Sunday, February 17, 2008

Look after your hands: Useful shortcuts

Training yourself to use your left hand (if you are a right-hander) to operate through keyboard shortcuts instead of doing the same with the mouse relieves a lot of strain off your right wrist. If you have to work long hours to meet a deadline it is a serious consideration. Ignoring strain may lead to painful and long-healing injury.

Command+X Cut
Command+C Copy
Command+V Paste

The three basic text and object operations can all be done with the left hand while the right continues work with the mouse. It seems obvious, but you'd be surprised to know how many people ignore this. You need to make a conscious effort to train yourself to work with both hands.

Most operations have keyboard shortcuts. However, depending on the specifics of your project, you find some more useful than others and they become your favourite.

Two of my Pages favourites are Send Back and Bring Forward (under Arrange menu)


Select an object and move it behind or in front of another 'stacking' them to create graphic frames, make photos and other images 'slide' one under another, put lines behind photos etc. Many many uses for these! An example of how to work with Send backward/Bring forward is here.

And another shortcut which I often use to skip converting Pages to e-mailable format is the screenshot shortcut:

Your cursor turns into a cross-hair, drag it over a portion of the screen, let go and after a camera shutter sounds a new PNG file appears on the desktop.

This is also useful for uploading low definition images on web-sites and blogs - like this one.

A list of keyboard shortcuts is under Help menu in Pages. 

Edd, a reader of this blog, has his own KB shortcut resource which you are welcome to visit for more information at:
On your Mac, open System Preferences and Keyboard/Mouse preferences. Here you can find a customizable list of keyboard shortcuts.

I also recommend David Pogue's book 'Mac OSX' of 'The Missing Manual' series. One of the Appendixes there contains a comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts for Macs. This book is absolutely invaluable, especially if you have just switched to Mac from Windows.

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