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Easy Keyboard Shortcuts as Ergonomic Intervention

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
By Anne Kramer

Repetitive stress injuries occur when frequent actions require motions that place extra pressure on muscles, joints, and tendons. One of the most common repetitive stress injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome, which is caused by overuse of the wrists and hands during typing and other tasks. Many tools are available to combat carpal tunnel, including ergonomic mice and keyboards.

A simple way to maximize the effectiveness of this equipment, particularly ergonomic keyboards, is to use keyboard shortcuts. These shortcuts decrease the need for a mouse, thereby eliminating unbalanced stress on one side of the body.

Formatting Shortcuts
These keyboard shortcuts work for formatting within a document. Hit the “Control” key, and hold down the key specified below: 
  • A: Highlights the entire document, like the “Select All” feature from the drop-down menu
  • B: Changes the highlighted text to “Bold”
  • C: Copies the highlighted text to the clipboard
  • I: Changes the highlighted text to “Italic”
  • J: Justifies the text
  • V: Pastes text from the clipboard
  • U: Changes the highlighted text to “Underlined”
  • X: Cuts the highlighted text, and moves it to the clipboard
  • Y: Redoes an action
  • Z: Undoes an action
  • 1: Single-spaces entire document
  • 2: Double-spaces entire document
  • 5: Sets 1.5 spacing for entire document
  • Enter: Inserts a page break
  • Open bracket key: Decreases font by one point
  • Close bracket key: Increases font by one point
Shortcuts for navigating within the document
For the commands below, hold down “Control” and hit the specified key:

  • Left arrow key: Moves the cursor one word to the left
  • Right arrow key: Moves the cursor one word to the right
  • Home: Moves the cursor all the way to the beginning of the document (Without the “Control” key, this command moves the cursor to the beginning of the current line.)
  • End: Moves the cursor to the end of the document (The “End” key alone moves the cursor to the end of the current line.)
  • Shift and left arrow key: Selects word to the left of the cursor
  • Shift and right arrow key: Selects word to the right of the cursor
  • Down arrow key: Moves the cursor down one paragraph
  • Up arrow key: Moves the cursor up one paragraph
Shortcuts for navigating the program
The shortcuts below will navigate within the program itself. They operate drop-down and pop-up menus.
  • Alt+F: Opens the “File” menu
  • Ctrl+N: Opens a new document
  • Ctrl+O: Opens documents
  • Ctrl+P: Prints the document
  • .Ergonomic Keyboard & Mouse
  • Ctrl+S: Saves the document
  • F12: Pulls up the “Save As” window
  • Alt+F4: Closes programs
  • Alt+E: Brings up “Edit” menu
  • F1: Brings up the “Help” menu
  • Alt+V: Brings up the “View” menu
  • Alt+I: Calls up the “Insert” menu
  • Alt+O: Brings up the “Format” menu
  • Alt+T: Brings up the “Tools” menu
  • Alt+A: Brings up the “Table” menu
  • Esc: Closes any dialog box or menu; cancels an action
  • Ctrl+F4 or Ctrl+W: Closes all open documents
  • “Flying Windows” key+M: Minimizes all the windows at one time
  • Alt+Tab: Toggles between open documents or programs
These shortcuts minimize overuse and over reaching for the hands and wrists. Therefore, they are an easy step to increase ergonomic compliance in the office.

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