Why Learn Keyboard Shortcuts?


Keyboard Shortcut • A combination of keystrokes used to accomplish a task that would otherwise require multiple mouse actions.

I’ve always been a big fan of using keyboard shortcuts on my computer. To many, it may seem such a trivial skill; yet, it can have a profound impact on how you work and offer a significant boost to your productivity.

When I switched from Windows to Mac nearly five years ago, it took some re-training of my fingers to learn new system shortcuts. I still regularly work to train my fingers in this way. Why do I spend time and effort on learning such a small thing? I know that every keyboard shortcut added to my tool belt will give a good return. However, until recently, I didn’t know quite how good of a return these little tools would give.

Adding bold text via mouse actions.
Adding bold text via keyboard shortcut.

Recently, I installed an application to track keyboard and mouse usage. A couple weeks of monitoring revealed my preference for keyboard shortcuts. Shortcut actions clocked in at 60% usage and mouse actions at 40%. On average, I employ 1,800 keyboard shortcuts per day. Assuming each shortcut saves me one second of time (which I think a conservative estimate), I am allowing 30 additional minutes of work per day, 2½ hours per week, 10 hours per month, 3 weeks per year!

Crazy, huh? So, are you ready to learn some keyboard shortcuts? Wondering where to begin? In my next post, I’ll lay out some tips, tricks, and tools for becoming a master of the keyboard shortcut. I will then begin sharing what I have found to be some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts in my tool belt.