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Sometimes it is easy to take for granted what you think people know.
For example, I’ve been teaching a class at Elizabethtown Community College for the last five weeks on Photoshop for photographers. As part of the class, I have been trying to emphasize the use of keyboard shortcuts and how they can save a user time. There are hundreds of shortcuts in Photoshop, probably more than most people are capable of committing to memory. But there are a few that are used quite often when working photos, and I’ve tried to get the students in the habit of using them.
What I didn’t realize, though, was that many of the most common ones, sort of the universal shortcuts that are used in most programs, was news to many of them.
So in an effort to provide some news you can use in this column, I thought I'd share a few. Most of these shortcuts are standardized, so they will work in just about any program. Most of them involve the Control button, located beside the spacebar and marked “Ctrl” (Apple users use the Command button).
Some of the most common ones are used to manipulate text. All these are usually available under the Edit menu of a program.
For text editing:
For Text Formatting:
I know it’s relatively simple to select the text, then grab the mouse, scroll up to Edit, click, scroll down to the command you want, and click again. It takes maybe a second. But seconds add up to minutes, and if you just get used to these 10 shortcuts, you will wonder what you ever did without them.
Keyboard shortcuts are useful in more instances than just text editing, though. Switching between programs is made easy by hitting Alt+Tab.
In Web browsers, I like to use tabbed browsing. It’s common for me to have several tabs open at once, often because I will click on a link while I am reading something but don’t yet want to leave that page.
Holding down Ctrl and clicking on a link will open it in a new tab.
You also can type a Web address in your address bar and hit Alt+Enter to open a new tab.
Ctrl+W will close a selected tab, and in Firefox or Chrome, Ctrl+N will open a new one.
These are just a few of the common shortcuts I use. If you are not used to using shortcuts and are accustomed to taking your hands away from the keyboard to grab the mouse and drag your cursor all over the screen, you might not appreciate how much time you are wasting.
But trust me, use a couple of these and before you know it, you’ll realize reaching for a mouse is often a waste of time.
Forrest Berkshire lives in Elizabethtown.