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Tips from Tonna for your PC
Stay in Control with the Keyboard
by Tonna Kutner

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Q: When I’m in Word or Excel and want to highlight a page or two with my mouse, everything goes so fast.  I’ve suddenly highlighted much more than I want and then I go up a little and it goes too fast again.  I can’t seem to get control of this.  How do I slow things down?

A: Believe me, I have done this before:  highlighting with the mouse, up and down, up and down, losing the beginning and the end, forgetting what I was doing in the first place.  I don’t know why it works this way, but I do know how to shift gears and gain control again:

  • Let go of the mouse.
  • Take a deep breath (very important)
  • Hold down the Shift key and use the arrow keys to highlight your selection.  You have complete control this way.  You can go up or down and side to side to highlight exactly what you want.

Here are some other very useful keyboard combinations that may help take some of the stress out of computing.  They work in most Microsoft products and many other products as well.  Remember, the Ctrl and Alt keys work just like the Shift key – hold down the Ctrl, Alt or Shift and then touch the second key.

Ctrl A Highlight the entire document
Ctrl C Copy the selected text or object
Ctrl X Cut the selected text or object
Ctrl V Paste text or object
Ctrl Z Undo the last action
Ctrl B Bold
Ctrl I Italics
Crtl+Shift D Double Underline
Ctrl Enter Page Break
Ctrl F Brings up the “Find” dialogue box
Ctrl Home Go to the beginning of the document
Ctrl End  Go to the end of the document
Alt Print-Scrn  Copies a dialogue box to the Clip Board ready to paste
Shift F3  Toggle between all caps, capital first letters only, and no caps on selected text (only seems to work in Word).
Ctrl Escape Brings up the Start menu and the task bar

If you really like using the keyboard, here’s some more keyboard tips.  Ever notice that the menu bar has one letter underlined?  Well, it you hold down Alt and touch that letter, that menu will come up.  Notice that the menu actually lists keyboard shortcuts that can be used for a particular menu item.  If you find yourself using a menu item over and over again, try using the keyboard shortcut.

The menu items also have one letter underlined.  If you touch that letter when the menu is open, that item will be executed just as if you clicked on it.  Or, you can use the arrow keys to move through the items and touch Enter to execute the one you want.

Here’s one more.  You do have to use the mouse for this, but it’s still very useful when you want to copy a vertical portion of a document – say the right side or left side.  Hold down the Alt key and use the mouse.  This will allow you to highlight a vertical section of the screen.


If you have a computer question you would like answered in this space, send it to tonna@computer-lynx.com.

For past columns of Tips from Tonna, check out the web site: www.computer-lynx.com.

Tonna Kutner, Computer LYNX, works with companies to list and develop their web sites.  Phone (206) 575-3979 or email tonna@computer-lynx.com. Visit Tonna’s website at www.computer-lynx.com.

Printed in "Verve" - September  2002.  Copyright Tonna Kutner

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