Going Commando - Put Down The Mouse

How about the Layout menu of the Organize drop down in Vista’s file explorer? I wanted this in XP too but had no luck. I would love to be able to flip the Navigation Pane on and off with the keyboard.

This seems like such an obvious keyboard shortcut but I can’t seem to find a way; has anyone else?

How about changing to Dvork Keyboard. It’s likely to speed up productivity even more over mouse… once you get over the learning curve.

I’m with mhardy. That would make that feature a lot more useful. I’m pretty happy to have found the Ctrl+N to open a new window in explorer.

You wouldn’t make fun of someone who used a crutch to walk (or would you?)

I would make fun of a person who thought they where going to be a running back in the NFL if they needed a crutch to walk.

Are you an IT professional or are you a casual web surfer/blog troll?

I’m constantly tell people how to quickly find things in eclipse or with google desktop (ctrl-shift-R/T) or ctrl-ctrl and they actually refuse. It’s seems some people like to click around in GUIs and make up fantasies about how somehow the extra time isn’t important.

the windows key + r opens the run command window and can be your best friend for weening yourself from the mouse.

type the following in the run command window to open the following programs:

winword - opens ms word
excel - opens excel
www.website.com - opens website in default browser
mstsc - remote desktop
…and on and on.

there are tutorials for creating your own keywords for opening programs through the run command window.

i find using windows key + r to be a big timesaver.

I use a logitech vx revolution and i have many keyboard shortcuts programmed into it, such as alt+Tab is the second center click and ctrl+tab/ctrl+shift+tab is the zoom +/- button. i also have many others for specific applications. the mouse is pricey but honestly its made things incredibly convenient.

ive been yelled at by fellow programmers for being too “mouse-centric,” as im new to the field. however i still use keyboard shortcuts like crazy. its just sometimes youre using the keyboard and sometimes youre using the mouse. so i think i have the best of both worlds.

navigate in Firefox by hitting “/” and then typing in the text of the link that you want to go to

theres also a setting in firefox 2.0 that when you start typing it starts searching for the first occurance. its not on by default though.

I am a big fan of using the keyboard as much as possible. I have found that over the years I have formed “modes” in my brain for the different types of editors I use:

Mode # 1 - “Everyman” Editing:

This is my brain mode for when I am in a standard windows text box, a notepad window, or editing something on someone else’s editor and I want to have the best chance of things just “working”. No fancy, feelin’ cool editing tricks here. Just get the job done and use the experience to remind you of how much nicer the other mode’s are… (This message typed in Mode # 1).

Mode # 2 - “Faux Emacs”

Ah, old school emacs. This is my favorite, because if you are trained right you can keep both hands on the keyboard for just about everything. No lifting your hand up to search for arrow keys or the home/end. Just keep those palms flat on the keyboard ergo-bench and type away. Emacs uses the CTRL and ALT keys as modifiers for all the basic editing commands, and has no qualms about, say, using Control-F to mean “move cursor forward” and Control-d to mean “delete character”. There are some interesting conflicts that arise when you bring the default emacs commands to windows. The one that really freaks people out is when I have Page-Down mapped to Control-V. Heaven help the poor soul who tries to use my Visual Studio while its emacs profile is still engaged. They go to paste a bit of text and the entire screen changes! Heh heh… if I had a dime for every time a coworker yelped in dismay…

I do have a somewhat hybrid set up for those apps that I can configure to use emacs key bindings - things like Shift + Control + F = Extend selection forward one char, Shift + Control + A = Extend selection to start of line, and Control + U = Page Up (took that from vi). I am actually more in tune with this “bastardized” hybrid than true emacs, but drop me in real emacs editor and I only start to choke when I have to remember those funky double-sequence commands like Control-X Control-S to save and the like. Or heaven help me if I need to remember how to manipulate kill regions or run a Meta-X search-for-string…

Mode # 3: “To The Pain” (g)VI(m)

Long ago I lived in worlds where sometimes emacs was not available. I bit the bullet and learned VI. It is just as powerful as emacs in its ability to let you keep those palms flat on the keyboard, but it does it in a different way. VI is a “mode-based” editor - meaning that you press a key (‘i’) and then everything you type until you hit the ESCAPE key is treated as text input. If you are not in ‘insert’ mode, then you’re in ‘command’ mode, which is where you can move around (‘ijkl’) and enter “colon” commands like ‘:w ~/myfile.txt’, ‘:wq’ (write file then quit), or ‘:q!’ (quit without saving, dammit).

After literally years, I eventually reached the point where I could effortlessly switch into “vi” mode and do quie well. These days, I am even able to do basic search and replace without having to look it up. Don’t believe me? Check this out:


Looks like Sendmail control codes, or Perl gone right, eh? No sir, it is my version of "Replace every occurence of the word ‘foobar’ with ‘Snickers’ in the file. My mind tells me that this command is essentially broken down like this:

‘:1,$s/foobar’ - this part tells vi to search for the string foobar anywhere from the 1st line of the file to the end of the file ‘$’.
’/Snickers/’ - If you find a foobar, replace it with Snickers please…
’/g’ - Oh, and do it globally for all matches you find. (Snickers really satisfies…).

It turns out that depending on which vi you are using you may not need the ‘g’ part at all… and frankly if you use me as your canonical reference for how to break down the vi command above you should have your brain checked for lesions.

Well, anyway, that’s my brain on editors after well over ten years of programming in Unix, Windows, and other seedy locales. Thank you for listening, and for the opportunity to expound at such great length. :slight_smile:

-Michael (http://yevaud.blogspot.com)

PS - I accidentally posted this comment in response to a much older article linked by this post that described the common keyboard shortcuts, so forgive this repost.

PPS - My blog has this post as well if you want to read it with better formatting.

About keyboard browsing: maybe you should try “Caret Browsing” (F7) from Firefox. Along with Tab/Shift-Tab and incremental search, it makes almost anything possible (erm… except drag’n’drop?)

To get started in a mouse free world you can start with these ingredients:

  • An application launcher, like Launchy or Google Desktop.
  • WinKeys for global keyboard shortcuts.
  • Total Commander. Never use lame Windows Explorer again. TC has keyboard shortcuts for everything. It pains me to watch people navigate with Windows Explorer.
  • UltraMon if you use more than one monitor.


wow. didn’t know anyone cared this much. I use the keyboard all the time. I’m doing it now in fact! Any boost in productivity gained by my skillful use of my non-dvorak keyboard is immediately squandered by people stopping by and talking to me about non-work matters. Stop IT!!!

Hit-a-Hint is indeed the solution for mouseless browsing:


I highly recommend it.

Wow how about this??

use a webcam to track your hands to act like a mouse!
I’ve wanted this forever. its the best of both worlds. you dont waste time moving your hand off your keyboard to your mouse, and back.



You’re an idiot. I posted that link because it provokes thought, not because I want to replace the keyboard with mouse gestures.

In terms of UI dev, it’s f’ing fantastic. Do you really think there isn’t a market for high end interaction design?? Are you THAT committed to accessibility that you deny the chance for UI engineers to explore new spaces? Should a user be forever limited in the ways they are able to communicate with an application?

pshhh. i think not.

For anyone else, this is what we are talking about:
a href="http://www.dontclick.it/"http://www.dontclick.it//a

Heh… this is why I always get pwned in strategy games :slight_smile:


A while back I wrote a similar post about how keyboard shortcuts can help you save a considerable amount of time per day.



Good job Doug! See my post above…

Everyone else. Super duper job as well. I wish I could work with people as smart as you. I work with a bunch of morons who actually touch their mices use two monitors! Eek! Gads! Imagine having to watch someone mouse over two screens. (I imagine heads exploding even as I type this on my keyboard (without the help of a stupid mouse))

On second thought, maybe I’ll try and come up with a way of using two mice at the same time eliminate the need for the keyboard altogether. I do have a lazy eye, after all, so tracking them both should not present a problem. and you non-lazy eye suckers could probably get surgery to fix your problem/short-comings.

Mouse-weary Mac users might like to try an application called Quicksilver
It’s a graphical but keyboard driven application launcher and search tool -
it looks up applications, documents, address book entries and other things
(a bit like Spotlight) and then lets you build up sort of graphical 'commands’
like ‘Open’, ‘copy to clipboard’, ‘email to’ etc. Honestly, it pains
me to watch other Mac users still hunting for applications in folders they’ve
hung off the Dock.

One other tip - most Cocoa text widgets accept a subset of Emacs bindings:
Ctrl-D delete, Ctrl-E end of line, Ctrl-K kill to end of line, etc.

Here’s the question of the day:

Is writing bad code faster better than writing little or no code at all?

I use firefox and the best way to surf IMO is the ’ key.
It does the same as / or Ctrl+F but only for links.
So, you just press ’ type some characters from the link you want to go and then Enter. You can even press F3 to repeat the last search (great for automatically pressing this “next” link).
Voila! You are on your next site with no effort (try it in the google results, it is amazing :slight_smile: )

in firefox, if you type the apostrophe, the search as you type only searches through links.