Knowing the proper key strokes can save valuable time when working in the Windows operating system, Microsoft Office or even your Web Browser.
Here are just a few of the available keyboard shortcuts.
Microsoft Office Keyboard Shortcuts
- Ctrl+Z is the magic undo combo. It simply undoes your last action, say, the paragraph you accidentally erased (it works in other applications, too--try it on the Photoshop filter you really wish you hadn't applied, or after renaming a document or a folder in a Windows directory). Programs vary in the number of times you can undo something, but some will let you Ctrl+Z all the way back to the beginning. (And, yes, there is a redo command, just hit Ctrl+Y.)
- Ctrl+B, Ctrl+I, or Ctrl+U apply bold, italics, or underline to highlighted text, respectively.
- Ctrl+P prints whatever is in an active window.
- Ctrl+Backspace erases an entire word at a time, instead of a letter. Ctrl+up or down arrows let you scroll an entire paragraph at a time, instead of one line, and Ctrl+Shift+up or down arrow will select an entire paragraph.
- Ctrl+Enter inserts a page break in Word.
- Alt+Ctrl+C inserts the copyright symbol (Alt+Ctrl+R inserts the registered trademark symbol, and Alt+Ctrl+T makes the trademark symbol).
- In Outlook, you can jump to the section you want: Ctrl+1 switches to the Mail window, Ctrl+2 switches to the Calender, Ctrl+3 to Contacts, Ctrl+4 to Tasks, and Ctrl+5 to Notes.
- Ctrl+Shift+M starts a new message in Outlook. (Use Ctrl+Shift+C for a new contact.)
- In Outlook e-mail, hit Ctrl+N to compose a new message, Ctrl+R to reply to a message.
- In Excel, Ctrl+ enters the date.
Windows Keyboard Shortcuts
- Ctrl+Alt+Del is the mother of all keyboard shortcuts, affectionately known as the "three-fingered salute," since it's so useful when your Windows box locks up. Pressing the combo once (simultaneously) opens the Windows Task Manager. (From within the Task Manager, you can force-quit a crashed program, see a list of processes or applications running on your machine, check performance parameters such as how hard your CPU is working, or track your network usage.) Is your machine totally locked up? Reach over, grab the mouse and click Shut Down.
- Ctrl+S saves the file you're working on. Ever lost your homework, a spreadsheet at work, or some video you've been editing? Hit Ctrl+S (simultaneously) to save. Hit it early and often! (Want to open a file from within the program you're running? Ctrl+O universally opens the File/Open window.)
- Ctrl+C copies text, files, or icons that you've highlighted, Ctrl+V pastes them where you point your mouse (hey, you can't completely eliminate using it), and Ctrl+X cuts whatever you've highlighted out of the document (or folder, photo, movie clip, or whatever it is you're working on). Ctrl+A highlights the entire file you're working on or everything in a folder or on your desktop.
- Alt+Tab lets you switch on the fly between all of your open windows. Press the combination once to switch to your last open window or multiple times to switch to any other open window. Holding down Alt+Tab will bring up a system window that shows you what apps are running and which one you're switching to.
- Ever wonder why almost every Windows program has the F in File underlined, not to mention the E in Edit, and so on so forth across the top of the Window? Hit Alt + that letter to open that particular menu; you can either use the arrow keys to move around within that window, or keep your eyes peeled for more underlined letters to use more Alt+ key combinations.
- The Windows key (the one that looks like the Windows logo, or a flag) +R opens the Run dialog. From here, you can launch a command-line window by typing cmd, but you can do a lot more. You can, for example, paste in a folder path, such as C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\My Documents\Expenses, and Windows will open it automatically. You can also use the Run dialog to open Microsoft applications such as Word, Excel, or Notepad. Just type winword to launch Word, type excel to launch Excel, and notepad to launch Notepad.
- Windows+E launches Windows Explorer, defaulting to My Computer.
- F2 renames a selected file or folder. (This is so much easier than right-clicking!)
- F3 launches Search if you're on the desktop or in a folder.
- Windows+M minimizes all open windows, and Windows+D shows your desktop. (These results look similar, but they're slightly different; Windows+M minimizes all windows that support the command, while Windows+D actually raises the desktop to the top.) This is a great one for when the boss pops up in your cubicle. Once the boss gone, hit Shift+Windows+M to bring up your minimized windows, or Windows+D to drop your desktop back down again.
Internet Explorer / Firefox Keyboard Shortcuts
- Ctrl+D adds the current page to your Favorites/Bookmarks file.
- Alt+Home takes you directly to your home page. (IE and Firefox)
- Use the Tab key to jump your cursor to the next entry in a form or the next section of a Web page. (IE and Firefox)
- Ctrl+F launches Find for the page you're on. (IE and Firefox; Firefox's implementation is particularly cool, as it scans the page for the term you want as you type)
- F11 shifts between regular and full-screen views of your browser window. (IE and Firefox)
- F5 or Ctrl+R refreshes the page you're on. (IE and Firefox)
- ESC stops downloading a page. (IE and Firefox)
- Ctrl+T opens up a new tab and puts your cursor in the URL field, in Firefox. Ctrl+L puts your cursor in the URL field and highlights the current text, while Ctrl+Tab does the same for IE.
- Ctrl+W closes a tab in Firefox or the current window in IE.
- Ctrl++ or Ctrl+- increases or decreases the text size in Firefox.