Essential Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Using keyboard shortcuts help you use your laptop without a mouse

Keyboard shortcuts greatly enhance your productivity and save you a whole lot of time. Instead of pointing and clicking with the touchpad or external mouse, you can keep your hands on the keyboard and simply press combinations of keys on to get things done. Besides making you more efficient, using keyboard shortcuts also can reduce wrist strain. Here are the best Windows shortcuts you should know or print for quick reference.

Essential Keyboard Shortcuts

Copy, cut and paste: Use these basic key combinations when you want to duplicate (copy) or move (cut) a photo, snippet of text, web link, file, or anything else into another location or document by pasting it. These shortcuts work in Windows Explorer, Word, email, and pretty much everywhere else.

  • CTRL+C: Copy the selected item
  • CTRL+X: Cut the selected item
  • CTRL+V: Paste the selected item

Selecting items: Highlight an item so you can copy and paste it or do some other action

  • CTRL+A: Select all items in a window, on the desktop, or all text in a document
  • Shift+Any Arrow Key: Select text within a document (e.g., one letter at a time) or one item at a time in a window
  • CTRL+Shift+Any Arrow Key: Select a block of text (e.g., a whole word at a time)

Find text or files: Quickly search a document, web page,  or Windows Explorer for a phrase or block of characters

  • CTRL+F or F3: Opens a “find” dialog box

Format text: Hit these combinations before typing to bold, italicize, or underline

  • CTRL+B: Bold text
  • CTRL+I: Italicize text
  • CTRL+U: Underline text

Create, Open, Save, and Print: Basics for working with files. These shortcuts are the equivalent of going to the File menu and selecting: New…, Open…, Save…, or Print

  • CTRL+N: Create a new file or document or open a new browser window
  • CTRL+O: Open a file or document
  • CTRL+S: Save
  • CTRL+P: Print

Work with tabs and windows:

  • CTRL+T: Open a new tab in your web browser
  • CTRL+Shift+T: Reopen a tab you just closed (e.g., by accident)
  • CTRL+H: View your browsing history

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  • CTRL+W: Close a window

Undo and redo: Made a mistake? Go back or forward in history.

  • CTRL+Z: Undo an action
  • CTRL+Y: Redo an action
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