A while ago I blogged about the Undo function - and shortcut - as the most important operation when working on any project, text or design, and more generally, in anything you do in life. It only makes good sense always to check if there is a good escape clause, a solid back-up system or the red stop-button.
But of course, the reverse option, Redo, is also very useful. Zapping to and fro between the current and previous versions of your project you can quickly evaluate the work in progress, self approve, or get approval from the supervisor (or client) looking over your shoulder - or discard changes. On the keyboard you just add Shift (⇧) to the combination: Command+Shift+Z. I got used to doing it this way: left-thumb Command, then let my little finger find Shift, after which the middle finger naturally places itself on the Z*.
After some practice these two keyboard operations become as easy as tying one's shoelaces**.
Important Update: Current versions of iWork/Pages allow Undo past the last save, while not a long time ago it was only possible to repeatedly undo your changes until the point when the document was saved. Unfortunately, it made redundant my second argument against building Auto-Save option into Pages.
Where to find buttons, Command and Shift icons on your Mac:
Red Button (⨀) - in Character Palette>Symbols>Mathematical Symbols. This switch-off button is also there: ⌽
Command symbol (⌘) - Character Palette>Symbols>Technical symbols
Shift (⇧) - Character Palette>Symbols>Arrows
They are not images, but text-like symbols. Drag and drop into your document. Enlarge and make a screenshot to turn them into clipart.
If you don't have Character Palette in the main screen menu, activate it in System Preferences>International>Input Menu.
And listen to Stephen Fry's programme on the QWERTY keyboard layout. (Letter I was placed near numbers 7 and 8 to make it easy to type 1871 - the year it was developed!)
* This works when you type with all ten fingers, thumbs mainly for hitting the space bar, four left fingers on ASDF and four right fingers on JKL; There are courses for touch typing (blind typing), but anyone can teach themselves how to do it. See, for example this BBC page.
** Is this comparison out of date? I see many young people walking around with shoelaces just tucked inside their shoes. A few cautious enquiries led me to believe that quite often they don't know how to tie laces.
A reader's testimonial on the 'Undo' post: THANKS, IT WORKED!!!!!! all my words are back!!!