This is the first of many posts in a series dedicated to making you more effective, more productive and, ultimately better at using tech. We’ve all had experiences where you’ve lost data, hunted for that window you just opened, couldn’t focus, and thought you had a really productive day, but upon looking back realized that you had absolutely. no. clue. what happened.

We’ve structured these tips to solve those problems for you as well as to provide you with the framework and perspective for our future courses, tech tips, and webinars.

1. Hotkeys


Hotkeys are our #1 pick.
What’s a hotkey? It’s simply a set of key presses on your keyboard that perform a function on the computer. Sounds simple enough, right?
How do you use a hotkey? Easy! Just press all of the keys referenced together. Often, there’s a Ctrl, Shift, and/or Alt key. Press these down first, then the other keys. For example, CTRL + C would mean press and hold CTRL, press C, and release CTRL.

Well, what if I told you that you could open a web browser (Chrome, maybe?), open a new tab, navigate to a website, and go back to what you were doing in under 5 seconds? Or how about closing a tab by mistake, reopening it, getting to the top of the page, and starting to read again, all without touching the mouse. How much more effective could that make you? How much time could you save? 

Below, we’ve listed our top 7  hotkeys that everyone should know. We’re assuming that you’re using PC for these. 
Having trouble? Just leave a comment below!

  1. ALT(or CMD) + TAB (but hold Alt!): Switches the active application. This is a super easy way to get back to the last program you used. The programs will be listed in order of most recently accessed. If you press tab again while still holding ALT, you’ll select the next app. Throwing SHIFT into the mix selects the apps in reverse order, and releasing ALT activates the selected app.
  2. CTRL + TAB: Change the tab in your web browser. Whether you’re in Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, or Firefox, this will work. Great way to flip through active tasks on the web (and hide Facebook from the boss! 😉 ).
  3. Alt + F4: Closes the current window. Note that if there is more than one window open for a given application (i.e. Chrome), this will ONLY close the open window. It does not quit the application.
  4. Ctrl + Left/Right Arrow: When typing, this moves the cursor to the previous/next word, respectively. This is a GREAT way to move through text quickly while editing. Throw SHIFT into the mix to select text at the same time.
  5. Ctrl + Up/Down: When typing, this moves the cursor to the previous/next paragraph, respectively. Another fantastic way to move through text quickly while editing. Throw SHIFT into the mix to select text at the same time.
  6. Ctrl + End/Home: Brings you to the veryyyy top of the verrryyy bottom of a page. This is most often used in word processing and when viewing a page on the web.
  7. Ctrl + P: Prints. This is pretty self-explanatory.
  8. Ctrl + C or Ctrl + X: Copies or Cuts? What’s the difference? Copying leaves your text intact, cutting copies, then removes the text. Another useful tool for text editing. Combined with the Ctrl + Left/Right/Up/Down shortcuts, this should make you a text editing guru.
  9. Ctrl + V: Pastes whatever text was copied or cut.