How To Get Around Windows Without the Mouse
One of the nice features about Windows is that you can do just about
anything with the mouse except for typing, and anything with the keyboard
except paint. Learning to use both devices independently can make you more productive
because you can choose the input method that is more efficient for a given
task; in fact, for programs that you know well you may find that using
the keyboard can be more than twice as fast as the mouse. And then there
are times when you lose use of the keyboard or mouse, either because it's
broken or the drivers are not installed correctly or what have you, and
you're forced to use one device alone until the other can be fixed. If
you know how, you won't get stuck.
It actually is possible to
type some things with the mouse if your keyboard isn't working. In the
Accessories group (from the Program Manager in Windows 3.x or the Start
Menu in Windows 95) there is a nifty little utility called Character Map.
When you open this program, it will show a table of all the characters
available in a particular font. The primary purpose of this program is
to give you access to foreign language and special characters, but it also
has a nice side benefit. Using the mouse, double-click
on each letter, in turn, that you would type if the keyboard were working.
The characters are arranged in the copy box. When you have the complete
word or phrase you want, click on the
Copy button. Then go to the window where you want to put the text
(such as a Save As dialog box for the document you've been working on for
the last hour), click the right mouse
button at the point you want the text to go, and click
on Paste from the menu. Or, if the pop-up menu isn't available,
click on the Edit menu of the
application and then click on Paste.
When describing keyboard commands, the following shorthand notation
will be used:
||Letters which should be typed exactly as they appear.
||Description of what to type in, which is up to you and varies depending
on the context. For example, filename would mean to type the name
of the file you are working with.
||Specifies a single key with the given label. For example, <Alt>,
<Tab>, <Print Screen>, <S>. <Space> will be used
to represent the space bar.
||Means that two or more keys should be pressed simultaneously. The first
key(s) in the set are held down, then the last key is pressed, then all
keys are released. For example, <Ctrl>-<Alt>-<Delete>.
||Indicates key sequences that should be typed separately, in order.
The first thing we need to know is how to open and close programs and
how to exit Windows, using just the keyboard. To do that, we need the Program
First, press <Ctrl>-<Esc>. This should pop up a little program
called Task Manager, which lists all the programs that are currently running.
Select Program Manager by using the arrow keys or typing the letter P.
Then you can switch to it by pressing <Alt>-S.
To start a program, first you need to get to the group window that program
is in. If that group isn't already active, you can switch between group
windows in two ways: first, you could press <Ctrl>-<Tab> or
<Shift>-<Ctrl>-<Tab>, which would take you from one group
to the next until you get to the one you want. Alternatively, you could
access the Window menu by pressing <Alt>-W, then
type the number shown in front of the group you want. (There is only
room for nine groups in the menu, so if your group isn't on that list,
press M for More Windows. Then type the first letter of
the group you want to reach until it is highlighted,
and finally press <Enter>.) Once in the desired group, you can either
use the arrow keys to move the highlight
to the program you want, or type the first letter of the program until
it is highlighted. (Windows will
select each icon in turn that begins with that letter.) Once you're there,
press <Enter> to open the program.
The fastest way to close a program that's active is to press <Alt>-<F4>.
Exiting out of windows is done the same way: press <Alt>-<F4>
when you're at the Program Manager. Another way of closing a program is
with the Task Manager: Press <Ctrl>-<Esc> to open the Task
Manager, then use the arrows or the first letter of the program to select
it, and finally press <Alt>-E to End the program.
This brings up a very useful function:
Closing Windows Blindly
If you can't see Windows for some reason (for example, the monitor died
or your display settings are incorrect), you should know how to close Windows
|Press <Ctrl>-<Esc> to open the Task Manager.|
|Type P to select the Program Manager.|
|Press <Alt>-E to End it.|
|Press <Enter> to confirm that you want to exit Windows.|
If Windows is responding properly (even though you can't see it), you
should find yourself at the DOS prompt
in a few seconds. (This is presuming that there are no other programs running
whose names start with the letter P, and that no other program is going
to stop and ask you to save your work before exiting.)
If you want to switch from one program to another without closing the
current program, there are a couple of ways to go about it. The easiest
way is to hold down <Alt> or <Shift>-<Alt>, and then
press <Tab> repeatedly. This will display a short gray box with the
name of each open program in turn. Once you see the name of the program
you want to switch to, let go of the <Alt> key. The second way involves
the Task Manager (a very useful program!) Press <Ctrl>-<Esc>
to open the Task Manager, then use the arrows or the first letter of the
program to select it, and finally press <Alt>-S to Switch
to that program.
Also see further info on Windows 9x/NT