Windows keyboard shortcuts

20 February 2009

Built into Windows are many ways in which experiences Windows users can speed up normal day-to-day tasks.

Windows has the following ways to carry out the same functions

  • The toolbars that you'll often find at the top of Windows applications and some of the Microsoft Office applications - These can be seen by all user and can do common tasks
  • Right click on something - Right clicking will bring up a particular menu that refers to the object your mouse is currently over only. If you're on a word you're likely to get a formatting and dictionary type menu, whereas an image you may get a picture toolbar, properties or "save image as" type features
  • Keyboard shortcuts - Quite often a lot of tasks can be carried out by using the keyboard alone. In fact, did you know, without the mouse you can actually do everyday tasks on Windows using just the keyboard!

If you look at the top of your web browser window you will see some menus, probable "File", "Edit", "View", etc.

You may also notice that certain letters are also underlined.

Try holding down the "Alt" key on your keyboard (next to the space bar) and then pressing a letter that is underlined. Like hold "Alt" and press "F". You will notice the "File" menu has opened. Now again you see more underlined letters so you can now do the same again and carry out the tasks in the menus.

Or if there is no underlined letter in one menu, try using the arrow keys on your keyboard to scroll up and down the menu items.

Now when it comes to Microsoft Office's Word, there are also so helpful copy and paste shortcuts.

In fact, it works pretty much anywhere on your computer. Highlight a word on this website for instance, and then try and of the following tasks using the "Ctrl" key and shortcut key

  • "Ctrl" + "A" - Select everything within the selected window
  • "Ctrl" + "C" - Copy the text that has been highlighted to your clipboard
  • "Ctrl" + "V" - Paste the latest items from your clipboard
  • "Ctrl" + "X" - This only works on text that can be edited, as appose to text that is read only (like pdf documents or websites) - but this shortcut cuts the text off of the page and places it onto the clipboard
  • "Ctrl" + "F" - Search the current contents of the current window
  • "Ctrl" + "Z" - Undo the last change you made, however this may not work on every window so do not depend on it
  • "Ctrl" + "Y" - Redo the change that you have just undone
  • "Ctrl" + "S" - Save the current window
  • "Ctrl" + "P" - Print the current window
  • "F1" - This shortcut doesn't work in every case - but will usually pull up any help files for the current window

When using web browsers you also have others like "Ctrl" + "B" will bookmark the current webpage that you're on.

Try out a few of the examples above and then try using them in a day to day basis - you'll find that the "Ctrl" + <key> shortcuts really do speed up a lot of tasks, whereas scrolling through the menus you may find easier just to use the mouse.

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Current comments:

Peter Nichol says:

Ah yes, that is all very true.

I do quite often use "Windows" + "L" to lock my computer when at work. I'd forgotten those off my list!

20 February 2009 9:55pm

GrahamH says:

Sad as I am, but I actually use all those Windows shortcuts!

Even more obscure, there are a number of shortcuts available using the Windows button - e.g. Windows+E opens explorer
Windows+M minimises all windows to the desktop

There are probably a few more, but I doubt anyone really uses teh Windows button.

20 February 2009 9:41pm