Although a lot of people prefer to use the mouse to click around, most IT professionals prefer the keyboard (and associated keyboard shortcuts), because it can be a real time and effort saver. When you spend more than 8 hours a day at a computer 5+ days a week, saving a few seconds here and there really adds up. To that end, here are some of my favourite Windows keyboard shortcuts:
Win + D: Show The Desktop. Minimizes all currently open windows to show the desktop. To restore all your windows, just hit Win + D again.
Win + E: Open Windows Explorer.
Alt + Tab: Cycle through open windows. (Use Win + Tab for the fancy Aero version of this)
Win + L: Lock your computer. When you return you have to enter your password. This is not only security best practice if you’re stepping away from your computer, it also prevents your co-worker from changing your desktop wallpaper to Rick Astley.
Win + Left Arrow: Align Window Left. Great for when you have a widescreen monitor and need two windows side by side (use in conjunction with Align Windows Right below).
Win + Right Arrow: Align Window Right
Win + Shift + Left/Right Arrow: Move a window to another monitor.
Win + R: Open the run command. Great for opening up Windows stalwarts like calculator (calc).
Win + F: Open search.
Ctrl + Shift + Esc: Open Task Manager. Great for when your system is having a panic attack.
I’m a big fan of using keyboard shortcuts in just about every application I use. It’s a huge time-saver when you can press a few keys and do exactly what you want, rather than having to constantly navigate through a user interface.
That’s why I absolutely love the KeyRocket for GMail. I spend quite a bit of time in GMail, probably as much as I spend in Outlook at my job, so knowing how to rip through my emails as efficiently as possible, reach Inbox Zero and have things sorted for my day is a must. KeyRocket helps train you on using keyboard shortcuts in GMail in an appealing, quiet manner. I’ve used similar applications before, but found they were obnoxious and unhelpful. Keyrocket simply makes a small, unobtrusive pop-up in the top right corner of the screen to let you know that – “Hey! That thing you just did has a keyboard shortcut, and here it is!”
If you’re into productivity and use GMail, I’d highly recommend KeyRocket for GMail.
A small annoyance I have with Outlook is that it leaves all the messages you’ve opened as separate windows, cluttering up the screen. Luckily, Outlook has a “Close All Items” option. I added it to my quick access toolbar in Outlook to save time; here’s how:
In the upper Left, click on “Customize The Quick Access Toolbar” dropdown, then click “More Commands…“
Now select the “Close All Items” command, and click “Add >>” Now click “Ok“