International Keyboard Shortcut Day

Did you know that International Keyboard Shortcut Day is the first Wednesday in November? Considering I just made that up, I’ll bet you didn’t. But I hereby proclaim it so.

IKSD was created to spread awareness that you can become more efficient by knowing and practicing keyboard shortcuts.

How to Celebrate
From 2:30PM to 3:30PM your local time on the first Wednesday in November, don’t use your mouse for any computer activity. There are three levels of participation:

Novice: You’re intrigued by the promise of efficiency, but skeptical the investment will pay off. To observe the day, you’ll move your mouse to the opposite side of your keyboard for that one hour.

Journeyman: You’ve already learned quite a few shortcuts and you just need the discipline to apply them. To observe the day, you’ll use the keyboard in every program except in your browser for that one hour.

Fanatic: You don’t need any convincing that this is the greatest thing since electronic spreadsheets. To observe the day, you will disconnect your mouse for that one hour.

I thought of this on my way to work this morning when I (finally) started listening to Chandoo’s shortcut podcast.

Committing to one hour of keyboard only computing is an investment. As with any investment, there will be costs up front. This will be the most unproductive hour of your year. Everything will take longer than it should as you struggle to find the keyboard way of doing things. But it will pay off. During that hour you will learn one shortcut that will stick and it will pay dividends for rest of your life.

Don’t forget to tell your friends.

24 thoughts on “International Keyboard Shortcut Day

  1. Wow, what a cool way to encourage people to think about productivity. I will surely participate and let you know in comments how it felt. To be honest, I believe that we should mix mouse & keyboard smartly to save time. I use mouse for things which are way quicker with it, like selecting ranges, panning the workbook, accessing other worksheet tabs, formatting charts & shapes (colors, borders etc.), filling down (double click). For almost everything else, I use keyboard.

    Btw, thank you so much for tuning in to the podcast. Let me know how you like it. Your feedback certainly means a lot to me.

  2. Then we’re in agreement. Only I think the “smart mix” is 70-30 whereas most people probably use 10-90. But #1 on my list is selecting ranges. If you can learn Ctrl+Arrow (like you cover in the podcast), that’s half the battle.

    I finished the podcast over lunch. I’ve been using Alt+D+F+F to add and remove filters. I don’t like using those old 2003 menu hotkeys because I think they’ll go away someday. So I was glad to learn Ctrl+Shift+L.

  3. This sounds like fun! I’m going to be definitely running this with my team of people, however we mostly work in Excel anyway so I don’t think this will necessarily be an issue.

    Dick – Alt+A+C clears down the filters as well. I do the Alt+D+F+F twice occasionally to imitate clear filters but the A+C one is so easy it should be easy to remember.

  4. As in many things, DDOE was already my inspiration to use lots of shortcuts. I think I’ve arrived at about 50-50. Some of the mouse use is still habit, but mostly I think it’s an efficient mix. In contrast to Chandoo, I find getting around and selecting ranges is one of the best uses of shortcuts. I’ve finally gotten to where I don’t have to remember which shortcut selects entires column and which selects entire rows (ctrl-spacebar and shift-spacebar, respectively).

    The autofilter shortcuts are really great. I like this Excel Campus post a lot:

    @Ian, I did an intensive web search for you and found this: :)

  5. Love this idea. I will take part as I love using shortcuts. I run many courses and the part that my delegates really like are all the shortcuts that will save them lots of time. I am thinking of running just a course on shortcuts.

  6. Ian…here’s my two goto links:

    I’m updating Chip Pearson’s list for ‘new’ excel as quite a few things on it are now obsolete. I’m also working on a ‘Keyboard Shortcuts Database’ where you can type in a search box what you want to do e.g ‘Number Format’ and it returns a list of the various keyboard shortcuts that match. In fact, I aim to devote an entire section of the book Excel for Superheroes and Evil Geniuses that I’m writing to keyboard shortcuts…aptly called ‘Get better at hand-to-hand combat’.

    Here’s a keyboard shortcut pop quiz for Dick:
    What does Ctrl + Shift + F1 do?

    No cheating, Dick…write your answer/best guess below, then check if it’s correct. It’s pretty handy.

  7. Jeff & Doug…thanks. Now I’m armed and ready to go. Can’t wait. I’ll be doing it on 2003 (still don’t like those ribbon thingys).

  8. No, it’s Ctrl+1 for format cells, not F1. Ctrl+F1 hides the Ribbon. OK, now I’m stumped. You said it’s handy, so it’s not something stupid like inserting a macro sheet.

    I’ve got nothing.

  9. It buys an extra 1cm of screen real estate by toggling the display of the file menu at the top and the status bar at the bottom off and on. On my screen, that means I get to see nearly three extra rows of numbers – from 46 rows (if the ribbon is minimized) to 49 rows. In fact, I might as well code up a macro that also toggle headings and the formula bar off for that keyboard combination, giving me 52 rows.

    If I was Steve Austin (of the 6 million dollar man TV series from waaay back), I’d probobly go real hard-arse and reduce the zoom to 10%, giving me 495 rows of elbowroom to scan with my bionic eyes.

  10. “If I was Steve Austin (of the 6 million dollar man TV series from waaay back), I’d probobly go real hard-arse and reduce the zoom to 10%, giving me 495 rows of elbowroom to scan with my bionic eyes.”

    You’d need my imaginary infinite resolution monitor for that, but even that wouldn’t really work because at anything less than 40% zoom Excel overlays the names and ranges of named ranges, which is actually pretty handy sometimes.

    So the question is, what is the keyboard shortcut for 39% zoom, and back again?

  11. Dick: good to know. I’m using 2013. I might whip up a post on this…it’s quite handy, and can be made quite handier with a bit more code to hide a few more things.

Posting code? Use <pre> tags for VBA and <code> tags for inline.

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