Common Shortcut Keys in Windows

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Keyboard shortcuts provides you the quick way to complete your tasks using a single press of one or multiple keys, which otherwise would take several mouse clicks. Imagine, if you have to copy 1000 words paragraph from one file to another, so if you do using mouse the first you have to select the content to be copied and then by 2-3 clicks you will be able to copy and 2 more clicks are required to paste that content in destination file. But you can save a little time by using keyboard. You have to just use Ctrl + C for copying and Ctrl + V for pasting the selected content into desired location.

Here, in this article you will get to know most commonly used shortcut keys for a windows user. So, let’s dive in.

Most common shortcuts

The most essential keyboard shortcuts are as follows:

Keyboard shortcut Action
Ctrl + A Select all content
Ctrl + C (or Ctrl + Insert) Copy selected items
Ctrl + X Cut selected items
Ctrl + V (or Shift + Insert) Paste selected items
Ctrl + Z Undo an action, you can also restore recently deleted files (unlimited)
Ctrl + Y Redo an action
Ctrl + Shift + N Create a new folder on desktop or File Explorer
Alt + F4 Close active window ( If no active window is present, then shutdown appears)
Ctrl + D ( or Del ) Delete selected item. The deleted item is moved to recycle bin
Shift + Del Delete the selected item permanently. Here, the items not stored in recycle bin too.
F2 Highlight a file and hit F2 to rename it. This command also allows you to edit text in other programs like in MS Excel, select a cell and hit F2 to edit the cell test
ESC Close current task
Alt + Tab Switch between open apps
PrtScn Take screenshot and store it in clipboard
Windows key + I Open settings app
Windows key + E Open File Explorer
Windows key + A Open Action center
Windows key + D Display and hide the desktop
Windows key + L Lock device
Windows key + V Open clipboard bin
Windows key + Period (.) or semicolon (;) Open emoji panel.
Windows key + PrtScn Capture full screenshot in the “screenshots” folder.
Windows key + Shift + S Capture part of the screen with snip and sketch
Windows key +  Left arrow key Snap app or window left
Windows key +  Right arrow key Snap app or windows right

Other shortcut keys:

You must know desktop and file explorer shortcut keys too and then you will be able to use keyboard for almost all the tasks in the windows operating system.

Also Read: 32-bit vs 64-bit Operating System

Desktop Shortcuts

A desktop is a graphical user interface that gives you a platform to interact with the operating system. It lets you run several application programs simultaneously; you can switch between the programs whenever you want by clicking any of the apps from the taskbar at the bottom of the desktop.

Knowing the shortcut keys of desktop will help you to have a command over computer keyboard, so I have discussed some of them below:

Keyboard shortcut Action
Windows key (or Ctrl + Esc) Open Start menu.
Ctrl + Arrow keys Change Start menu size.
Ctrl + Shift + Esc Open Task Manager.
Ctrl + Shift Switch keyboard layout.
Alt + F4 Close active window. (If no active window present, then shutdown box appears.)
Ctrl + F5 (or Ctrl + R) Refresh current window.
Ctrl + Alt + Tab View open apps.
Ctrl + Arrow keys (to select) + Spacebar Select multiple items on desktop or File Explorer.
Alt + Underlined letter Runs command for the underlined letter in apps.
Alt + Tab Switch between open apps while pressing Tab multiple times.
Alt + Left arrow key Go back.
Alt + Right arrow key Go forward.
Alt + Page Up Move up one screen.
Alt + Page down Move down one screen.
Alt + Esc Cycle through open windows.
Alt + Spacebar Open context menu for the active window.
Alt + F8 Reveals typed password in Sign-in screen.
Shift + Click app button Open another instance of an app from the taskbar.
Ctrl + Shift + Click app button Run app as administrator from the taskbar.
Shift + Right-click app button Show window menu for the app from the taskbar.
Ctrl + Click a grouped app button Cycle through windows in the group from the taskbar.
Shift + Right-click grouped app button Show window menu for the group from the taskbar.
Ctrl + Left arrow key Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous word.
Ctrl + Right arrow key Move the cursor to the beginning of the next word.
Ctrl + Up arrow key Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous paragraph
Ctrl + Down arrow key Move the cursor to the beginning of the next paragraph.
Ctrl + Shift + Arrow key Select block of text.
Ctrl + Spacebar Enable or disable Chinese IME.
Shift + F10 Open context menu for selected item.
F10 Enable app menu bar.
Shift + Arrow keys Select multiple items.
Windows key + X Open Quick Link menu.
Windows key + Number (0-9) Open app in number position from the taskbar.
Windows key + T Cycle through apps in the taskbar.
Windows key + Alt + Number (0-9) Open Jump List of the app in number position from the taskbar.
Windows key + D Display and hide the desktop.
Windows key + M Minimize all windows.
Windows key + Shift + M Restore minimized windows on the desktop.
Windows key + Home Minimize or maximize all but the active desktop window.
Windows key + Shift + Up arrow key Stretch desktop window to the top and bottom of the screen.
Windows key + Shift + Down arrow key Maximize or minimize active desktop windows vertically while maintaining width.
Windows key + Shift + Left arrow key Move active window to monitor on the left.
Windows key + Shift + Right arrow key Move active window to monitor on the right.
Windows key + Left arrow key Snap app or window left.
Windows key + Right arrow key Snap app or window right.
Windows key + S ( or Q) Open Search.
Windows key + Alt + D Open date and time in the taskbar.
Windows key + Tab Open Task View.
Windows key + Ctrl + D Create new virtual desktop.
Windows key + Ctrl + F4 Close active virtual desktop.
Windows key + Ctrl + Right arrow Switch to the virtual desktop on the right.
Windows key + Ctrl + Left arrow Switch to the virtual desktop on the left.
Windows key + P Open Project settings.
Windows key + A Open Action center.
Windows key + I Open Settings app.
Backspace Return to Settings app home page.

File Explorer shortcuts

In windows, File explorer has many keyboard shortcuts which can help you do your tasks a little quicker.

Here’s a list of most useful shortcuts for File explorer.

Keyboard shortcut Action
Windows key + E Open File Explorer.
Alt + D Select address bar
Ctrl + E (or F) Select search box.
Ctrl + N Open new window.
Ctrl + W Close active window.
Ctrl + F (or F3) Start search.
Ctrl + Mouse scroll wheel Change view file and folder.
Ctrl + Shift + E Expands all folders from the tree in the navigation pane.
Ctrl + Shift + N Create new folder on desktop or File Explorer.
Ctrl + L Focus on the address bar.
Ctrl + Shift + Number (1-8) Changes folder view.
Alt + P Display preview panel.
Alt + Enter Open Properties settings for the selected item.
Alt + Right arrow key View next folder.
Alt + Left arrow key (or Backspace) View previous folder.
Alt + Up arrow Move up a level in the folder path.
F11 Switch active window full-screen mode.
F5 Refresh the instance of File Explorer. F5 key will refresh a page when using File Explorer or your web browser.
F2 Rename selected item.
F4 Switch focus to address bar.
F5 Refresh File Explorer’s current view.
F6 Cycle through elements on the screen.
Home Scroll to top of the window.
End Scroll to bottom of window.

Wrap Up

Common shortcut keys in Windows can save a good chunk of time compared to finding your mouse and searching through a menu. This might not sound like much but every drop of seconds saved add up to a big number when counted for a week or a month. So give your mouse a break and use the alternative. Let us know how is your experience!

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