MET knowledge update minisession

Keyboard shortcuts for efficiency and comfort

Stephen Waller, Barcelona, Spain
Summary: For those who work long hours at a computer, becoming proficient at using the keyboard to perform tasks other than simply entering text can have at least two benefits. First, it can improve efficiency and productivity. Second, it provides an alternative to using a mouse and so allows a variation of input methods and associated body movements, which may have health benefits.

Purpose: To present situations in which using the keyboard can be more efficient than using a mouse. To introduce some less widely used keyboard shortcuts for everyday tasks. To explain how to customise keyboard shortcuts in Word so as to work faster. To show how to use the freeware AutoHotKey to create simple custom hotkeys that can improve productivity.

Description: The graphical user interface we work with, often for hours at a stretch, is designed to allow us to interact with the screen intuitively, using a point-and-click device. But pointing and clicking is not always the most efficient way of doing things.
In this minisession I will show, with examples that participants can try for themselves on their laptop, how some of the tasks we’re used to performing with a mouse can be accomplished just as quickly using the keyboard, and in some cases significantly faster.
First, we will practise some keyboard commands for managing the desktop, the file explorer and a browser. Then we will customise some keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys in Microsoft Word. This will include creating some very simple macros to convert frequent routines involving a sequence of keystrokes and mouse clicks into a single key combination. Finally, we will use AutoHotKey to create custom hotkeys that can boost productivity in a big way.
The presentation will be based on the Microsoft Windows operating system (especially Windows 10, although most shortcuts have been preserved through successive versions), but the sections on Microsoft Word and AutoHotKey will be applicable to other operating systems.

Who should attend? Anyone who works mainly at a computer and is a heavy mouse user.

Outcome skills: Participants will know some of the ways in which using keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys can facilitate their work and will have the basic tools to become more proficient in this respect.

Pre-workshop information: Participants are strongly encouraged to bring their laptops to the session. They should download and install the freeware AutoHotKey program before the workshop.

About the facilitator: Stephen Waller is a freelance translator based in Barcelona, former webmaster and current chair of MET. The motivation for the workshop comes from a sore arm, which, rightly or wrongly, he attributes to overuse of the mouse. The medicine prescribed in this workshop has alleviated the symptoms.