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Cut to the Chase

May 16, 2003 11:36 IST

Your keyboard is designed to replace the mouse. We show you how.


Did you know that your keyboard can practically replace your mouse? While the mouse is an easy-to-use and wonderful invention, it is also the major hurdle to using your keyboard to it's maximum potential.

Have you often wondered about keys on the keyboard that you hardly ever use? Are the function keys F1, F2, etc. on the top most row of your keyboard of any use? Or how do you get special characters like ®, £, ™ on your document?


Keyboard shortcuts


There are many shortcut keys that you can access from your keyboard. Most of you know the shortcut keys for common functions like Save (CTRL+S), Print (CTRL+P), Cut (CTRL+X), Copy (CTRL+C) and Paste (CTRL+V). But there are many more. Like the Windows logo key for instance is often forgotten.


Just pressing the Logo key (located on the bottom left row of your keyboard) will bring up the Start Menu from the task bar. (Pressing the CTRL key and ESC key simultaneously also brings up the Start Menu). Use the Logo key and the letter M to minimise all the open windows and return to the desktop. A combination on the Logo key and the Pause/Break button brings up the system information dialog box.


There are other keyboard shortcuts using the SHIFT key. Normally when you delete a file, folder, or icon, it isn't really gone until you empty your recycle bin. Although this comes in handy when you want to retrieve files you have accidentally, there are also times when you are sure you want to completely delete them.


You can do that without sending them to the recycle bin by holding down the SHIFT key while erasing the file using the delete key. Holding down the SHIFT key when you right click on a file, will give you an addition Open With option to choose the program within which you want to open the file.



System shortcut keys


Keyboard shortcuts using the Logo key


Keyboard tips


Default keyboard shortcuts


Keyboard shortcuts for browsers


Basic function key shortcuts


Enabling keyboard accessibility


ANSI secrets


Ever wondered how to get special characters like ©, ® or ™ in your document? You don't need any special software installed. Windows has it's own inbuilt character map utility, which you can use to identify individual special characters. Using copy and paste you can insert them into your document. However, this is a very slow procedure, and it is much quicker to use the ALT key for those characters which are used frequently.


For example, [CTRL]+[ALT]+[C] gives ©. Similarly, [CTRL]+[ALT]+[R] gives ® and [CTRL]+[ALT]+[T] gives ™ .


Special characters are usually entered using the numeric keypad and a 4-digit ANSI code. Each character is allocated a particular slot, and the character in that slot can be inserted by pressing the corresponding key on the keyboard, or by holding down the Alt key and tapping 0 followed by 'nnn' on the numeric keypad where 'nnn' is the 3-digit code for each special character.


For e.g., to get the pound symbol (£):

  • Press and hold the [ALT] key
  • Type 0163 on the numeric keypad on the right
  • Release the [ALT] key to see the symbol



Entire list of ANSI special characters


Keyboard injury


While learning about the keyboard's hidden wonders, it is also imperative to keep in mind the damage it can do, it if is not used properly. Computer related injuries (CRI) can happen to anybody who uses computers extensively. The keyboard should always be placed at a comfortable, neutral posture when in use. The increased repetitive motions and awkward postures attributed to the use of computer keyboards results in cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) that are generally considered to be the most costly and severe disorders occurring in the office.


This site gives an idea of proper keyboard position and postures with illustrations. Dr Deepak Sharan also shares more on carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injury.


Vidya Srinivasa Rao