Get your shift together

By admin | February 14th, 2014

Tips & Tricks

The Shift key. It’s pretty much the bomb for capitalizing letters. It’s the gateway to all of the funny punctuation that you never use – but should, more on that later. It’s probably the greatest justification for not cutting off your clumsy, mostly useless pinkies. So, already the Shift key has some things going for it.

But we’re here today to give you a few more reasons not to cleave your smallest fingers, so without further ado…

Paste without formatting

Maybe you’ve written a blog post in Microsoft Word. Or maybe you want to copy some fancy text from another web site. You’re savvy, so you select the text and press `cmd/ctrl + c` to copy it.

Then you press `cmd/ctrl + v` to paste it into a rich text editor – like the ones in Gmail or WordPress – and … it’s terrible. Your font is now a giant, purple, Comic Sans mess. What happened?

Well, you didn’t just paste the text you copied; you also pasted all of its associated formatting. This is the gift and the curse of rich text editors.

Alas, there’s a quick fix. Press `cmd/ctrl + z` to undo and get rid of the mess. Then press `cmd/ctrl + shift + v` to paste without formatting. Et voila. Your freshly pasted text now has font stylings that you actually want. Congratulations, web wizard.

* This may not be universal. I know it’s supported in Google Chrome and Firefox, though. 4 years ago, this blog post changed my life.

Cache busting page reloads

You may be our client. If so, you may have had this conversation with us.

> You: Hey, can you change the color of that thing on our live site?
> Us (mere moments later): Sure thing. We’ve already fixed that up for you. Just refresh the page.
> You: It’s not working.
> Us: Oh, you probably just need to clear your cache.
> You: …

Well, good news, long-suffering clients, the only technical skill you need is a working knowledge of the Shift key (and at least 3 fingers) because `cmd/ctrl + shift + r` will reload your web page without using any cached assets (pictures, stylesheets, javascripts, etc).

* Again, this may not be universal.

Single spaced returns

So, you’re writing a WordPress blog entry. Whenever you hit ENTER, it double-spaces to create a new paragraph. That’s a great feature – except when it’s not. Sometimes, you just want a single space.

For those times, you need only press Shift + ENTER. Boom. Single spaced.

The other times you may want to use Shift + ENTER: in Google Hangouts and Facebook Messages – depending on your settings – when you want ENTER to produce a new line instead of sending the message.

Stronger passwords

Remember up at the top when we were talking about the funny punctuation? The stuff above the numbers? You never use that stuff, right? I mean, you use the @ for your email and the parentheses occasionally, but you don’t know where the caret is without looking. Do you?

[What about the cent sign? Stop looking; it’s not there. Back in the day when I learned to type – on a typewriter (Come at me, hipster; I’m old school.) – the cent sign was above 6, right where the caret is now. Anyway…]

You should be using those symbols to generate passwords. Words in dictionaries are very bad passwords. We all know that, but we also “know” that adding a couple of numbers on the end or swapping out your Es for 3s makes a strong password. Wrong.

So you’re going to have to get a little more creative. One way is to generate a password with lots of random special characters in it. (LastPass and 1Password are nice for creating and recalling long, complex passwords.) Here’s another:

Image courtesy of

But whatever you do, please use strong passwords. It can protect your assets.


So, there you have it. I shifted through lots of ideas to find these four that pass the shift test. Four ways to shift your computer usage into high gear. Four ideas to help you get your shift together.

Thanks for stopping by, y’all.

Joe Wallace is director of creative and development services at Cabedge Design, LLC – an Atiba Company

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