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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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.
Select specific text. Use the directional arrows to guide the selection.
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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.
Rename a File
Bring up Start Menu
Shift+Ctrl+Esc or Ctrl+Alt+Delete
Opens Task Manager
Tab between open windows
Tab between items on the taskbar
Opens Run window
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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.
While browsing, adds a site to your favorites.
Toggle Full Screen view
Open current page in a new window
Ctrl + or Ctrl -
Zooms in/out on a page
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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
Ctrl + or Ctrl – or Ctrl 0
Zooms in/out on a page, Ctrl+0 returns to default size
' 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.