If you’re like me, at least 90% of the work you do in your life is on a computer, probably with a Windows operating system. Computers are just extremely versatile workhorses, great for most productive work and great for multitasking. Ultimately, the time it takes to do anything on a computer boils down to how quickly you manage multiple windows and how you label and organize your work.
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What are Shortcuts?
For anyone who is computer savvy or uses their computer a lot, shortcuts are the best way to speed up anything you’re doing. Most software includes its own extensive set of keyboard shortcuts, and Windows 7 has a huge number of them as well.
Short cuts are important because they reduce the amount of time you would spend gliding your mouse over the screen and clicking by about a second or two. If you perform only a thousand shortcuts (which is really a very small amount once you have them learned and embedded in your muscle memory), you cut at least fifteen minutes from your work time.
7 Window Management Keyboard Moves
These shortcuts are great for increasing the efficiency of your multitasking. A common problem I see among slow PC users is that they usually have all their windows maximized. Monitors these days have such a high resolution that it’s much more practical to make windows half-screened (Win+Left/Right arrows). For example, this setup works great for writing papers and blogs (half the screen is a browser with research, the other half is your writing document).
- Win+Home: Clear all but the active window
- Win+Space: All windows become transparent so you can see the desktop
- Win+Up arrow: Maximize the active window
- Shift+Win+Up arrow: Maximize the active window vertically only
- Win+Down arrow: Minimize the window or restore if it’s maximized
- Win+Left/Right arrows: Dock the window to either side of the monitor (half screen; great for comparing documents side by side)
- Shift+Win+Left/Right arrows: Move the window to the monitor on the left or right (a godsend for multiple monitors)
4 Window Management Mouse Moves
- Drag window to the top: Maximize
- Drag window left/right: Dock the window the fill half the screen
- Shake window back/forth: Minimize everything but the current window
- Double-click top window border: Maximize the window vertically
5 Taskbar Keyboard Moves
You will typically learn these shortcuts if you want to have near-mouseless computing. These shortcuts in combination with windows shortcuts are highly efficient and wonderful for writers. You simply never have to move your hands from your keyboard.
- Win+number (1-9): Starts the application pinned to the taskbar in that position or switches to that program
- Shift+Win+number (1-9): Starts a new instance (or window) of the application in position
- Alt+Win+number (1-0): Opens the Jump List for the application pinned to the taskbar
- Win+T: Focus and scroll through items on the taskbar
- Win+B: Focuses the System Tray icons
3 Taskbar Mouse Moves
- Shift+Click on taskbar button: Open a program or quickly open another instance of the program
- Ctrl+Shift+Click on taskbar button: Open a program as an administrator
- Shift+Right-click on taskbar button: Show the window menu for the group
7 Generally Useful Shortcuts
These shortcuts are just nifty to have around at your disposal. Copy as path (Shift-Right-click on file) is amazing when using software that often asks for file paths like Photoshop; say goodbye to repetitive moves through Windows Explorer when navigating files through your software!
- Ctrl+Shift+N: Creates a new folder in Windows Explorer
- Alt+Up: Goes up a folder level in Windows Explorer
- Alt+P: Toggles the preview pane in Windows Explorer
- Shift+Right-click on a file: Adds Copy as Path, which copies the path of a file to the clipboard
- Win+P: Adjust presentation setting for your display
- Win+(+/-): Zoom in/out
- Win+G: Cycle between Windows Gadgets on your screen.