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Keyboard shortcuts simplify things

I often ask friends and customers to give me ideas for new tech columns. This week, a friend asked a question I hadn’t heard lately: What are all the extra keys on the keyboard for? We all know the basic QWERTY and punctuation keys, but there are many other keys that can make life easier once you are familiar with them.

We teach ourselves how to move around and access our favorite tasks, but there are many shortcuts right on the keyboard to simplify things. As we know, each letter key has a lower and upper case that is determined by the position of the “Shift” key. In the same manner, depressing the “Control,” “Alt” and “Windows” keys change the function of other keys.

Keys that move the cursor around a document allow you to keep your hands off the mouse while typing. The arrow keys move one space at a time. Hold down “Control” with an arrow key and move one word at a time. “Home” takes the cursor to the beginning of the line, and “End” moves it to the far right. “Page Up” and “Page Down” skip through the document.

Online, go to www. windows/keyboard/ to find a helpful tool. This page has a clickable keyboard with a description of the functions of each key. It is worth the time to check out and discover shortcuts that are right under your fingertips.

As an example, in order to cut, copy or paste, simply highlight the word or selection, then hold down “Control” and press x, c, or v. To switch between your current work and the desktop, hold down the “Windows” key (near the spacebar) and press “D.”

The F-number keys across the top of the keyboard perform various tasks specific to the program you are using. F1 accesses the Help menu. In Internet Explorer, F11 toggles between full screen and normal viewing mode.

My favorite shortcut when I am web surfing is the backspace key. Press it to go back to the previous screen without using the mouse. Use “Page Down” and “Page Up,” “Home” and “End” to move quickly through the site.

Customize your copy of Word to meet your needs and make life easier. Click on the icon in the top left corner, or on “File” and go to “Word Options” near the bottom right of that drop-down. Browse through the options there to find new shortcuts and features.

Patty Harshbarger, with Computer Renaissance in Bradenton, can be reached at or (941)753-8277.