Program makes keyboard shortcuts easy to find

Brevis categorizes keyboard shortcuts for Office and Windows and lists them in resizable windows. You can search for shortcuts by letter and easily create your own favorites list.

For some PC tasks, nothing but a mouse will do. But when you need to get a load of work done in a short time, the key is to keep your hands on the keys.

Easier said than done, considering the world of actions--other than typing--you're likely to perform on your PC in the course of a workday. If only it were easier to remember those hundreds of keyboard shortcuts that let you park your mouse in long-term storage.

Several years ago I described how to create an easy-to-access list of keyboard shortcuts. I followed that post with key combinations for moving and resizing on-screen windows.

I've also written about keyboard shortcuts for Word and Excel. Last May, I supplemented the list with little-known Word keyboard shortcuts, and earlier this year added handy keystroke combinations specific to Windows 7.

As you can imagine, my shortcut list is getting unwieldy. That's why I was delighted to find Brevis for Windows, a $20 utility from the Shortcut Library. The program manages to cram hundreds of keyboard shortcuts for Office apps and Windows in a handful of resizable widgets.

The shortcuts are neatly separated by category. For example, the categories for Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Access include formatting, navigation, editing, working with documents/objects/items, and working with Windows. Some of the application-specific shortcut lists are special characters for Word, formulas for Excel, slide show for PowerPoint, design for Access, and contacts/tasks and calendar for Outlook.

The Windows keyboard shortcuts include keystroke combinations for Internet Explorer as well as those for opening, closing, minimizing, and restoring windows. Brevis's shortcut widgets can be minimized and maximized, and the program itself can be resized by dragging its bottom-right corner.

Brevis keyboard-shortcut utility
The Brevis utility from the Shortcut Library makes it easy to find the keyboard shortcuts you need to work faster in Windows and Office apps. screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET

Each of the six tabs for the five Office apps and Windows includes a search widget that displays shortcuts that use specific keys, and a favorites widget into which you can drag and drop the shortcuts you use most often. In fact, the only keyboard combination you'll need to remember once the program's on your PC is Alt-Tab so you can cycle through your open apps to reach the lists in Brevis.

You can get free access to a handful of shortcuts in each category on the Shortcut List site. The site also provides a tip of the week in each category.

Considering the amount of time the average office worker spends in front of a PC and the productivity boost possible by using keyboard shortcuts instead of reaching for your mouse over and over and over again, the $20 you spend on Brevis could pay for itself by the time you're ready for your afternoon break. Heck, it might even save you enough work time to let you actually take an afternoon break.

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