Keyboard shortcuts are awesome-sauce. Anytime you can keep your hands on your keys instead of reaching for the mouse, you're saving precious seconds.
Of course, it takes time to learn those shortcuts, especially when there are a lot of them.
Like, say, in Gmail. There are countless shortcuts that can make navigating Google's mail service infinitely easier, but you really have to put some effort in to commit them to memory.
Or not, if you're a Chrome user and you install KeyRocket for Gmail. This clever plug-in recommends keyboard shortcuts while you use the service, effectively teaching you as you work.
Specifically, whenever you click something in Gmail -- your inbox, the Reply button, etc. -- KeyRocket produces a small pop-up telling you what key(s) you could have pressed instead.
So, for example, when you click the Starred link in your toolbar, KeyRocket briefly notifies you that you pressing G, then S, will also take you to your Starred conversations. You can also bring up a full list of available shortcuts by pressing Shift-?.
It's amazingly how quickly this instills the basics of keyboard navigation -- to the point where I'd like to see KeyRocket for just about every other program that uses shortcuts. KeyRocket for Chrome, anyone? KeyRocket for Word?
In the meantime, KeyRocket for Gmail works wonders. It's a must-have plug-in for anyone who wants to learn the fine art of keyboard navigation. It's either that or you keep flipping back and forth between Gmail and Google's keyboard-shortcut reference guide -- a hassle if ever there was one.
Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at firstname.lastname@example.org, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.