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Windows Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know

written by: Meryl K Evans•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/4/2011

Move beyond Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V to speed up working with web browsers and documents. It'll amaze you how much faster you finish work when picking up a few new shortcuts.

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    Many of us probably learned Alt+Tab (switching applications), Ctrl+C (copy), Ctrl+V (paste) and Ctrl+X (cut) first. These speed working with Windows, applications, and browsers. Challenge yourself to learn a few more to whip through things faster. The nice thing is that we're seeing more standard shortcuts that work across many applications rather than in specific ones.

    A great way to learn new shortcuts is to pick a couple and practice those. After you get the hang of them, pick a couple of more. We try to provide you with global shortcuts and avoid application-specific ones. For example, to jump to the search box in FireFox, the shortcut is Ctrl+K. However, Internet Explorer's shortcut is Ctrl+E.

    To figure out what shortcuts you need to learn, pay attention to your work habits. Do you use the Thesaurus feature often in a Word document? Make friends with Shift+F7 to quickly pull up the Thesaurus for a selected word.

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    For Web Browsers

    Once you go broadband, you can never go back to dial up. Improve and speed up your web experiences with these shortcuts.

    Esc: Stop the loading of the current page.

    Ctrl+N: Open new browser window

    Ctrl+T: Open new tab within current browser.

    Ctrl+Click link: Open link in new tab.

    Shift+Click link: Open link in new window.

    Enter: Submit the text. If you enter keywords into a search box and hit enter, the web searches for you. Or complete a form, pressing Enter submits the form.

    Ctrl++: Make text larger / Zoom in text.

    Ctrl--: Make text smaller / Zoom out.

    Ctrl+0: Reset text size to default. Very useful especially when you accidentally change the size using the mouse.

    Alt+D: Select text in address bar (where you enter URL) to enter a URL.

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    Working with Documents and Emails

    Some of these shortcuts also work in browsers like Ctrl+A.

    Alt+S: Save. Do this often so you don't lose your work or have to make an effort to click the Disk icon.

    Ctrl+A: Select all of the text in the email, document, or anything currently open.

    Ctrl+Z: Undo last action.

    Ctrl+Y: Repeat last action.

    Ctrl+Right Arrow: Jump to the start of the next word to the right.

    Ctrl+Left Arrow: Jump to the start of the next word to the left.

    Ctrl+Shift+Right Arrow: Select the next word to the right.

    Ctrl+Shift+Left Arrow: Select the next word to the Left.

    Shift+Down Arrow: Selects current line of text and downward with each arrow click.

    Shift+Up Arrow: Selects current line of text and upward with each arrow click.

    Ctrl+B: Bold selected text.

    Ctrl+I: Add italics to selected text.

    Ctrl+U: Underline selected text.

    Don't let these lists overwhelm you. Identify which actions you do often and start learning one or two at a time. Remember, you can always find new shortcuts by pressing F1 to access the Help file and look up keyboard shortcuts.