A mouse is one of the most basic computer peripherals, purchased alongside a keyboard and the computer itself. But what if yours was to break? Or, what if it were to go missing?
Well for argument’s sake, let us pretend that you have no mouse attached and yet you desperately need to work on your computer.
Thankfully for you, there are a plethora of keyboard shortcuts that allow you to continue working on your computer with no issue at all.
A keyboard shortcut is exactly what it says on the tin. It is a shortcut using only your keyboard.
The majority of them would be possible by going into system settings and changing whatever you wanted to, but using a keyboard saves a lot of time.
A lot of shortcuts are universal and work on a variety of applications, especially those for writing on such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and Apple Pages.
The fundamentals of a shortcut are that you have to press at least two buttons at the same time. Sometimes they will require more than two fingers and can be keys spaced far apart making it more difficult. A lot of them involve you pressing the left Control key in tandem with any other key, and this will activate the shortcut.
As said, they mainly save time. If you are writing a long essay or document but have made a mistake, it will take time and ruin your flow for you to put your hand on your mouse and then click the Undo button. To prevent this, instead, you can just press Control and ‘Z’ to instantly undo your mistake, without wasting any time or messing up your workflow.
The best example to show the useful nature of shortcuts would be Adobe Photoshop. Every single tool and action in that app has a shortcut related to it. When you watch someone talented use Photoshop, it can be mind-blowing how efficient they are due to the use of shortcuts.
Thankfully for anyone who either cannot press the right mouse button or does not have a mouse, you can indeed right-click, Also known as secondary click, with a keyboard.
To properly make use of this to its full potential, you will need to use it in tandem with other shortcuts.
Windows has a built-in shortcut where you press ‘Shift’ and ‘F10’ at the same time. This will bring up the right-click menu wherever the cursor is, or wherever there is something highlighted. This has the exact same functionality as a right-click and opens the shortcut menu. The shortcut menu can also be called a context menu.
To some, that may pose a bit of an issue. With no mouse, how can you be expected to highlight something? There is another shortcut where you can press and hold down shift, while using your arrow keys, to start highlighting text. If you hold control at the same time, you will start highlighting entire words at a time instead of just single letters. After this, simply press shift F10 when happy with what you have highlighted, and you are good to go.
This can be very helpful for those who need to write documents while mouse-less. To navigate the right-click menu, continue using the arrow keys and press the ‘Enter’ key when you are highlighting the option you want to press.
However, this shift f10 shortcut can not be taken advantage of for video games and other applications that require continuous right-clicking. This is because those applications and video games will have shortcuts of their own that overwrite the default windows shortcuts.
To do the complete opposite and ‘left click’ is thankfully much easier. To simulate a ‘left-click’ and open files, navigate your way to them with the arrow keys and press ‘enter’.
There are over 3000 keyboard shortcuts enabled on Windows 10, so it would be almost impossible to list them all. However, there are some shortcuts that are very important and should be known by anyone who uses a computer.
The main shortcut anyone on a computer should know is how to copy and paste with ease. It does not matter if it is an image, a document, a selected file, or some text.
To copy whatever is highlighted, press control and ‘C’. This will add whatever it is to your pasteboard. This is saved on your computer’s instant memory so it will not be forgotten until your computer is turned off.
To paste the item from your pasteboard to wherever, make sure that first, you click where you want to paste it, or at least make sure you are typing in the right area, and then press control and ‘V’. This will paste whatever the last thing you copied is, directly where your mouse has clicked or highlighted.
The Numpad, the numeric keypad on the right of your keyboard, naturally uses the keys secondary function, such as arrows or ‘home’ buttons. To allow it to be used properly, the Num lock button must be activated.
After toggling Num lock, you can now use Numpad shortcuts. These are very extensive and have a lot of different combinations but once you start to learn them, it is very simple.
The Numpad can be used to summon special characters such as a tiny trademark sign, or signs found in mathematic equations.
To do this, hold down the left Alt key and use either the three or four-digit code assigned to your desired sign or symbol. For example, to summon the ‘™’ sign I press down Alt and hold it while I enter the code ‘0153’ on the Numpad.
The windows key is located in between CTRL and Alt on most keyboards. It looks exactly like the windows logo. Pressing it in tandem with certain keys can help you do more advanced actions on a windows pc.
Pressing the Windows key and ‘R’ will bring up the ‘run folder’ which will instantly run any file you enter into it. To enter the systems settings menu instantly, press the Windows key and ‘I’ at the same time. Pressing the Windows key on its own will bring up the start menu, which has additional shortcuts in it as well as easy ways to open your most used and most recent apps.
The F keys are the ones along the top of your keyboard. Ranging from F1 to F12, they all have their own unique shortcuts.
On a laptop, you must press and hold the FN key to access them as a laptop has a smaller keyboard so the F keys have even more shortcuts than usual. An external keyboard will sometimes have this as well.
Pressing the F keys with another key simultaneously will trigger a certain shortcut, depending on the second key.
Holding the Alt key and pressing F4 will instantly shut down whatever app or program you are currently running.
Pressing the Alt key and the spacebar together will open a menu in the top left of the application that gives you options that vary depending on what app you are on. For Google, you are given options such as minimize, restore, open a new tab, and close the app. This new window is called a context menu.
If you truly do not have access to a mouse and need to extensively use your computer, you can make do with just a keyboard as long as it is full size and has a Numpad.
To access this you will need to navigate to the ease of access center and find the page dedicated to the ‘Mouse’. On Windows 10 this will be located all the way at the bottom.
Make sure the option that reads ‘Turn on mouse keys to use the numeric keypad to move the mouse pointer’ is on. this will allow you to use the Numpad as mouse keys.
Assuming 8 is up and 2 is down, the rest of the Numpad will move your mouse pointer in the direction you would expect it to. Pressing any corner mouse keys will move your cursor diagonally.
There are more shortcut keys that go with this as you can press the forward slash key to select the left mouse button, the asterisk key to select both buttons, and the minus key to select the right mouse button. Press 5 on the Numpad to use the selected button.
For example, once you have navigated your mouse to hover over a file, you can press the forward slash key and then 5 on your Numpad and this shall open the file you are hovering over.
On the MAC operating system, shortcuts can be a bit more difficult. The majority of them are the same but use the MAC exclusive ‘Command’ key instead of CTRL. To right-click on a MAC you also have to hold command and click the mouse button as the MAC mouse only has one button on it, typically.
The ‘option’ key is also used instead of alt, as the keyboard does not have the alt key at all.
Unlike windows, MAC has no quick shortcuts that take you straight to the system preferences page.
Holding shift and pressing F10 will bring up the right-click menu for anything that is highlighted.
If you are on Windows then you can either press the right mouse key or hold shift and press F10. If you are on a MAC then you will have to hold command and then click the mouse key.