Keyboard Shortcuts From Hassle-Free PC

Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know

Regular readers know of my love for keyboard shortcuts. And who can blame me? When I'm typing along in, say, Word or a blog tool, the last thing I want to do is reach for the mouse. Totally interrupts my workflow. (We writer types are all about the workflow.)

Of course, there are times when I need to select, copy, cut, and/or paste text--all functions that would seem to mandate a little mouse action. But no: You can accomplish all those tasks with a few simple keyboard shortcuts. These may seem old and obvious to some users, but trust me: Not everybody knows them.

These shortcuts work in just about every text editor known to humanity, from Word to WordPad to WordPress.

Ctrl-Shift-Right Arrow: Selects the word immediately to the right of the cursor.

Ctrl-Shift-Left Arrow: Selects the word immediately to the left of the cursor.

Ctrl-Home: Selects all text from the cursor's current position to the beginning of the line.

Ctrl-End: Selects all text from the cursor's current position to the end of the line.

Ctrl-C: Copies selected text to the clipboard.

Ctrl-X: Cuts (i.e. temporarily deletes) selected text and copies it to the clipboard.

Ctrl-V: Pastes whatever text has been copied to the keyboard.

Once you master these shortcuts, I guarantee you'll find yourself working much more quickly in Word and similar programs. So put down that mouse and keep your hands on the keys where they belong.

Launch Apps in a Flash With Windows-Key Shortcut

So help me, I'll always be a fan of Windows' Quick Launch toolbar. I showed you how to do endow it with a handy Windows Explorer icon, and I've also told you how to switch to big, Windows 7-style icons.

Today, one last Quick Launch tip--one that's sure to appeal to keyboard-shortcut nuts like me. Once you've enabled the Quick Launch toolbar, a single click of any icon is all to takes to launch that program. But did you know that each icon is automatically assigned a number and corresponding Windows-key shortcut?

For example, the first icon in the toolbar (the one closest to the Start button) is linked to "1." So by pressing Windows-1, you can launch that program right from your keyboard. Pressing Windows-2 is like clicking the second icon, and so on.

This tip works for icons 1 to 9. If you already have Quick Launch enabled, give it a try. If not, see either of the aforementioned tips to find out how to do so.

Stop Accidental Touchpad Touchesg

Raise your hand if this has happened to you: You're typing along on your laptop, when suddenly you look up and see that your cursor has jumped somewhere else in your document, resulting in seriously fouled-up text.

That maddening occurrence is usually the result of accidentally brushing the touchpad with your thumb, relocating the cursor in the process. One option is to plug in a USB mouse, but even that doesn't always do the trick: Some laptops leave the touchpad enabled even when there's a mouse present.

Fortunately, by delving into Windows' Mouse settings, you may be able to find a fix. Unfortunately, different laptops have different touchpads and touchpad drivers, so the solution isn't universal.

Start by opening the Control Panel and then double-clicking Mouse. If you see a Device Select tab, click it and enable Disable TouchPad when USB pointing device is present.

No such option? On my Acer Aspire One, which runs Windows XP, I had to click the Device Settings tab, then the Settings button, and then pore through Synaptics' extensive touchpad options. I found what I needed in Sensitivity, PalmCheck: By moving the slider closer to Maximum, the touchpad becomes more resistant to accidental brushes while typing.

On a Vista notebook, I found a Tapping tab in the Mouse Properties window. There, I enabled "Tap off when typing," which keeps the touchpad from recognizing taps while I'm typing. If your laptop doesn't have this option, look for something similar.

Recently I reviewed the Samsung Q310 laptop and found a feature to love: a function-key toggle that turns the touchpad on and off. It doesn't get easier than that. Hey, laptop manufacturers: steal that feature!

Rick Broida writes PC World's Hassle-Free PC blog. Sign up to have Rick's newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

Subscribe to the Daily Downloads Newsletter