Master Your Keyboard and Escape the Mouse Trap

Convenience is one of the reasons for computers to exist. You love using your mouse to just point and click to make things happen. You’d think that it doesn’t get easier than that.

What if you had a way to use the computer in an even simpler way? The 101 keys in front of you is the key to greater ease of use. Seems unlikely, right?

Let’s try something. Open a website and an e-mail. Use your mouse to copy a picture from the website to the e-mail. One, you move your cursor to be on the picture. Two, you right-click with your mouse and a little menu pops up. Three, move the cursor to the Copy Image choice and click on it. Four, move your cursor to the e-mail’s browser tab and click on it. Five, move the cursor to the body of your e-mail. Six, right click with your mouse to get that little menu again. Seven, move the cursor to the Paste choice and click on it. Finally, you’re able to send that picture to a friend in an e-mail.

Seven steps. Not a huge number, but can it be done with less, using your keyboard more? Let’s see.

Escape the mouse trap

Same situation, copying a picture from a website into an e-mail. One, move your cursor to the picture and click on it. Two, press your Ctrl and C keys at the same time to copy it. Three, press the Ctrl key and then press the Tab key to switch to your e-mail tab. Four, move your cursor to the body of the e-mail and click. Five, press the Ctrl and V keys at the same time to paste it. Done. Mail that picture to your friend.

Well, that’s two steps less. It’s better, but is it that much faster? What if we time the two methods?

The first method using the mouse ended up taking 16.03 seconds. The second method took 8.19 seconds, and that included me hitting the wrong keys once. My fingers are kind of…stubby.

The fact remains, using keyboard shortcuts cut the time in half. Two less steps and 8 less seconds for one simple task? That’s an improvement in convenience and efficiency in anyone’s book.

Take the time to practice your typing and learn keyboard shortcuts. To learn more about keyboard shortcuts, go to http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/download-windows-shortcuts/ and print out that sheet. Post it by your keyboard and in no time, you’ll escape the mouse trap.

First Published: The Guysborough Journal, Vol . 21, No. 18, May 6, 2015

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