The Best Shortcut Keys To Save You Time (+ a freebie!)

As you may know, my motto is automation.  I live by it...I seek new ways to automate flows...I'm all about it!  To me, automation is a process that can be completed without having to physically touch it.  Everything can't be automated (I'm working towards it though!), so even finding ways to make a process faster is golden.

Shortcut keys are a series of keyboard keystrokes that perform a task without having to use your mouse to click around in menus and various fields.  They are quite helpful to me because they save SO much time.  I'm so used to using shortcut keys now that when I don't know the key for something, I hover over the menu item for the tool-tip to find out what it is.  It's serious, ya'll.  This is a simple way to gain more time.  Even small amounts of time add up in the long run.

Here is a roundup of my most used shortcut keys that can be used in pretty much any program for both Mac and PC.

(As a note, Ctrl is for a PC and Command⌘ is for a Mac)

Ctrl/Command + Z

Undo- This is probably my most used shortcut key!  This is to Undo an action.  Many programs allow multiple steps to undo which is sooooo useful.

Ctrl/Command + Y

Redo- This is useful if you have undone too many steps and need to put some back into your document.

Ctrl/Command + A

Select All- This will highlight everything in a document or on a web page.  This is helpful when making mass formatting updates.

Ctrl/Command + G

Group- This is useful when working with images or decorative image elements and you want them to move along the page with each other.  This ensures that their relative position to each other is "locked".  You will first need to select both images by clicking the first element with your mouse, then click Ctrl/Command ⌘ OR Shift (depends on the program that you are working in), then click the second element.  When you have selected all elements that you want to group together (you can choose more than 2!), click Ctrl/Command⌘ + G and the elements will be grouped!  You will know that they are grouped together because when you move one of the elements, all pieces that were grouped together will move along with it.  You can also ungroup the elements by enteringCtrl/Command⌘ + Shift + G or sometimes Ctrl/Command⌘ + G again (depends on the program that you're working in).

Ctrl/Command + C

Copy- This is possibly one of the most popular shortcut keys used by many!  Typing this will copy an element (text or image) to your computer's clipboard so that you can paste it wherever you want.  The clipboard is a temporary holding place and when you copy something new the previous element that was copied will be overwritten.

Ctrl/Command + X

Cut- This is useful when you want to copy and paste something but want to get rid of the original item because you want to paste it into a different location.  For example, you may be working in Photoshop and want to move an image to a different layer.  You can cut the image from the current layer and paste it elsewhere.

Ctrl/Command + V

Paste- This is generally used along with the copy and cut functions.  Simply stated, this pastes the last item that was copied or cut to the clipboard.  You can paste multiple times as long as nothing else was copied/cut to the clipboard.

Ctrl/Command + S

Save- This will save your document.  As one of my Graphic Design professors taught us, "Save early, save often".  Please save your work OFTEN.

Ctrl/Command + Shift + Arrow

Multi-Select- This functions differently across programs, but in Excel this will give you the ability to select/highlight multiple cells.  In word processing programs, design programs and websites, this will enable you to select multiple words and rows of text at a time.  Arrow right/left and you will select words.  Arrow up/down and you will select columns of text.

Ctrl/Command + +/-

Zoom in/out- This can be helpful when trying to view a document or elements on a document that are small or too large.  This also works in most web browsers.  Keep in mind that when you are zooming in, what you're viewing may become blurry since it is being enlarged.

Ctrl/Command + F

Find- This is helpful when you are trying to find a word or series of words on a page (webpages also!).  As a note, this doesn't perform the same function in design programs.

Alt/Command + Tab

Switch Windows- This is one of my favorite keystrokes.  I always have multiple windows/programs open, so the fastest way to navigate through them is to type this keystroke.


So there you have it, my most used shortcut keys that get me through my day!  Now I would like to help you to make your days flow better.  I have created a free shortcut cheat sheet that is broken down by program since different programs have different shortcut keys outside of the universal ones above.  The cheat sheet covers shortcut keys for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and universal shortcut keys that REALLY get me through the day and save mucho time.

Click below for access to the freebie collection containing this cheat sheet and many more downloadable items!

So tell me, what shortcut keys do you use the most if at all?