4 Tips for Navigating Your Desktop Like a Boss
Think long and hard about your relationship with your computer mouse or keypad. It's so needy, isn't it? It's always demanding that you move your fingers from their ready-made position on the keyboard for the simplest of tasks: a click here, a scroll there.
Keyboard shortcuts are a simple, built in way for you to navigate your desktop faster, saving you plenty of time and ditching that overly dependent relationship with your mouse. The hardest part is getting yourself into the habit of using them. Fortunately, we made this guide to help you out.
1. Learn the basics.
Even if you're totally in love with your mouse, there are a few basic keyboard commands that you should be using, especially when it comes to your favorite products. If you're constantly spending time in Photoshop, for instance, it'll pay off to spend a little time memorizing those keyboard commands.
2. Make it a habit.
Your jaw may have hit the floor after seeing those long lists of keyboard commands, but relax. There's no need to start making flashcards. The best method of memorizing is practice, practice, practice.
For example, if you're constantly using your mouse for File > Save, a reminder will pop up, explaining that you could've easily used CTRL + S or CMD + S to do that action instead. This way, you're getting a reminder and potentially learning new shortcuts for tasks you complete on a daily basis.
3. Tailor shortcuts to your needs.
When was the last time you actually used half of those keys on your keyboard? What if you could dust off some of those F keys along the top and put them to good use? Well, if you're a Windows user, you can. AutoHotKey will allow you to create your own, customizable keyboard shortcuts.
Mac users already have a similar program built into OS X. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Mouse Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts, click the "+" and select the application for which you want to assign the shortcut from the drop-down menu. Then you can assign a name and a shortcut command. Simple as pie.
4. Be patient.
Keyboard shortcuts are the simplest way to enhance your productivity and shorten the amount of time it takes you to complete basic computer tasks. But the key to achieving those goals is to practice, and letting the skills develop over time.
It's easy to go back to your old habits of using a mouse whenever you need it, but remember that knowing one keyboard command isn't going to save you a ton of time. The trick is knowing 40 and being able to recognize when to use them instantly.
Be patient and think of it as learning a language. You're going to make lots of mistakes, and it's going to be hard to remember everything you need to know, but we promise the benefits are worth it.