Turbocharge Your Workflow with Keyboard Shortcuts

Reclaim your time + Refresh your mindset

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7 min read

In the quest for productivity and efficiency, we often overlook simple yet powerful tools that can make a significant impact on our daily work. Keyboard shortcuts, while not a panacea for all productivity challenges, are a hidden gem that can dramatically boost your workflow without requiring a substantial investment of time or effort.

Introduction

What is a Keyboard Shortcut?

Keyboard shortcuts are, at their core, a series of key presses that map to specific actions, enabling you to perform tasks more swiftly and conveniently. Take, for example, the ubiquitous copy-and-paste operations. By using keyboard shortcuts, you can save valuable seconds that would otherwise be spent right-clicking and navigating through context menus.

Why should I care?

You might wonder why these saved seconds matter in the grand scheme of things. After all, a few seconds here and there may not seem like a game-changer. However, the true impact of keyboard shortcuts becomes apparent when you consider how often you switch between your keyboard and mouse during a typical workday.

Each switch, no matter how brief, accumulates into a substantial amount of time over the course of a day, week, or month. Time that could have been better spent on tasks that truly matter. When you realize that these moments of inefficiency are limiting your overall output, you'll start to grasp the significance of this small yet impactful change in your workflow.

The importance of adopting keyboard shortcuts extends beyond simply producing more work. It's about reclaiming your most precious resource: time. As the saying goes, "Time is money," and that holds true for every person on the planet. We are all constrained by the same finite hours in a day.

The goal here isn't to pile on more tasks or obligations. It's about accomplishing the same tasks more efficiently, thus freeing up time for the things you genuinely cherish. Keyboard shortcuts aren't just a productivity hack; they are a strategic investment in reclaiming your time and redirecting it towards pursuits that bring you joy.

While keyboard shortcuts might appear as a minor adjustment in your daily routine, they have the potential to revolutionize the way you work. By implementing these time-saving tools, you can streamline your workflow, boost productivity, and ultimately find more time for the things that truly matter in life. So, why not embark on this journey to turbocharge your workflow with keyboard shortcuts and experience the transformative power they offer?

Shortcuts

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Windows and macOS have slight differences in shortcuts. The main differences being that Windows uses "Control" (CTRL) and "Alt" (ALT) while macOS uses "Command" (CMD) and "Option" (OPT), respectively. Regardless, I'll include the equivalent shortcut for both just to be clear!
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Keep in mind that not all applications are made equally! While the following should be generic to most applications, this list is not exhaustive! Every application can have context-specific shortcuts that may override the following (for better or for worse). Stay curious - when a shortcut below does not work for you, search for what will suit your needs!

Text Manipulation

ShortcutWindowsmacOS
Copy selected textCTRL + CCMD + C
Cut selected textCTRL + XCMD + X
Paste selected textCTRL + VCMD + V
UndoCTRL + ZCMD + Z
RedoCTRL + Y, CTRL + SHIFT + ZCMD +SHIFT + Z
Select allCTRL + ACMD + A
BoldCTRL + BCMD + B
ItalicCTRL + ICMD + I
UnderlineCTRL + UCMD + U
Highlight Left/Right from CursorSHIFT + Left/Right ArrowSHIFT + Left/Right Arrow
Navigate to Previous/Next WordCTRL + Left/Right ArrowOPT + Left/Right Arrow

Navigation

ShortcutWindowsmacOS
New TabCTRL + TCMD + T
Close TabCTRL + WCMD + W
Next TabCTRL + TABCTRL + TAB
Previous TabCTRL + SHIFT + TABCTRL + SHIFT + TAB
ReloadCTRL + RCMD + R
FindCTRL + FCMD + F
Find NextF3CMD + G
Find PreviousSHIFT + F3CMD + SHIFT + G
BackALT + Left ArrowCMD + Left Arrow
ForwardALT + Right ArrowCMD + Right Arrow

Window Management

🪟
The Windows key will be substituted with WIN!
ShortcutWindowsmacOS
MinimizeWIN + Down ArrowCMD + M
MaximizeWIN + Up ArrowCMD + L
Close WindowALT + F4CMD + W
New WindowCTRL + NCMD + N
Switch AppALT + TABCMD + TAB
Cycle Window NextALT + `CMD + `
Cycle Window PreviousSHIFT + ALT + `SHIFT + ALT + `

Code Editor

ShortcutWindowsmacOS
SaveCTRL + SCMD + S
Comment LineCTRL + /CMD + /

Visual Studio Code

ShortcutWindowsmacOS
Show Command PaletteCTRL + SHIFT + PCMD + SHIFT + P
Go to FileCTRL + PCMD + P
New WindowCTRL + SHIFT + NCMD + SHIFT + N
User SettingsCTRL + ,CMD + ,
Format CodeSHIFT + ALT + FOPT + CMD + F
Go to DefinitionF12F12
Show/Hide SidebarCTRL + BCMD + B
Toggle TerminalCTRL + `CMD + `
Move Line UpALT + Up ArrowALT + Up Arrow
Move Line DownALT + Down ArrowALT + Down Arrow
Delete LineCTRL + SHIFT + KCMD + SHIFT + K
Insert Line BelowCTRL + ENTERCMD + ENTER
Insert Line AboveCTRL + SHIFT + ENTERCMD + SHIFT + ENTER

JetBrains IntelliJ

ShortcutWindowsmacOS
BuildCTRL + F9CMD + F9
RunSHIFT + F10CTRL + R
DebugSHIFT + F9CTRL + D
RefactorCTRL + ALT + SHIFT + TCTRL + T
File StructureCTRL + F12CMD + 7

Terminal Emulators

ShortcutWindows TerminaliTerm (macOS)
New TabCTRL + SHIFT + TCMD + T
Close TabCTRL + SHIFT + WCMD + W
Previous TabCTRL + Page UpCMD + OPT + Left Arrow
Next TabCTRL + Page DownCMD + OPT + Right Arrow
Clear ScreenCTRL + LCMD + K
Copy TextCTRL + SHIFT + CCMD + SHIFT + C

Conclusion

Hopefully, I have convinced you to take the time to learn these shortcuts, as well as to actively seek out other ways to improve your workflow. However, software engineering, web development, and work, in general, is not the end-all-be-all.

Remember, the goal of improving your workflow is not to cram more work into the same block of time. We should instead see it as a way to get the same amount of work done more efficiently, freeing up time to do what you want to do.

Cheers, and stay tuned for more productivity content!

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