Keyboard shortcuts can make you feel smart, but they can also help you get work done faster and more efficiently. Learn how to use them here.
Keyboard shortcuts can help you when working with text, files, applications, and the Internet. In Windows, you'll use the Ctrl (Control) or Alt key to perform most keyboard shortcuts.
Ctrl and Alt keys on PC keyboard
Working with text
These keyboard shortcuts are useful when working with text in word processor, email, and social media applications (like Twitter). They can help you perform commonly repeated tasks like copying and pasting or bolding text.
- Ctrl+X: Cut the selected text.
- Ctrl+C: Copy the selected text.
- Ctrl+V: Paste the copied or cut text.
- Ctrl+A: Select all text on the page or in the active window.
- Ctrl+B: Bold the selected text.
- Ctrl+I: Italicize the selected text.
- Ctrl+U: Underline the selected text.
- Home: Skip to the beginning of the current line.
- End: Skip to the end of the current line.
Home and End keys
- Ctrl+right arrow: Skip to the beginning of the next word. You can press the right arrow multiple times to skip several words.
- Ctrl+left arrow: Skip to the beginning of the previous word. You can press the left arrow multiple times to skip several words.
- Ctrl+Shift+right arrow: Select the next word.
- Ctrl+Shift+left arrow: Select the previous word.
Working with files and applications
You can use keyboard shortcuts to open, close, and switch applications. When working with a file (like a Microsoft Word document), shortcuts can be used to create new files, find words, and print.
- Ctrl+Alt+Delete: Quit a frozen application. This keyboard shortcut opens the Task Manager. You can then select the unresponsive application and end it.
- Delete: Send a selected file to the Recycle Bin.
- Enter: Open a selected application or file.
- Ctrl+N: Create a new file.
- Ctrl+O: Open an existing file.
- Ctrl+P: Print an open file.
- Ctrl+S: Save the current file.
- Ctrl+Z: Undo the previous action. If you'd like to redo the action, press Ctrl+Y.
- Ctrl+F: Find a word or phrase in the current file. This shortcut will make a search box appear. You can then type the text you wish to find. If the word or phrase appears more than once, press Enter to move to the next instance.
Finding a word in the file
- Ctrl+- (Ctrl+dash key): Zoom out. When viewing a photo in an application like Windows Photo Viewer, this shortcut will make the image appear smaller.
- Ctrl+= (Ctrl+equal key): Zoom in. When viewing a photo in an application like Windows Photo Viewer, this shortcut will make the image appear larger.
Dash and Equal keys
- Alt+F4: Quit the current application.
- Windows key: Open the Start menu.
- Alt+Tab: Switch between open windows. This shortcut opens the Task Switcher. While continuing to hold the Alt key, you can then use the left and right arrows (or press Tab) to move between open windows.
Keyboard shortcuts can also be used to navigate your web browser. Many of the Working with Text shortcuts are useful online, like the shortcuts for selecting, copying, and pasting text into your web browser's address bar. Because each browser is different, some of these shortcuts may have varying results.
- Ctrl+F: Find a word or phrase in the current webpage. This shortcut opens the Find toolbar. You can then type the text you wish to find. If the word or phrase appears more than once, press Enter to move to the next instance.
Finding a word
- Ctrl+T: Open a new browser tab.
New browser tab
- Ctrl+N: Open a new browser window.
- Ctrl+R: Reload the current browser page.
- Tab: Skip to the next field in a web form. For example, when filling in your address on a web form, pressing tab will move the cursor to the next field. For more information, check out our article Speed Up Your Workflow with the Tab Key.
Skipping to the next field in a web form
- Ctrl+D: Bookmark the current page.
- Ctrl+B: View bookmarks.
- Ctrl+H: View browsing history.
- Ctrl+J: View downloads.
- Home: Scroll to the top of the webpage.
- End: Scroll to the bottom of the webpage.
Using the Alt key to navigate menus
When you press the Alt key, you will have access to all menus in the current application. This means you can perform almost any task with just your keyboard. For example, you can type Alt+F+X to quit an application. When performing these shortcuts, you will not need to hold down the Alt key.
Menu selections after pressing Alt
Try using keyboard shortcuts to perform the following tasks:
- Open the Start Menu.
- Navigate to a word processing application like Microsoft Word.
- Open the application, and type a few lines of text.
- Select a few of the words. Bold and italicize the selected text.
- Undo the italicized formatting.
- Find a word or phrase in the document.
- Save the document.
- Close the application.
Try using keyboard shortcuts to perform the following tasks in your web browser:
- Open a new web browser window.
- Move through to the webpage to the address bar.
- Type the address of a webpage of your choice. For example, type www.weather.com.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page, then scroll back to the top of the page.
- Add the webpage to your bookmarks.
- Copy the web address.
- Open a new web browser tab, and paste the copied link into the address bar.
- Close the web browser.