Thursday, January 23, 2014

Keyboard Shortcuts

Basic Windows Shortcuts

This is a list of some of the most common keyboard shortcuts that will help speed up your computing.

Ctrl+C is the command for Copy. Whenever you have text or a file (such as in Windows Explorer), or even cells in a spreadsheet highlighted, Ctrl+C will copy that information to the Clipboard.

Ctrl+V is the command for Paste. You can use these two shortcuts to move files around your directory or within Word, Excel or from any document to another. These can also be used in text boxes that don't have an Edit drop down list for commands.

Ctrl+A will Highlight All text within a document. 
ALT+Tab will let you switch to another application quickly.

Ctrl+D is used in spreadsheets or databases to Drop Down data in a column. In a payroll timesheet, for example, you can drop your "Start Time" (say 8:00am) down a column for all employees who start at that same time.

Ctrl+S is the command for Save.

Ctrl+P is the Print command. This will bring up a window to select your print mode, ie; Print, Fax, PDF or any other output device on the list.

Windows Key+F is for the Find Command. If you haven't used this before you will learn, really quick, how easy it is to find any file on your computer or on your home network!

As I am typing this article I noticed how many times I have used Ctrl+B which is the Bold command. Ctrl+i is for Italic and Ctrl+U is for Underline.

Windows Key+M will Minimize all of your windows. This is a quick way to get back to your desktop.
Windows Key+E Opens Windows Explorer.
Windows Key+Break will bring up the System Properties Box. 

After reading the next section you may not have any reason to ever use Windows Key+M again!

Special Shortcuts

There are some special keyboard shortcuts that I use extensively to open my most popular Desktop Icons.

The key combinations Ctrl+Shift+(any arrow key) and Ctrl+Alt+(any arrow key) are not used by any Windows components. Therefore, we can assign them to eight of your favorite Program Icons on your desktop.

Before we get started lets arrange your icons into two groups of four (up, down, left, right). Place one group near the top of your desktop and the other group near the bottom. This arrangement will help you remember what key combination you assigned to each icon.

Lets start with the bottom group. Right click on the left icon and select Properties.

Left click in the dialog box next to the words "Shortcut Key:". Enter your shortcut combination (Ctrl+Alt+Left) by holding down Ctrl and Alt together and then hit the Left Arrow key. Your box should look something like the picture above.

Click on "OK" and test your Keyboard Shortcut. If this works, continue adding shortcuts to your other icons in the group. Do the same thing for the top group only use the Shift key in place of Alt. With these new shortcuts you can now open your favorite programs without having to see the desktop. The best advantage of having these shortcuts is to use them while you are working in other windows.

While we are talking about several open windows did you know that you can toggle between all your open windows or programs by simply using Alt+Tab? Try it!. It's a real time saver. In fact if you learn all of these shortcuts you will see that you can save a lot of time by not having to use the mouse to click through all the drop down lists and menus to get to the command you want.

Ctrl+Tab is the shortcut for toggling between several windows within a single program such as Word, Excel or MS Works.

There are many shortcuts for specific programs. You will find these in the manuals and Help Files of your program. Do you want to learn about program specific shortcuts? Send me an email. If it is something I'm familiar with and it is interesting to the general public, I will post it in this website.
Just click on ASK STEVE A QUESTION near the top of this page.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Nice article. But a couple that you missed.

1. Alt+Tab - will let you switch from one application to another, very quickly.

2. Windows Start Key + E - Opens Windows Explorer. Very handy for getting to files on hard drives fast.

3. For the real tweakers - Windows Start Key + Break - Will bring up the system properties dialog box.


Richard B. Ingraham