I've long been a passionate advocate of keyboard shortcuts, and they're a core part of the Lifehacker ethos; if you want to make your time in front of a computer more productive, then learning the keyboard shortcuts for your commonly used apps can save considerable time. But it seems that lots of people don't see it that way. An in-depth analysis of user habits by Microsoft during its development phase for Office 2007 found that keyboard shortcuts are often sadly neglected. (Microsoft revealed the data during its Tech Ed Developer conference in Sydney.) A particularly telling statistic: when it came to pasting, the market was almost exactly divided between people who used the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl-V) and people who preferred right-clicking with their mouse and selecting Paste from the drop down. (Selecting Edit-Paste didn't seem to happen much.) I can understand why people might not want to go Alt-T-O to get to the Options dialog, but Ctrl-V for Paste has been in Windows more or less from the beginning, and virtually every application supports it. Why resist? (Perhaps people think it's easier to use the mouse if they've already selected text with it, in which case I'd remind them that various combinations of shift, control and the arrow keys will get that job done faster and more accurately). Of course, there's no reason people can't be offered a choice of mouse or keyboard options, though sadly that wasn't the lesson that Microsoft drew from the data. Instead, it built the controversial Ribbon feature to replace its existing interface in Office 2007, on the grounds that a more visual system was better for all those mouse junkies. Outside of the true cross-application options (Open, Save, and the clipboard stuff), keyboard shortcuts were added on again as an afterthought and involved more (and different) keys than in previous releases. For a keyboard productivity hound like me, that was a major misstep, and when I use Office 2007 products, I keep the Ribbon minimised to maintain lower blood pressure. And while I'm still annoyed, I might just have to accept that the data could be read either way. Are you a keyboard shortcut junkie, or would you rather do everything with a mouse? Share your thoughts — and your best shortcuts — in the comments.
Half the world won't use keyboard shortcuts
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