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These are a Few of My Favorite Things - 2018, Part 1

Around this time of year, the iconic Sound of Music song 'These are a Few of My Favorite Things' always seems to be playing in my head.  For the second year, I'm publishing a list of my favorite things that help me do my job faster or better.  I use many of these daily.

Keyboard Shortcuts

8 Days per Year

Would you be interested if someone showed you how to save eight days a year working?  Of course, you would!  Without question, teachers nationwide name lack of time as a top (if not THE top) obstacle they face in their professional practice. Keyboard shortcuts are a way to gain more time. 

Watch this video to learn how the time savings were calculated by BrainScape, an education platform that provides flashcards based on brain research.  Or view the formula below:


[2 wasted seconds / min] * [480 min / workday] * [240 workdays / year] = 64 wasted hours / year!


(2 seconds is the amount of time it takes to move your hand from your keyboard to your mouse to click and back again!)

My Favorite Less Known Shortcuts:

Bolding Text - Command + B:  

This shortcut saves me so much time.  Anytime I want to bold text, rather than highlighting and searching for the Bold tool on my document toolbar, I just click Command + B!


Paste Text and Match the Format of the Destination Document - Shift + Command + V: 

Another huge time saver for me!  When working in documents or slides, we often paste text from a different webpage or document.  Once pasted, you can spend a lot of time changing the font, font size, and color to match your existing document format.   By using Shift + Command + V (very close to the Paste keyboard shortcut Command + V!), your text appears in your document in the font format you have selected for your document.

Undo - Command + Z  

I love this one because it reduces the amount of time my heart stops when I have a finger flub and do something I didn't intend to - like delete all the text in my document!

Reopen Closed Tab - Shift + Command + T 

If you are like me, you have searched for hours and found the perfect web resource.  AND THEN YOU CLOSE THE TAB.  I also love this shortcut because it reduces the time my heart stops until the desired tab reopens!  (You can also reopen a closed tab by clicking Control + Click on any tab in Chrome to open a submenu with many options, including reopening a closed tab.)

Switch Tabs - Command + Tab Number

I don't use this one often, because I have so many tabs open I would have to count them.  But, if you are more contained with your tabs than I am, you can easily switch to a different tab by clicking Comand + Tab Number to take you to the tab you want!

Super Powers - Shortcut Smash using Multiple Keyboard Shortcuts together:  

Commenting on Documents & Slides:

Highlight Words - Option + Shift + right/left arrow keys
Highlight paragraphs - Option + Shift + up/down arrow keys
Open the Comments Box - Command + Option + M

This technique is a keyboard shortcut smash - meaning it is so powerful when combined with other keyboard shortcuts.  Use either of the first two options above to easily highlight text or paragraphs.  Then click Command + Option + M to open the comment box and make your comment.

Hyperlink Text

Copy URL  - Command + C
Create Links - Command + K
Paste URL - Command + V

Copy (Command + C) a link, highlight text and click Command + K to open the link dialog box.  Paste (Command + V) the URL in the dialog box.  Click OK, and your text is hyperlinked!  Check out how quickly you can create hyperlinked text in the image below:




Remembering the Keyboard Shortcuts

Remembering to use keyboard shortcuts can be challenging - it is hard to break habits!  Once you get in the habit of using them they have a huge impact on your efficiency. Below are some ideas for learning to incorporate keyboard shortcuts in your daily life:

1.  Print out this document to tape to your keyboard:

I created this .pdf of some of the more useful shortcuts, including a few talked about in this blog post!  Print it out and tape the shortcuts on either side or your trackpad  Use one or both boxes, whichever feels more useful to you.  The .pdf contains two sets, so share one with a colleague!


2.  Create flashcards and use them to learn the shortcuts.  Learn a few at a time.  Start with the most frequent tasks if you aren't already using keyboard shortcuts:

Cmd + C = Copy
Cmd + X = Cut
Cmd + V = Paste
Cmd + A = Select All

3.  KeyRocket for Gmail:  

Specifically for Gmail, which has its own built-in keyboard shortcuts, this app will display a reminder pop up with the shortcut for the action you just finished.  It is a great built-in learning tool!  Click the KeyRocket for Gmail link above, and add KeyRocket to Chrome to begin using it.

Looking for a keyboard shortcut for an action you do often?  Check out the entire list of keyboard shortcuts from Apple, Google, or Gmail

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