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As educators, time is always a precious commodity. I've never met an educator who didn't tell me they needed more time in the day to get stuff done. One way that you can save yourself time, especially working inside of Google Apps, is to learn some basic keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard shortcuts allow us to do some really quick functions simply by hitting a couple of keys on the keyboard, as opposed to having to navigate with the mouse and do multiple clicks. Even though it might take you a few extra minutes to learn some of these keyboard shortcuts, the more and more you use them, the faster your productivity will become. When it comes to using keyboard shortcuts with Google Apps for Education, there are two kinds of shortcuts There's a variety of shortcuts that are automatically enabled that you can just use.
And, there's also some shortcuts that need to be enabled, or you need to turn them on in order to use them. For example, let's go and click the Compose button. Now, right away it brings me to a To line, and I can go and start typing someone's name. Let's say I'm going to type Jeff's name. When I see Jeff's name appear, I can go and hit the Tab key and it's going to be automatically added. But let's say that I wanted to carbon copy a different recipient. There's two ways I could do this. I could take my mouse, I could come over to the CC in the email, and I could click it. Or, with my cursor back in the To column, I could also hit Cmd+Shift+C.
You'll notice that the cursor automatically jumped down to the carbon copy. Now for most of these keyboard shortcuts, if you're working on a PC, it's the exact same shortcut, except for instead of using the Cmd key, you're going to use the Ctrl key. So if you'd like to carbon copy and you're on Windows, you're going to do Ctrl+ Shift+C. It's a very similar function to go to blind carbon copy. I can do Cmd+Shift+B, or Ctrl+Shift+B if I'm on a PC, and I can automatically add someone for a blind carbon copy. Now that seems like a simple step, but if you use these regularly, they can save you a lot of time.
I'm going to go ahead and close out of this email. Now it'd be really great, though, if I could just even start the email without having to touch the mouse, if there was keyboard command that would allow me just to automatically open up an email. Well there is, but in order to use it, I need to turn it on. The way we do this, is we need to go back to our Gmail settings. I'm going to click the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner, and I'm going to select Settings from the drop down menu. Here in the General Settings, I'm going to go ahead and scroll down until I see Keyboard Shortcuts. By default, Google has the keyboard shortcuts off. I'm going to go and select the radio box directly below it, and I'm going to turn keyboard shortcuts on.
Once again, for this setting to take effect, I need to save it. So I'll scroll all the way to the bottom and click Save. So now that I've turned on keyboard shortcuts, if I'm ready to compose a new message, all I have to do is hit the letter C on my keyboard, and automatically the new dialogue box pops up. Here I can quickly start typing someone's name, such as Jessica. Hit the Tab key to add her. I can do my Cmd+Shift+B to to blind carbon copy someone. I can go ahead and add Jack to that, and then I can just use the Tab key to come down to the message. Now there's also keyboard shortcuts such as Cmd+B that will allow me to start typing with bold.
Or I can use something like Cmd+I, and I can add italics to that. I'm going to go and close this message and not save it. If at any time, you can't remember or you forget a certain keyboard shortcut, Google gives you the ability to bring up a keyboard shortcut guide, so you can quickly find what shortcut you're looking for. To do this, you're essentially going to type a question mark. It's shift+/. Here I have the ability to see all the keyboard shortcuts. The keyboard shortcuts in the top box are the ones that are automatically on. You do not need to make any changes to the settings of Gmail in order to use these keyboard shortcuts.
The ones directly below that, however, these you need to turn on. If you've already enabled them, it'll tell you that your keyboard shortcuts are currently enabled. If they're not, then this word here will actually say Enable, and you can choose to access your settings simply by clicking on the word Enable and making the change in your settings. Once again, don't forget to save that change so it'll take effect. I've also put together a keyboard shortcut guide that's available to our premium members in the exercise files. If you download the exercise files and go to chapter two, you can find the document entitled Keyboard Shortcuts. At the very top of it, I've given you a reminder about how to bring up the full keyboard shortcut guide inside of Google.
And then directly below that, I have two pages of the most common shortcuts I use as an educator. I did this intentionally in only two pages, so you can print it front and back and have it as a reference guide next to your computer while you're learning some of these keyboard commands. You'll find for yourself that some help speed up your workflow and some don't. You only need to use the ones that help you be more productive and efficient as a teacher. And the ones that don't, you can just forget about them. I hope that this tip is something that saves you a lot of time in your classroom and helps speed up your workflow as you're working inside of Google Apps for Educators.
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