Start on your path to becoming a WordPress keyboard-cowboy/cowgirl.
It may seem like something to avoid, but finding the easiest way to do something can help you be more productive and avoid repetitive strain injury (AKA work-related upper limb disorder).
Keyboard Shortcuts in WordPress
If you are anything like me, then you dislike always moving your hand from the keyboard to your mouse and back. That is why using keyboard shortcuts saves time, frustration, shoulder tension, and eventually carpal tunnel syndrome (maybe I went too far). Anyway, while editing articles, you may want to learn to use keyboard shortcuts for a variety of actions. Types of WordPress keyboard shortcut concepts covered are:
Changing WordPress Headlines Like a Boss
Okay, you probably already know that each URL should have only one H1 heading. But, did you know that having a logical tree of headings and subheadings(H2-H6) can boost the SEO of your article? Well, it can, so let’s go over the quickest and easiest ways to format text into headlines.
Using the Pound Sign (Dare I Say Hashtag?)
This method requires using the # to signify which Heading you want to use (H2-H6). So use ## for heading 2 and ### for heading 3.
Remember, the H1 is the Title of your article. It can be different from the <title> tag, which is in the URL, and it is different from the SEO title (if you use Yoast WordPress Plugin). Here is how it works.
Using Modifier Keys
First hold Shift + Alt then hit any number (3-6) to apply a heading type. Here it is in action.
For some reason, shift + alt + 2 closes my current tab. If that happens for you, use the ## technique for Heading Two.
Default Keyboard Shortcuts, the Usual Suspects
Most likely, you are familiar with using these in different environments, and if the developer did their job, then most of these will work. As for WordPress, they work, I checked. Hold the CTRL key or Command Key on Macs and hit the following letter:
- C – Copy
- V – Paste
- Z – Undo
- X – Cut (Copies text to clipboard and deletes it in one move) – Use paste to insert elsewhere
- A -Select All
- Y – Redo
- The following changes can be applied to highlighted text or changes the format of text to be typed
- B – Bold
- U – Underline
- I – Italic
- K – Insert/edit link
- Now for the less traditional one
- D – Strikethrough – Think D as in delete
WordPress Keyboard Shortcuts – Now for the Lesser Known Ones
These are the more advanced WordPress editor shortcuts, and very useful.
All of these start with Shift + Alt +:
- U – Unordered List – Bullet Points
- O – Ordered List – Numbered List
- Q – Insert Block Quote
- For me, it just indents and adds one big quote symbol like this. You can customize this by editing the CSS for this tag.
- The tag is
<blockquote>.For more on how to customize the Blockquote tag in your CSS file, check out Blockquote CSS Tricks.
Alternatively, you can use the right arrow character with a space after it – Like this “> “. This technique is used like the pound sign for the headings shortcut.
- T – Insert Read More Tag
- This is used to define the preview text for your article. When you are on this site’s home page, you see an image, a title, a text preview, and a read more link for each article. The read more tag limits the text preview.
- X – Changes Text into Code format
- A trick to this is, almost everything on the internet is transferred in XML, so the shortcut of Internet code is X.
In case you were wondering, it looks like this.
- A – Insert/Edit Link
- A trick to remember – The HTML for a hyperlink looks like this.
<a href="http://www.example.com/makeanawersomesite">Anchor Text</a>
- Place cursor within or after hyperlinked text to edit link.
- Insert a link anywhere and edit the link text (anchor text) to change the displayed text for the hyperlink.
- Use the tab key to change text boxes (or elements on a page).
- Use escape to exit and space to check or uncheck a tick box (such as the open link in a new tab/window – What’s your preference on this? – Please comment below).
- M – Insert/Edit Image
- like the hyperlink shortcut except you can insert images from your media library or upload a new one.
- I am still looking for a way to hit “Insert Image” with the keyboard because the tab skips this button in the cycle.
- S – Remove Link
- Pretty straight forward. Just remember that the cursor needs to be within the link or after, just not before the link.
- P – Insert Page Break
You can click the 2 (bottom of page) to continue reading, and this actually can have a benefit for readers, although this is controversial. Sometimes people say they may get disheartened by long articles, and some people may get irritated if they have to keep clicking over to the next page. Personally, I am the latter, hence my long articles. Although for demo purposes, I did add a page 2 link for you to click.
- W – Distraction-free Writing Mode
- I don’t use this, but I just might start. It hides the two sidebars on the left and right.
- H – Shortcuts
- This is the shortcut to display the keyboard shortcuts.
Formatting Parts of Your Article
We covered a lot so far, but there is more to learn before you can attend the keyboard expert graduation. Sometimes you want to do things like, add an image, remove a link, align text, create a bulleted list, etc… The list goes on and if you don’t know the shortcut you’re going to fall off the keyboard wizard wagon. Let’s move on to alignment shortcuts.
Sometimes you want to align elements of your article. Elements such as an image, a quote, some text, a list, etc… Whatever it is, these shortcuts will help you create content more quickly and more confidently. To align press Shift + Alt +:
- L to Align Left
- R to Align Right
- C to Align Center
- J to Justify Text
Don’t use Justification web content, seriously, it’s bad practice. If you were considering using this, please read Justifying Text on the Web is for Noobs, Dude! Plus, it’s kind of hard to read.
You can use this shortcut to align existing text. Alternatively, you can use the shortcut to place the cursor in the desired alignment for the text you are about to type. The cursor can be before the text, after the text, or you can use your mouse to highlight the segment you want to move (although that isn’t very Keyboard Guru of you).
Note: Highlighting and aligning will move the entire paragraph that the selection is part of.
More Lists, Lists ALL DAY
Start a paragraph with * or – followed by a space to create a bulleted list. For a numbered list type 1. or 1) followed by a space. Watch me go.
Indenting and Outdenting
If you are making a list, you may want to add sub-items. To indent hit the TAB key and to outdent hit SHIFT + TAB. This technique applies to ordered lists (numbered) and unordered lists (bulleted lists). This is a common shortcut which works in many word processing applications like Word and Google Docs.
Wait, there’s some more. Try out the page break button.