Don’t touch that mouse!

Our survey results show that a lot of Pitsters are saving time using keyboard shortcuts.

Sometimes it seems as though there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Take the kids to school, pick up the dry-cleaning, morning meeting at the office – there is just too much to do. As the times keep moving faster and our lives keep getting busier, we often find ourselves trying to save a little time wherever we can.

Thankfully, computers were built with just this thought in mind. No more fiddling around with that jumpy mouse. No more meddling with that laptop’s problematic touchpad. In fact, the solution lies right below the tips of our fingers.

In our most recent PC Pitstop survey, we polled our users to find out which convenient keyboard shortcuts were the most popular. Here’s what you told us:

Shortcut Command
Use it a lot
Sometimes use it
Never use it
Didn’t know about it
Ctrl C Copy 52% 19% 21% 9%
Ctrl V Paste 53% 17% 21% 9%
Ctrl Z Undo 22% 21% 37% 20%
Ctrl X Cut 32% 21% 32% 15%
Ctrl A Select All 35% 19% 28% 17%
Alt Tab Change Active Window 26% 25% 30% 19%
Alt F4 Closes Active Window 16% 23% 36% 24%
Windows D Windows Desktop 11% 17% 36% 36%
Windows M Minimize All Windows 8% 15% 40% 37%
Windows E Windows Explorer 11% 13% 35% 41%

The top shortcuts are Ctrl C and Ctrl V. We found that over half of our users are using the Copy and Paste shortcuts on a regular basis. Just think how much time you could save not having to click Edit then clicking Copy and having to do it all over again for Paste.

Do you ever need to copy all the text off of some website and you try to wait out the eternity it takes your mouse to select everything all the way to the bottom? So then you click where you want to begin highlighting and scroll down by clumsily picking up and dumping your mouse for what seems like forever? That’s why we have our next most commonly-used shortcut, Ctrl A, with about of 35 percent of our users regularly selecting all. This versatile function allows users to Select All, whether it be words on a website, images in a document, or cells in a spreadsheet.

Ever get that sinking feeling of desperation in your gut when you accidentally delete everything you’ve been working on for hours? Or how about when you are stuck in a game of Spider Solitaire and have no moves to make? Have no fear, Ctrl Z is here. According to the poll, only 22 percent of users use Ctrl Z regularly, while 37 percent of users claim to never use it all. However, the useful Undo function can come in handy often, as it allows users to correct their mistakes made in virtually any Microsoft application.

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When it comes time to close an application, it seems that most of our users are using their mice to click on that little red X in the right-hand corner. Nearly thirty-six percent of users claim to never use the Alt F4 shortcut which could save time by performing the same Close task.

Also, it seems as though most of our users are frequently clicking all the way down at the taskbar to change active windows. Only 30 percent of users are making use of the Alt Tab shortcut which allows users to scroll through active windows with ease.

Ever wonder why Microsoft put that little Windows key on your keyboard? Besides taking up space, all it really does is open the Start menu? According to our poll, most of users seemed to think so. In fact, the Windows key also functions as a shortcut. Isn’t it frustrating closing one window at a time to get to the desktop? When pressed in conjunction with M, the Windows key minimizes all open windows to the taskbar. Similarly, when it is pressed in conjunction with D, is displays the Windows desktop. Another combination that might come in handy is when the Windows key is pressed in conjunction with E, which opens a window for Explorer.

In our survey, we also asked users to let us know which other shortcuts they were using. Here are some useful ones:

Shortcut Function
Ctrl Alt Delete Task Manager
Ctrl Shift Escape Task Manager
Windows Shift M Restores minimized windows
Windows R Run command
Windows F Find command
Windows L Logoff user or lock computer
Windows Pause/Break System properties
Windows U Utility Manager command
Shift Delete Permanent delete
Alt Escape Shift between active windows
Ctrl Enter Opens Find function in Microsoft applications
Ctrl N Opens New Window in Microsoft applications
Ctrl P Opens Print function in Microsoft applications
Ctrl F5 Refresh in IE
Ctrl F4 Close active window in program that allows multiple open windows

Everybody has those experiences when one program you are running locks up and brings everything to a screeching halt. To make matters worse, while you are trying to manually click out of the unresponsive program, you end up with several End Program windows popping up and causing even more headaches. Then your whole computer locks up on you. What ever can we do to fix this? The Ctrl Alt Delete and Ctrl Shift Escape combinations, which allow us to view the Task Manager and end the unresponsive tasks, were the most frequent responses when we asked which other shortcuts are users were using.

We also discovered that many of our users are avoiding clutter in their Recycle Bins by using the Shift Delete shortcut, which deletes items permanently and bypasses the recycle bin. Useful, since it would eliminate that need for right-clicking and selecting Empty Recycle Bin every other five minutes.

Some other interesting combinations of the Windows key we received were: Windows R, which opens the Run command; Windows F, which opens the Find command; and Windows L, which locks the computer while you’re away.

Well, maybe it’s still too soon to throw away the mouse, but it’s never too late to get in the hang of using the keyboard shortcuts. They just might come in handy and save you a little time in your busy life.

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