Tag Archive: keyboard

This tip will help to increase your productivity while working with text, something many of us do every day. Whether it be writing an important business proposal, or just an email to a friend, while you are typing your mind is focused on writing. You don’t want to interrupt your train of thought by having to take your hands of the keys to operate a mouse just to move the cursor to a different point in the text. Instead, the same result can be achieved with a few taps of the arrow key.

One letter at a time too slow? An alternative option

Tapping that cursor arrow can get tedious very quickly if you find yourself needing to move around the text a lot. You may find that this tip is limited to certain apps, but this is where the Option key can be your arrow keys’ trusty companion. Holding the left Option key down with your thumb while tapping the left or right arrow keys will soon become second nature.

= move forward through the text word by word.

Option and forward arrow keys on a mac keyboard

Too many words in a line? You are in command

An additional tip that works well with this one is the Command key. Holding down the Command key instead of the Option key while tapping the left of right arrow will jump you straight to the end of the line.

= jump to the end of the line

Horizontal and Vertical

Both of these tips work moving back and forward through text horizontally but you can also move through lines and paragraphs by applying the same techniques.

= move up through the text paragraph by paragraph
= jump to the top of the page

The movement of Tao in the course of time is to return to Simplicity
– Chapter 40, Tao Te Ching.

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Sometimes you need to get the volume just a bit lower than the first notch. Is that even possible? It certainly is! All you need is a little Keyboard Kung Fu know-how.

Adjusting the volume

Apple Remote ControlThere are a few different methods of altering the volume of the speaker output on the Mac. Back in the old days every Mac used to come with it’s own infra red remote control that could be used not only with iTunes but also with other video and audio apps as well as the fundamental aspects of the Mac’s operating system. I must confess, my little white remote still lives in my pocket and I use it many times every day, mainly for altering the volume when not sitting in front of my computer.

While I am sitting at my Mac though, I find that the keyboard’s own volume keys are without question the fastest and easiest means of adjusting the volume.

Shows the normal way of decreasing the volume

Decreasing the volume using the volume keys

Can you turn it down just a bit more please?

In those quieter moments it can be beneficial to have greater control over the volume levels. Perhaps you have earbuds in, or are in a quiet place and find that even at the lowest volume setting that last notch is just not low enough.

This is when it is beneficial to know how to adjust the volume in finer increments.

Keyboard shortcut showing Incremental Volume Animation

Decreasing the volume in finer gradations.

While adjusting the volume, all you need to do is hold down two additional keys, Option and Shift:
F11 = Decrease volume in incremental steps.
F12 = Increase volume in incremental steps.

With the addition of the Option and Shift keys the volume can be made to go as low as 0.25.

Smaller increments of brightness too

Way back in Audio/Visual Adjustments we saw how the Option key could be used with a range of buttons across the top of the keyboard, otherwise known as the F keys.

Here’s a little extra tidbit: this shortcut also works with the brightness controls.

F1 = Decrease brightness in incremental steps.
F2 = Increase brightness in incremental steps.

What is looked at but not seen, Is named the extremely dim.
What is listened to but not heard, Is named the extremely faint.

– Chapter 14, Tao Te Ching.

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This week we explore the L shortcut, useful for changing the URL in the browser’s address bar and one that can be used in conjunction with earlier Keyboard Kung Fu tips such as Cut, Copy & Paste and Switching Between Open Apps.

Address the Situation with Command L

Throughout the course of a general work day I regularly need to access a website’s URL, that is, a website’s address. Sometimes I need to copy the URL and paste it into another field or application, often into an email so that I can share the website with a colleague. Other times I want to paste a URL that I have obtained from elsewhere into the address bar of the web browser.

This is where the L combination is a very useful weapon in your repertoire of Keyboard Kung Fu moves.

Mac Keyboard showing CMD L keyboard combo

Highlight the URL ready to either paste over or copy

How to Select the URL in the Address Bar

Whenever you are using a web browser, be it Safari, Chrome, Firefox or other, simply holding down the key with your thumb and then tapping the L key highlights the URL in the address bar, ready to either paste over or copy.

Exercise: Copy & Paste a URL from one browser to another

Now that we have a few Keyboard Kung Fu lessons under our belt let’s consolidate our learning by combining some of these techniques to achieve a practical task.

Task: In this scenario you have opened a website in Firefox but the page is not displaying properly so you want to see what the same website looks like in Safari. How would you do that using as many of the keyboard shortcuts we’ve already learned?

Here’s one way we could do that:
Assuming that you already have both browsers open:
1. While in Firefox use the L technique to select the URL in the address bar.
2. Use C to copy the URL.
3. Using tab will allow you to then move from Firefox to the Safari browser.
4. The L combo is then used to select the URL in the address bar of Safari.
5. Finally, use V to paste the URL into the address bar and tap return to load the website.

All of this is achieved without ever needing to take your hands from the keyboard to touch the mouse.

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Using this keyboard combination to cut, copy & paste will increase your productivity on the Mac immensely.

Copy/Cut & Paste

Perhaps the most well known of all keyboard shortcuts is Copy & Paste, or Cut & Paste. It’s a very quick and easy way to copy or move text around from one document or field to another. It can also be used with files to duplicate them or move them from one location to another.

How to Copy & Paste

Select some text and hold down the Command key and tap on the C key. This action copies the text and puts it in memory on a virtual clipboard.

Pasting via a keyboard shortcut is one that often confuses new users. Most people intuitively assume that pasting is accomplished using the P combination but this has already been allocated to the Print function. Instead, the paste function uses the V combination.

Fingers on Mac keyboard showing Copy and Paste shortcut

Copy & Paste with Command-C and Command-V

How to Cut & Paste

Select some text and then hold down the Command key and tap on the X key. This action removes the selected text from it’s current position and copies it to the clipboard. This is a temporary location and will be forever lost if the copied text is not then pasted somewhere.

Paste the copied text to the new location with the V combination as described above.

Fingers on keyboard showing cut and paste

Cut & Paste with Command-X and Command-V

Moving Files with Copy & Paste…and Option

As stated in at the beginning of this post, files can also be moved around with these keyboard combinations. Prior to the release of the Lion operating system (OSX 10.7), however, files could only be copied from one location to another using the keyboard, which left a duplicate in the original location. The only way to move a file was to drag and drop it. With Lion, and the later operating systems, came the ability to truly cut & paste files to easily move them from one location to another. There is just one small difference to cutting and copying text and that is the need for a ‘modifier’ key to be used when pasting the file in it’s new location.

To cut and paste files from one location to another you need to add the Option key .

Copy the file: C
Paste the file: V

Note that when you copy the file it is not removed from it’s current location until it has been pasted in its new position, ensuring that the file is not lost.

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Keyboard Kung Fu: Command-Q = Quit application

You’ve probably noticed when you close an application by clicking on the little ‘x’ at the top left of the window that this doesn’t completely close the app. You can tell that the app is still running by the little arrow beneath the app’s icon in the Dock. Completely closing the app is known as ‘quitting’ the app. To quit the current application, simply hold down the Command key and tap on the ‘Q’ key: Q

Photo of keyboard showing Command-Q = Quit

Quitting an Application with Command-Q

When Lion (10.7) was released it introduced a new ‘resume’ feature that adds the ability to restore the state of files and windows of an application as they were when the program quit with Q. If, however, you don’t want the program to save and restore its last state, you can now include the Option key while quitting, eg: Q and the previous state will not be saved.

Combine Command-Q with Command-Tab

Like the Command-H move, Q can be used together with tab to quickly & easily access the app that you want to quit once.

I often tab to see what apps are still running that I am no longer using and then Q to stop them running, freeing up system resources.

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Clear your view, move your focus to the task at hand with H.

Command-H = Hide application

Put simply, the H shortcut will make the current application disappear from view. It remains open and running, but invisibly in the background.

Command-H kyboard shortcut

Clear your view with Command-H

This is a handy keyboard shortcut when you have many applications running and you want to hide some of them from view without actually quitting the apps. Try repeatedly tapping H and one by one the open apps will disappear leaving you on the desktop.

Combine two Keyboard Kung Fu moves to swiftly refocus attention

The H combination is very useful when used in conjunction with the Command-Tab action that we covered in a previous Keyboard Kung Fu lesson. Any app that is open can be selected and hidden quickly & easily, and any hidden application can be brought back into view by Command-Tabbing to it. These two actions, hiding an app and then bringing it back into view, replace the need to minimise applications to the dock and then restore them using the mouse.

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In a previous Keyboard Kung Fu lesson we saw how easy it is to switch between open applications using Command-Tab. Sometimes though, an app is minimised or closed and can’t be tabbed to. That’s where this handy little manoeuvre comes in.

Command-Tab / Command-Option

Use the tab / key combination to open an application that has been minimised or closed. These apps can be brought up by taking your finger off the tab key, moving it to the key, and then removing your thumb from the key.

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Switching between open apps with the tab, move.

In the image above I have already tried to switch to the Mail app but found that it is closed. So I have then used tab to select the Mail app and then taken my middle finger off the tab key and put my index finger onto the key. Then when I removed my thumb from the key the Mail app popped up into the foreground.

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