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Make everything faster with these keyboard tricks

You can see this rabbit hole go deep, but it’s worth it. I’m still using shortcuts I made in AutoHotkey almost a decade ago (you know the pause button isn’t used for anything? I made a sleep button out of it for my computer). It will take a little time to get into this, but this initial investment will likely serve your productivity for years into the future.

Enter long blocks of text with a few keystrokes

There are certain things that I write every day. I send my address to people in text messages, put specific urls in Chrome’s address bar, and send the same email to everyone who joins the leadership in the church. The text expansion allows me to enter these text strings with a keyboard shortcut.

For example, I assigned my address to the shortcut ”

; ‘, add’ ”. When I enter and add a document, my chosen text expansion program recognizes this and replaces it with my full address. I type, connect to insert the two paragraph email I send to all of my group members, and even type to put in the degree symbol (°). There are so many clever uses out there that I couldn’t put them all in one article, but suffice it to say that anything you put in more than a few times a week can benefit.

Mac users have it easy again: This function is integrated directly into macOS under System Preferences> Keyboard> Text. Just click the plus sign to add a new shortcut – make sure you don’t type this normally (this is why I use the comma word format above) – and add the text that appears when you entered that shortcut should be displayed. Windows users can choose from a few different third-party programs, although I personally recommend PhraseExpress for most people. It’s powerful, free, and easy to use once you’ve created the first few phrase extensions. When I use a computer with no text expansion or any of the shortcuts above, I feel like I’m trudging through molasses. Once you get used to these time-saving keyboard tricks, you’ll never want to work without them again.

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