I hate the term "life hack" but there is no denying that certain tricks make life a whole lot easier. For example, I would never, ever go back to the days before I knew how to chop an onion. Thanks to Gordon Ramsey, making Pico De Gallo is no longer a day long endeavor. Bless him.
So what is the computer equivalent of the onion chopping method? Two words:
Oh yes my friends, I'm serious. Sure we all know Ctrl + C (Copy) and Ctrl + V (Paste), but did you know that there are millions of other shortcuts in InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Sketchup? Did you know that using these will save you HOURS of design time? Because they do. And they couldn't be easier to learn. In fact, most programs list the keyboard shortcut right next to the command name in the dropdown menu. Don't believe me? Look to the left of each command under the Edit tab in Indesign:
See those? Memorize them. Make them muscle memory so you don't even have to think about it. They will save you so much time, you will forget how you ever functioned without them!
Here is a list of my most frequently used shortcuts:
- Ctrl + X: Cut
- Ctrl + C: Copy
- Ctrl + V: Paste
- Alt + Shift+ Ctrl + V: Paste in Place
- Alt + Ctrl + V: Paste Into
- Ctrl + A: Select All
- Ctrl + Z: Undo
- Shift + W: Presentation Mode
- Alt + Shift + Ctrl + Z: Fast Display
- Alt + Ctrl + H: High Quality Display
- Ctrl + "+": Zoom In
- Ctrl + "-": Zoom Out
- Ctrl + 0: Fit Page in Window
- Ctrl + L: Lock
- Ctrl + G: Group
- Alt + Ctrl + C: Fit Frame to Content
- Alt + Ctrl + E: Fit Content to Frame
- Spacebar: Select Tool
- R: Rectangle
- L: Line
- M: Move
- P: Push/Pull
- S: Scale
- Q: Rotate
- E: Eraser
My Custom Shortcuts:
- Ctrl + H: Hide
- Ctrl + G: Make Group
- Ctrl + T: Make Component (I use this instead of the Default "Ctrl + G")
- Shift + Ctrl+ V: Paste in Place
As you can see above, Sketchup comes with a few of default shortcuts, a few of which I have listed here. Custom shortcuts can be made in the Window > Preferences > Shortcuts dialog box:
From here you can search for a function in the "Filter" bar and assign whatever keyboard command makes the most sense to you. For example, instead of using the default "G" to make a component, I use "Ctrl + T" because I find it easier to remember. In general, I like to use InDesign shortcuts in Sketchup for things like pasting in place because it seems silly to relearn something I have already mastered somewhere else.
There are a lot of really fantastic tutorials that go more in depth (like this one), and if this topic interests you I definitely recommend that you check them out!
While it is true that keyboard shortcuts will save you time, as with anything, moderation is still key. In general, I like to use a mix of buttons and keyboard commands. In CAD, for example, I'm a big advocate for buttons. Shocking, I know, but it eliminates the possibility of typos and keeps me from having to move my right hand from the mouse to the keyboard every five seconds. Most of the keyboard commands I use can be done with my left hand so I can model with the mouse and use the other had to type.
The best advice I could give you is to try out a bunch of different styles and see what works best. This is one of those times where there are no right answers. Just do whatever makes you the most efficient and saves the most time. Pretty soon, it will become second nature, I promise.