Keyboard Shortcuts: 5 Applications to Help You Master Your Keyboard

We all know some basic keyboard shortcuts—copy, paste, quit, and (one of my personal favorites) undo. While the basics are extremely helpful in routine computer tasks like word processing, there is a whole world of keyboard shortcuts—some specific to applications—that are less obvious but can be equally powerful. For example, a couple years ago I learned about using Command-Shift-T to reopen a closed tab in Google Chrome and—estimating that one use saves 2 seconds—it has probably saved me hours of my life (yes, I’m a frequent tab-opener). As a shortcut enthusiast, I am constantly looking for new ones to learn and new ways to learn them. Luckily, there are a number of applications out there that people have designed specifically to teach you shortcuts. If you are looking to improve your efficiency through shortcuts, here are some applications that might help you out:

    • Eve: This program for Mac OS displays the keyboard shortcut for a command when you do it with your mouse.  Super simple and helpful — when you see the keyboard shortcut as you’re performing the command, you’re more likely to remember it.
    • KeyRocket: The same as Eve but for Windows.
    • CheatSheet: This Mac app will show you a handy list of all the keyboard shortcuts for whatever program you’re using at the time.
    • AutoHotkey:  Sick and tired of trying to memorize all the shortcuts somebody else came up with?  If you’re a Windows user, you can use this one to program your own shortcuts and macros.
    • Shortcuts for Gmail: This Chrome extension is pretty much just like Eve and KeyRocket, but it’s just for Gmail. For a quick alternative to the extension, you can type a “?” while you are in Gmail to see an overlay of all available shortcuts.

These are just some examples of programs that can be helpful in teaching yourself some useful shortcuts. A lot of learning to use keyboard shortcuts is simple practice and memorization. It can be a tedious process, but is definitely worth the investment for the amount of time you will save once they become second nature.

Do you have any tricks for learning keyboard shortcuts? Have we missed any cool applications for learning them? Share them with us!