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!
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.
Windows + . : brings up the emoji menu for you to easily insert emojis into whatever you’re typing.
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.
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.
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.