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Three Keyboard Shortcuts Writers Love

Updated on March 6, 2013
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Favorite Hot Keys for Windows PC Users

They call them "hot keys" - the software gurus. My husband is one (guru, that is) and let me tell you, his hotkey tips are amazing! They've saved me lots of time, and they'll save you time too.

Control Z - The Gurus' Un-Do

Now you, too, can un-do! So, you've just typed the following lyrics from Sonny and Cher's classic I Got You Babe. (Let's just ignor the grammar of those lyrics for now)

I got you to hold my hand
I got you to understand
I got you to walk with me
I got you to talk with me

But now you think you have the order wrong so you cut and paste and move "I got you to understand" to the very first line:

I got you to understand *
I got you to hold my hand
I got you to walk with me
I got you to talk with me

After researching "lyrics" online, you find out you were right in the first place and want to move it back to the way it was. "Rats!" you say, "Now I have to cut and paste all over again." NOT! Simply hold down Ctrl while hitting "Z" and your last action of pasting is undone and you're back to:

I got you to hold my hand
I got you to understand *
I got you to walk with me
I got you to talk with me

Ctrl Z works to undo several processes. (I just deleted a passage right now, hit Ctrl Z, and voila' - it came back exactly to the right place). Try it, you'll like it.

(By the way, you're probably not still cutting and pasting by the old highlight, right clicking and choosing cut or paste from the drop down menu, but if you are, using Ctrl "X" for cutting and Ctrl "V" for pasting is much faster.)


Control F - It Doesn't Mean Stop Swearing

F is for "find" and this hot-key is wonderful for finding passages in your own work or on any page on the Internet. Lots of times when you research a topic, you'll get to a blog and the precise topic you're looking for is somewhere, but who knows where, in a voluminous article. Simply hold down the Ctrl key while pressing "F" and a box will appear at the top of the page. Type in the word or phrase you're looking for and you'll see it highlighted on the page. You might have to scroll down for it, but you'll find it nevertheless. You can find your place in your own Word document by doing this as well. I just used it while typing this in the hubpage editor and sure

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Shift Enter (For Sanity)

So what's the deal with pressing "Enter" to get to the next line and Bam!, you're down TWO lines. So you backspace and/or delete or stand on your head and you can't seem to get rid of that extra space in between your two lines. This happens especially in hubpage editing.

See? I just did it now. I pressed "Enter" and look where I am!

Sooo...if you don't want that space inbetween your lines, go to the end of your last line. Hold down "Shift" while pressing "Enter" and you'll be on the very next line. This works for lists or any time you need to eliminate that empty space in any document on which you're working.

Penny Wants to Learn "a Little" Physics - Click on link below picture to view viedo

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Full Lists of Hotkeys (Accelerator Keys, Shortcuts)

You can find full lists of hotkeys (sometimes spelled with a hyphen, sometimes as two words) just by searching on the web. Hotkeys are also called "accelerator keys" or "keyboard shortcuts". However, not all hotkeys are used for working within a document. Hotkeys are used, it appears to me, for navigation on the menu screen (especially useful apparently for those getting used to the new Windows 8) and for other reasons that my software husband knows and of which neither I nor anyone outside of that dizzily detailed-oriented field cares to explore. If you do search for more hotkeys be sure the ones you find match your needs. For example, I noticed that on "My Digital Life", there are several sections that show hotkeys for calculating functions or for the desktop and so one. The only column that might interest me in that list is the one labeled General Keyboard Shortcuts. Like Penny on "The Big Bang Theory," I only want to learn "a little physics" so to speak, and for now, I'm satisfied with just the few hotkey techniques my software guru taught me :)

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    • Billie Kelpin profile image
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      Billie Kelpin 4 years ago from Newport Beach

      Midget38, you will absolutely LOVE "Control F". I notice your articles are very well researched. When I researched for my article on positive thinkg, I googled "negative aspects of positive thinking," found a quote, lost it, but remembered it had the word "clarity, " in it. I just used Control F and up in the right corner (it can be right or left and it's quite subtle) appeared the "find" little rectangular box. I typed "clarity" and the word "clarity" is highlighted in the article in the middle of the quote. Sometimes the word you're searching is highlighted more than once, so you have to scroll down. And sometimes, rarely, the word is not there, in spite of what Google thought :) Cheers! Billie

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for introducing us to keyboard navigation! I usually just depend on my mouse and forget what these keys stand for. Thanks, Billie!

    • Billie Kelpin profile image
      Author

      Billie Kelpin 4 years ago from Newport Beach

      Thanks, PaoloJpm. I just was using the control F when hunting for some information on a pdf regarding doing my taxes. I LOVE that control F.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 4 years ago from Philippine

      Great tips in times when we are in a hurry typing!

    • Billie Kelpin profile image
      Author

      Billie Kelpin 4 years ago from Newport Beach

      Chris, Thanks so much for saying so. Someone asked on hubpages the other day, what would you like people to say about you're writing. I think "That was really useful to me" or "I never thought of that before" would be my favorite compliments and yours expressed that sentiment. Thank you! I don't know what I would do if my husband hadn't told me about shift enter. They do it all the time in their coding, I guess.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Billie Kelpin, Thank you. The "undo" and "shift/enter" will really help me. I appreciate the tips.

      Chris

    • Billie Kelpin profile image
      Author

      Billie Kelpin 4 years ago from Newport Beach

      Ghaelach, Thanks again!

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 4 years ago

      Morning Billie.

      Glad you understood my comments.

      My last hub took me ages, as I was swopping things around before I eventually did a "Drag & Drop" in my HP capsule.

      You must be patient and do things slowly, or you'll get your Kn's in a twist, so to speak.

      Have a nice Sunday.

      LOL Ghaelach

    • Billie Kelpin profile image
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      Billie Kelpin 4 years ago from Newport Beach

      Ghaelach, Ah... I see. Great! Drag and drop from your document to a hub page capsule. I need to work more in a document first and not go to the capsule to compose. (I just get too excited to see it in hubpages :) At first I thought your comment you meant split screen WITHIN the document. (I've seen my husband do that with the command under the "Window" screen on the tool bar. He navigates WITHIN his document more easily that way, but I find it cumbersome. But I DO like this concept of dragging from your Open Office screen to the Hubpages screen. Thanks, I'm sure it will be helpful to others as well!

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 4 years ago

      Morning Billie.

      First, I'm no expert, but I'll try to explain as best I can.

      Say you have just wrote a story in Open Office and you've done your first edit. Next you want to transfer to hubpages. I do a split screen, and in OO I mouse over the passage I want to transfer (by me the passage is then all blue) move the mouse over the blue and holding the left side mouse down move the mouse from OO to HP start a new hub capsule and let go of the mouse. Bob's your uncle, finished, Easy Peasy. I have three stages with every hub. (1) Write the hub out roughly on paper and sort out where each passage should go. (2) Type it into Open Office and edit and edit and edit. When you are sure that you have everything including photo's, then comes step (3) which is with the split screen and transfer.

      Hope you understand, and it isn't to much all at once. I do think that each person will do their own thing, believing that to be correct.

      So Billie, take care and have a nice weekend.

      LOL Ghaelach

    • Billie Kelpin profile image
      Author

      Billie Kelpin 4 years ago from Newport Beach

      Moonlake, thank you so much for the comment and the voting up. I haven't explored what the voting up does, but since it's "up" it has to be something good. I saw your hub about adding the g+ button for articles you like and articles you have written. That will be helpful. Glanced at shirt dresses being back. Drats - that's about 7 years to late (I had a waist then). Maybe if started using a hula hoop again I could get it back!

    • Billie Kelpin profile image
      Author

      Billie Kelpin 4 years ago from Newport Beach

      Delores, I just used CTRL F tonight reading an AOL article on heart attacks after disasters. I wanted to see if the article talked increased risk of heart attacks with divorce, did a CTRL F, typed "divorce" in the box and it came up with no results, so I didn't have to read further. I think anyone who writes such beautiful hubs as yours certainly isn't a "dunce with the computer"! I have to read your beautiful articles on plants. I LOVE gardening (Most writers do as the Strong Campbell Interest Inventory of old seemed to suggest). Thanks for your comments. Cheers, Billie

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      I use CtRL + F all the time it is so handy. Thanks for the other information. Interesting hub voted up.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I am such a dunce with the computer - learning something new is a real thrill. I can't wait to try the CTRL + F thing! That is going to change everything!!!! (well maybe not really everything but thanks so much)

    • Billie Kelpin profile image
      Author

      Billie Kelpin 4 years ago from Newport Beach

      Thanks so much for your comment Ghaelach! Could you explain when you drag and drop? I'd like to try that. The "Edit" on the tool bar DOES have the most popular functions, cut, paste, undo, etc. As a totally non-detail oriented person, my software husband had to point out to me that the "hotkey" is written right to the right of these on the "Edit" drop down. (That's after using that menu for 15 or so years!) For me saving the extra step of having to go to "Edit" by simply using the Ctrl functions saves those valuable seconds in my life that seem to be ticking away out loud in my head at this age :)

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 4 years ago

      Hi Billie.

      Another way would be to (your screen shot) click edit and with the drop down click on undo. At least it works by me on Win7, FF. I also do a "Drag and Drop" when moving things around.

      Great hub.

      Take care and have a nice weekend.

      LOL Ghaelach

    • Billie Kelpin profile image
      Author

      Billie Kelpin 4 years ago from Newport Beach

      Pamdora, You're cute and funny! Thank you so much for taking the time to clarify knowing Alt F4. Don't forget, the Ctrl is different than the Alt. They do different things. I hope you continue to have fun with your "first-ever" laptop! Years ago, when my husband tried to convince me to write on the computer instead of using a pen, I cried :)

    • Billie Kelpin profile image
      Author

      Billie Kelpin 4 years ago from Newport Beach

      Don't they? Thanks for the comment DDE!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The shortcuts certainly make sit easier for working on the computer

    • profile image

      Pamdora 4 years ago

      Dang! I was Hub hopping, left the above comment, tried to go back in and fix a typo...and it wouldn't let me!

      Found you anyway.

      The typo: I meant to say, I know "Alt F4" (for closing an app on Windows 8), not "Alt F". LOL!

    • profile image

      Pamdora 4 years ago

      This all sounds pretty cool. Or it would, anyway, if I wasn't still having trouble trying to learn enough just to move around YouTube with the first-ever laptop my husband got me for Valentine's Day.

      I know Alt F, though!

      Voted Up and Useful.

    • Billie Kelpin profile image
      Author

      Billie Kelpin 4 years ago from Newport Beach

      Thanks KittHill, I use Control F almost every day, even for my own writing. If you use it in a word doc, you'll see the window come up and can find any word in your doc you're looking for. In addition, it will have the tab "replace" as well. If you are writing a short story, and you want to change the name of the main character from Amy to Jennifer, for example, it will find all the Amy's and change them to Jennifer. It's really neat. On the web, I use it to get to what I want in an article really quickly. Thanks for stopping by :)

    • profile image

      KittHill 4 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. I did not know about control f, that will come in handy.

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