One of the most influential people in American history, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, once said:
We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.
Productive people live by this rule. In sickness or in health, they do not waste a single second of their lives. Being a freelance writer, I find it very difficult to work without certain apps, and a few productivity tips I picked from the Internet. As a result, I get to save a great deal of time. One of these productivity tips include the rampant usage of the awesome shortcuts WordPress has to offer.
WordPress has a rich array of keyboard shortcuts that help you increase your productivity rate by leaps and bounds! Today’s post discusses these time-saving WordPress keyboard shortcuts. Before we dive into the topic, let’s take a quick look at why formatting your content is such a big deal.
Content Formatting 101
Your content’s presentation style plays a crucial role in conversion rates, readership engagement and overall user experience. A well formatted text block with appropriate headings, block quotes, bold and italics, grab and hold on to the reader’s attention.
Italics play a major role in shaping the voice of the reader. See what I did there? Try reading the sentence in your mind. You will automatically emphasize on the word major, since it is italicized.
A similar effect is seen by strong text, i.e. text highlighted in bold. When you’re leafing through pages, rather paragraphs for that matter, your eyes will involuntarily read those sentences or phrase that are highlighted in bold. This is because bold text grabs attention.
However, we must bear in mind that too much bold text can be counterproductive. If you highlight almost every other phrase in the paragraph, then the original objective (of grabbing the reader’s attention to a particular sentence) is lost. If you have 10 phrases highlighted in bold in a single paragraph, which one would you expect the reader to focus on?
In such scenarios, where you find that all the points are important and must be communicated with equal importance, it is recommended not to use the bold text. Instead, you can use bulleted lists.
Bulleted lists or simply “bullets” are incredibly powerful for getting the message across. They occur in short bursts, thus making it easy to read, which also make them easy to remember. Here are a few things we should keep in mind when using bullets:
- Don’t use long sentences – keep them short and snappy
- Don’t use too many bullet points
- If you have multiple points to be communicated, break them up into separate sections
- Numbered bullets are usually interpreted in descending order of priority
- If you have specifics, use numbered bullets
- Else, stick to regular bullets
Introducing WordPress Shortcuts
Formatting takes time.
If you want to highlight a word or phrase, you have to lift your palm from the keyboard, grab the mouse (or touchpad), highlight the text, move the mouse over the I button and click it. That’s a lot of work for simply italicizing a piece of text. That’s where the Ctrl+I keyboard combination comes in handy!
WordPress comes with a “What You See Is What You Get” (WISIWYG) editor. It is an interactive rich text editor which supports a plethora of rich text activities – such as highlighting text, bullet points, headings, block quotes, etc. But you already know this.
What you probably did not know that Ctrl+K combination opens up the hyperlink dialogue box. Enter the URL, and the definition and your text is hyperlinked without a mouse click! If you like what you’ve read, check out the following awesome WordPress keyboard shortcuts.
It is a well-known fact that many themes and plugins add their own shortcode buttons to the Visual Editor. While this is certainly helpful to most of us, we have completely omitted this in our tutorial. This guarantees that everyone gets an equal base to learn from.
- We haven’t installed any new plugin or theme that adds extra buttons or posts in the Visual Editor.
- If you don’t have a clean installation of WordPress, you can simply visit WordPress.com and try out the authentic Visual Editor over there!
- Finally, if you’re using a Mac, then there’s no Ctrl key. Simply replace the Ctrl key with the Command key wherever applicable. All other shortcuts work as shown in this tutorial.
Now we’re ready to play around with the shortcuts.
Enable the Kitchen Sink
The first thing you need to do is launch the Visual Editor in WordPress. You can do this by creating any new post or page. We would recommend you do not edit an existing post/page since this is for experimentation purposes.
You need to view all the formatting tools that are available by default in your WordPress Visual Editor. In order to do this, you must click on the Toolbar Toggle button. This shows/hides the toolbar, which holds the other formatting buttons.
Click on the “? Button” to display the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box.
These shortcuts are for the various headings from H1 to H6. You need not select the sentence. Simply place your cursor on the sentence to be highlighted and apply the keyboard shortcut (and just a reminder that if you’re using a Mac, you’ll use Option+Command instead of Ctrl).
- Heading 1 Ctrl+1
- Heading 2 Ctrl+2
- Heading 3 Ctrl+3
- Heading 4 Ctrl+4
- Heading 5 Ctrl+5
- Heading 6 Ctrl+6
Basic Editor Shortcuts
In this case, you need to select the word or phrase or sentence to be highlighted.
- Cut Ctrl+X
- Copy Ctrl+C
- Paste Ctrl+V
- Bold Ctrl+B
- Underline Ctrl+U
- Italicize Ctrl+I
- Strikethrough Alt+Shift+D
- Select All Ctrl+A
- Undo Ctrl+Z
- Redo Ctrl+Y
Advanced Editor Shortcuts
This is where the real fun begins. These settings allow you to play around with the good stuff and you end up saving a lot of time.
Text Alignment Shortcuts
- Align Left Alt+Shift+L
- Align Centre Alt+Shift+C
- Align Right Alt+Shift+R
- Justify Text Alt+Shift+J
Link Modification Shortcuts
- Insert Link Alt+Shift+A
- Remove Link Alt+Shift+S
Five Awesome Shortcuts You Probably Didn’t Know
- Insert Blockquote Alt+Shift+Q
- Add/Remove Code Tag Alt+Shift+X
- Insert Image Alt+Shift+M
- Insert Page Break Tag Alt+Shift+P
- Insert More Tag Alt+Shift+T
Less Used Shortcuts for the Visual Editor
- Enter Distraction-free writing mode Alt+Shift+W
- Open Spell Checker Alt+Shift+N
- Save Draft: Ctrl+S
- Show/hide the Kitchen Sink Shift+Alt+Z
- Help Alt+Shift+H
Added Bonus – The Distraction Free Writing Mode
Activating is mode removes all the clutter from the screen bringing about minimalism – a white background with your text floating on the screen.
All you can do is focus on your content.
This mode also has two different shortcuts:
- Enter/Exit Mode Alt+Shift+W
- Widen the Editor Ctrl + ’+’ (Simply press Ctrl+)
- Narrow the Editor Ctrl + ’-’ (Simply press Ctrl-)
- Reset to Default Width Ctrl+0
Comment Moderation Shortcuts
For those of you who see a lot of comments daily, filtering them could be a tedious task. WordPress understands your concerns. That’s why they have an entire dedicated array of shortcuts for comment moderation. With these shortcuts you can fly through hundreds of comments in no time.
Enable Shortcuts for Comment Moderation
Before we begin with comment moderation shortcuts, we need to enable the “Keyboard shortcuts for comment moderation” option in our WordPress account. By default this option is disabled for everyone, and needs to be activated for each individual user.
- Go to WP Dashboard > Users > Your Profile
- Check the box Enable keyboard shortcuts for comment moderation
- Click on Update Profile
Comment Navigation Shortcuts
The first thing you want to do is navigate through the list of comments. The currently active or selected comment is highlighted in blue.
- Navigate to Comment Above K (also called the Comment Up key)
- Navigate to Comment Below J (also called the Comment Down key)
It is interesting to note that you don’t need to use any key combination in order to navigate through the comment list. You can also navigate across comment pages with the J and K navigation keys. This means that if you’re on the last comment of the current page and there is another page after this, pressing K, i.e. the Comment Down key will load the next page.
Comment Moderation Action Shortcuts
Once you’ve selected the comment you want to moderate (i.e. it’s highlighted in blue), you can use any of the following comment action shortcuts:
- Approve comment – A
- Mark comment as spam – S
- Delete comment – D
- Restore comment – Z
- Unapprove comment, and put it back into moderation – U
- Reply to the comment – R (Hit Esc to cancel the reply)
- Activate Quick Edit for inline editing of the comment – Q
Bulk Comment Moderation Shortcuts
This here is the prize-winner. If you have a lot of comments you want to quickly attend to, the bulk moderation shortcuts is your saviour.
- First off you need to select the comments. Navigate using the J and K keys, and press X to select the comments you want to moderate.
- You can also bulk select all the comments using Shift+X. Then you can deselect comments using the X key
The following shortcuts are for bulk moderating the selected comments
- Approve comments – Shift+A
- Mark comments as spam – Shift+S
- Delete comments – Shift+D
- Unapprove comments – Shift+U
- Move comments to Trash – Shift+T
- Restores comments from Trash – Shift+Z
Over To You!
When I discovered the WordPress shortcuts, I had cut down my work time by 50%. No longer did I need to open the Media Uploader to insert every new image. A quick combination of Alt+Shift+M prompted me the image I wanted to insert.
One of my favourite shortcuts include the blockquote tag, insert image and the link modification tags. What are yours? Also, if we’ve missed any tags in this list, please let us know!