I love keyboard shortcuts. So much so that I’ll sometimes spend a few extra minutes to research if there are hotkeys for a task that I find myself repeating. Anything that will increase efficiency is a bonus in the world of PR writing and tight deadlines. It boggles my mind when I see others doing things the long way so I thought it would be a good exercise to brush up on some basic PC keyboard shortcuts for everyone’s benefit.
Warning: some of these could change your life.
These are the most basic, but probably the most commonly used keyboard shortcuts in my hotkey toolbox.
(If you are a left-handed mouse user, check out this article for Cut/Copy/Paste hotkeys using the right side of the keyboard.)
Select All: Ctrl+A
You guessed it; Select all selects everything on the page. I use this most commonly in Word to format a font style or in combination with copy/paste, but there are countless other applications where this comes in handy.
I’ve actually been using keyboard shortcuts to bold the subheads in this blog post.
Have you ever lost your work because the program unexpectedly quit? Use the keyboard hotkey for saving every so often to protect your work. You can also use keyboard shortcuts to open a new document.
I use undo all the time, but didn’t take the time to look up the redo shortcut until this blog post. I think Ctrl+Y is one that will change my life the next time I’m working too quickly. I hate it when I accidentally delete an awesome sentence. The second attempt is never as good!
Hold Shift to highlight
I use variations of this every day, especially in Microsoft Word.
- Shift+left arrow or Shift +right arrow will highlight letter by letter
- Shift+Ctrl+arrow keys will highlight word by word
- Shift +Home or Shift +End will highlight an entire line
Shift for bullets: Shift+Tab
Try Shift+Tab to make a secondary bullet a primary bullet. I use this most in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint when I’m using auto-formatting for bullets.
Switch between open programs: Alt+Tab
This is my favorite of all keyboard shortcuts since I’m always toggling between open windows. It definitely beats using the Windows taskbar!
Compare Documents: Windows key+arrows
This might turn into my new favorite, especially when trying to compare two versions of the same document or when viewing reference material while writing.
What’s your favorite hotkey? Trying keyboard shortcuts for the first time? Let us know in our comments section.
Joe Ferlito is an Account Director and Director of Operations at Franco.