A recent survey of university students in Japan appears to make it clear that an awareness of basic keyboard shortcuts is lacking. Keyboard shortcuts for copying (CTRL+C) and pasting (CTRL+V) data are decades old and work across every modern desktop OS that we know of. However, around 40% of the well-educated sample of young adults surveyed were unaware of them. The survey was conducted by digital skills and training outfit Menter, part of White Inc. Japan.
Before going further we don’t have experience of the quality of Menter’s prior surveys and note that the questionnaire was completed by only a modest number of students. Of the 519 university students, based all around Japan, the survey says that nearly all of them own a laptop or desktop, with just 5.8% saying they owned neither. Perhaps for this small portion of users, a smartphone or tablet has been sufficient to address their digital life.
In the chart above it is easy to see the most popular shortcut key combos, and the level of awareness of them by the students surveyed. Leading the pack as far as awareness goes, you can see 62.6% of folk knew that you could copy data using CTRL+C. Surprisingly the same number didn’t know how to paste the captured data, but CTRL+V aware students weren’t a lot fewer at 59.2%.
There is a big drop in awareness of the next most well-known keyboard shortcut: using CTRL+Z for undoing the most recent action. Only about 30% of surveyed university students knew about this very useful shortcut. Awareness of other experienced computer operator staples like CTRL+X, CTRL+S, CTRL+A, and CTRL+P were all around this level.
At the bottom of the awareness chart at 19.8% isn’t any particular keyboard shortcut combo. This is the percentage of students who didn’t know any shortcut keys at all, according to the survey.
Menter’s survey wasn’t all about keyboard shortcuts. As it is involved in digital skills and training it also looked at the students’ self-professed abilities concerning video conferencing, office suite software experience, and familiarity with using a computer mouse.
Takashi Yokoyama, the CEO of White Inc. offered some conclusions from Menter’s survey to Japan’s ITMedia. He said that the survey showed that even at university there should be more opportunities “to properly learn how to use a PC.” It shouldn’t be assumed that young people can use PCs, he added, so it may be a valuable area for targeted investment by educational institutions.
Whether you’ve found this story about Control+C and Control+V illuminating, or not, it might be worth a look at our feature on essential Windows 11 shortcut keys. People who spend a lot of time copying and pasting can even buy a dedicated Stack Overflow The Key v2, as pictured (top), which started as an April Fool’s joke. Another option is to program single macro keys or invest in something like the 8BitDo mechanical keyboard with giant programmable super buttons.
Earlier this year we also published a handy feature detailing how to navigate Windows without a mouse or touchpad. Sometimes using a keyboard for shortcuts and system navigation is faster and easier. Other times it can be useful if your mouse or trackpad is broken or glitching.
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This is probably more than those who knew it back in the 90's, 2000's. Most "users" are not nerds.Reply
To learn and know the basic, foundation interactions with PC isn't geeky but talk us how tragical low level has graduation in many countries.Nine Layer Nige said:This is probably more than those who knew it back in the 90's, 2000's. Most "users" are not nerds.
The smart phones killed those keyboard shortcuts.Reply
Those university students seem to think they'll never use a real keyboard upon graduation....
This survey is from Japan, which must really skew the results. From my understanding, PCs are very unpopular in that country, making it an outlier compared to the rest of the modernized world.Reply
As further anecdotal evidence, just take any lazy PC port of a Japanese game. They often don't seem to have any idea about the standard, established keys like WASD for movement, ESC for pause/main menu, and so on, and slap their layouts all over the place. Remember Dark Souls using END instead of ESC for main menu?
I'm the only person where I work that knows those shortcuts and I'm in an office environment.Reply
Wrong. A the article says: "Of the 519 university students, based all around Japan, the survey says that nearly all of them own a laptop or desktop, with just 5.8% saying they owned neither".BX4096 said:This survey is from Japan, which must really skew the results. From my understanding, PCs are very unpopular in that country, making it an outlier compared to the rest of the modernized world.
I'm not surprised; even here in the US Colleges and Universities are now requiring a mandatory online elective in basic computer proficiency as more and more classes go digital. The Uni my younger cousin went to has a mandatory questionnaire that asks about computer proficiencies like this, in addition to basic terms like webcam, scrolling, media player, etc. And when I took up a side course at a local college for learning another language, they also had a similar mandatory computer proficiency questionnaire.Reply
So even if it IS Japan, I'd believe it of students in the US too, given that the results of the questionnaire stated I was in the top 10% of current students (at that local college) who knew most of the standard programs (MS Word/Excel/Access, Email systems, Skype, etc), basically all the definitions (some on the border between being "tech savvy" and being a casual computer user), and most shortcuts (I only missed out on 1 or 2 Win10 era shortcuts).
I feel like its the natural progession of what technology younger people are using. 10 or 20 years ago (or earlier), the commonly used tech was laptops, desktops, and even phones with physical keyboards. If you wanted to communicate and get around those earlier internet days, learning skills like fast touch typing, keyboard shortcuts, file systems, etc. was really useful. Nowadays, the first tech device many start out and place a large emphasis on are smartphones and tablets so things like keyboard shortcuts aren't as widely appreciated or learned at a younger age compared to previous generations.Reply
It's not really anyones fault just like its not really anyones fault that not as many people know how to write in cursive or know how to drive an automatic, but it can possibly be a detriment to deeper technological literacy. Thats why tech literacy/proficiency classes in K-12 education (and college/university) are more important now than ever, considering how much more society is built around said technology.
I've had several new coworkers show up in the past year, all in their early twenties. All of them attempted to use their (company issued) smartphone for every effing basic task (note taking, reports, corporate website access, composing emails that don't look like a toddler wrote them). ALL of them now use a paper note pad and a laptop now in addition to the phone. It's about using the right tool for the job and using their phones they just could not keep up with the expected pace of work. Smartphones are dead useful and provide features in the field that we simply never had before (High resolution camera, TEXT MESSAGING, POCKET INTERNET ACCESS!!!!) but like any device/tool they have limitations. And yes, NONE of them knew ANY shortcuts. They know them now. They are all pretty fantastic people too.Reply
Students born in the 00's that are under 25 can't copy-paste. All they know is charge their phone, twerk, eat mcdonalds, take selfies, and lie.Reply