arrow and you have the window stretched from the top of the screen to the bottom. Hit the Down arrow to minimise again.
- Instead of clicking and dragging, hit the Control + Shift + Arrow key to select blocks of text.
- Accidentally closed the web browser you were working from and don’t want to search for it again? Control + Shift + T will bring up your last tabs.
- To permanently delete an item without sending it the Recycle Bin first, hit Shift + Delete.
Top 5 Mac OS Shift key tips
- Taking a screenshot is simple with the Shift key – hit Command + Shift + 4 and then drag the aiming point around the text or image you want to capture. It will take a screenshot and save to your desktop.
- To put your screen to sleep quickly – press Control + Shift + Sleep and your documents will be safe from prying eyes.
- To paste unformatted text into your document, add Shift to the Command + V.
- To highlight text, hold down your Shift key and then press the arrows in the direction you want to highlight.
- To hide your Valentine’s Day shopping while in an internet browser, simply press Shift + Command + N.
Microsoft Office power-users
Look at all those little icons across the top of Word, Excel or PowerPoint files. There’s a Shift key to deal with many of those that will have you bypassing the mouse in seconds.
- Excel: In Excel, hit Control + Shift + Space to select the whole document, or Shift + Arrow up to select all the cells above or Arrow down for the cells below. Another handy Excel power-user tip to find all comments is Control + Shift + O.
- Word: Want to increase the font size fast? Shift + Command + >. Or, if you want to insert the current date Alt + Shift + D, or swap D for T for the time.
- PowerPoint: Use the Shift key to become more nimble – especially during presentations. The Shift key can be used to change speed or start the presentation from a current slide (Shift + F5).
Using the Shift instead of the mouse takes practice – but ultimately it saves time and may reduce stress on sensitive hand muscles and tendons.