A few more keyboard shortcuts that I like to use:
Alt+F4 : Closes the open window or application. Very useful to quickly get rid of whatever is on screen. Nice to use when full screen games lock up on you.
Alt+Tab: Toggles between the open windows.
WinKey (you know the little flag key you’re always hitting by mistake that brings up the start menu):
WinKey+R: This combo opens the run box. From here you can quickly type a command to open a program rather than hunting for the icon on you desktop or start menu. Some of my favorites are:
- “cmd”: Type “cmd” and hit enter to open the command prompt for Windows. It used to be called DOS back when Windows ran over the DOS command structure. Nowadays, most people don’t have any use for this, but it offers a much faster way of doing things for people in the know.
- “msconfig”: This command opens the msconfig menu which allows you to modify startup programs and services among other things. If you don’t know what you’re doing then don’t mess with it, or at least do the research before you start clicking stuff.
- “calc”: A fast way to open the windows calculator. Much easier than tracking it down in the programs menu.
- “services.msc”: This will open the Services Management Console where you can see the names of the services currently installed on your system. You can also see whether they are set to “Automatic” start, “Manual” start, or “Disabled”. Again you don’t want to go through here clicking stuff if you don’t know what you’re doing.
- “notepad”: Opens note pad so you can type a note.
Seriously, there’s a ton of these, so if you want to know more there’s a pretty good list here:
Anyways, enough with the shortcuts for now. If there’s a question or topic you’d like to see me address in a future blog, leave me a comment.
Bold text is easy to create if you remember the shortcut CTRL+B. Just push the combo before you want to bold something like this and then hit it again to “unbold”.
Another one is the italics feature. CTRL+I for italics. It works the same way the bold shortcut works. Just CTRL+I for italics, then again for off.
CTRL+U is for underline. Works just like bold and italics. Or you can use any combination of the three.
These shortcuts are handy for when your typing a blog or writing a paper. They work in the Microsoft Office Suite and most other text editors I’ve seen like Open Office. The shortcuts are pretty universal, they worked for me when writing this blog on the WordPress site. Now if you hover over all of the text buttons, the browser will give you a hover window indicating what the shortcut is for that button. For instance the shortcut for “Align Left” is “Alt+Shift+U”. I guess all the other good shortcuts were taken because that one is hard to remember and use.
The three text modifiers are easy though. Bold, italics, and underline. Much faster than using the buttons sometimes because once your flying away on the keyboard nothing can break your concentration like having to move your hand to the mouse and look for a button. I suppose those of you adept with the touch pad on your laptop can simply drive the cursor up to the button with your thumbs, but I still don’t like touch pads for whatever reason. I guess I’m just picky.
The computer mouse is a great invention, but sometimes it’s nice to do things without having to take your fingers off of the keyboard. In Windows, the Control key can allow for some very useful functions without using the mouse.
I’m often surprised when people whom I think are pretty savvy computer users don’t know or use the CTRL shortcuts in Windows. They’re not for everyone and if you absolutely can’t be bothered to remember them or have no use for them, then fine. But it’s really not all that hard.
CTRL+A. It’s the same thing as “Select All” under the edit menu. Simply put, it selects all of the objects or text in an active window. It’s easy to remember think “A” for “All”. Much faster than using the mouse to click and drag over large amounts of text or files/folders and faster than using the Edit menu. Once your items are selected you can delete/cut/copy.
CTRL+C. Remember “C” for copy. It copies the selected item(s) so that you can paste them to another location. Good for quickly copying URLs from your browsers bar into an email or a blog. The item that you’ve copied stays in it’s original location and creates a copy of itself to wherever it’s pasted.
CTRL+X Cut. Cut is like copy, except it “moves” the file. The original is gone after you paste it to it’s new location. If you don’t paste the object to somewhere else, then it really doesn’t do anything. You can remember that “X” looks like scissors for “cut”.
CTRL+V is paste. This combination will paste whatever is in the clipboard to the new location. This will depend on what type of application your using. If you just copied an MP3 file and you hit CTRL+V in an empty text file, nothings going to happen. Usually if you’re pasting something though you know what you’ve just copied or cut. You can paste text, or URLs, or pictures, or files and folders in Windows Explorer. Whatever. I don’t really have a helpful tip for remembering “V” is paste, other than it’s right next to the copy(C) and cut(X) on the keyboard. Cutting, copying, and pasting are basic functions that can just as easily be done with the mouse or the edit menu, but using the keyboard makes moving stuff around a lot faster.
CTRL+F is find. Remember “F” for find. This is probably my favorite one. It makes it easy to find keywords in a document or web page. CTRL+F and type in the word or words you’re looking for and the words are highlighted for you. You can make the search case sensitive. This works in web browsers and text editors. I really wish that CTRL+F would work in all Windows. Speeds up the process of finding what you’re looking for. Cuts down on unnecessary reading.
CTRL+Z is for undo. Very helpful when you have something selected and you hit the delete key by accident or you move something to the wrong place. CTRL+Z and it’s undone. This combo works in Windows and a lot of other applications like Photoshop, Office, web browsers, and many others. Before you freak out that you did the wrong thing, CTRL+Z.
CTRL+Y is redo. You undo something and realize you actually did mean to delete that file or you do like that photo in black and white after all. CTRL+Y. Redo.
Incidentally all of these basic CTRL combination’s are listed on the edit menu if you forget them. Just click edit and there they are .
There are tons more CTRL key combos. CTRL+ALT+Delete is probably one of the most famous. CTRL+Shift+ESC to bring up the Task Manager in Windows. If your a computer guru you probably know all of these and plenty more. The point is that there are usually several different ways to do something in Windows. Use whichever one is easiest for you, but remember that there are always other options when you need to evolve .