Here are 55 time-saving keyboard shortcuts that work in Windows and most programs. Learning these will enable you to work faster, be more precise – and avoid muscle pain.
How time-saving keyboard shortcuts can increase productivity
Using keyboard shortcuts can dramatically increase your productivity. Think about how often you are reaching for the mouse, visually locating a button on a ribbon in Office or a field on a web page, then clicking and going back to your keyboard.
With a little practice, many of these time-saving keyboard shortcuts can become muscle memory. Before you know it you have dramatically sped up your work. A bonus is that those repeating tasks are at least a little bit less boring because it involves less time and less effort.
The health benefits of using keyboard shortcuts
Extensive use of the mouse is associated with mouse arm disease. The medical term is Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). Ergonomically correct placement of the keyboard and computer mouse is important for avoiding this. Besides this, reducing the overall use of the mouse is a key factor for avoiding RSI.
Personally, I find that variation is a good way to avoid health issues. I use the trackpad on my laptop. At work, I use a MouseTrapper. At home, I use a trackball or MouseTrapper. For short periods, I will sometimes use a regular mouse.
General keyboard shortcuts for PC
These time-saving keyboard shortcuts work in most programs.
- Alt + F4: Closes the program
- Alt + Underlined letter in menu: Opens the menu
- Ctrl + F: Find
- Ctrl + N: New
- Ctrl + O: Open
- Ctrl + P: Print
- Ctrl + S: Save
- Ctrl + W: Closes the open window or application
- Ctrl + Y: Redo last action
- Ctrl + Z: Undo last action
- Page Down: Scroll one page down
- Page Up: Scroll one page up
- Tab: Move forward through forms
- Tab +Shift: Move backward through forms
Moving the cursor
- Arrow keys: Moving cursor in the direction of the arrows
- Ctrl + Right arrow: Move the cursor to the beginning of the next word
- Ctrl + Left arrow: Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous word
- Ctrl + Down arrow: Move the cursor to the beginning of the next paragraph
- Ctrl + Up arrow: Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous paragraph
Working with text
- Ctrl + A: Select all
- Ctrl + C: Copy to clipboard
- Ctrl + X: Cut to clipboard
- Ctrl + V: Paste from clipboard
- Ctrl +Alt + V: Paste as unformatted text / Paste from clipboard cache
- Ctrl + Shift + arrow keys: Selects a word or block of text in the direction of the arrow
- Shift + arrow keys: Selects a text character in the direction of the arrow
- Shift + Home: Selects text to the left of where the cursor is placed
- Shift + End: Selects text to the right of where the cursor is placed
Formatting selected text
- Ctrl + B: Bold
- Ctrl + I: Italic
- Ctrl + U: Underline
Windows Keyboard shortcuts
- Ctrl + Esc: Opens Start menu
- Esc: Cancel an action
- Alt + Tab: Switch between programs (hold down the Alt key and then press the Tab key to view the task-switching window)
- Windows key + Tab: Show open programs as tiles / Toggles between programs
- Windows key: Opens and closes the Start menu
- Windows key + D: Display or hide the desktop
- Windows key + E: Open Windows Explorer
- Windows key + L: Locks computer
- Windows key + P: Select a presentation display mode
- Ctrl + Shift + Esc: Opens Task Manager
- Tab: Move to the next control in the dialog box
- Shift+Tab: Move to the previous control in the dialog box
- If the current control is a button, this clicks the button
- If the current control is a check box, this toggles the check box
- If the current control is an option, this selects the option
- Enter: Same as clicking the selected button (the button with the outline)
- ESC: Equivalent to clicking the Cancel button
Moving program windows
- Windows key + Left arrow: Moves the active window to the left
- Windows key + Right arrow: Moves the active window to the right
- Windows key + Up arrow: Maximises the active window
- Windows key + Down arrow: Restores the active window down
- Windows key + Down arrow twice: Minimize the active window
When using the mouse
- Ctrl + Left click: Select multiple individual items.
- Shift + Left click: Select a range of items.
Want to boost your productivity even more?
Read 10 tools to help you get productive and in control.