Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Most of us spend a lot of time at our computers. Switching back and forth between keyboard and mouse causes us to lose time. While you may not think it significant, think about your typing speed and think about how many keystrokes you could press in the time it takes you to reach for your mouse and click on something. Here are three ways to minimize your mouse use, and save time at the computer:
Every Windows application with menus is accessible from the keyboard (if they follow Microsoft standards). The menus are accessible by pressing Alt and then the underlined letter of the menu. For example, most File menus are accessible by pressing Alt, then F.
You could also press the keys together, but by separating the keystrokes, the Alt activates the menu bar, and then your keystrokes will give you submenus and commands without having to resort to using the arrow keys. As an example, pressing Alt, then F, then S will activate Save in most Microsoft applications.
Some people also don’t realize how useful Alt+Tab can be. This cycles through your open windows and allows you to switch applications without having to take your fingers off the keyboard.
You can also set up specific short cut keys to use to launch applications (see More Windows Shortcuts)
Most of us type things over and over. Whether it is closing lines for email, standard responses, documentation snippets or even entire pieces of correspondence, we can reuse things we’ve put together before. I use a text replacer called ShortKeys. It allows you to do more than a standard replace on the text: it can calculate dates based on the current, and also manipulate text based on position. It saves me a lot of time, particularly in things where the same actions are repeated.
There are other straight-forward text replacers out there as well, which take keystrokes and put in a chunk of text.
I am trying out Launchy at work this week. This program allows me to access any program in my Start menu by typing its name. It is very easy to use out of the box, and can be customized as well.
All three of these methods allow me to go for hours without having to use my mouse. I find that my train of thought is not interrupted as I search for things in my menus, and I can quickly move through my work.
Photo by B a m s h a d