Power is wired into the program-
You've actually read the manual, or you've taken training. You understand the program, the important functions. Perhaps you're even getting into some default key commands. But you find you're still pokey in using them, locating them, flipping back and forth between keyboard and the manual.
Or maybe your wrist is beginning to hurt from too much mousing around and a quick keyboard shortcut would be real relief. (Note: for mild RSI pain relief, go here: www.atsurgical.com.)
Or perhaps you just want to impress clients or superiors with your skill, and earn more by working faster and easier- especially on high resolution displays with small mouse targets.
You're ready for a KeyGuide.
Keyboard expertise is an advanced state, normally acquired over months of practice. When you're ramping up your program skills, there's nothing quite as disruptive and tedious as digging out your most-needed shortcuts from the docs, shifting from one brain to the other, is there? Almost forces you to use the mouse. And in time, mouse alone can cripple.
Your classes, your training manual and appendix lists are all valuable for understanding command context -- what area or mode a command works in and how -- but if you're beyond that, if you're on the job, under the gun, and you know what a key command does when you locate it, you are definitely ready for a content map-- the KeyGuide.
What else is out there?
- The manual, of course. Better-designed user guides include shortcuts within each section to give you proper context for command sets, and often, a collected list is available, either in an appendix or on a Quiick reference card. And after you're done with the tutorials? Dig 'em out! You've got time, right?
- Color-capped keyboards are just fine, but they can cost five times more and even the best keycap sets or pretty rubber covers available display only surface key commands, which -- as you'll discover from the first look at your KeyGuide-- are not everything you need. And suppose you're suddenly assigned to work on a machine with an umarked keyboard? Slide the KeyGuide right under it. It's your lunchtime placemat.
- Utility programs like KeyCue, which give you a handsome popup window listing available key commands-- depending on where you're working in a program. They're context sensitive, they don't relate to keyboard location, and do not reveal the entire keyset- it's easy to miss commands which exist elsewhere in a program or which don't appear in menus. Complex apps have many valuable non-menu commands. No time for tunnel vision!
Only a KeyGuide gives you an at-a-glance bird's eye view of the complete power wired into a program, all the gems under the hood, the major operations, the clever little functions which make your day faster and more fun.
The missing link between
your manual and your fingers
You'll discover the program's full power much sooner because it's all spread out in front of you on a carefully designed, consistently color-coded, data-packed placemat which is your application.
Most all KeyGuides divide content between two sides, with a nod to context, an excellent bridge from your manual or training class. Side 1 often imparts basics, shortcuts for settings, navigation, display, environmentals or input. Side 2 usually lists advanced commands, keys for creative action, editing, and output. For convenience, many useful commands appear on both sides.
Each keybox in the QWERTY map displays available commands in the same way. Across all KeyGuides, top and bottom of a keybox list never varies. If available, the top shortcut is simply a "surface" key tap-- requiring no modifier--listed in black. At bottom is a shortcut requiring the Command (or where applicable in Windows, the Control) key, listed in orange. Modifier shortcuts listed in between vary in style depending upon the program load: but they are internally consistent on each sheet. More elaborate keyboard commands are listed below the board graphic, following the same color-codes.
The design encourages testing and play-- the best way to learn! What lies beneath the surface may surprise, delight, and increase your earning power. And for those of us diversifying our skillset to keep up with the economy-- why can't learning be a little more fun?
How will I really use it?
You'll slide the guide under your keyboard until you need it. You'll first locate the important shortcuts you need, imprint their locations by using them. Master new commands on your own time, build your skillset driven by your own job need or plain curiosity. The haptic-visual KeyGuide serves as your constant reminder of shortcut location. It won't distract you, won't get in your way, doesn't require a book holder. It's just there for you when you need command location or want to explore. Your productivity increase may amaze you and your clients.
And if your program allows key command remapping, there's no better reference to assure you map intelligently and quickly, and avoid stepping on your favorite default keys. The KeyGuide graphic is linked to your keyboard layout. It's a learning tool, an efficiency tool, a power tool.
This is why KeyGuides are known as "professional placemats"-- and why they're in use everywhere, from Rockport Inernational TV and Film Workshops to ABC Television. They've been included in application textbooks from major publishers CMP and Focal Press. Compared to a KeyGuide, a typical "quick reference card" or manual listing is a puzzle-solving chore, costing large chunks of time and no fun at all.
Mastering complex software is work enough..
Do you have the time?
Do you have a life?