Know your shortcuts!

I don’t know about you, but I do my best trying to find out about shortcuts, and memorize them. We usually have to think longer trying to get to some functionality, but with shortcuts, the brain just look them up and use them much faster then we can consciously think about it.

When I find out about a new shortcut, what do to memorize it is to make a note of them somewhere. Then, I try to use it every time! If I happen to forget what the shortcut is, but do know that I have it listed somewhere, I’ll go back and look it up, so that maybe next time I’ll remember it. This pays off big time in the long run.

Shortcuts in Windows

Make sure you know at least the most basic ones. There’s quite a few very useful shortcuts in Windows, most of them being triggered as a combination of Windows Key + some other key. For instance, Windows Key + E brings up Windows Explorer, Windows Key + L locks your computer, etc.

You can find a list of those shortcuts here.

Shortcuts in Visual Studio

Visual Studio comes with a lot of shortcuts pre-configured. There are reference posters that lists all the default keybindings for both C# and VB.NET available that you can download. Make sure you get them and try to memorize at least one shortcut every other day (there’s a bunch of them, so take one step at a time).

Visual C# 2005 Keyboard Shortcut Reference Poster

Visual Basic 2005 Keyboard Shortcut Reference Poster

Cross-Application Shortcuts

Be aware that some shortcuts work across different applications (or across different "areas" within the same application). I’m not talking about the default ones such as Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V (you know those right? Copy and Paste??  🙂 ); I’m talking about things like the shortcut to comment code in or out.

For instance, if you’re editing .NET code in VS, you can use Ctrl+K+C to comment code out, and Ctrl+K+U to uncomment the code (I still don’t understand why those options don’t show up on the right-click menu, and are buried under the Edit -> Advanced menu instead. I just can’t associate commenting code out with advanced). What I did not know until a few months ago, is that you can use the same shortcuts when you’re editing XML files in VS (I used to manually type in the angle brackets, exclamation points and dashes…). And, that one also works in SQL Management Studio when editing T-SQL code!

  1. #1 by randy on June 5, 2007 - 9:15 am

    Claudio,I thought I was beginning to think I was the only one that didn\’t understand how commenting code could be considered "advanced".   And these 2 shortcuts especially should be "shorter" instead of requiring 2 keystrokes.

  2. #2 by John on June 5, 2007 - 2:41 pm

    Thanks for the links Claudio,  wow, I didnt even know about some of the basic windows ones, you learn something every day.Keep up the good work on the productivity posts, they are fun to read.

  3. #3 by Claudio on June 25, 2007 - 11:02 am

    I\’m glad you guys are enjoying my posts. I\’ll keep\’em coming, then.  🙂
    On the shortcut for "commenting code out" being to long, I agree. In fact, I don\’t really use it. Since I\’m a CodeRush user, in CodeRush you can just select the text and hit forwardslash (/) both to comment or uncomment code. Waaaaay much better.   😉  CodeRush is another tool I\’ll be posting about on my productivity series.

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