Bring me your most-loved shortcuts for unloveable Microsoft and Google!
June 11, 2021 2:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm planning a Shortcuts Fest for my team, where we share our fave little workarounds - like SHIFT + F3 for changing case, CTRL + L to go to the Chrome address bar. With 2020 being 2020, I've learned a few basic tricks in Teams but would love to hear what MeFites use on the reg. (We are generally stuck with MS programs but also use Google's suite of products quite a bit, and live in Chrome).
posted by Gin and Broadband to Computers & Internet (46 answers total) 83 users marked this as a favorite
 
These might be a bit basic for you, but I use them all the time and I've had people boggle at them over my shoulder:

Windows key+M to minimise all windows
Ctrl+del/backspace to delete whole words at a time
Ctrl+arrow keys to move the cursor by whole words at a time
Alt+enter to add a carriage return in an excel cell is one that I'm always surprised more people don't know
And I couldn't navigate an excel spreadsheet without ctrl+arrow key to instantly skip a contiguous block of blank/nonblank cells
F12 is save as across Microsoft Office
Even some people who know tab for next field don't know shift+tab for previous field.

Apologies if I've underestimated the IT literacy of your team, but my last team was impressed when I showed them ctrl+z, x, c, v & s (teaching them that little block of shortcuts was probably the biggest lasting impact I had...) so I've learned not to assume.
posted by Lorc at 3:04 AM on June 11 [9 favorites]


CTRL-W to close (NOT minimize) the active browser window/tab
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:08 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


In Outlook:
  • [DEL] deletes a message, but...
  • [Backspace] archives a message.
Here's a list of Outlook shortcuts.
posted by krisjohn at 3:11 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


I use the shortcut for "paste without formatting" in GSuite products all the time. It's CMD+SHIFT+V on MacOS, and I think it's CTRL+SHIFT+V on Windows.
posted by neushoorn at 3:14 AM on June 11 [8 favorites]


Shift + spacebar selects a whole row in Excel. Handy for when you are working through a spreadsheet line-by-line and need to delete rows as you go.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:31 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


Windows key + D to minimise all windows and see the desktop.
posted by penguin pie at 4:06 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


Windows+L to lock
Alt+Tab to switch through or between windows/applications
Spacebar to scroll down webpages

Looking forward to seeing some others I dont' know
posted by sedimentary_deer at 4:15 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Windows shortcuts:

Excel:

Insert current date - Ctrl + ;
Insert current time - Ctrl + Shift + ;

Word:

To display Word's thesaurus with synonyms for a word - highlight (or just click into) the word, then Shift + F7
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:21 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


Do they know about setting up different "desktops" on Windows?

Windows-key + Tab to see all the windows on a desktop
Windows-key + Control + Right-arrow or + Left-arrow to switch between the desktops
posted by Leontine at 5:35 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


In Chrome/Firefox/Safari: Alt + back arrow = the "back" button, and Alt + forward arrow = the "forward" button. On a Mac it's command + arrow keys. That's hands-down the one I use the most often.

In Google applications, once you've highlighted some text, ctrl-K (or command-K) = "turn this text into a link."

In macOS, shift-command-4 = "drag the cursor to take a screenshot."

Alt-tab (command-tab) to switch among apps and/or open windows is an oldie but goodie.
posted by spamloaf at 5:37 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


since i have a LOT of meetings in Teams, I am using:

CTRL-SHIFT-M : mute/unmute
CTRL-SHIFT-K : raise/lower hand

quite a bit.
posted by alchemist at 5:39 AM on June 11 [8 favorites]


Windows-key + Control + Right-arrow or + Left-arrow to switch between the desktops

Windows Key + Control + Up-arrow or Down-arrow to toggle between minimised, normal, and maximised for the current window.
posted by pipeski at 5:40 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


You know those horizontal lines in Word that are nearly impossible to delete? I just learned that control -Q will remove them.
posted by sepviva at 5:43 AM on June 11 [10 favorites]


Okay I'll bite Word
1) Bring on the pilcrow ¶ with CTRL+SHIFT+* this reveals what assumptions that Word is making “on your behalf”.
Often this will show that most folk use 2 [enter]s between each paragraph. This is very generous if you have to squeeze text into a box - better use format paragraph instead.
2) CTRL+[ makes text one point smaller CTRL+] for bigger
3) CTRL+CursorUp to find beginning of paragraph CTRL+Home for beginning of doc
4) ALT+V, H to view header
5) CTRL+E to centre paragraph: also CTRL+L CTRL+R
6) CTRL+G to scoot to a given page
7) CTRL+del deletes next word [as lorc already said]
posted by BobTheScientist at 6:39 AM on June 11 [7 favorites]


after opening a CSV file in Excel:

CTRL + SHIFT + L -> enables the filtering/sorting widget for each of your data columns
posted by mmascolino at 6:55 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


CTRL-SHIFT-M : mute/unmute

If mute/unmute was your last action you can just use the spacebar too.
posted by slidell at 7:30 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


In Chrome (and Edge and Firefox) I can't live without :

- CTRL+T to open a new tab
- CTRL+SHIFT+T to reopen a tab I just closed
- CTRL+ mouse scrollwheel to increase/decrease the zoom level

In Word one thing I use a lot is CTRL+[ and CTRL+} to decrease and increase the font size.
posted by underclocked at 8:16 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


On a Mac, Command-Shift-4 is made even better after you press the space bar. The cursor turns into a camera icon, and when you hover that camera over different elements on your screen, that element will highlight. That means you can easily take a perfectly-sized screenshot of an open window in any app without having to drag the cursor around. Works for full-screen apps too, as well as the Dock and the menu bar.
posted by emelenjr at 8:18 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


Probably I am the last person on Earth that didn't know this, but if you have a lot of tabs open in Chrome, and your computer restarts and closes them in the process, and if, when you open Chrome back up it doesn't ask you if you want to restore your open tabs:

Go to the Chrome menu, select History and you will see "Recently Closed". Under that it will say something like (86) Tabs. If you click on that, it will reopen all those tabs for you.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:25 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


If you're looking to get more efficiency from the keyboard, there are some meta solutions like Launchy which lets you open any program (that it knows about in its search path, which you can customize) from a hotkey and espanso which lets you type short "words" that expand into whatever you want. This can be especially helpful for teams where you regularly need to refer to certain products or departments or whatever by A Very Important and Never Misformated Name (c). Or for quickly replying to helpdesk requests with stock replies, etc.
posted by yerfatma at 8:28 AM on June 11 [5 favorites]


F6 will also go to the Chrome address bar.

You can turn on keyboard shortcuts in Gmail.
posted by ellieBOA at 8:34 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Ctrl+Shit+T will open the last tab you closed in most browsers

Ctrl+Home and Ctrl+End to get to the start or end of docs, files, webpages, etc.

In both Sheets and Excel, Ctrl + semicolon will insert today's date while Ctrl + colon (Shift + semicolon) will insert the current time

Ctrl+Shift+End or Ctrl+Shift+Home will select everything from your current position to the end (or beginning) of the file. This will work even if you have something highlighted already and it will include your highlighted text. In a spreadsheet, it also works with the arrow keys to select blocks of cells and should only select those with data in them unless you hit the arrow twice. You can combine arrows like first hitting C+S+Down and then keeping the C+S depressed and hitting the right arrow will go all the way down your data and then all the way across it.
posted by soelo at 8:39 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


This may only be useful to science-y folks, but the shortcut for subscript (Ctrl =) and superscript (Ctrl Shift =) save me SO much time.
posted by Paper rabies at 9:08 AM on June 11 [8 favorites]


In macOS, shift-command-4 = "drag the cursor to take a screenshot."

Win10 *finally* added a command like this -> shift-Win-S.

It's super useful to grab a quick clip of a screen or team presentation and paste it into a OneNote notebook.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:25 AM on June 11 [5 favorites]


In Chrome/Edge:

ctrl + 1 opens the first tab ... ctrl +8 opens the eighth tab. ctrl + 9 opens the last tab.

Hold down ctrl and tap tab, it goes to the next tab, two taps of tab -- two tabs down. Shift works here too ctrl + shift + tab goes backwards. (This works just like alt + tab in Windows/Mac.)

Guess who has a hundred tabs open right now.
posted by gregr at 9:45 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


Sometimes when working with multiple monitors (and switching one between different machines, or turning it off even), or badly behaved programs - the title bar of an application goes off-the-top-of-the screen... And your mouse can't reach it...

You can use "ALT+SPACE" to bring up the application menu (Restore, Move, Size, Minimize, Maximize, Close) - use your down-arrow until "Move" is selected. Press enter, then use your arrow keys (typically down-arrow) to move the window around - press enter again when you are happy with it's location...
posted by rozcakj at 9:45 AM on June 11 [7 favorites]


>[I]f you have a lot of tabs open in Chrome, and your computer restarts and closes them in the process, and if, when you open Chrome back up it doesn't ask you if you want to restore your open tabs
Nice, thanks! I have used Ctrl-Shift T (Cmd-Shift T in macOS) to reopen the last-closed window when that's happened -- but usually I also have 'On start-up' -> 'Continue where you left off' configured for Chrome and 'Restore previous session' for Firefox.

Hit Win and type the first few letters of the app or executable name.
posted by k3ninho at 10:06 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Not a keyboard shortcut but a different kind of shortcut: I am always amazed by the number of my colleagues who don’t know about Format Painter, and whose minds are blown when they are shown it. A real time saver when you are editing documents together from different sources, trying to get numbered paragraphs to run smoothly, or correct things when Word formats random paragraphs differently.
posted by greycap at 10:41 AM on June 11 [5 favorites]


In Windows 10 the combination: Windows Key + E opens File Explorer, which if you're like me comes in very handy (I find it easier to keep different explorer windows open as opposed to navigating within the same one). Of course, this scheme can combined with multiple desktops and the Ctrl-Shift-left/right arrow shortcut I think someone above already mentioned.
posted by forthright at 6:31 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]


I frequently need two documents open on one monitor to compare or present info side by side, so I click in one document (or sheet, etc.) and press the Window key, left arrow/cursor, and the left side of my screen is filled with that document; then I just click in the other document and it fills the right side of my screen (sometimes I also need to do windows key right arrow/cursor to get it to cooperate). You can keep going and add two more documents so that they are each taking up a quarter of your screen by doing the windows key, up arrow and down arrow - but usually that's too much clutter.
posted by kbar1 at 8:52 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]


Related to ctrl-shift-T: in Firefox, ctrl-shift-N will restore the last window you closed.
posted by reventlov at 12:26 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


TIL that Windows key + . (period) will bring up emojis. I'll be using this daily.
posted by Freyja at 8:34 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


In gmail, you can hit ? to get a cheat sheet with all the shortcuts. The only one I really use is c to compose a new message.
posted by aniola at 8:52 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Windows + G to bring up the Game Bar to record a video of the active window

Also, as a best practice I always download an alternate browser to use for my personal browsing, checking email, etc. so when I turn in my computer I can just wipe/delete that browser and leave all my business history/log ins intact
posted by cali at 9:47 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


If you have multiple monitors in Windows (highly recommended btw), you can move the currently active window between your monitors with Win+Shift+Left Arrow and Win+Shift+Right Arrow.
If you don't have multiple monitors but just want to snap a window to one side of the screen or the other, Win+Left/Right Arrow does that.

Also, if you download the Power Toys for Win10, there is a shortcut guide for many of the Windows key shortcuts included that shows up if you press and hold the Windows key.
posted by Aleyn at 10:35 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


In both Chrome and Firefox you can Ctrl+left click on tabs to select multiple tabs, or Shift+left click on tabs to select all from the current to the clicked. (This is the standard 'select multiple' behavior.) Once you have multiple tabs selected, you can perform batch operations, like closing, bookmarking, grouping, reloading, etc.

There is a hidden carat that can be used for selecting text for copy/paste operations; this is very useful when you want to select a massive amount of text, such as multiple pages. Left click where you want the selection to start. This sets an invisible carat at that position. Then scroll to where you want the selection to end, and Shift+left click. That will create a selection between your starting and ending points, without having to hold down the left mouse button and drag the whole way.

You can select individual cells of tables on web pages with Ctrl+left click.

In a browser, Shift+middle mouse button click opens a link in a new tab in the foreground. Middle mouse button click without shift opens a link in a background tab, i.e. without switching to it. (It bugs the heck out of me when I see people right click on a link and select open in tab instead of just middle clicking.) Shift+left click opens a link in a new window instead of a tab.

In browsers you can 'peel off' tabs, by left click dragging them off the tab bar. This transfers them to a new window. You can do the inverse as well (drag a tab from a separate window back to the tab bar of the original window to re-join the tab.) This also works as expected when you have multiple tabs selected, so if you want to move several tabs to their own window, select them and drag them off.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:22 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


(Forgot a few)

Middle click on a browser tab to close.

To select text by whole words instead of individual characters, double-click drag when selecting. (That is, down click, release, down click and hold while moving pointer, then release.) You can select whole paragraphs with a triple click.

In Windows you can assign any keyboard shortcut to opening any program, just navigate to its shortcut and go to properties. One of the fields there allows typing a shortcut. This makes opening frequently used apps (e.g. a calculator) easy without ever taking your hands off the keyboard.

There is a program X-Mouse Button Control which allows customizing mouse button actions on a per-application basis. It works with any mouse and does not require some special gaming mouse junkware. I find this very convenient, because I can add actions to things like the mouse thumb buttons for certain applications, where those buttons would otherwise go unused. For example you could have a thumb button send the keypress to save a document, or 'Paste as plain text', or whatever you want.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:50 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


The day I found out about Shift+Rightclick > Copy as path was a GLORIOUS day
posted by emeiji at 12:33 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Windows 10 - windows key + v gives you an extended clipboard with the last 20 things you’ve copied. Such a timesaver for me - copy everything I need, then go type up my email, for example.
posted by hilaryjade at 3:01 PM on June 12 [6 favorites]


For Windows 10:

In a multi-monitor setup, WIndow+Shift+Left/Right Arrow sends the current window to the next monitor in that direction.

Each pinned application on the taskbar is assigned a number starting with 1 on the left and continuing to the right.

Window+<number> will either start that application if it is not running, or allow one to switch to the application or among open windows of that application if it is running.

Window+Shift+<number> will create a new window for the application, regardless of whether or not it's running.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:44 PM on June 12 [5 favorites]


CTRL+ mouse scrollwheel to increase/decrease the zoom level

If you're using a trackpad instead of a mouse, you can pinch bigger and smaller without CTRL for the same effect.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:11 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Related to ctrl-shift-T: in Firefox, ctrl-shift-N will restore the last window you closed.

This works in Chrome too.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:38 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


> I use the shortcut for "paste without formatting" in GSuite products all the time. It's CMD+SHIFT+V on MacOS, and I think it's CTRL+SHIFT+V on Windows.

On MacOS, CMD OPT SHIFT V will paste without formatting in almost any application.
posted by ardgedee at 8:38 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


ob1quixote: “Each pinned application on the taskbar is assigned a number starting with 1 on the left and continuing to the right.”
I should add that running applications, pinned or not, continue the sequence of numbers so that Window+<number> will switch to any of the first 10 applications on the task bar.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:40 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]



If you're looking to get more efficiency from the keyboard, there are some meta solutions like [...] espanso which lets you type short "words" that expand into whatever you want.


Yerfatma, you just gave the best answer to my question from last year. Thank you so, so much!
posted by M. at 11:20 AM on June 13


How to remember the most used shortcuts, conveniently located next to Ctrl.
Window key + E opens file explorer
Window key + R opens Run box (for calc or whatever)
Window key + L locks Windows
Alt + Tab to scroll though open windows
Ctrl + D to bookmark a page
Shift, logically, modifies existing shortcuts.

I recently learned that with the mouse pointer on the tabs, the scroll wheel scrolls tabs, which I like, because I have an absurd number of tabs open, always.

I type faster and better using shortcuts; the mouse causes tendonitis.
posted by theora55 at 7:31 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


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