Google Apps for Students

Using keyboard shortcuts


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Google Apps for Students

with Aaron Quigley

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Video: Using keyboard shortcuts

As you start working inside of Gmail and you become proficient at creating and sending emails, there's a few tips and tricks to help speed up your work flow. One of those is to learn and to start using keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard shortcuts allow us to quickly add information without having to take the time to move my hand away from the keyboard to the mouse, navigate to what I want, and then move back to the keyboard. Even though if it seems like I'm only saving a second or two, if I combine a lot of these things together I can save hours each quarter. The first thing I'd like to talk about are some keyboard shortcuts that you can use right away without making any changes to your Gmail account.
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Watch the Online Video Course Google Apps for Students
1h 13m Beginner Jan 03, 2014

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Discover how to use Google Apps to become more productive in class and after school. In this course, author and educator Aaron Quigley shows students how to work with Gmail, Google Calendar, and Drive to communicate and collaborate with classmates, become more organized, and save time. Learn how to manage school and personal email, back up your assignments, create a class website, and connect with others on Google+. Teachers can also use this course to get tips to help their students succeed inside and outside the classroom.

Topics include:
  • Searching for scholarly articles on Google
  • Switching between school and personal Gmail
  • Sending large file attachments
  • Composing papers in Google Docs
  • Creating a class calendar
  • Setting up your student profile on Google+
  • Using Google Hangout
Subject:
Education + Elearning
Software:
Apps for Education
Author:
Aaron Quigley

Using keyboard shortcuts

As you start working inside of Gmail and you become proficient at creating and sending emails, there's a few tips and tricks to help speed up your work flow. One of those is to learn and to start using keyboard shortcuts. Keyboard shortcuts allow us to quickly add information without having to take the time to move my hand away from the keyboard to the mouse, navigate to what I want, and then move back to the keyboard. Even though if it seems like I'm only saving a second or two, if I combine a lot of these things together I can save hours each quarter. The first thing I'd like to talk about are some keyboard shortcuts that you can use right away without making any changes to your Gmail account.

For example, if I click on the Compose button, here I can see that my cursor automatically defaults to the two section. If I start typing a professor's name, eventually that professor will be highlighted. If I hit the Tab key, it keeps me in the two section, and here I have the ability to add a second receiver of this email. Now, while using the Tab key is one way to do that, what if I'm sending an email to a professor and I want to carbon copy the rest of my group members? Well, I can use a keyboard shortcut. And that keyboard shortcut is Cmd+Shift+C, or Ctrl+Shift+C on the PC.

And it's going to automatically move my cursor down to the carbon copy section. And if I want to send this to my teammates, but I don't want a professor to know that they were included on the email, then I can blind carbon copy them. I can also use the keyboard shortcut of Cmd+Shift+B, or Ctrl+Shift+B on the PC. Using these keyboard shortcuts, I was able to move the cursor's location to the appropriate place without my hands leaving the keyboard and not having to touch the mouse. In addition to that, I can also use the Tab key to move to the subject line and, once I've added a subject, I can use the Tab key again to move to the main content area.

Now while those are a couple of quick tips and tricks for typing inside of an email. Wouldn't it have been great if I could have actually started the email with a keyboard shortcut? Well, you can, but there's a catch. You have to turn on certain keyboard shortcuts inside of Gmail. To do this I'm going to go ahead and close out of this email and I'm going to access the Gmail Settings page again by clicking on the Gear icon and choosing Settings from the drop down menu. As I scroll down under General Settings I will eventually come down to Keyboard Shortcuts. You'll see here that by default Keyboard Shortcuts are off and I can turn those on by click the radio button next to Keyboard Shortcuts on.

Now even though I've made this change, it will not take effect until I scroll all the way to the very bottom and choose to Save Changes. So now that I've turned on these extra keyboard shortcuts, I can use keyboard shortcuts such as just hitting the letter C to compose a new message. So with my hands never leaving the keyboard I can open up a new message, I can then use keyboard shortcuts such as Cmd+Shift+C to move between the carbon copy and Cmd+Shift+B to move between the blind carbon copy. I can tab between different areas I can even hold Shift+Tab to move backwards between various areas and I can do all of this without my hands ever leaving the keyboard.

In order to help you start learning some keyboard shortcuts, I've put together a Word document in chapter two of the Exercise Files entitled Keyboard Shortcuts. Here I've made a list of the most common keyboard shortcuts. I've also broken it into two different sections. The first section are keyboard shortcuts you can use without ever having to make any changes inside of Gmail. These will automatically work inside of the Gmail user face. The second set of keyboard shortcuts are associated with the keyboard shortcuts that you turned on inside of Gmail. If you don't have keyboard shortcuts turned on, then these particular shortcuts will not work.

In addition to that, at the very top of the page I've given you a very special keyboard shortcut. It's the keyboard shortcut to view the keyboard shortcuts. To pull up the keyboard shortcut guide directly in Gmail, you essentially type a question mark. You're going to hold down the Shift key while you press the Forward Slash. Let's head back to Gmail to show you what I mean. I'm going to close out of this email message, just so I'm in the regular Gmail box. If my cursor is some place where I can type text. Then this will not work. At this point, let's go ahead and bring up, the keyboard shortcuts, by holding down Shift and pressing the Forward Slash button.

It's the same button that has a question mark on it. In fact, it's the same key strokes that you use when you type a question mark. Here, for the keyboard shortcuts, they've also broken them into two sections. The top sections are the keyboard shortcuts that you can always use. The bottom section are the keyboard shortcuts that became available when we enabled them. If you have not enabled them, you can choose to click the link in the center of the page, to quickly go to your Settings page and turn them on. As you start using keyboard shortcuts, it may slow you down a little bit at first, but the more and more you use them, the faster and faster you'll become, and the more time you'll save as you move throughout the school year.

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