Don’t Shortcut, Keyboard Shortcuts

Close up of a mechanical keyboard with coloured keys
Image by Juan Gomez

When you first enter any kind of computer related course which requires you to work on any kind of software. Your teachers have probably nagged you about learning keyboard shortcuts. They say it can improve your workflow and efficiency overall. However, you probably mindlessly nodded your head and then proceeded to draw spirals in illustrator. Now you have become a master at all things design, yet you are just as slow as when you started. Maybe even slower due to your inability to make decisions with your arsenal of design experience.

What can I do to fix this? Keyboard shortcuts!

The best advice I can give you is to learn your keyboard shortcuts for everything. Don’t just learn the keyboard shortcuts for your favourite software! You should try to learn multiple software shortcuts, browser shortcuts, and even operating system shortcuts. Initially you will see a dip in your productivity because it takes time to learn something new. However, continuing to implement keyboard shortcuts will make you faster and in tune with software like never before.

What are some tips and tricks?

For the most part, it is just a matter of beating your head against them until you start remembering them. However, an effective strategy would be to take note of every time you move your mouse to click something. Once you click said item, hover your cursor over it in order to reveal the shortcut. Then change out of the selected tool and force yourself to select the same tool again with the keyboard shortcut. This sounds like a lot of work, and it can be tedious because you are breaking out of your workflow. Over time you will begin to remember the shortcuts, and start improving your workflow. This method can be less daunting, compared to writing down and memorizing every keyboard shortcut line for line.

You can still find lists of keyboard shortcuts online if you prefer memorizing.

Author: Timothy Claude

Timothy Claude is a graphic and web design student, currently enrolled in a career program at John Abbott College. He is creatively driven with a large focus placed on efficiency and good design principles.

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