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PostPoints tip: Keyboard shortcuts for Web sites

You can give your desktop's mouse or your laptop's touchpad a rest--and get some tasks done faster--at sites that support keyboard shortcuts like the ones you've memorized in most of your desktop programs. At Gmail, for example, turning on this option through your settings page will let you start a new message by hitting the "c" key, among other things. At Yahoo Mail, the available keyboard commands include "n" to open a message. At Hotmail, hitting Ctrl-N can start a new e-mail. As those examples show, one potential hangup is sites using different commands for the same function. Another is sites not documenting their keyboard shortcuts at all. For example, at Yahoo's Flickr photo-sharing site, users have resorted to sharing their own tips about commands they've discovered (such as pressing "k" to advance to the next photo in an album's filmstrip view). You may also find that some sites' shortcuts don't work in all the browsers you use. But the time and wrist strain saved by not having to switch from mouse to keyboard and back makes it worth looking around a site's help file or forum to see if it can understand keystrokes as well as clicks.

(What's this "PostPoints tip" business about? Since July, I've been archiving each tip-of-the-week e-mail we send to PostPoints members under this blog's "Tips" category. Today's item went out on Sept. 28.)

By Rob Pegoraro  | October 4, 2010; 7:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Web, Tips  
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