NOTE: The article below was featured in my Working Smarter for Mac Users newsletter this week and is excerpted from my soon-to-be-released eBook, Working Smarter for Mac Users. It’s a delightful little ditty with a tip that can save you countless hours. ‘
Better still, the more you use this tip, the more time you’ll save. And, as you’ll see, it couldn’t be easier.
And, last but not least, if you read all the way to the end, there’s a free gift for you!
All this and more, but first, this brief message from our sponsor, my my soon-to-be-released eBook, Working Smarter for Mac Users:
Preorder Working Smarter for Mac Users before it ships on March 3 and save up to $20
March 3 is just around the corner and this is probably the last post I’ll write before Working Smarter for Mac Users ships on March 3 and the price goes up. So, if you want to save a few bucks, please click the big blue button and pre-order your copy before March 3, OK?
We return now to our regularly scheduled programming…
Keyboard Shortcuts Save You Time
Moving right along… let’s take a look at another tip from Working Smarter for Mac Users… In a previous post I talked about improving your typing skills; in this post we’ll look at keyboard shortcuts—which are another skill I recommended in the first chapter of Dr. Macintosh (1989) and still recommend to this day.
Using keyboard shortcuts is all about reducing your dependence on the mouse. Many of the things you do with your mouse can be done faster and easier using a keyboard shortcut.
If you’re not familiar with keyboard shortcuts, look in just about any menu in almost any application and you’ll see some. Take the Finder’s Edit menu, for example:
I can’t remember the last time I opened this menu to use any of its commands. They’re so important and I use them so often, their keyboard shortcuts are embedded in my muscle memory. It would behoove you to memorize them all (or at least the four in the middle: Cut, Copy, Paste, and Select All).
Here’s another useful example: Instead of selecting the Icon, List, Column or Cover Flow view from the View menu, try using their keyboard shortcuts instead:
- Command+1 to switch to Icon view
- Command+2 for List view
- Command+3 for Column view
- Command+4 for Cover Flow view.
See! Isn’t that faster than taking your hand off the keyboard, grabbing the mouse, moving the cursor to the View menu, and then clicking an item?
I used that menu as an example for a reason: You want to memorize those commands or at least the first three (unless you’re among the handful who find Cover Flow view useful).
In any event, switching views quickly make it easier to work in the Finder. For example, if I am browsing a folder with a lot of pictures in List view (background window in image below), I just press Command+1 to switch to Icon view so I can see thumbnails of the images (foreground window in image below).
Switching Finder views with a keyboard shortcut is handy, but it’s merely one of the thousands of shortcuts available in the Finder and almost every Mac app that can save you oodles of time every day.
Whenever you find yourself using a menu item more than a few times a day, look for a keyboard shortcut on its right. These are the four symbols you might see next to a letter, number, or punctuation mark in a menu:
So, look for these shortcut symbols in menus, and memorize the ones you use most.
Trust me, keyboard shortcuts are faster every time; you’ll save many minutes every day not reaching for the mouse/trackpad or moving it up to a menu item, which slows you down more than you think.
Your Free Gift:
I created a PDF you can use to memorize some of the more useful shortcuts; download ’em, tape ‘em to your monitor, and then don’t remove them until your fingers automatically perform these shortcuts every time and you never think about reaching for the mouse.
I know it might seem weird that I’m telling you to print it and hang it where you can see it, but that way you won’t need a mouse to find it quickly. Plus, if you only have it as a file on your hard drive, you’ll surely forget about it.
Two more things:
If you have comments or questions, I hope you’ll leave them in the Comments section below; I try to respond within 24 hours (and usually a lot sooner than that).
Last but not least, I have a big favor to ask of you: If this post (or any of my posts/books/columns/etc.) has helped you become more productive or use your Mac better, faster, or more elegantly, please use the Share button to help me spread the word. As a small (read: tiny), first-time self-publisher, I will be eternally grateful for your help spreading the word.
Thanks again for your support. 🤓