/Windows Keyboard Shortcuts you simply must know!

Windows Keyboard Shortcuts you simply must know!

Love it or hate it, everyone has had windows experience at one point or another. Here’s a compilation of simple shortcuts to help you get around Windows pretty fast. These shortcuts range from the obvious to well… weird. Take a gander at the list and see how it can help you 😀

Generally useful shortcuts

  • Ctrl + Shift + Esc – Open task manager
  • Windows Key + R – run dialog
  • Winkey + D – toggle ‘show desktop’
  • Winkey + L – lock workstation
  • Winkey + E – windows explorer
  • Middle click a link (or Ctrl + Click) – load page in background tab
  • Middle click a tab – close tab
  • Middle click back button – open history in new tab (not for IE)
  • Ctrl + F5 – clear page cache and refresh webpage (great for page errors/testing)
  • (Shift +) tab button – when filling out a form, skip to next (or previous) form field
  • Alt + (shift +) tab – switch windows forwards (or backwards)
  • Ctrl + (shift +) tab – switch tab/document forwards (or backwards)
  • Hold Shift while inserting removable media – prevents ‘autorun’
  • Shift + Delete – permanently deletes files (without going to recycle bin)
  • Shift + Right click – usually adds ‘experienced user’ context menu options
  • F2 – ‘edit’, renames selected file. Also used with spreadsheet cells.
  • Ctrl + Scroll – zoom web page, document, file thumbnails, or desktop icons on Vista/7
  • Ctrl + C on any standard error dialog box – copies error report text
  • Alt + PrtScn – Copies an image of the current window to clipboard

A note on Ctrl + Shift + Esc: Ctrl + Alt + Del now brings up a ‘lock this computer’ dialog on Vista/7, so I suggest you learn this one. Another perk is that on a VM or a remote control app, this will open the remote (client) machine’s task manager.

New Windows 7 tricks Note: Some of these tips work on Vista too

  • Winkey and + or – , zoom in/out of screen
  • Shift + drag file to a dock app – open file with dock application. (default behavior is ‘pin’)
  • Middle click an app on dock – Open a new app instance
  • Middle click a thumbnail from dock – Close app instance/tab
  • Drag up on dock item – Quick jumplist
  • Shift + Right click dock item – Legacy menu
  • Ctrl + Shift + N – New Folder
  • Winkey + “c:” – browse HDD from Start Menu. Tap up, down & ” to browse directories.
  • Winkey + Search Term – Instant search. Tap up, down & enter to select.
  • Winkey + [dos appname] + enter – Instant app launch: no need to wait for search.
  • Alt – bring up old-style file menus where they’ve been removed
  • Winkey + P – multi-display config quick-switch (press twice to switch)
  • Winkey + X – bring up laptop settings control panel
  • Winkey + T – dock keyboard mode (use arrow keys)
  • Winkey + (shift +) tab – Flip 3D task switcher
  • Winkey + left, right, up or down key – manage window position
  • Drag window to left, right or top edge to ‘snap’ them.

If all your apps disappear for no reason, DON’T PANIC. Move your mouse away from the bottom right corner. If this bugs you, right click the bottom right corner & turn off ‘peek at desktop.’

Right-click key

To the right of your space bar, there’s a little ‘right click’ key. This thing is powerful on any PC. It’s excellent for fixing typos in docs, renaming files, etc.

  • When editing spell-checked documents, this allows you to quickly fix ‘red/green wavy line’ spelling or grammar errors. (firefox doesn’t work with this)
  • When a file is selected, hit the right right click key, then type
    • ‘m’ for Rename, ‘r’ for Properties, ‘n’ for Send to (e.g. USB key) or ‘d’ for Delete.
      (Note the underlines in the menus)
  • When on a flash-based site, or a site with right-click disabled – hit the right click key to get ‘view source’, etc.
  • Exposes fundamental functionality when using Media Center

Command line utilities (Winkey+R):

  • “resmon” – win7 only, awesome resource monitor – bandwidth etc
  • “perfmon” – a pretty decent performance monitor (vista, xp?)
  • “cmd” – command line
  • “control userpasswords2” – set windows to auto-login
  • “dxdiag” – hardware properties (processor, ram, etc)
  • Winkey + pause – system properties
  • “regedit”, “msconfig”, “services.msc”, “compmgmt.msc”, “eventvwr”, “appwiz.cpl” – manage system stuff
  • “ping bing.com”, “ping”, “ping”, “netstat”, “ipconfig” – network tests
    (don’t ping google if your homepage is also google!)
  • “charmap” – unusual characters (also, note the keyboard shortcuts provided in its status bar only work with the numpad)

Obvious shortcuts

  • Drag with right click – provide additional options when dragging (copy/move/create shortcut)
  • Esc – dismiss dialog
  • Double-click window title – maximize
  • Space – fill in a checkbox, press the highlighted button, or scroll down
  • Tab – When filling out forms, skip forwards through inputs
  • Shift + Tab – When filling out forms, skip backwards through inputs
  • Ctrl + Tab – switch windows within an application (e.g. tabs)
  • Alt + Tab – switch between windows
  • Ctrl + F4 – close tab/document
  • Alt + F4 – close window
  • Ctrl + left/right buttons – skip text by word, rather than by letter (hold shift to select)
  • Ctrl + up/down buttons – skip text by paragraph, rather than by letter (hold shift to select)
  • PgUp, PgDn – Scroll up/down 1 page
  • Home – Skip to top of page
  • End – Skip to end of page
  • Print Screen (PrtScn) – Takes a picture of your screen and puts it in the clipboard. You can paste it in paint.
  • F5 – refresh page/folder/dialog
  • Backspace – Navigate to the previous page (web browsers)
  • Ctrl + Enter – line-break (goes to next line, but not a full paragraph)
  • Ctrl + Z – undo
  • Ctrl + Y – redo (reverse undo)
  • Ctrl + X – cut
  • Ctrl + C – copy
  • Ctrl + V – paste
  • Ctrl + S – save
  • Ctrl + F – find in page/doc
  • Ctrl + A – select all
  • Shift + click items in a list – select a continuous group of sequential items from a list
  • Ctrl + click items in a list – select multiple individual items from a list
  • Ctrl + [B, I, U] – bold, italic, underline
  • Ctrl + Esc or Windows Key – open start menu

Do note that most of these shortcuts are industry standard so they’ll work with most of the windows applications you are using.

Borderline ‘actually useful’

  • Middle click a folder of favorites – open all favorites in new tabs
  • Winkey + U – ‘usability’ (disabled) control panel
  • Winkey + [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0] – launches corresponding quicklaunch/win7dock item
  • Winkey + shift + left, right, up, down – [win7], dual screen window management
  • Winkey + space – [win7] peek at desktop
  • Winkey + G – [vista/7] view desktop gadgets
  • Ctrl + alt + [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0] – Creates header-level text in word processors. You can use this to auto-generate a document outline or table of contents. In web apps it’s just Ctrl + [1,2…]
  • Ctrl + Shift + Right click on blank area of start menu – End explorer process (to restart, ctrl+shift+esc, file -> new task, “explorer”)

Lost a window? Right click the taskbar, click ‘cascade windows’.

This list is not comprehensive in anyway but it should help you get around for quite while. Have a suggestion? Post a comment and I’ll add it up.