101 Shortcuts You Wish You Knew

Ok, the title to this blog post is a wee bit ambitious.  But here are a number of shortcuts that may well be so old (in the world of computers) that they represent the grandparents of all that stuff kids do these days tweeting, texting, and generally misspelling:

Control – C, Control – X, and Control – V: Copy, Cut, and Paste

It takes way too long to highlight text, go up to wherever it is in the menu (and in the new version of MS Word – 2011 for Mac – Microsoft, in its infinite wisdom, has moved absolutely every thing that used to be somewhere obvious to somewhere less-than-obvious), and then Copy, Cut or Paste text.  So that is why back in 1982, some guy assigned these basic but essential functions to keyboard combinations.  For Windows, you use the Control key.  For OS X users, you generally use the Command key.

Control – B, Control – I, and Control – U: Bold, Italicize, and Underline, Baby!

I feel exactly the same way when you ask me to make some header bold, or underline a table heading.  I do not, I repeat, I do not want to spend time with your cutesy point-and-click menu to figure out how to format my font.  That’s what Control – B, I, and U are all about!  Do not leave home without them!

Control – Z: Undo.

Ever do something stupid and then want to undo it?  Like in life when you are talking to someone you really like and something incredibly stupid comes out of your mouth and the person you are talking to stops and looks at you like you should be institutionalized?  Control – Z.  Control – Z undoes all sorts of really dumb things that we accidentally, or intentionally, do when we are busy, not quite awake, bored, or freaking out.  Control – Z.  If only you could do that with the rest of your life.  I would have Control – Z’ed at least a half a dozen things that happened today if I could.

Control – Y: Redo.

Control – Y is Control – Z’s misunderstood cousin.  But there are days when I really do want to redo something.  Most commonly, I use this to apply styles in Word documents to various sections of text that need some reformatting.  I totally could Control – Y all day some stuff that comes across my desk.  Well, not all day.  And not everything.  There are, actually, a lot more things I would prefer to Control – Z than Control – Y, but I don’t want Control – Y to get an inferiority complex.  And you should use it.

Control – A: Select It All

Now, I share this one with you with some hesitation, because sometimes when you use Control – A, you then promptly do something you wish you didn’t do.  However, Control – Z, your new BFF, is already above this entry.  So, you should be ok with Control – A.  This function selects everything in the active window of the computer program you are using.  Just keep in mind that everything is selected.  Ah, the force is strong with you.

Here is a link to an article with a few other gems.  Now, if you are really good, I will tell you how to make Indexes, Tables of Contents, and how to Mark Citations (for all of you Appellate writing nerds out there that have to build tables of Cases, Statutes, Rules and so on).  Which, by the by, has a lot to do with properly using Styles in your Microsoft Word documents.

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Maryland technology attorney and college professor.

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