How to use Windows Shortcuts to be a more proficient Writer

Windows shortcuts are those little snippets of helpfulness hidden within Windows that make work go a lot faster and a lot easier. I use ‘em all the time in my work as a TES (Technical Engagement Specialist) on the SHARP Account as it much faster at editing my annotations than using the Mouse, which takes infernally long to react at times.

So today, I’ve decided to let you in on a secret as to why I’m so good at my job; I’m a Blogger trapped in the body of a Sub-Par typist using Shortcut codes to get by in my job as a TES on the SHARP Account!

This is because the keyboard, also an analog input device like the Mouse (even the Optical Mouse is analog!), doesn’t require the use of the Graphics Card to carry out its commands; it communicates directly with whichever program that’s loaded into Windows Main Memory, a holdover from the days when IBM Computer and PC Compatibles ran on a Microsoft OS back in the early 90’s called MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System).

Thus, shortcut codes helped this typist-on-training-wheels back then to use the computer without a Mouse and also edit and manipulate Word Perfect Documents or tasks in other Word Processing software like a Pro. It helped the non-typist (Read UWI or UTECH student pulling a late night all-nighter) as described in How to Legally Activate installed Microsoft Products – Office 2010’s in the Lost and Found to accomplish any typing task to always be drawing for the Mouse of load up Windows 3.1 or right click to access any pop-up or pop-out menus for the auto-correct.

With practice they eventually become a part of you, making typing faster, especially for older computer user like me used to using Word Perfect from the days of Win 3.1 with no Mouse! No auto correct or dictionary; every word had to be proof-read and edited based on your own understanding of English. As such, it made you a better faster and more accurate typist over time, allowing a sub-par typist like myself to complete grand works of English – such as this one.

So today, dear reader, if you’re thinking of starting a blog and getting into the Writing Game and you’re daunted by the whole typing thing, fret not. There’s always been a whole family of Shortcuts waiting to assist you to get typing done crazy fast long before the Mouse had been invented back in the MS DOS….and they’re still as useful as when they’re been implemented, still very much a part of Microsoft Windows.

Just do the following and improved typing results will appear faster:

  • Stop using the auto-correct feature and backspace everytime you spell something wrong and draw instead for the Dictionary and you’ll be ok on your journey to become a professional writer.

  • Practice proper placement of your fingers on the keyboard. If you a “jook” typist, this’ll have a marked effect on you initially, but you’ll see how it improves your typing under stress

  • Get a Twitter account. Great to have, as it bends your mind to saying what you wanna say in the least number of characters, not words. Every character counts.

  • Read a lot of newspaper articles and try to copy the writing style of Journalists and Reporters of even basic essayists articles. Then over time, as a blog is a more interactive medium, develop you own writing style

  • Use the advice of this blog article in Tandem with Kelroy’s advice in 10 Online Tools every Blogger should be aware of and use and you’ll be good to go.

Here’s my helpful list of Shortcut codes I know off hand. Some I’ve researched and are new to me, especially the MMC (Microsoft Management Console). May take awhile, buy you’ll learn ‘em all eventually and start using them off the cuff like a natural Writer.

Basic Window Shortcuts

  • CTRL+C – Copy

  • CTRL+X  – Cut

  • CTRL+V  – Paste

  • CTRL+Z  – Undo

  • DELETE  – Delete

  • SHIFT+DELETE  – Delete the selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin

  • CTRL while dragging an item  – Copy the selected item

  • CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item  – Create a shortcut to the selected item
    F2 key (Rename the selected item

  • CTRL+RIGHT ARROW  – Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word

  • CTRL+LEFT ARROW  – Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word

  • CTRL+DOWN ARROW  – Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph

  • CTRL+UP ARROW  – Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph

  • CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys  – Highlight a block of text

  • SHIFT with any of the arrow keys  – Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text in a document

  • CTRL+A  – Select all

  • F3 key  – Search for a file or a folder

  • ALT+ENTER  – View the properties for the selected item

  • ALT+F4  – Close the active item, or quit the active program

  • ALT+ENTER  – Display the properties of the selected object

  • ALT+SPACEBAR  – Open the shortcut menu for the active window

  • CTRL+F4  – Close the active document in programs that enable you to have multiple documents open simultaneously

  • ALT+TAB  – Switch between the open items

  • ALT+ESC  – Cycle through items in the order that they had been opened

  • F6 key  – Cycle through the screen elements in a window or on the desktop

  • F4 key  – Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer

  • SHIFT+F10  – Display the shortcut menu for the selected item

  • ALT+SPACEBAR  – Display the System menu for the active window

  • CTRL+ESC  – Display the Start menu

  • ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name  – Display the corresponding menu

  • Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu  – Perform the corresponding command

  • F10 key  – Activate the menu bar in the active program

  • RIGHT ARROW  – Open the next menu to the right, or open a sub-menu

  • LEFT ARROW  – Open the next menu to the left, or close a sub-menu

  • F5 key  – Update the active window

  • BACKSPACE  – View the folder one level up in My Computer or Windows Explorer

  • ESC  – Cancel the current task
    SHIFT when you insert a CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive  – Prevent the CD-ROM from automatically playing

Dialog Box – Keyboard Shortcuts

  • CTRL+TAB – Move forward through the tabs

  • CTRL+SHIFT+TAB – Move backward through the tabs

  • TAB – Move forward through the options

  • SHIFT+TAB (Move backward through the options

  • ALT+Underlined letter – Perform the corresponding command or select the corresponding option

  • ENTER – Perform the command for the active option or button

  • SPACEBAR – Select or clear the check box if the active option is a check box

  • Arrow keys (Select a button if the active option is a group of option buttons

  • F1 key – Display Help

  • F4 key – Display the items in the active list

  • BACKSPACE – Open a folder one level up if a folder is selected in the Save As or Open dialog box

Microsoft Natural Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Windows Logo – Display or hide the Start menu

  • Windows Logo+BREAK  – Display the System Properties dialog box

  • Windows Logo+D  – Display the desktop

  • Windows Logo+M  – Minimize all of the windows

  • Windows Logo+SHIFT+M  – Restore the minimized windows

  • Windows Logo+E  – Open My Computer

  • Windows Logo+F  – Search for a file or a folder

  • CTRL+Windows Logo+F  – Search for computers

  • Windows Logo+F1  – Display Windows Help

  • Windows Logo+ L  – Lock the keyboard

  • Windows Logo+R  – Open the Run dialog box

  • Windows Logo+U  – Open Utility Manager

  • Accessibility Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Right SHIFT for eight seconds  – Switch FilterKeys either on or off

  • Left ALT+left SHIFT+PRINT SCREEN  – Switch High Contrast either on or off

  • Left ALT+left SHIFT+NUM LOCK  – Switch the MouseKeys either on or off

  • SHIFT five times  – Switch the StickyKeys either on or off

  • NUM LOCK for five seconds  – Switch the ToggleKeys either on or off

  • Windows Logo +U – Open Utility Manager

Windows Explorer Keyboard Shortcuts

  • END  – Display the bottom of the active window

  • HOME  – Display the top of the active window

  • NUM LOCK+Asterisk sign (*) – Display all of the subfolders that are under the selected folder

  • NUM LOCK+Plus sign (+) – Display the contents of the selected folder

  • NUM LOCK+Minus sign (-) – Collapse the selected folder

  • LEFT ARROW  – Collapse the current selection if it is expanded, or select the parent folder

  • RIGHT ARROW  – Display the current selection if it is collapsed, or select the first subfolder

Shortcut Keys for Character Map

This series of shortcuts is useful when you pull up the Character Grid and you wish to navigate around without using the Mouse.

  • RIGHT ARROW  – Move to the right or to the beginning of the next line

  • LEFT ARROW  – Move to the left or to the end of the previous line

  • UP ARROW  – Move up one row

  • DOWN ARROW  – Move down one row

  • PAGE UP  – Move up one screen at a time

  • PAGE DOWN  – Move down one screen at a time

  • HOME  – Move to the beginning of the line

  • END  – Move to the end of the line

  • CTRL+HOME  – Move to the first character

  • CTRL+END  – Move to the last character

  • SPACEBAR – Switch between Enlarged and Normal mode when a character is selected

Microsoft Management Console (MMC)

There are two sets of MMC Commands; one for the Main Window and other set for the MMC Console Window. Very handy list for MMC users!

Main Window Keyboard Shortcuts

  • CTRL+O  – Open a saved console

  • CTRL+N  – Open a new console

  • CTRL+S  – Save the open console

  • CTRL+M  – Add or remove a console item

  • CTRL+W  – Open a new window

  • F5 key  – Update the content of all console windows

  • ALT+SPACEBAR  – Display the MMC window menu

  • ALT+F4  – Close the console

  • ALT+A  – Display the Action menu

  • ALT+V  – Display the View menu

  • ALT+F  – Display the File menu

  • ALT+O  – Display the Favorites menu

MMC Console Window Keyboard Shortcuts

  • CTRL+P  – Print the current page or active pane

  • ALT+Minus sign (-)- Display the window menu for the active console window

  • SHIFT+F10  – Display the Action shortcut menu for the selected item

  • F1 key  – Open the Help topic, if any, for the selected item

  • F5 key  – Update the content of all console windows

  • CTRL+F10  – Maximize the active console window

  • CTRL+F5  – Restore the active console window

  • ALT+ENTER  – Display the Properties dialog box, if any, for the selected item

  • F2 key  – Rename the selected item

  • CTRL+F4 – Close the active console window. When a console has only one console window, this shortcut closes the console

Remote Desktop Connection Navigation Shortcuts

  • CTRL+ALT+END  – Open the Microsoft Windows NT Security dialog box

  • ALT+PAGE UP – Switch between programs from left to right

  • ALT+PAGE DOWN  – Switch between programs from right to left

  • ALT+INSERT  – Cycle through the programs in most recently used order

  • ALT+HOME  – Display the Start menu

  • CTRL+ALT+BREAK (Switch the client computer between a window and a full screen

  • ALT+DELETE  – Display the Windows menu

  • CTRL+ALT+Minus sign (-)  –  Place a snapshot of the active window in the client on the Terminal server clipboard and provide the same functionality as pressing PRINT SCREEN on a local computer

  • CTRL+ALT+Plus sign (+) – Place a snapshot of the entire client window area on the Terminal server clipboard and provide the same functionality as pressing ALT+PRINT SCREEN on a local computer

Microsoft Internet Explorer Keyboard Shortcuts

  • CTRL+B – Open the Organize Favorites dialog box

  • CTRL+E – Open the Search bar

  • CTRL+F – Start the Find utility

  • CTRL+H – Open the History bar

  • CTRL+I – Open the Favorites bar

  • CTRL+L  – Open the Open dialog box

  • CTRL+N  – Start another instance of the browser with the same Web address

  • CTRL+O  – Open the Open dialog box, the same as CTRL+L

  • CTRL+P  – Open the Print dialog box

  • CTRL+R  – Update the current Web

That’s a wrap.

Have fun Writing your book, blog or whatever document you’re typing in Windows. It’ not as hard as it looks and doesn’t require you to be a professional typist. You just have to practice until you’re perfect…..or at least until your handwriting starts to suffer.

And remember, quit using the auto-correct and check the words the old-fashioned way using a Dictionary; improve your word power for a change.

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.