Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Category: Windows

Windows keyboard shortcuts are combinations of two or more keys (or a key and a mouse button) that, when pressed simultaneously, perform a task that would normally require moving the mouse around, clicking, and possibly navigating sub-menus. Windows keyboard shortcuts save time and wrist motions. Here are some you should know...

keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows

Personally, I prefer to use the keyboard whenever I can, instead of reaching for the mouse and clicking. For me, it's just faster and more natural. But keyboard shortcuts can also be important if you're prone to repetitive stress syndrome or have tendonitis. Visually impaired users may find keyboard shortcuts easier than tracking the position of a mouse cursor and reading tiny print on submenus or tabs. And more than once, I've found myself trying to navigate Windows on a computer where the mouse was missing, broken or wouldn't work due to a software driver problem.

There are 100 or more Windows keyboard shortcuts built into the operating system and Windows Accessories programs such as Paint, Notes, Wordpad, etc. Below are some of the most useful Windows keyboard shortcuts. If you try each one, I'm sure you'll find a few that you'll want to commit to memory as time-savers!

Shortcuts for Select, Copy & Paste

  • Ctrl-A selects all items in a document or window
  • Ctrl-C or Ctrl-Insert copies the selected item(s) to the Clipboard while leaving them in place
  • Ctrl-X cuts the selected items and copies them to the Clipboard
  • Ctrl-V or Shift-Insert pastes the contents of the Clipboard into the current document at the cursor's current location

Shortcuts for Cursor Positioning

  • Ctrl-right-arrow moves the cursor to the beginning of the next word in a document
  • Ctrl-left-arrow moves the cursor to the beginning of the previous word in a document
  • Ctrl-down-arrow moves the cursor to the beginning of the next paragraph
  • Ctrl-up-arrow moves the cursor to the beginning of the previous paragraph

Shortcuts for Selecting Items

  • Ctrl-shift with an arrow key selects a block of text one word at a time
  • Shift with an arrow key lets you select individual items at random
  • Delete key or Ctrl-D deletes the selected item(s) to the Recycle Bin
  • Shift-Delete deletes the selected item(s) without moving them to the Recycle Bin

Shortcuts for Undo and Redo

  • Ctrl-Z undoes the last action
  • Ctrl-Y redoes the last undone action

Shortcuts for Function Keys

  • F1 displays context-sensitive Help files and opens the Search Help dialogue box.
  • F2 renames the current item
  • F3 opens the Search dialogue to find a file or folder

Miscellaneous Useful Shortcuts

  • Alt-Tab cycles through the open applications
  • Alt-Enter displays the Properties of a selected item
  • Alt-F4 closes the current application or window
  • Alt-Spacebar opens the shortcut menu for the active window, i. e., Restore, Minimize, Close...
  • Ctrl-Alt-Del opens the Windows Task Manager

Windows Logo Key Shortcuts

Few users know the function of the Windows Logo key (also called the Start button), which bears the four-part Windows logo. It actually activates a whole new set of keyboard shortcuts:

  • Windows Logo key opens the Start menu
  • Windows Logo key + Pause key displays the System Properties dialogue box
  • Windows Logo key + D displays the desktop
  • Windows Logo key + M minimizes all open windows
  • Windows Logo key + Shift + M restores all minimized windows
  • Windows Logo key + E opens Computer (My Computer in Windows XP)
  • Windows Logo key + F opens the Search for File or Folder dialogue
  • Windows Logo key + L locks your computer or lets you switch users
  • Windows Logo key + R opens the Run dialogue box
  • Ctrl + Windows Logo key + F searches for computers on a network

Do you have a keyboard shortcut to share? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Windows Keyboard Shortcuts"

Posted by:

28 Sep 2010

This is a nice list to whet one's appetite for keyboard shortcuts. If you're a Windows 7 user, a nice complete list of shortcuts is listed at
I found three there that have proved very useful to me but I won't take away the fun of exploring the list to find your personal favorite shortcuts.

Posted by:

Pierre Ontario Canada
29 Sep 2010

You forgot "F5"!!!

F5 refreshes the screen, the browser page you are viewing, and so on....

Sometimes it can be used to get rid of pop-ups the "belong" to the page.

Gotta add F5 to the list!

Posted by:

29 Sep 2010

I also like
Ctrl Insert ---- COPY
Shift Insert ---- Paste
Shift Delete ---- Cut

Just roll your hand on the right side of keyboard.

Posted by:

Charles Scott
05 Oct 2010

•Ctrl-shift selects a block of files in a file list for selecting, moving or deleting large groups of files

Posted by:

05 Oct 2010

As a chemist, the first and very frequently used keyboard shortcut I learned: Alt-248 (on the number pad) inserts the degree (°) symbol. And it works for satellite and navigational locations too!

Posted by:

05 Oct 2010

You didn't mention the F11 key. Tap it to increase the screen to full size and again to restore the screen to its former size.

Posted by:

06 Oct 2010

I haven't tried this with any other browsers, but with Firefox, CTRL-Tab cycles through open browser tabs.

Posted by:

06 Oct 2010

There is a very good book available in Internet about windows shortcuts, Windows for super users former "Escape from the mousetrap" available at

Posted by:

Colin Bain
06 Oct 2010

CTL-W closes the current tab on a tabbed browser

Posted by:

11 Oct 2010

CTRL + Scroll (whether it be the middle mouse button or the dedicated scroll area on your laptop mousepad equals ZOOM IN or ZOOM OUT!

Try it, it WORKS!

Posted by:

13 Oct 2010

Might be common knowledge, but use SPACEBAR on web-based foms to check/uncheck check-boxes.

Posted by:

14 Oct 2010

I'm with you, I'd much rather use the keyboard. Here are some of my favorites:

> Minimize window: Alt-spacebar + N
> Maximize window: Alt-spacebar + X
> Restore fr/maximize: Alt-spacebar + R
> Move window: Alt-spacebar + M (then arrow keys)
> Resize window: Alt-spacebar + S (then arrow keys)
> Close window: Control-F4
> Capture image of current window into paste buffer: Alt-PrintScrn
> Start menu: Control-Esc
> New Internet Explorer window: Control-N
> (Open hyperlink in new IE window: Shift-click)
> New Internet Explorer tab: Control-T
> (Open hyperlink in new IR tab: Control-click)
> Go to IE or Explorer address bar: F4
> Add "www." and ".com" to anything typed in IE address bar: Control-Enter (e.g. "askbobrankin" and Control-Enter go to

Oh yeah, and you can program short cut key combinations for any icon on your desktop on its Properties, Shortcut tab. For example, I have a shortcut on my desktop to browse my C: drive in Explorer mode (with the folders displayed) which I can launch by pressing Control-Alt-C
> Target: C:\Windows\Explorer.exe /n,/e,C:\
> Start in: C:\
> Shortcut key: Ctrl + Alt + C (type it to set it)
> Run: Normal window

I keep a lot of these to open mapped drives and frequently used folders.

Posted by:

09 Jul 2012

Many people have already run into this but Microsoft does not acknowledge the problem. If you are running Windows XP you will most likely lock up your Internet Explorer if you attempt to minimize by using Alt +Spacebar N. I have used this keystrok sequence for over 15 years but have to try to train myself to avoid it with the Internet Explorer window. The problem has gone away with Windows 7.

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