Harness the power of the Shift key
Who knew that there was more to the humble Shift key than just making capital letters, exclamation marks and ampersands? This underutilised key is right under our fingertips and threatens to put the mouse out of business.
Unlock its power, and you could save hours in shortcuts and lift your productivity. There is even a name for those who can flex their Shift key muscle in the Microsoft Office environment – so keep reading to get ‘power-user’ tips at the end.
Top 5 Windows Shift key tips
- Ever cut and pasted text into your document and had to reformat it? Try Shift+ Control + V – problem solved. The text will be uniform with your document.
- Use the Windows + Shift + Up arrow and you have the window stretched from the top of the screen to the bottom. Hit the Down arrow to minimise again.
- Instead of clicking and dragging, hit the Control + Shift + Arrow key to select blocks of text.
- Accidentally closed the web browser you were working from and don’t want to search for it again? Control + Shift + T will bring up your last tabs.
- To permanently delete an item without sending it the Recycle Bin first, hit Shift + Delete.
Top 5 Mac OS Shift key tips
- Taking a screenshot is simple with the Shift key – hit Command + Shift + 4 and then drag the aiming point around the text or image you want to capture. It will take a screenshot and save to your desktop.
- To put your screen to sleep quickly – press Control + Shift + Sleep and your documents will be safe from prying eyes.
- To paste unformatted text into your document, add Shift to the Command + V.
- To highlight text, hold down your Shift key and then press the arrows in the direction you want to highlight.
- To hide your Valentine’s Day shopping while in an internet browser, simply press Shift + Command + N.
Microsoft Office power-users
Look at all those little icons across the top of Word, Excel or PowerPoint files. There’s a Shift key to deal with many of those that will have you bypassing the mouse in seconds.
- Excel: In Excel, hit Control + Shift + Space to select the whole document, or Shift + Arrow up to select all the cells above or Arrow down for the cells below. Another handy Excel power-user tip to find all comments is Control + Shift + O.
- Word: Want to increase the font size fast? Shift + Command + >. Or, if you want to insert the current date Alt + Shift + D, or swap D for T for the time.
- PowerPoint: Use the Shift key to become more nimble – especially during presentations. The Shift key can be used to change speed or start the presentation from a current slide (Shift + F5).
Using the Shift instead of the mouse takes practice – but ultimately it saves time. Seasoned pros know that taking the time to understand shortcuts for regular functions is one of the best ways to lift productivity.