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Learn Basic Keyboard Shortcuts

written by: Halahblue•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 6/8/2009

Learning some easy keyboard shortcuts will save you time. The more you move your hands from the keyboard, the less productive you are. Here are some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts for Windows, Internet Explorer and Firefox.

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    Basic Shortcuts

    Whether you use Word, blog, or email, you will find these shortcuts useful. These are easy to learn and use. Some of these shortcuts won't work in certain programs, like your browser, because they've been assigned by the program to do other tasks. For example, Ctrl+I in Firefox 3 will open your Bookmarks in a sidebar. In some programs you can change the default keywords to suit your needs, but in others they are what they are.

    Shift+Arrow

    Select specific text. Use the directional arrows to guide the selection.

    Ctrl+ A

    Select All

    Ctrl+ X

    Cut

    Ctrl+C

    Copy

    Ctrl+V

    Paste

    Ctrl+B

    Bold

    Ctrl+I

    Italic

    Ctrl+U

    Underline

    Ctrl+ F

    Find

    Ctrl+Z

    Undo

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    Windows

    Did you know you can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate your desktop, too? If you didn't, you've been missing out. When using Windows, you can navigate quickly to items you want, rename files without right-clicking, and tab through open programs.

    F2

    Rename a File

    Ctrl+Esc

    Bring up Start Menu

    Shift+Ctrl+Esc or Ctrl+Alt+Delete

    Opens Task Manager

    Alt+Tab

    Tab between open windows

    Start+Tab

    Tab between items on the taskbar

    Start+R

    Opens Run window

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    Internet Explorer

    Windows keyboard shortcuts can be used with IE as well. There is also some overlap between IE shortcuts and Firefox shortcuts. Once you learn the most common keyboard shortcuts, you will be able to try them out in different programs and see which shortcuts do what. For a complete list of all IE shortcuts, go here.

    Ctrl+D

    While browsing, adds a site to your favorites.

    F11

    Toggle Full Screen view

    Ctrl+N

    Open current page in a new window

    Ctrl + or Ctrl -

    Zooms in/out on a page

    Ctrl+J

    Opens feeds

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    Firefox

    Firefox has a very useful set of keyboard shortcuts. A complete list can be found here. These are the shortcuts you will likely use the most while browsing. If you're new to keyboard shortcuts, start by learning these.

    Alt+Arrow (left or right)

    Back or Forward page

    F5

    Reload

    Ctrl + or Ctrl – or Ctrl 0

    Zooms in/out on a page, Ctrl+0 returns to default size

    Ctrl+F

    Find

    ' or /

    Find as you type link or text

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    Note About Shortcuts

    Depending on which programs you're using, some or all of these shortcuts won't work or will do different things. Many keyboards now come with shortcut keys that can be assigned to open a program or open a browser and go to a certain website. If you're trying to use one of the listed shortcuts and they won't work, check out your keyboard settings and the keyboard shortcuts for the program you're using. As I mentioned earlier, most of the time they can be reassigned. So if an easy to remember shortcut opens something you never use, then reassign it.