By: Katie Hill

Date: March 9, 2017

As a Project Manager, I am always excited to discover new ways to create workplace efficiencies. Even though keyboard shortcuts sound like a menial efficiency, they can end up saving you a slew of time if you have projects that require a lot of repetitive tasks. Keyboard shortcuts are not a new thing, but it always surprises me to hear when people don’t use them frequently. Here at Subtext, I surveyed our team to figure out what keyboard shortcuts they use on a daily basis that save them time throughout the day.

(Note: These shortcuts apply to Mac users. PC’s have similar or equivalent options.)


If you’re not using these shortcuts yet, I recommend you learn these by heart. They will save you at least 2-3 mouse clicks, every time.

  1. Select All: Command + A
  2. Copy: Command + C
  3. Cut: Command + X
  4. Paste: Command + V
  5. Save: Command + S
  6. Undo: Command + Z
  7. Redo: Command + Shift + Z
  8. Refresh Webpage: Command + R
  9. Close Browser Tab: Command + W
  10. Quit Application: Command + Q
  11. Zoom In/Zoom Out: Command +/-


These are some of the less common keyboard shortcuts, but ones that pack a punch.

  1. Browser Tab Toggle: CTRL + TAB (left to right)
    This is a huge time saver if you’re like me and have 20+ tabs open on your computer. If you want to go from right to left, use CTRL + Shift + TAB. Or, if you know the specific tab you are after, you can press CTRL + [Number of tab]. For example, if you’re wanting to see the 2nd tab on your window, you would use Command + 2.
  2. Reopen a Closed Browser Tab: Command + Shift + T
    This is a great one if you’ve accidentally closed out of a browser tab and don’t want to search through your history. This will open your tab back up.
  3. Clear Cache & Reload Page: Command + Shift + R
    Since we work with a lot of websites, we often need to make sure we are viewing an un-cached page. Instead of having to go to your browser settings to remove cache, this shortcut does the same thing.
  4. Paste Content With No Formatting: Command + Option + Shift + V
    This is a handful, but once you get it, it’s a game changer! This will allow you to copy text from one document into another without any of the previous formatting. If you copy/paste a lot of content, you know what I mean. Gone are the days of having to paste content into a Text File in order to clear formatting.
  5. Screenshot and Save to Clipboard: Command + CTRL + Shift + 4
    Most of you might already know Command + Shift + 4 to take a screenshot and save the file to your desktop. However, if you include the Shift in there, it will copy the screenshot to your clipboard so you can paste (Command + V).

Program Specific

Often times, applications will have their own shortcuts built into their software. Usually, you can find reference to shortcuts in the file menu next to the action. Sometimes they are also found in the settings of the app.

  1. Google Docs – Strikethrough Text: Command + Shift + X
    This does just that. It applies a strikethrough on your selected text.
  2. Photoshop – Save for Web: Command + Option + Shift S
    This is a big one for digital creative agencies since it’s imperative that we save images that are optimized for the web. Normally, there are a couple menus to sort through to get to this option when saving for the web.
  3. Photoshop – Transform: Command T
    This one is probably the most used shortcuts in Photoshop because it opens you up to multiple options that have additional shortcuts. The Transform tool allows you to rotate or resize. However, if you hold down the Shift key while you’re resizing, it will resize within constraints. If you hold down the Command key, it will allow you to skew.
  4. Spreadsheets – Excel Cell Hard Breaks: Option + Shift + Return
    Have you ever tried to add paragraph spacing to cell in a spreadsheet. In any other tool, hitting the Return key usually adds a space between paragraphs, however, in a spreadsheet, it will drop you down to the next cell. By using this shortcut, you can add as many line breaks within a cell as you want.

For more advanced users, you can play around with custom shortcuts for many different types of scenarios like a quick key to open the calculator app or to move all your desktop files to the trash.

If you take some time to familiarize yourself with these shortcuts and start using them on a daily basis, your effort will pay off in spades. For example, something like taking and sending a screenshot to a co-worker can usually add up to 10+ individual actions to open a screen capture app, take screenshot, save, quit app, open email app, open new email, attach file, find file on desktop. But with shortcuts, you can take a simple screen grab (Command + CTRL + Shift + 4), open a new email (Command + N) and paste into document (Command + V).

My hope is that this will help shave off a couple minutes of your workday, improve your sanity and prevent carpal-tunnel inducing repetitive mouse clicks. What are some of your favorite keyboard shortcuts?