Any time I can learn a trick that will save me time and help me be more productive while I am working at a computer, I'm on it. Many people don't know about the built in keyboard shortcuts (Hotkeys), or if they do, they only know about a few of them, such as CTRL + ALT + DEL to bring up the program manager. With practice, you can actually navigate your computer entirely by keyboard, and not even have a mouse hooked up at all. It is also helpful to know how to do things without a mouse if you need to do any troubleshooting.
In this guide, I will show you some of my favorite keyboard shortcuts that work on Windows XP with SP3. Many of them also work on Vista as well. Some of them may not work for you, depending on your configuration. This is only a sample of the many possible hotkeys already programmed into Windows.
The common abbreviations I will use are:
- CTRL = The Control Key, usually on the bottom left of your keyboard.
- WIN = The windows logo key, usually under the letter 'Z' on your keyboard. Also called the 'Start' key, because it will open your Start menu if pressed alone.
- SHIFT = The Shift key
- DEL = The delete key
- ALT = The Alt key, usually on either side of your space bar.
- A thru Z = Meaning the corresponding letter on your keyboard.
- 0 thru 9 = Meaning the corresponding number on your keyboard.
- F1 thru F12 = The function keys at the top of your keyboard.
- + sign to signify holding two or more keys down at the same time. Once you press the last key in the combination, release all of them.
A button you probably never noticed on your keyboard, unless you came across it by accident, is the apps/menu key, which is usually located under the Right-Shift key. This button acts the same as a Right-Click on your mouse, and will bring up the same menu. The same can be done with SHIFT + F10.