As part of our introduction to Punctuation (New Eyes for Old Codes), we discovered that students need a great understanding of the keyboard and a widely used word processing program.
Last week, we had a quick survey of the options available in MS Word.
This week, we look at keyboarding short-cuts, also known as keyboard commands.
Knowing these short-cuts was once de rigueur for anyone using a keyboard, but tablets and smartphones are driving a few of the more arcane commands back to the hinterlands.
These short-cuts are called keyboard commands because they originated before the mouse did. For long time after the invention of the mouse as a user interface, the keyboard commands still worked. Some are now lost to history.
I love keyboard commands. They allow me to continue typing without having to lift my hand to use the mouse, which is time-consuming. When someone keyboards a LOT, as I do, seconds quickly add up to minutes and minutes over the course of a week become HOURS.
Anyway, here we go.
For people who are only familiar with smartphones, a few bits of advice about the keyboard will help.
Moving Words Around
We use TAB indenting paragraphs. We don’t space over; that creates ragged indentation throughout your document. TAB keeps everything nicely aligned.
Use Alignment or the Shift options in the Paragraph box in HOME if you want to move phrases or blocks of text, such as to center a title or to shift a bulleted list.
Allow the machine to wrap words automatically. This means that you continue typing even when you reach the margin. The application will jump down to the next line at the appropriate time.
Accessing Upper-Case and the Upper Symbols on the Keys
You can use SHIFT to capitalize one letter or a series of letters. Most people only use CAPS LOCK when they want to capitalize a series of words. Access the characters above the numbers and the punctuation marks above other marks by using SHIFT.
The dash is formed on a computer by using two hyphens without a space between them. To get the two hyphens to convert into the joined dash, you must not space between the opening and closing hyphens and its preceding and following words.
NUMLK is Numbers Lock. Click this key to turn on the numbers keypad on the keyboard. Or you can just use the numbers above the letters, which is not affected by NUMLK.
The ARROWS are an easy way to move around on a page. Use the scroll bars or the scroll function on the mouse to move over many pages. Use the Navigation Pane to make huge jumps in a document. Navigation is located in HOME at Editing by clicking Find.
Right-click on the mouse while hovering over a word. A pop-up offers quick options to change the text as well as synonyms or to make a comment.
As you type, if you make an error that the computer program does not automatically correct, a red or green squiggly underline may occur. “Red” stands for spelling error while “green” is for a grammatical error.
Some old keyboard commands still remain; we have lost other shortcuts, like New Document: CTRL N or . Those of us who “grew up” with keyboard commands find them faster than reaching for the mouse.
- Ctrl A will select everything in a document.
- Ctrl C will copy anything selected.
- Ctrl V will paste the selected item wherever the blinking mouse cursor is located on the screen.
- Ctrl P will open the printer window.
- Ctrl Z will undo while Ctrl Y will redo what you just took out.
- Ctrl B or I or U will perform bold, italics or underlining what you have selected.
- Ctrl S will perform a quick save. If you are worried about losing information in a document, use this quick save every five minutes or so, and you will not lose very much.
- CTRL O will open the window to find a document to open.
- CTRL N will immediately open a new document in whatever MS program you are working in.
Take a Picture of your Screen
Hold Ctrl and PrntScr to make a screenshot. In any Word document, you can then paste in the screenshot. Right click the image and select “save as picture” to turn it into an image that you can manipulate (size, crop, tint, etc.) . Screenshot is just as helpful on the laptop as it is on the smartphone.
Accent marks ~
- To create an acute accent mark above a letter, at the same time press Ctrl and the single quotation mark, after which type the letter: é.
- For a grave accent, press simultaneously Ctrl and `, after which type the letter: à.
- This operation will create a tilde, but three things must be pressed simultaneously: Ctrl and Shift and ~ then type the letter: ñ.
- Ctrl and Shift and : will create ï for words like naïve.
- Experiment with other accent marks for letters. Or, go to Insert > Symbols > Symbol to find a selection of letter options.
- Bullets can be changed as well by going to Insert > Symbols > Symbol. In the dropdown menu of the pop-up window for Symbols, you can select Webdings and Wingdings. These symbols usually do not change if you import to other computers or upload to other websites whereas other font symbols may do so.
There are more commands out there and certainly many more shortcuts. For example, we can record what we are doing on a screen.
Explore around. Use Google and search for the instructions of what you want to do. If someone hasn’t written a 10-item instruction list, then there’s bound to be a youtube video.
HowToGeek has a list of the 20 most important keyboarding shortcuts. Go investigate.
Consider the keyboard a challenge. Accept the challenge. And wonder of wonders, soon the keyboard will become your friend (instead of a frustration).
In February, we return to Punctuation Coding with the Enders: the three marks of punctuation that end sentences as well as the ellipsis and the asterisk, with guide us into a detour (a temporary end that allows us to head back to our route).
See you in February!