Over the 20+ years that I’ve been pounding a computer keyboard, I’ve spent my share time on a laptop, and I’ve learned a handful of keyboard shortcuts that I can’t live without. I love laptops, don’t get me wrong, and you do get proficient at navigating with that little touchpad, but I do love my mouse!

However, there are times when no mouse is available. Even on a desktop computer, sometimes the mouse doesn’t work, and you need to accomplish something with just the keyboard — annoying and sometimes scary, but it works!

And then there’s the efficiency thing. Sometimes it just makes more sense to use a keyboard shortcut than to wrangle the cursor up to a very small target and then through the maze of drop down menus. So I’m going to share my favorites with you, and also some that you need to have tucked away for those just-in-case times.

Most programs using the Windows platform are consistent in the application of these keyboard shortcut combinations, but not all of them.

Now, a word about how these work… If it says CTRL+P — that means to hold the Control key down while you press the P key.

Favorites — can’t live without them

CTRL+C Copy — This copies what you have selected/highlighted to the Windows Clipboard
CTRL+V Paste — This pastes whatever is on the clipboard to the location of your cursor
CTRL+X Cut — This deletes what you have selected/highlighted AND copies it to the Clipboard
CTRL+A Select All — This selects everything on the page
CTRL+p Print — This opens the Print Dialogue box
CTRL+F Paste — This opens the Find interface
CTRL+N New — This opens a new document or window (depending on what program you are using)
 CTRL+Z  UNDO — This will (most of the time) undo the last command
 Tab  In a form, the Tab key will move you to the next field. ALT+Tab will move you backwards. Also works in emails, to move from To: to CC: to Subject: to Body.
In a Browser
F5 Key
Refresh — Causes the page to reload
F11 Key
Full Screen — Causes the content portion of the window to fill the screen – even the address bar is hidden. This is a toggle key – press it again and it returns to the way it was before.
Back — Moves you to the previous screen, much like the Back Arrow at the top of the Browser window. Will not work if your cursor is “in” a form field.

Helpful — nice to know

 Windows Logo Key Start Menu
 Windows-Logo+D Show Desktop — Minimizes all the open windows and shows the Desktop. This is a toggle key combo – press it again and all the open windows reappear.
 ALT+F4  Close Current Window

Need more Keyboard Shortcuts?

In any program, if you click one of the menu items at the top and look closely at the drop down menu, you will find all sorts of keyboard shortcuts. Here’s an example from the Edit menu.

Also, notice that many of the words have a letter underlined? And also, the Main Menu items have a letter underlined? You can access those menus by using ALT+letter — and then just click the letter underlined in the specific command.

So, you now have three ways to Undo something:

  1. You can mouse up to the Edit menu item, and then mouse down and click on Undo.
  2. You can use the CTRL+Z keyboard shortcut.
  3. You can choose ALT+E and then click U

Are there other keyboard shortcuts? You Betcha! Just Google “keyboard shortcuts” and you will find a ton of them.

What’s your favorite? I’m sure I’ve missed some that are really helpful. Add yours to the comment box!