Get Your Hands Off That Mouse!

by Loui Tucker

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If you want to work more efficiently and get more work done in less time – get your hands off that mouse!

When I visit offices and someone stands next to me to watch me work, I invariably hear, "Gee, you're so fast! I can't keep up with the flashing screens!" Why is that? Because I use the keyboard and it's always faster than using the mouse. I've been keyboard-oriented since I learned to type on an enormous Smith-Corona manual typewriter at the age of 9.

Try to imagine typing "I have two brown dogs" if you had to do it this way:

Click on Pronouns. Click on I.
Click on Verbs. Click on Common. Click on Present Tense. Click on First Person Singular. Click on have.
Click on Numbers. Click on 1-20. Click on two.
Click on Colors. Click on Simple. Click on brown.
Click on Animals. Click on Domestic. Click on dog. Click on Plural - dogs.

It might take fewer "actions" (17 mouse clicks versus 21 keystrokes) but I think you will agree that it is less efficient. You can use all ten fingers on a keyboard but only one index finger on a mouse. You'd have to know the menus for typing very well, and you'd still spend time moving the mouse up and down menus. Plus, after all the years of practice, your fingers have a sort of collective memory when you type.

Here is a more practical example. How would you use a mouse to insert a file into the one on your screen? Assume your cursor is where you want the new text to be inserted.

Mouse: Remove your hand from the keyboard. Move cursor and click on Insert on the Menu bar. Slide over to where the word File is located, and click on it. Locate the file. Move mouse and click the Insert button. Put your hand back on keyboard.

Keyboard: [Don't remove your hand from the keyboard.] Alt+I opens the Insert menu. Alt+I (in Word Perfect) or Alt+L (in Word) activates the File option. Locate the file. Press Enter.

Assuming it takes you about the same time to locate the file on your computer, how much time does it take to perform those keystrokes versus the mousing around? Just a few seconds, you say? What's a few seconds? Not much, unless you start adding up all the mousing around you do all day.

Do you use the mouse to save, close and open files – when you could be using Control+S (Save), Alt+F, C or Alt+F4 (Close), and Control+O (Open)? Do you use Control+B, Control+U, and Control+I to turn on and off Bold, Underline and Italics or are you taking your hand of the keyboard to click on the icons on the toolbar? Do you use the mouse to print or do you use Control+P? How about cutting (Control+X), copying (Control+C) and pasting (Control+V or Control+Insert)? How about Control+A to highlight an entire document? Control+Z to undo formatting or typing errors? Control+F is Find. Control+G is Go To.

If you would like a list of the most commonly used keystrokes, send me an email. I'll be happy to send you a short list of the most common shortcuts or a comprehensive list. Make the commitment to learn to use just two keyboard shortcuts PER DAY, and you'll be a speed demon in no time at all.

Are you using QuickCorrect and QuickWords (Word Perfect) or AutoCorrect (Word) to store and retrieve short frequently used phrases?   Click here: "Speed up Typing with QuickCorrect and AutoCorrect."  

Tips and Tricks by Loui Tucker
Supporting Word Perfect, Word, Timeslips, Abacus, TimeMatters
and many other software packages used in today's law offices.

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