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Keyboard Shortcuts: Avoid the Mouse!

Why & How to avoid the mouse

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Keyboard shortcuts are quick key sequences that can be valuable alternatives to using the mouse. When your hands are already at the keyboard, using the mouse can meanunnecessary movement, over-exertion of the fingers and arm, extra strain on the shoulder and elbow, and wasted time. Learning keyboard shortcuts for frequently-used actions with the computer and within frequently used applications can save a lot of wear and tear on the body and can speed up interaction with the computer considerably. Right shoulder pain has been among the top three areas where pain is reported, exceeded only by reports of neck and back pain. Finding ways to reduce sources of pain should be of high importance to everyone!

Selecting words or data with the mouse is one action that can cause undue tension in the hand and fingers.There are times when using the mouse is the only option. However, knowing all options allows you to choose what is best at a given moment - and what fits your personal work style.

Almost every application has shortcuts available. Use the Help menu to search for keyboard shortcuts in most applications.

Avoid the Mouse!
Overuse of the the Mouse

Overuse of the mouse is one of the most frequent problem habits in computer users. There are literally hundreds of keyboard shortcuts that will enable you to accomplish almost all operations without ever touching the mouse.

Resting the hand on the Mouse

Many people rest their hand on the mouse when they aren't typing, while they are reading a web page, while they are thinking, or other activity which requires no active input. This can put unnecessary pressure on the under side of the wrist if the hand is rested on a hard surface, it can cause muscle tension in the shoulder from holding the arm out to the side in a static position, and it can cause overall stress in the mousing hand simply by having the hand in a position poised for action over the buttons, trackball, or scroll wheel and occassionally even moving the cursor around as an unnecessary habit. By feeling confident with keyboard shortcuts, you can give your hand a break by relaxing them in your lap or to your sides while you are reading.

If you are switching between platforms, you may find it quite helpful to refer to this table on Wikipedia that compares most of the commands for PC, Mac, and KDE/GNOME.

Make Shortcuts Easier to Use By Unhiding The Underline Letters

Many people don't realize that underlined letters in menus and dropdowns indicate that letter is a shortcut. You can type the underlined letter rather than using the mouse to highlight the choice. If you press the ALT key on the keyboard, the shortcuts/underlined letters will appear.

New computers come initially with the underlined letters de-activated, so you don't see the shortcut indicated. Please follow the directions below to unhide the underline letters on your menus if you don't see them!

Unhide Underlined Letters for Windows 10
Unhide Underlined Letters for Windows 7

Creating shortcuts on the Start Menu

Another handy thing to do is to set up quick links to frequently used applications on your computer's Start Menu. By doing this, all you have to do is type the Windows key to bring up the start menu, then type the first letter of the application's name in the menu. The application will open! Here are the directions to adding your applications to the start menu: Creating a shortcut on the PC Start Menu

Keyboard Shortcuts Handout for PC
PC computer shortcuts handout (PDF)

Links to just about every Microsoft operating system or application.

Shortcuts for Office 365 and other accessibility options.

When Full Keyboard access is turned on, you can press TAB to move the keyboard focus between all controls in windows and dialog boxes.
F-Keys and how to change them

The F keys on the Mac keyboard are usually set up to control things at the operating system level.

F1: decrease brightness
F2: increase brightness
F3: exposé
F4: dashboard
F5: decrease keyboard brightness
F6: increase keyboard brightness
F7: media navigation backwards
F8: media play/pause
F9: media navigation forward
F10: mute volume
F11: decrease volume
F12: increase volume

If an application uses the F keys as keyboard shortcuts, you will need to hold down the Fn key (found in the corner of your keyboard) and then use the F-key for the application. Alternatively, you can reverse this whole thing so that the above system-type F-keys require you to hold the Fn key and the F-key, while using the F-key alone will work as intended in the application. To make this switch, launch System Preferences. Click on the "Keyboard" icon. Click on the checkbox next to "Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys."
mac function keys switch

Keyboard Shortcuts Handout for Mac
Macintosh shortcuts handout (PDF)

Programming your own shortcuts
You can program your own keyboard shortcuts by following these directions.

Here are some links to more comprehensive shortcuts on various websites. If you can't find what you need on our handout (above), check with these sites or check the Help function in the application you are using, searching for Keyboard Shortcuts.

Apple's Official Keyboard Shortcuts List: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201236
MacRumor's Keyboard Shortcuts Guide: http://guides.macrumors.com/Keyboard_shortcuts
Dan Rodney's Mac Central: http://www.danrodney.com/mac/
Safari Keyboard Shortcuts:http://osxdaily.com/2012/04/03/safari-keyboard-shortcuts/

Links to just about every Microsoft operating system or application.

And, difficult to find but useful to know:
Turn Off or Minimize RIBBON in MS WORD

iPad Shortcuts
iPad Shortcuts handout (PDF)

Gmail Shortcuts
Gmail Shortcuts handout (PDF)

Costpoint Shortcuts
Costpoint shortcuts handout (PDF)

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