Did you ever watch one of “those people” at a computer? You know the ones I mean. Those annoying ones who seem like they were born for computers. It can be in applications they know and love, or more annoyingly, in applications that they’re using for the very first time. These people sit there, flying through screens, barely touching the mouse and things are still happening. Even worse?
They mean for these things to happen.
I’m one of those people and I’ll tell you a secret. We know shortcuts. Specifically, we know Windows shortcuts.
I’ll get relatively descriptive with each of these Windows shortcuts, but the best way to learn is to just relax and try them. Advance notice to power users: you most likely know most, if not all, of these. Advance notice to Mac users: some of these “Windows shortcuts” will work with your Cmd key used in place of the Ctrl key.
Web Browser Shortcuts
Except where noted, these Windows shortcut key combinations work in any browsers that run in Windows.
Ctrl + D
Bookmark the current page. You don’t have to move the mouse to click “Add” or “Done” – just hit Enter and voila! Shortcut created.
Ctrl + T
Open a new tab in your browser. If this doesn’t work, then your browser doesn’t support tabbed browsing and it’s time to upgrade.
Ctrl + W
Close the current tab.
Ctrl + +
Zoom in on the current tab in your browser.
Ctrl + -
Zoom out on the current tab in your browser.
Ctrl + 0
Reset the zoom level in the current browser tab. That’s a zero, not an o. If you ever mysteriously found the text in your browser way too small or way too big, this is for you. Of all the Windows shortcuts, this has likely soothed the most frustrated users.
Ctrl + P
Print the current page. Be careful with this one: you could end up with a lot of wasted paper. Some browsers (i.e., Google Chrome) not only handle printing better, but will automatically display a print preview. Others (Internet Explorer) do not and will not.
Ctrl + F
Find text on the current page. Go ahead and try it now. Search for the word ‘find’.
Move to the next field on a web page that takes input. This is handy when entering shipping addresses and more: much faster than clicking.
Shift + Tab
Move to the previous field on a web page that takes input. This is handy when you notice that you missed something or had a typo.
(Note that the above four shortcuts are also handy in other applications. Ctrl + P will print the current document in Word, TAB and SHIFT + TAB will help navigation in Excel and Ctrl + F will find text in either.)
Whether editing a document, working in a spreadsheet or organizing files in Windows Explorer these Windows shortcuts will come in handy.
Ctrl + S
Save the current document. If it’s already named, this will save over the old version. If it’s not named, you’ll be prompted for a name.
Ctrl + C
Copy the current selection (what you have highlighted) to the clipboard (a temporary holding area of sorts).
Ctrl + X
Cut (remove) the current selection and place it in the clipboard.
Ctrl + V
Paste the contents of the clipboard at the current cursor position.
Ctrl + Z
Undo what was most recently done. This can often be repeated to undo multiple changes, but there is a limit.
Ctrl + Y
Redo what you just undid: undo the undo, as it were.
Windows Shortcuts (OS)
These shortcuts are used for the Windows OS (operating system) itself, dealing with windows, the desktop and more.
Bring up the Start menu.
Alt + Tab
Switch to the next active program. If you keep ALT held down after releasing TAB, you will see a list of active windows. Tap TAB to cycle to the one you want and then release ALT.
Alt + F4
Close the current window (program). Most programs will check to be sure you want to do this. Most.
Ctrl + PrintScreen
Take a snapshot of the screen and put it into temporary storage in the clipboard to be pasted into your favorite editor. This is great to snag that error that only shows up when the computer guy isn’t around or proof of your match with 34 kills and 0 deaths in Black Ops.
Switch to the Windows Desktop. In effect, this Windows shortcut minimizes all your open programs, keeping them in your task bar but giving you full access to your desktop to open something else.
Now you know twenty-one of the most helpful Windows shortcuts. Why don’t you make use of the shortcut you learned to find text and have a look on this page for the secret word? If you find it and try highlighting below it, you might find a mostly useless – but very fun – shortcut.
If I missed one or more of your favorites, feel free to hop over to the Molnar Home Computing Facebook page and leave a comment.