OSU Extension’s faculty and staff, like all organizations, have a wide-range of computer competencies. While giving workshops over the years I’ve made some incorrect assumptions regarding how tech savvy the  participants are. For example, in the past I’ve assumed that everyone uses common keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl P or that everyone understands what a bookmark is.

This week I’d like to share some basic time saving tips that I use on a daily basis to help our “non-power” users out there work more efficiently.

Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts allow you to do common tasks with just your keyboard. Keyboard shortcuts save time, and helps reduce repetitive stress injuries by using your mouse less often.

Common keyboard shortcuts



Open document Ctrl + O Command + O
Close document or tab Ctrl + W Command + W
Save the current document Ctrl + S Command + S
Copy the selected item to clipboard Ctrl + C Command + C
Paste the contents of the Clipboard into the current document Ctrl + V Command + X
Cut the selected item and copy it to the Clipboard. Ctrl + C Command + X
Undo the previous command Ctrl + Z Command + Z
Select All items Ctrl + A Command + A
Print the current document or webpage Ctrl + P Command + P
Find items in a document or webpage Ctrl + F Command + F
Find again: Go to the next occurrence of the item previously found. Ctrl + G Command + G
Refresh webpage Ctrl + R Command + R
Open a new Tab in web browser Ctrl + T Command + T
Switch/Toggle between open applications. Press Tab again to select next application Alt + Tab Command + Tab


General Productivity tips

Screenshot of toggle between apps
Switch between open applications using Ctrl/Command + Tab
  • Alt/Command + Tab  Switch between open applications. I use this shortcut everyday.
  • Use the keyboard shortcut to add hyperlinks in most applications, including MS Office products. Select word(s) for the hyperlink, then press Ctrl/Command + K to quickly add a link.
  • Find is your friend. Use  Ctrl/Command + F
    to text in an application or web page.
  • Create content using your favorite word processing application, instead of entering it directly on the website. This way you have a copy of the content and you can use the features available in the word processor like spell checking and and grammar suggestions. Then copy Ctrl/Command + C and paste Ctrl/Command + V the text into your web page.


Web Browser tips

Using browser address bar to enter search terms
Use the browser address bar to enter search terms
  • When entering a web address, you don’t need to include http:// or https://. Web browsers assume you are looking for a web page so save yourself a few keystrokes.
  • Bypass Google or Bing. Search the web by entering search terms in your browser’s address bar.
  • Save time by using your web browser’s autocomplete feature instead of Bookmarks for sites you frequently visit. As you type in the address bar, a list of websites that you browse on a regular basis are displayed. Press tab (or use your mouse) to select the site, then press return to load the website.
  • If you use Bookmarks, use folders to organize your links. See bookmark tutorials below for common browsers:

Extension Website tips

Screenshot showing how to use search feature with dropdown lists
Using the search feature in dropdown lists.
  • Most dropdown lists on the Extension site have a search feature. When adding topics for example, you can scroll through the very long dropdown list, or just place the cursor in the field and start typing a few characters of the desired topic and then select the topic.
  • Finding County offices. From the Extension homepage, add a slash and name of county in the browser’s address bar, e.g. extension.oregonstate.edu/clatsop, extension.oregonstate.edu/morrow

Do you have any productivity tips you’d like to share? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Website updates

There aren’t any new features to announce this week, but we will be updating Drupal and several key modules Thursday morning before regular business hours. We anticipate the updates will improve website performance and stability. The upgrade does require that we take the Employee Intranet site offline during the upgrade, back online by 8:00 am.

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2 thoughts on “Working more efficiently

  1. I like both those Extension Website tips there! I do sometimes want to quickly get to a county’s main page, so it is neat to know I can add the county’s name tacked on to the main web address and hop straight to it! I’ve been using the site quite a while now and hadn’t managed to spot that yet. Kudos.

  2. One of my favorites is pasting as plain text, so whatever text you are copying and pasting into a new document or webpage doesn’t retain all the formatting. Saves a ton of time having to undo things. On my mac, the keyboard command is Option + Cmd + Shift + V. Seems cumbersome at first, but my fingers do it automatically now. In Word, I just watch for the little popup that appears after pasting, and use the down arrow to select “keep text only.”

    When I have to work in Word, I also make use of the built-in styles (e.g., title, heading 1) to simplify formatting. A little set up work at the beginning is worth it in the long run. If you find yourself manually selecting, resizing, and adding bold or colors to document subheads, styles will be a huge timesaver. Using actual headings vs. text that’s just styled to look like a heading is also a good accessibility practice.

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