A handy guide to Windows shortcuts

Whenever I watch someone demonstrate something to me on their computer and they navigate through clunky menus instead of using shortcut keys, it irks me. So in honor of those people who aren’t using their computers efficiently, I’ve decided to write a handy shortcut guide to make their lives better. I’ll keep it as general as possible and include only commonly used programs. If you have suggestions for any other shortcuts, let me know and I’ll consider adding them to the list. Here we go!

Windows 10
These should work on older versions of Windows as well – also, you should have upgraded if you haven’t already.
Windows + D : minimizes all your programs to reveal your desktop. Great ‘boss key’, also great if you need to access something on your desktop without minimizing every open window.
Windows + M : minimizes your current window
Windows (to open the start menu) then type the name of the program you want to launch : this should let you launch the program of your choice without having to click through multiple menus or look for icons on your desktop. It should work for most programs installed on your computer. If it doesn’t work, you can use the shortcut below.
Windows + R : brings up the run dialog which will allow you to run or open any file on your computer. Most of the time you will need to get the filename of the program correctly i.e. winword for Microsoft Word, not word.
Windows + E : opens Windows Explorer. Something I use on a daily basis, and I’m sure you will too.
Windows + Left/Down/Up/Right : snaps the window to the corresponding edge of the screen. Windows 10 will also allow you to select another program to fill the other side of the screen if there are any available for you to choose from. It will also allow you to move windows across multiple monitors. Down will restore and minimize, while up will maximize the window.
Windows + L : log out of Windows. Great for when you need to leave your PC unattended without having to sleep it or shut it down.

Alt + F4 : exit the current program. When you have no programs open, this will bring up the dialog for shutting down your computer.
Alt + Tab : cycle through your running programs.
Windows + Tab : cycle through your current programs with a larger preview, also gives you the option to create additional desktops on your monitor.
Alt + Space : brings up the menu bar for your current window. From here you can hit the shortcut keys to Restore, Minimize, Maximize, or Close it.

Ctrl + Backspace : delete a word. This saves you so much time. Make it a habit. It allows you to easily erase words instead of tapping the backspace key multiple times. You can also double-click a word to select it and hit backspace/delete to achieve the same effect. This shortcut deletes characters from where the cursor is until the next space on the left.
Ctrl + Delete : Same as above, except it deletes instead, so it will delete characters from where the cursor is until the next space on the right.
Ctrl + Escape : Brings up the start menu. If for some reason your Windows key is broken and you want to bring up the start menu, this shortcut will do that for you.
Ctrl + Left/Right : this shortcut lets you jump through your text word by word instead of letter by letter. It will place your cursor to the beginning of the next or previous word. Words are clumps of texts separated by spaces or punctuation.

Ctrl + Shift + Left/Right : highlights text, one word at a time.
Shift + Left/Right/Up/Down : highlights text, one character at a time.
You can also use Home/End/Page Up/Page Down with the shortcuts above for bigger jumps.
These shortcuts also work in Excel, letting you select cells instead of words.

Windows Explorer
Ctrl + Shift + N : create a new folder.
Shift + Delete : delete a file or folder without sending it to the recycle bin. Be careful when using this – I’ve deleted files that I didn’t want to delete using this method before. Fortunately I could just download them again.
F2 : rename selected file or folder.
Ctrl + Click : add a file or folder to your current selection.
Shift + Click : add files or folders from the current position and everything in between where you click to your current selection.
Alt + D : jump to the address bar – in the event you would like to type out a location instead of manually navigating to it.
Shift + Double click : open a folder in a new window.
Ctrl + Drag : create a copy of selected items at the location you drag to.
Shift + Drag : move selected items to the location you drag to.

The shortcuts above should improve your Windows experience significantly once you have memorized them. Here are some additional shortcuts for some commonly used programs. More will be added in the future.

Google Chrome
Ctrl + W : closes the current tab.
Ctrl + Tab : jumps to the next tab.
Ctrl + Shift + Tab : jumps to the previous tab.
Ctrl + T : opens a new tab.
Ctrl + Shift + N : opens an incognito window.
Ctrl + F5 : forces a complete refresh of the current page.
F5 / Ctrl + R : refreshes the current page.
Ctrl + N : opens a new window.
Ctrl + 9 : jumps to the last tab.
Ctrl + 1 - 8 : jumps to tab 1-8.
Ctrl + -/= : zooms in or out of the page.
Ctrl + 0 : resets the zoom.
Ctrl + click on link : opens a link in a new tab. Can also be accomplished by clicking a link with your middle mouse button.
Shift + click on link : opens a link in a new window.
Alt + D or F6 : places your cursor on the address bar and selects the URL, allowing you to easily copy/paste/or type in the address bar.
Ctrl + J : opens your downloads page.
Ctrl + H : opens your history page.
Ctrl + F / F3 : search the current page.
Ctrl + D : add the current page to your favorites.

Space : play/pause a video
Shift + Left/Right : jump back or forward a few seconds.
Ctrl + Left/Right : jump back or forward a minute.
T : displays the time remaining for the current video.
Mouse scroll up/down : increases/lowers volume.
M : mute.
F : toggle fullscreen mode.

Learning a new 60% layout

During my time trying out different kinds of mechanical keyboards, I noticed that I had to adapt to a few different typing styles. This was very noticeable when I was typing on my Vortex Core – a 40% keyboard. Without a number row and the lack of certain dedicated punctuation keys, it changed the way I used the keyboard significantly. After using the Core for a month daily, I adapted and now I can type on it almost as fast as I did on a full-sized keyboard. In fact, it felt like training wheels – when I went back to a full-sized layout, I was able to type faster than before. I’m not sure if it was in my head and I was limiting my typing speed to begin with. For what it’s worth, I’ve come to appreciate having a dedicated number row on a keyboard now.

Since I have a new 60% keyboard coming in later this year (parts by parts, sadly – building your own keyboard is a test of patience) which utilizes the layout of the HHKB (Happy Hacking Keyboard) I decided to get used to it in advance. So right now, on my Anne Pro, I’ve remapped certain keys to reflect the HHKB layout. My Caps Lock key is now Control, my \ key has been swapped with Backspace, and I’ve mapped the HHKB arrows to the board as well. The learning curve hasn’t been as steep as using a 40%, but I immediately noticed the benefits of the layout. I can accomplish a lot more with my hands now, while moving a whole lot less than before.

Muscle memory still kicks in for some shortcuts (Ctrl + Z/W/C/V), instead of backspacing I hit the \ key, and I also keep hitting Control where it used to be + Backspace to delete words. It will definitely take a while before I’m completely comfortable with this layout, but I think it won’t take a long time to do so. Maybe the blockers on the keyboard will help with this issue in the future.

As yes, you’ve read it right – I have decided to get a DIY mechanical keyboard. Fortunately the model I was interested in doesn’t require any soldering, so it should be a walk in the park to assemble. The bad part is it that all the parts to build it won’t be arriving until August – assuming there are no delays. Fingers crossed! It should be a fun activity that I’m looking forward to. I might even stream the build process on Twitch, we’ll see. I ordered myself a Tokyo 60, Kailh Box Navy switches and GMK Red Samurai to deck the board out. I’ve only seen renders and photographs at this point, but I think it’s gonna be siiiiick. Maybe I’ll get brave enough to learn soldering after this board. We’ll see.

So anyway, earlier today when I was fumbling around for some hotkeys on my keyboard, I was thinking to myself – is it worth sacrificing how I type currently to relearn a new method of typing? Are the hours put in to learn a new typing style worth the gains when using another? I know I’m not going to be a world record holder at typing fast, and neither am I aiming to be one, so why am I throwing myself all these challenges? I guess I enjoy challenging myself with such menial tasks. It’s like unlocking a new skill in my typing skill tree. Next step would be typing on an ortholinear keyboard, and then maybe learning Colemak or Dvorak.


You know what’s better than owning a nice keyboard? Having things to type on it. Something about hitting keys and watching characters appear on the screen is so satisfying. It also helps that both my hobbies and work requires me to type.

These days I write my blog posts in a program called FocusWriter (btw when did the term app come to replace programs? I use it to differentiate programs on phones/tablets with desktop programs but I believe they are interchangeable now). I discovered it a few years ago when I saw it being recommended for writers to use during Nanowrimo. It has a handy wordcount feature at the bottom which helps you mark your progress for the day (you can decide what your daily goal is).

It is extremely customizable in terms of looks – it even comes with some preset themes for you to use (I created a blank one for myself and increased the font size due to the default size being too small on a high-resolution display). Other than the basic dictionary and chapter dividers, it’s a pretty barebones writing program that gets the job done. It maximizes itself (you can’t change this) so it completely covers your desktop, including your taskbar; to keep you free from distractions. No more blinking icons or pop ups on your screen until you alt+tab away from the software. I guess it is named FocusWriter for a reason.

However, it’s not magic. It won’t make you write better or suddenly fill your head with ideas. No program can do that. But for what it sets out to accomplish, it gets the job done. Since I learned how useful it was to have a distraction-free workspace to get my writing done for my first Nanowrimo, I’ve been using it to write everything else (except those days when I felt like writing directly into WordPress’ editor. It’s now one of the programs I need installed on any computer I use to write.

It’s free (donations are encouraged) with no adverts, stable and bug-free. It’s definitely not for everyone – if you need to have multiple windows side by side while you write, FocusWriter isn’t for you. But if you just want a blank space while you transfer all your ideas from your head to the screen, you should check it out.

FocusWriter is available now for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
[Official Site]

Macroblogging and Dead Links

Every now and then, I read through some old posts on my blog and go through the comments section. Commenting on blogs used to be a thing. I remember. That’s how I made some friends on the internet. These days, people just comment on the Facebook post about the link instead. If not comments, you just get likes or some reactions.

I guess it’s just how things have evolved. Back then there was no such thing as microblogging. The only way you could update people about your life was through MSN nickname statuses or blogs. I remember, almost everybody had a blog back then. It was the normal thing to do. Now I think having a blog is probably out of fashion. But that’s okay, it’s my way of practicing writing and putting out whatever is in my head.

Anyway, back then when people commented on my blog, they would leave links to their own blog so I could check them out. That was one way of meeting new people online. I could check out their writing and if I found it interesting, I’d leave a comment and link their page if I liked it enough. Friendships would live and grow in the comments sections of posts.

I guess all the long breaks I took in between blogging kinda killed off the steam and interest people had in visiting this page. Blogging is kinda like the YouTube of the past. If content creators don’t constantly churn out new content, they’d be forgotten. It was even worse for blogs because unless you had an RSS reader or subscribed to email updates, you wouldn’t have any way of telling whether the blog had new posts short of manually checking it out yourself. At least with YouTube you get emails or notifications on the site itself telling you about new videos on channels you subscribed to.

But then again, who has time to read these days? I’m blogging for an audience of less than ten people daily (haha) but that’s okay. It feels good to write anyway. And I might as well make up for all the times I didn’t blog in the past. I mean, keep throwing shit against the wall until something sticks right?

I don’t even read many blogs these days. I do read a lot of posts on Facebook though. It’s the modern version of blogging. And I don’t have to exit Facebook to read them. I guess that was the Zuck’s plan all along – keep everybody on the site so they don’t have to leave.

Anyway I was prompted to write this post when I was clicking on links left by people who used to comment on my blog and realized that they were all dead links. IMO blogging died when everybody started doing advertorials instead of content about their lives. Shout out to Albert for keeping it real!

Erase Me

Remember the days when internet marketing wasn’t so prevalent? Marketing campaigns made use of word of mouth or print and television to spread the word. I remember when The Sixth Sense was showing in the cinemas. Everywhere I saw advertisements for the movie with the message plastered “Don’t tell anybody the ending.” I thought that was a pretty cool way to market the movie. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t manage to catch it in the cinema. I only saw it many years later when it was showing on Astro. By then I had already known about the ending so it wasn’t impactful to me. However I appreciated what it did.

Other movies that received similar buzz with its marketing tactics were far and few in between. The most prominent ones I can remember – Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, and Paranormal Activity. I never got sucked into the hype that these movies generated, but for the latter two, I enjoyed seeing how people reacted to all the marketing campaign activities thanks to the internet. It was a lot harder to keep track of those things pre-social media. These days, everything gets hyped up on social media, and it’s hard to tell whether something is worth your time or not *cough*Black Panther*cough*. Anyway, thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to spread the news to everybody you know.

Recently I noticed it being used in music (it might have been done a long time ago, but not for bands I cared about). Brand New did something crazy by just pushing their album out online, ahead of their release dates. Fans and critics lapped it up. They debuted at number 1 on the Billboard charts. Today, I saw on Reddit, a thread where a Redditor received a mysterious CD in the mail. The CD contained a sample of a song and written on it was a URL for a website, where a countdown is going on right now. Based on the font on the website and the font on Underoath’s Twitter banner, people have come to the conclusion that it was a teaser for the band’s next record.

As of this time of writing, the countdown still has 1 day and 7 hours to go. It’s been a while since the last Underoath record, so I’d be stoked if they announced their next one. Here’s to hoping they pull off a Brand New and push it out on the same day instead of just announcing it. It’s been too long! Also, I guess this is me playing my part in putting the word out about a possible new Underoath record. Funny how nobody asked me to do it, yet here I am typing away. Woot.