Supercharge Your Shortcuts

Most computer users today know basic shortcuts like ⌘-C to copy and ⌘-V to paste, but shortcuts can go a lot further to help you work more efficiently.

While getting things done here at Webinology, some of us save some time every day using keyboard shortcuts.

Photo by hannah joshua on Unsplash
Photo by hannah joshua on Unsplash

Note: This is written from the perspective of a Mac user. In most cases, Windows and Linux users can substitute the Control key for Command (⌘) and Alt for Opt (⌥).

Most computer users today know basic shortcuts like ⌘-C to copy and ⌘-V to paste, but shortcuts can go a lot further to help you work more efficiently. For instance, the Shift key can be your best friend when selecting items from files in a directory to text in a document.

Go to any editable text document that holds some text, hold down the Shift key, and tap the down arrow a few times. Don’t let go of the Shift key and tap the up arrow a few times. You should be controlling your text selection by line now. Keep holding Shift and try pressing the left and right arrow keys. Had you already guessed what would happen? Now, you’re controlling text selection by character.

OK, you can let go of the Shift key. It’s a small victory, but an important one once you work it into your muscle memory. Another key can enhance these selection powers.

Press and hold the option and use your left and right arrow keys. Your cursor should be jumping from word to word instead of one character at a time. Option coupled with the up and down arrows change your selection one line at a time. That’s pretty cool! Now try the Command key with the left and right arrow keys. You should find your cursor jumping from the beginning of the line to the end. Likewise, the up and down arrow keys should take you to the beginning or end of the document.

Remember the Shift key? Dust off your superhero selection cape and incorporate those simple shortcuts with that Shift key. Press and hold ⌥-Shift with the arrow keys and you’ve graduated from moving the cursor one word at a time to selecting one word at a time. As you would expect, you can combine ⌘-Shift with the up and down arrow keys to select even bigger chunks of text.

We hope that your new knowledge about selecting text with keyboard shortcuts will make those basic copy and paste shortcuts more useful than ever for you!

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