My Top 5 Keyboard Shortcuts

Kyle Raney

Kyle Raney,

April 17, 2020

Efficiency is one of my passions. If there is a way to make something better or easier, I will find it. I understand this attitude could lead to laziness or shortcuts, but that is why we have Core Value #2 (Be Excellent) at Awesome Inc to hold us accountable for quality work, not just “quick work.”

My background in Computer Science has made me this way. A programmer is paid to make programs that make your repetitive tasks easier and more efficient. My best example: Trello. Trello is not an original concept or idea, it is a To Do List. Knocking things off your To Do Lists is way more fun when you took the physical sticky note and moved it from To Do to Done, or aggressively marked a task complete. But Trello has turned something that once took a long time into a more efficient way to track your tasks. We buy into the more effective and efficient method because it saves us time, our most valuable resource.

One of the most simple ways to be more efficient and effective while working is to use keyboard shortcuts. Like our in-house Dad-joker, Nick Such, says, “Trying to control your computer with a mouse is like trying to do surgery while wearing boxing gloves.”

Before I give you a long list of the different shortcuts I use, let me try to build a foundation for you, so that it is easier to remember all of them. Let’s break down the keys that you are going to use the most:

*Note: This is intended for Mac Users, but you can see the conversion for PC users at the bottom of this post.

Key Purpose
Cmd ⌘ Executes commands, generally the starting point of every execution
Option ⌥ Generally a modifier
Control ⌃ Generally a modifier
Shift ⇧ Inverse (or reverse) and highlight
Tab ⇥ Cycle or change

You can see Apple’s reasoning behind the different keys and how to make your own keyboard shortcuts in their Human Interface Guidelines.

Now onto my top 5 keyboard shortcuts:

  1. Switch Applications: Cmd ⌘ + Tab ⇥

    • You can reverse direction of switching: Cmd ⌘ + Shift ⇧ + Tab ⇥ alt_text
  2. Switch Windows (of the same application): Cmd ⌘ + ` (That’s a tilde, the key left of the #1)

  3. Switch tabs in a browser: Control ⌃ + Tab ⇥

    • Reverse direction of switching: Control ⌃ + Shift ⇧ + Tab ⇥
  4. Close a tab in a browser: Cmd ⌘ + W

    • Reopen last closed tab: Cmd ⌘ + Shift ⇧ + T
  5. Navigating Text: Shift ⇧ + Arrow Keys ← →

    • Highlight text: Shift ⇧ + Arrow Keys ← →

single highlight

  • Highlight one word: Shift ⇧ + Option ⌥ + Arrow Keys ← →

word highlight

  • Highlight the entire line (from where your cursor is): Shift ⇧ + Cmd ⌘ + Arrow →

line highlight

I hope that these shortcuts end up saving you time. If nothing else, they can make you look like a computer wizard!

Trying to control your computer with a mouse is like trying to brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand.