« Blogging guide: uploading images for blog posts | Blog home

A couple of weeks ago, one of our web developers, Alex, sent the following email to the Web-forum mailing list:

An interesting little factoid in today's tech news. Apparently 90% of the US Internet population don’t know about Ctrl+F. I assume this also translates to Command+F for Mac users.

Here is a small article about it.
www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/08/crazy-90-percent-of-people-dont-know-how-to-use-ctrl-f/243840/

To join the 10 percent of US Internet users who save time with the magical Ctrl + F and other similar shortcuts, read on!

What is Ctrl + F?

It is a keyboard shortcut. For example, Ctrl + F is used to find a word on a webpage or a document. You hold down the ‘Control’ key, which is located on the left side of the space bar and then hit the ‘F’ key once.

The longer way of doing this is to use your mouse to click ‘Edit’ on the top menu of your program, and then scroll down the menu and click on ‘Find’. Of course, that doesn’t take that long either, but it’s still substantially faster to use Ctrl+F. And that’s just one of many useful shortcuts you can use when writing or reading documents on your computer.

In our office, which is made up of web, word and graphics people, 100 percent of us use Ctrl+F and can’t imagine life without it. But we are aware that this is because of the type of work we do, so we are more likely than most to know the shortcuts.

Below, we list a few shortcuts that we use on a daily basis. If you don’t use keyboard shortcuts much, try these out. It’ll save time and reduce your chance of getting RSI – a side effect of heavy mouse use. Print out this post and put it near your screen to help yourself remember, and eventually you’ll find yourself using shortcuts without even thinking about it.

General shortcuts

Note: if you use a Mac, substitute the ‘command/apple’ key for Ctrl.

Ctrl + F = Find/Search (easy to remember that F is for find)
Ctrl + A = Select all (A is for All)
Ctrl + X = Cut
Ctrl + C = Copy (C is for Copy)
Ctrl + V = Paste
Ctrl + Z = Undo last action (this is my favourite)
Ctrl + Y = Redoes an action if you have undone it
Ctrl + S = Save (S is for Save)

Formatting

When using Word or your email client, the following are useful. You can use them to format text.

Ctrl + B = Add/remove bold
Ctrl + I = Add/remove italics
Ctrl + U = Add/remove underline

A few others we like

Ctrl + Prtscreen = Take a screenshot. The screenshot will be saved into your clipboard. This means you can open up image-editing software like PhotoShop and paste (using Ctrl + V!) and the screenshot will appear.
For Mac users, holding down Shift + Alt + 4 will allow you to select an area on your screen and take a screenshot of it (ie not the whole screen but a selected area). The screenshot file (a .png file) will automatically be saved to your Desktop, and that’s where you can find it.

Alt + tab = This lets you toggle between the different applications you have open. Keep pressing tab while holding down the alt key to move through the applications. For Mac users, Command + tab has the same effect

Alt + S = Send message (when using Outlook). Be careful you don’t hit this one by accident, thinking you’re pressing Ctrl + S to save, or you’ll send off a lot of half-written messages!).
On a Mac, you can do this with Command + Enter.

The yourITspace blog has a fantastic series on shortcuts for Outlook, Internet Explorer which covers the ones in this post and many more:

Outlook shortcuts
PowerPoint shortcuts
MS Word shortcuts
5 more Outlook shortcuts
More shortcuts! For Macs as well as PCs.
Internet Explorer shortcuts
Using the function keys (F1, F2 etc)