A very simple tip this time, after all, simplicity is the way of the Tao. Have you ever wanted to make a key do the opposite of it’s usual function?

More than just uppercase

Most people think of the shift key as a way of reaching the uppercase of a key. For example, the letter ‘v’ can be turned into a capital ‘V’ by using the Shift key, or the ‘@’ sign can be obtained by using the Shift key with the 2 key:

v = V
2 = @

A little known fact is that the Shift key can also be used to reverse the function of a key. In fact, we’ve already seen it in use in an earlier Keyboard Kung Fu lesson, Switching Between Open Applications.

Tabbing and shift-tabbing through fields

Online forms are a good example of how the addition of the key can be useful.

shift and tab key held down on a vintage mac keyboard

You are probably already aware that the tab key can be used to move your cursor to the next field in a form or web page. But what happens if you accidentally move past a field and now need to move back to it? It is at this point that many will take one hand off the keyboard and reach for the mouse to reposition the cursor into the previous field.

Instead, the key can be held down while tapping the tab key to move back up through the previous fields:

tab in a form = jump to next field
tab in a form = jump to previous field

This is a very simple tip that can be utilised to reduce stress and increase productivity. Try it with other keys to see what other key functions you can reverse.

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