Looking down at all of these “shortcuts” wondering how you are going to remember all of them may seem intimidating at first, but even using one or two can get you going, and pretty soon, using most of them will be like second nature saving you hundreds of mouse clicks and movements each day.
Using keyboard shortcuts can increase productivity and save you time. Keyboard shortcuts are different for Windows and macOS computers and there are hundreds of them out there. This article is highlighting some of the most common and popular Windows 10 PC shortcuts. You can also check out our 10-min Windows tips video highlighting how to access a few of our favorites! (You can also Download our Windows Shortcuts reference sheet listing all of the below too!)
COMMONLY REPEATED TASKS + SOME COOL SHORTCUTS
- Ctrl+. (Ctrl+period key): Open the Emoji window.
- Ctrl+A: Select all text on the page or in the active window.
- Ctrl+B: Bold the selected text.
- Ctrl+C: Copy the selected text.
- Ctrl+I: Italicize the selected text.
- Ctrl+S: Saves your document. Do this as often as possible, it is so quick and easy, it will become second nature and can save you much grief and headaches when mishaps occur.
- Ctrl+U: Underline the selected text.
- Ctrl+V: Paste the copied or cut text.
- Ctrl+X: Cut the selected text.
- Ctrl+Z: No matter what program you are running, Ctrl+Z will roll back your last action. Whether you have just overwritten an entire paragraph or deleted a file you did not mean to, this one is an absolute lifesaver! If you would like to redo the action, press Ctrl+Y.
- Win+D: Show or hide your desktop.
- Win+E: Open Windows Explorer.
- Win+P: Show presentation screen window.
- Win+V: Show clipboard history.
WORKING WITH FILES AND APPLICATIONS
- The Windows key: Looking to launch an app, no need to use your mouse and click your Start menu or Applications folder. Just press the Windows key and start typing the name of the app. When its icon appears, press Enter to launch.
- Alt+F4: Quit the current application.
- 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.
- Ctrl+Alt+Delete: Quit a frozen application. This keyboard shortcut opens the Task Manager. You can then select the unresponsive application and end it.
- Win+L: Locks the machine and returns you to the login screen. You will need your user account password to regain access.
- Win+PrtScn: Grabs the whole screen and saves it as a PNG file in a Screenshots folder inside your Pictures folder. At the same time, Windows will also copy the image to the clipboard. If you do not want to snap the whole screen, the Alt+PrtScn combination will take a screenshot of just the active window, but it will only copy this image to the clipboard, so you will not get a saved 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.
- Ctrl+Arrow Keys: Allows you to move around a document with nothing but the keyboard. Left and right move the cursor between words, while up and down move it between paragraphs. (*If you hold Shift while moving the arrow keys, you will select that text instead of just moving the cursor.)
- Ctrl+W: Will close whatever you are viewing. Shut that File Explorer window, browser tab, or open image file.
- F5: This key will refresh a page—a good trick when you are using File Explorer or your web browser. After the refresh, you will see the latest version of the page you are viewing.
WORKING IN A WEB BROWSER
- Ctrl+F: Opens a little search bar that helps you find any word or phrase on a page you have opened in your browser window, instantly bringing you to the information you were searching for. (*Use Ctrl+G to scroll through the results of the Ctrl+F search.)
- Ctrl+L: While in a browser, press Ctrl+L, and your cursor will automatically move into the address bar, ready for you to type in a new search or web address.
- Ctrl+T: Opens a new tab in your browser. (*Use Ctrl+Shift+T if you accidentally close a tab and want to bring it back.)
- Ctrl+Shift+V: When copying text from a website, it could include the original font, links, and other formatting you do not want. To avoid this, many apps let you use Ctrl+Shift+V to paste a block of text without links and other added baggage.
- Ctrl+N: Open a new browser window.
- Ctrl+R: Reload the current browser page.
- Ctrl+D: Bookmark the current page.
- Ctrl+B: View bookmarks.
- Ctrl+H: View browsing history.
- Ctrl+J: View downloads.
BUILD YOUR OWN
You can build a custom keyboard shortcut to a program, file, or folder in Windows. In File Explorer, right-click on whatever you want to open with your keyboard combination and choose to Create shortcut.
A new icon will appear, which is the shortcut to the program, file, or folder (It creates a shortcut Just like a shortcut you would find on your desktop - it is not a keyboard shortcut yet). This newly created shortcut can now be assigned a shortcut key as well. Right-click on it and choose Properties, then Shortcut. Click in the box marked Shortcut key, then press your choice of keys to assign them (You will need to use a couple of modifier keys (Shift, Ctrl, or Alt) in your combination to tell Windows that you want to activate a shortcut - they should appear in the box). Click OK to confirm your choice. Be careful not to duplicate other key combinations from Windows, or the apps you use (you will not get a warning if there’s a duplicate). Now, pressing your new combination of keys will launch whatever file, folder, or program you selected, saving you a trip to the Start menu or the taskbar.
In addition to this, there are a handful of third-party programs that will help you create custom keyboard shortcuts for Windows as well as creating more complex shortcuts for typing out fragments of text (like typing “tky” to tell someone “Thank you so much!,”) and putting messages on-screen (like a dialog box with the date), as well as launching specific apps, files, and folders. WinHotKey is an older one, but it is easy to use, still works fine on Windows 10, and will not cost you anything.