Pareto Principle Meeting Microsoft Windows. Learn 6 New Keyboard Shortcuts and Improve Your Work Speed by 16%

Pareto Principle Meeting Microsoft Windows. Learn 6 New Keyboard Shortcuts and Improve Your Work Speed by 16%

There are dozens of keyboard shortcuts for Windows. You can find a complete list of keyboard shortcuts here

I counted about 200 keyboard shortcuts for the Windows 10 operating system and for improved accessibility.

It is impossible to remember all of them.

However, every user should know a few shortcuts because they save time. Some practical functions are even only accessible via keyboard shortcuts.

This is a nice way to deepen the understanding of how the Pareto principle works in your life:

20 % of the Windows keyboard shortcuts (= 40 keyboard shortcuts) provide 80% of the functions that you use on a daily basis.

20 % of 20% percent of the Windows keyboard shortcuts (= 8 keyboard shortcuts) provide 80% of 80% (= 64%) of the functions that you use on a daily basis.

And everybody should be able to remember 8 keyboard shortcuts, right?

I found out that only a few users know more than five shortcuts.

And The Winners Are

Control + C and Ctrl + V for copy and paste are the only shortcuts for many users that they actually use in everyday life. That is because 20 % of 20% of 20% percent the Windows keyboard shortcuts (= 1.6 keyboard shortcuts) provide 80% of 80% of 80% (= 48%) of the functions that you use on a daily basis. Pareto principle again.

That means nothing less than you can easily improve your Windows working power by 64% – 48% = 16%  íf you learn 8 – 2 = 6 new keyboard shortcuts.

Some users may use the F5 function key to update the browser or another active window or press the tab key to switch between input fields in forms.

And I often use Control + A for selecting an entire content of a window, such as a text.

Time to Learn More Keyboard Shortcuts

In the following come my favorite extended keyboard shortcuts. Select from them those six keyboard shortcuts that help you most. Then write these six keyboard shortcuts on a post-it and stick this one to your computer screen.


Screenshot to clipboard

The key combination Windows + Shift + S activates the “screenshot to clipboard” feature. It opens the tool with which you can take a screenshot. Most people (inclusive myself) still use the old Snipping Tool that will soon be discontinued. Both tools come in very handy. You can make a rectangular selection, select a window or the entire screen, or cut out an area freely. The “screenshot to clipboard” is very fast if you want to use the screenshot directly in Photoshop, Word or another program. You can paste it there with Ctrl + V.


Open clipboard history

Windows 10 has a clipboard history which stores what was last put on the clipboard. The clipboard history is called up with the shortcut Windows + V. Please note that you need to activate this function before you can use it. This is done in the settings (Windows + I) under “clipboard”. There you can also specify that the history on all devices with the same Microsoft account is synchronized via the Microsoft cloud.


Minimize/maximize windows

In order to keep the overview, windows opened in Windows 10 can be reduced to a quarter of their size with the key combination Windows + Left Arrow + Up Arrow and placed in the upper left corner. If you use other directional buttons, it works with the other corners, and you quickly have four windows clearly arranged on the screen.

If you want to display two windows side by side, press Windows + Left or Windows + Right key. Then Windows 10 automatically shows a selection of the open programs, which you can give the other half of the display with one click.

If you want to maximize a window that has shrunk to 25 percent, use Windows + Up key. In the case of windows reduced to half the size, this combination initially leads to a reduction to a quarter, only the second time the window fills the screen again.


Clear view of the desktop

If you can no longer see the desktop with the windows open, you do not have to minimize it individually to reveal the view of the surface. The keyboard shortcut Windows + D minimizes them with one swipe into the task bar. If you want to restore the old state, press the combination again and all windows will be enlarged again.


Close a program

Especially when working with a notebook without a mouse, it is a bit cumbersome to end an application using the small cross in the top right corner. Alt + F4 makes it much easier and faster. If no application is selected, the key combination opens the window in order to shut down the computer, restart it or send it to idle status, or to log off or change the user.


Use virtual desktops

This is where engineers often have a significant advantage when they are regularly thinking in spatial concepts: working with several applications at the same time. I am always using at least five (5) different programs at one time, and I use Alt + Tab for switching between the programs that I am running.

People with a less developed spatial thinking ability prefer to keep these programs in smaller windows that are arranged side by side on the desktop for not losing track. However, if a large number of programs or windows are kept open at the same time, so-called “virtual desktops” are an option that is worth trying out. This means that you use several work surfaces at the same time, between which you can easily switch back and forth.

You can open the overview either by clicking on the task view in the task bar or with Windows + Tab. It is then possible to add further virtual desktops using the plus sign. But you can also press Windows + Ctrl + D to create a new virtual desktop and switch directly there. Programs are easily assigned in the task view by dragging them onto the miniature view of a specific virtual desktop. If you want to remove a specific virtual desktop, press Windows + Ctrl + F4 while it is displayed.


Call emojis

Emojis are almost ubiquitous on smartphones; in Windows 10 you have to search for them. This means that a search entry does not lead to the corresponding app, but to browser results that explain that a key combination is required for this. No matter where you are, Windows + dot opens the emoji window. There chooses There you select one or more symbols, which are initially collected in another small window. They are only inserted when you click on the green arrow.


Lock PC quickly

This is a must in times of the data protection hysteria. In order to prevent unauthorized or curious colleagues from accessing your PC while taking a short break, you can lock the computer with the abbreviation Windows + L. Then nothing works without a password.


Enlarged view

If you literally have problems reading the small print, you can enlarge the font on websites with the key combination Ctrl + Plus. You can repeat this until you are guaranteed to be able to read everything. Conversely, you can shrink text with the Combo Ctrl + Minus key. Ctrl + 0 brings the view to normal size.

If you want to enlarge not only text, but the entire screen content, press Windows + Plus key. You can repeat this until the magnification is 1600 percent. To reduce the display again, use the Windows + minus key.


Search is faster than Select with the Mouse

If you want to open a program that is not fixed in the taskbar and to which there is no shortcut on the desktop, you can use the universal search, which you open via Windows + S. If you then enter the name of the application, it appears after the first few letters in the search results and you can start it. This is much faster than selecting that program in the app overview – so fast that you can actually do without desktop links at all.


Call To Action

It is now time that you learn a few more keyboard shortcuts.

From the list of keyboard shortcuts above, select five or six of them, according to what you use most.

Then write these on a post-it and write the title “Pareto Principle” onto the same post-it. Then stick this post-it to your computer screen so that you see it all the time.

The Pareto Principle is important because it governs your life. You will find more about it on my website here. That post-it will also remind you to look out for more applications of the Pareto Principle.


Martin “Speed” Schweiger

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