The Essential Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are one of those little things that just make your life easier. Below are the ones I use on a daily basis, the most basic and useful essentials of navigating in a Windows environment. You may know some or most of these already, but then, you may find some new ones, too.

  • Ctrl+C – Copy.
  • Ctrl+X – Cut.
  • Ctrl+V – Paste.
  • Ctrl+S – Save file.
  • Ctrl+N – Create new file.
  • Ctrl+B – Turn bold on/off (in most text editing programs).
  • Ctrl+I – Turn italics on/off (in most text editing programs).
  • Ctrl+U – Turn underline on/off (in most text editing programs).
  • Ctrl+A – Select all.
  • Tab – Move to the next field in a form.
  • Shift+Tab – Move to the previous field in a form.
  • Ctrl+Z – Undo.
  • Ctrl+Y – Redo (does not work in as many programs as Ctrl+Z).
  • Windows Key + D – Show desktop.
  • Windows Key + L – Lock computer.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Delete – The classic. Allows you (hopefully) to end a program that’s locked up.
  • Hold Alt and press Tab repeatedly – Cycle through all open windows.
  • Home – Move to the beginning of the line. A very basic but underused function.
  • End – Move to the end of the line.
  • Ctrl+Home – Move to the beginning of the document.
  • Ctrl+End – Move to the end of the document.
  • Shift+Arrow Key – Highlight text.
  • Shift+Delete – Delete a file without putting it in the Recycle Bin. (Use with caution.)
  • Ctrl+T – In an Internet browser, open a new tab.
  • Ctrl+F – Search for text in a document.
  • Shift+Enter – In many programs (like some instant messengers), hitting “Enter” performs a command (like sending the message) instead of adding a new line. If all you want is a new line, Shift+Enter is the way to go.
  • Print Screen – Another very useful key that’s often overlooked. Take a screenshot of the current screen and copy it. You can then paste it into any graphical editor (like MS Paint).
  • Alt+Print Screen – Take a screenshot of just the window that’s currently active.

Those are the ones I can remember off the top of my head, but I’m sure I missed plenty of good ones. If I left out any of your favorites, how about sharing them in the comments?

6 responses to “The Essential Keyboard Shortcuts

  1. Most of mine wouldn’t make any sense. I create custom hot keys for my IDE and make heavy use of AutoHotKey.

  2. I know that this is technically a mouse shortcut but clicking a link with the middle (roller) button opens it in a new tab.

  3. One of my favourites is Ctrl+L, which in non-IE browsers puts the cursor in the address bar.

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