Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, FICD
Are you a mouse person (like I am)? Or do you prefer to keep your fingers pecking away on your keyboard? Your mouse is a great way to access menus and perform a variety of other actions. If you are on a laptop or just want to keep your fingers moving, keyboard shortcuts are invaluable.
General Windows shortcuts
The following set of commands should work regardless of the version of Windows (or any other program) you are using:
ALT TAB: This allows you to switch between open programs. Pressing this combination once switches to the next open application and brings it to the foreground. If you have a number of programs open, you can press this key combination and hold the keys down until the program you want to open is highlighted.
ALT ENTER: Highlight a file or folder and press these keys to view its "properties" dialog box.
ALT F4: This will quickly close a program or window.
CTRL C: This copies highlighted text to the clipboard or stores things in memory.
CTRL V: This pastes copied files.
CTRL X: This is the "cut" command.
CTRL Z: This is the "undo" command. You will find yourself using this to correct an action you performed and did not really want to do.
F1: This key accesses help files.
F2: Use this key to rename or edit an icon.
F3: This key immediately opens the "find file" or "folder" utility.
F10 or ALT button: Either of these (not both together) will activate the menu bar in the active window.
Windows key commands
On your keyboard, you will often find a Windows key button. This is the one with the flying windows icon on it. This can prove to be a useful key.
Windows key: This opens the "Start" menu.
Windows M or Windows D: This will minimize all open windows and clear your desktop.
SHIFT Windows M: This combination will restore all of the windows.
Windows E : This combination opens the Windows Explorer screen.
CTRL Windows F: If you use a network, this combination of keys will open the "find computer" dialog box so you can locate other computers.
Windows break key: Instead of right clicking "My Computer" and clicking on the properties key or wading through the control panel to find the system icon, pressing this combination opens up the "properties" dialog box instantly.
Microsoft Office shortcut keys
CTRL A: This key combination will highlight all of the text in a document at one time.
CTRL B: This key combination will make highlighted text bold.
CTRL U: Use this to underline highlighted text.
CTRL I: This will italicize highlighted text.
CTRL F: Use these two keys to open the "find" dialog box to search for words, phrases, or numbers in an open document.
CTRL H: This combination will open the "find and replace" dialogue box.
CTRL O: This will take you to the "open" dialog box.
CTRL S: This shortcut will save an open file.
CTRL P: Use this key combination to go to the "print" dialog for faster printing.
Microsoft Internet Explorer
ESC: Pressing the escape key is equivalent to pressing the stop icon. It will cause your browser to stop downloading the requested page.
F5: Using this key will automatically refresh the current page.
F11: This key will expand your current window into the full-screen mode. If you press it a second time, you will revert to the original size.
CTRL F: If you want to look for a specific word or phrase on a Web page, press this combination of keys and you will get the "find" dialog box.
Make up a small table of all these shortcut keys, tape it to your monitor, and watch how quickly your speed and productivity increase.
Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, FICD, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He also is the editor of St. Louis Dentistry magazine and spokesman and critical-issue-response-team chairman for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. His address on the Internet is www.dfdasmiles.com. Contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (314) 567-5612, or by fax at (314) 567-9047.