7 | Avoid the Mouse

Do you wish you were more efficient at work but would rather start off with small changes? Or, conversely, do you consider yourself an efficient  worker who is always looking for new tips? Keyboard shortcuts can save you small amounts of time hundreds of times each day, improving your efficiency and productivity.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step (t/h Lao-tzu) and your path to maximum efficiency begins with a single keyboard shortcut.

Don’t buy it? Open Microsoft Word and time how long it takes you to pick your hand up off the keyboard while you’re typing to grab your mouse and navigate to the Review tab in the ribbon and select the Thesaurus tool. Now time how long it takes to key Shift+F7.

I’ve compiled some of the keyboard shortcuts that I find most useful along with links out to other lists. Please feel free to add your own favorites in the Comments section!

I don’t recommend that you try to memorize them all now. Rather, make it a goal to learn 3-5 per day. Bookmark/Favorite this page (CTRL+D in Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and IE…there, you learned one already!) and come back to it as you become more and more proficient.


There are some keyboard shortcuts that are virtually universal (Apple users, you can usually use these same shortcuts by substituting the Command key for the Control key)

Copy: Ctrl + C Bold: Ctrl + B Save: Ctrl + S Zoom In: Ctrl + ‘+’
Cut: Ctrl + X Italic: Ctrl + I Open File: Ctrl + O Zoom Out: Ctrl + ‘-‘
Paste: Ctrl + V Underline: Ctrl + U Find: Ctrl + F Refresh: F5
Undo: Ctrl + Z Select All: Ctrl + A Replace: Ctrl + H
Redo: Ctrl + Y Print: Ctrl + P Add Hyperlink: Ctrl + K


There are plenty of useful keyboard shortcuts specific to the Windows operating system (see Microsoft’s full list here), as well (though I can’t speak to Windows 8 – I used that for a few weeks before giving it up)

Switch Between Programs: Alt + Tab & Shift + Alt + Tab Go to Previous/Next Word/Group of Characters: Ctrl + Rt/Lt Arrow
Quit Program: Alt + F4 Highlight Preceding/Following Word/Group of Characters: Ctrl + Shift + Rt/Lt Arrow
Access a Menu Alt + underlined letter in menu name Delete Preceding/Following Word/Group of Characters: Ctrl + Backspace/Ctrl + Delete
Display System Menu: Alt + Space Screenshot of Current Window: Alt + Print Scrn
File Menu: Alt + F My Computer: Windows Key + E
Show Desktop/Minimize All: Windows Key + D Run Menu: Windows Key + R
Windows Search: Windows Key + F Windows Search: Windows Key + F
Log Off/Secure Computer Windows Key + L Cycle Through Open Programs: Windows Key + Tab
Thesaurus: Shift + F7 Spell Check: F7


You can see Microsoft’s list of keyboard shortcuts here, but I’ve listed out a handful of my favorites.

Save As: Alt + F + A Print Preview: Ctrl + F2 Insert Page Break: Ctrl + Enter
Font Menu: Ctrl + D Justify Left/Right/Center: Ctrl + L/R/E Indent Paragraph: Ctrl + M
Change Letter Case: Shift + F3 Single-Space Lines: Ctrl + 1 Double-Space Lines: Ctrl + 2


Personally, I think that the keyboard shortcuts I use in Excel save me the most time (full Microsoft list here)

Create New Line Within Cell: Alt + Enter Highlight Cells: Shift + Arrow Key
Copy Cell Above: Ctrl + D Copy Cell to the Left: Ctrl + R
Jump to Next Populated Cell: Ctrl + Arrow Key Highlight Consecutively Populated Cells: Ctrl + Shift + Arrow Key
Select Entire Row: Shift + Space Select Entire Column: Ctrl + Space
Hide Selected Rows: Ctrl + 9 Hide Selected Columns: Ctrl + 0
Add/Delete Row: Ctrl + ‘++’/Ctrl + ‘+-‘ Apply/Remove Strikethrough: Ctrl + 5
Exit Cell Without Applying Entry: Escape Close Workbook: Ctrl + W
Move Between Tabs: Ctrl + Pg Up/Pg Dn Insert New Tab: Alt + Shift + F1
Enter Current Date: Ctrl + ‘;’ Enter Current Time: Ctrl + ‘:’
Create Chart: F11 Create Table: Ctrl + L


Outlook, of course, also has built-in keyboard shortcuts (full list here)

Reply: Alt + R Reply All: Alt + L Forward: Ctrl + F or Alt + W
New Message: Ctrl + Shift + M New Meeting: Ctrl + Shift + Q New Task: Ctrl + Shift + K
Send: Ctrl + Enter Send/Receive: F9 Go To X Module: Ctrl + # ( where # is the position from the left in the Shortcuts Pane)

Other Microsoft

If you’re looking for keyboard shortcuts for other Microsoft products, look here

Web Browsers

I thought I’d also pull in some links for browser shortcuts:


Saved the Best for Last!

You probably already know that you can configure Microsoft’s Auto-Correct functionality to account for your frequent typing mistakes (instructions here). You can also use that tool to set up shortcuts for phrases you frequently type – in the example below, every time I type ‘==’, it automatically changes to “If you have any questions, please let me know”! This might be my favorite thing in all of Microsoft (it works throughout the Office suite)!
MS SmartPhrases

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