January 23, 2006

Keep Your Hands on the Keyboard

The real key to fluent productivity at your computer is to work towards never taking your hands off the keyboard.

Whether you're writing, or copying, or reading... keeping your hands on the keyboard means reducing mouse-hunting.

A big tip for that is to learn your key combinations in the apps you are working in. Print out a list and tape it to the wall next to your monitor.

Appleology just ran a reminder of some lesser known Control key + Function key combinations that allow access to the menus and the dock using the keyboard. Hold down the Control key and then the following F-key:

  • The F2 key to navigate the menus using the arrow keys beginning at the left side of the menu bar.
  • The F3 key to navigate the dock, using the left and right arrow keys to move between icons and the up and down arrow keys to view the navigate thought the contextual menu.
  • The F4 key to cycle through all of the open windows.
  • The F8 key to navigate through the right side of the menu bar. (Only works with some menu bar icons.)
These can come in very if you make it a habit to use them. Now, for real keyboard productivity, stay tuned for an introduction to Quicksilver--the most productivity/life-changing Mac app I've ever known.

Note: You must have "Full Keyboard Access" enabled in the preferences. If it doesn't work, use Control+F1 to toggle "Full Keyboard Access" to on.
You can find a lengthy list of keyboard shortcuts at:
Apple's list of Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts

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