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BushArts.com - Training ...Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboards may come in various flavours...eg 101 or 104 keys, Multimedia boards with speakers etc, but all have the same basic features. Also the keyboard has some very important functions, with many special keys or combination of keys that are either faster than using the mouse, or essential in times of trouble. Start by getting familiar with where each of the keys are, it's a standard layout.

Have a look at your own Keyboard, the letters and numbers are self explanatory, look for the keys marked... Esc, Shift, Ctrl, Alt and Enter (or return). These five in particular are very important PC keys to remember.

A standard Keyboard layout will give you one of Esc (Escape), two each of Shift, Ctrl (Control), Alt (Alternate) and Enter (Return or Accept). Each individual key has it's own function, it's when you use a combination of keys that the real power of the keyboard becomes available.

Take a look at the menus of the program you are using to read this page, you should see words like - File; Edit; View; Favorites; Tools; Help. You can see that one letter in each word is underlined. That underlined letter makes that menu available to you by pressing the Alt key and then F,E,V,a,T or H respectively. Then Arrow keys to move up, down, left or right, and Enter to choose one of the options. (Esc to quit the menu). You can Test it now whilst you are reading this page.

You could of course just use the mouse cursor, but there are times when using the keyboard is faster. Some examples...

  • Shift plus any letter gives you access to the uppercase of that letter when typing,
  • Alt + F4 may Exit the program,
  • Ctrl + O to Open,
  • Ctrl + P to Print,
  • Ctrl + C to Copy,
  • Ctrl + V to Paste,
  • Ctrl + Z to Undo,

... and an extremely important one, Hold "Ctrl" and "Alt" then press "Del" (Delete) to bring up your "Taskmanager", which shows you all the currently running programs, (Processes Tab in Windows XP), possibly allowing you to turn off a crashed one. Test it now to see what you have running, Pressing Cancel, (X at top in XP), once you've had a look will do no damage, otherwise you can shut down the program, or even Windows itself. This combination may prove very useful in an emergency.

There are multitudes of Keyboard shortcuts , look to the right of most menus, as it will show you the combination letter keyboard shortcut. Have a look at the Edit menu in your own program above, Note both the underlined letters and the Shortcut combo's. Greyed out areas on any menu, relate to that menu item being not valid to your current selection, (if any). Select some text on this page and have another look. Copy should now be available. Cut and paste will not because you are just reading this page and not in edit mode. Open a program that takes text, and you can paste into it, (Ctrl and V), after you copy from this or any other page.

Many people scorn the mouse and just use the keyboard, it's up to personal preference. The Enter Key can be used in place of a mouse click, which item has the focus, or is the active item, is the bit to watch out for. Try using the Enter Key instead of the mouse next time you see a suitable menu.

Try using your keyboard arrow keys on this page.

The other keys on your Keyboard may be very useful to you as well. Tab, Page up/down, Print Scrn, Home, etc all have important functions within a Windows program, try looking in any programs Help file under "Keyboard Shortcuts", for relevant information.

Still learning to type? Contrary to popular opinion, the Keys do not hide just when you want them. They are always in the same place and all you need to do is use them often enough and they will become familiar to you.

Exersizes

Find each of the Keys marked "Enter" (or Return), Esc, Alt, Del (or Delete) Shift and Ctrl.

Practice typing... use "Notepad" to type a message, no need to save the file, just keep up the practice using as many keys as possible.

See if you can get around without using the mouse at all.

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