I'm a big fan of shortcuts and I recently ran across a reference to desktop keyboard shortcuts. I have a dim memory of using keyboard shortcuts in Windows 3.1 and the good news is that they still work. For example, if you launch a certain file or software program multiple times in a day, you can save a lot of time if you use a keyboard shortcut instead.
Setting up keyboard shortcuts is really easy. Right-click a shortcut in either your Start menu or on the desktop. Choose Properties from the pop-up menu that appears and then click the Shortcut tab if it isn't already selected.
You'll notice that next to Shortcut key, there is a box that says None. Click inside the box and press the keyboard combination you want to use. For this type of shortcut, you need to use either a function key at the top of your keyboard, a key on the numeric keypad or a combination of keys that includes two of the "modifier" keys, which are Ctrl, Shift, and Alt.
After you've typed a key combination, click OK to close the dialog box. If you decide you don't like your keyboard shortcut, you can go back to the dialog box and press a new combination or press Backspace to return it to None.
If you are really fired up about shortcuts, you'll probably also like Short Keys, a shareware program available at http://www.shortkeys.com. You can download either a more limited free version or a paid version, but they both do the same thing: replace one string of text with another.
For example, I teach an online course and as the class moves forward, I have to close out discussion topics using an online form. I have to fill in fields that say who the message is from (me), the subject ("Discussion Area Closed"), and then a paragraph of explanatory text. With Short Keys, I don't have to retype all this stuff endlessly. I set up a short key for each piece of text. For example, when I type dac, the words "Discussion Area Closed" appear instead. So cool!
Realistically, Short Keys is very much like Microsoft Word's AutoText feature. It's more or less the same thing, but it works in any program. Like AutoText, you need to be careful what text string you set up because Short Keys will replace it every time. So don't use common words like "at" or "the" for your short keys or you'll be finding replacement text in some strange places.