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Last Updated on May 18, 2020

25 Essential Windows Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know Now

25 Essential Windows Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know Now

If you are using Windows regularly, using these Windows keyboard shortcuts will definitely increase your productivity. Compiled below is an exclusive list of shortcuts that will help you breeze through your daily work.

You might know some of them, but there are certainly some hidden gems that you wouldn’t have heard of before. Once you start using them, you will notice how easy navigating and operating on Windows has become.

Basic Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

These are the most basic shortcuts and ones you’ll likely have heard of. They are key in moving through your work quickly and easily.

1. Ctrl+Z : Undo

shortcut

    Irrespective of what you are doing, or where you are doing it, Ctrl + Z is a lifesaver. One possibly can’t survive without this function.

    Whatever program you’re running, this function helps you get back to your last input. So don’t worry about all the mistakes as this particular shortcut will save you every time.

    2. Ctrl + A : Select All

    Nordam: – Sig Nordal, Jr.

      Again, irrespective of which program you are running, this shortcut key selects all of the text, files, folders, or elements in any given program or page.

      Instead of spending your time dragging your mouse all over the page, use this to grab everything in one go.

      3. Ctrl + C : Copy

      shortcut

        You’ve selected what you wanted to. Now you’d like to copy it.

        This is probably one of the top shortcut keys people use when working on their Windows system. Easily copy whatever you like, and it stays with you until you are ready to paste it.

        4. Ctrl + V : Paste

        shortcut

          Easily paste all that you have copied. It could be a text, file, image, or folder. In any case, this is a very useful feature to bring everything together.

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          If you would like to paste plain, simple text without original formatting, just add Shift to it, i.e. Ctrl + Shift + V.

          5. Ctrl + X : Cut

          shortcut

            Don’t want a piece of text/table/image/file in a particular place?

            Simply select it and use the shortcut Ctrl + X. The piece gets removed and copied. Then, use the paste shortcut to paste it anywhere you like.

            6. Alt + Tab : Switch Screen/Tabs

            shortcut

              This one has been around for a while and has been enhanced with upgrades in the Windows OS. Simply press Alt and then the Tab key, and you will switch to the next tab/screen.

              Holding down the Alt button and tapping on Tab let’s you move and choose between multiple screens. Talk about multi-tasking!

              7. Ctrl + Alt + Del : Start Task Manager

              shortcut

                What happens when an application starts to lag or stops responding, or your windows OS stands still and you can’t move a thing? You summon Ctrl + Alt + Del! When you press them together, a magical box called the task manager opens up.

                You can then check out which programs/apps were making your PC slow and shut them down from the task manager itself, bringing your PC back to life.

                8. Alt + F4 : Close App

                ALT + F4 | Media Literacy at OSU Newark Spring 2017

                  This shortcut has been around for decades now! Simply press Alt plus the function F4 key and the application you’re using will close.

                  However, it is smart enough to ask you to save your work before it shuts down. It also works almost on anything right from your browser to games and custom applications.

                  9. Ctrl + F : Find

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                  How to Do Basic Keyboard Shortcut in Windows

                    You know you just wrote that sentence, and now you can’t find it! Or you really need to find a particular keyword in a document or a browser? Ctrl + F is the handy shortcut that will open a quick bar where you can type in the keyword, and it will show you all the results in the document matching your request.

                    10. Ctrl +H : Find and Replace

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                      You just finished your essay, and you realize you’ve been spelling the name of that scientist wrong the whole time! Now you not only need to find the keyword but replace all uses of it with something else. Not a problem at all. The Ctrl + H shortcut comes in handy here.

                      Just hit the keys and a box will open. You can simply type in the word that you need to find and replace. This works for most document types.

                      11. Ctrl + E : Select the Search Box

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                        Whether you are in your file explorer or browser, pressing Ctrl+E will select your search/navigation bar, and you can directly start typing into it. This will make your life easier when you need quick search.

                        12. Ctrl + N : Open a New Window

                        shortcut

                          Pressing Ctrl+N together will open up a new file or a window depending on if you are working in your browser or offline. This Windows keyboard shortcut works well with most offline applications and online browsers made for Windows.

                          13. Ctrl + Mouse Scroll Wheel : Zoom In/Out

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                            Text too small? Want to see the details more clearly? Viewing an infographic that requires zooming in? This shortcut provides exactly that.

                            If you are in a document, this command will make your files and folders appear larger, and if you are on your browser, it will simply zoom in on the page. Talk about attention to detail!

                            Advanced Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

                            14. Win + L: Lock Screen

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                              Stepping away, but don’t want to shut down or put your system to sleep? Win + L is a great shortcut. It helps you lock down your screen, and unless you re-enter your password nobody can open it (assuming you have a password set for your system).

                              15. Win + D : Show Desktop

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                                This is actually a quick minimize option. No matter how many tabs/windows are open, this shortcut quickly minimizes all of them and shows you the desktop, allowing you to access files or an application in a couple of clicks.

                                16. Win + Tab (+ Shift) : Toggle Task View

                                Awesome Windows Shortcut Keys – SVEN TECHNOLOGY

                                   

                                  This shortcut is very similar to what Alt + Tab does, but it is a more advanced level Windows app navigator. When you press it, you will see tiles of all the open programs and most used programs.

                                  You can scroll or jump between them by additionally pressing the shift key with the Win + Tab command.

                                  17. Win + C : Opens Cortana

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                                    Are you a fan of voice control or like using Cortana to get things done quickly? You can summon her by using the Win + C shortcut. She’ll then be available to grant your every request.

                                    18. Win + Prt Sc : Save Screenshot

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                                      While Prt Sc allows you to take a screenshot, pressing the Windows button at the same time allows you to automatically save the screenshot. There is a folder named “screenshot” in your pictures destination, where PNG files of the screenshot will get saved. No need to add another screenshot tool!

                                      19. Win + I : Open Settings

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                                        Need to quickly open the settings tab? Now, you don’t need to browse through 3-4 destinations to reach the settings tab. Just hit Win + I to open up the settings menu for Windows.

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                                        20. Win + S : Search for Windows

                                        10 Great Keyboard Shortcuts to Make Life Easy

                                          You will always have that file or application that you can’t find on your PC. For this, Windows introduced the search bar.

                                          You can easily open it by pressing Win + S and typing in the file name you want to look up. Additionally, since Cortana is integrated with the search function, you can use it to ask additional questions as well.

                                          21. Fn + F2 : Rename

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                                            Depending on the hardware manufacturer, F2 keys perform various tasks, like volume up/down or turn Wifi off/on. However, using the Fn + F2, you can quickly use the Rename file option when a file/folder is selected. Say goodbye to the right click.

                                            22. Fn + F5 : Refresh

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                                              Your PC stuck is stuck and the processor can’t keep up. Refresh is a good method to get things moving. Pressing Fn + F5 can refresh Windows, or if you are working on your browser, it can refresh that, too.

                                              23. Win + X : Hidden Menu

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                                                Did you know that windows had a hidden menu? Press Win + X and see it pop-up. It will give you access to all the essential areas of the system.

                                                24. Win + V : Navigate Through Notifications

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                                                  If you have configured notifications and alerts on your systems, this shortcut will help you easily toggle through all of them. It’s extremely useful for people who are especially popular or busy.

                                                  25. Win + Ctrl + B : Open App That Displayed a Notification

                                                    You’re working, and a notification pops up that needs your attention. Use Win + Ctrl + B, and the explorer will switch to the application that sent you the notification. Swift.

                                                    The Bottom Line

                                                    You might be excited to start using all of these Windows keyboard shortcuts right away. While I advise you to try them all out, it entirely depends on how you engage with your system and what work you do. Any number of them can be generally useful. Start experimenting today.

                                                    More Tips on Using Windows

                                                    Featured photo credit: freestocks.org via unsplash.com

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                                                    Harsh Binani

                                                    Harsh has helped a lot of multi-national corporations and startups to leverage technology for greater productivity.

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                                                    Last Updated on November 3, 2020

                                                    How to Use the Prioritization Matrix When Every Task is #1

                                                    How to Use the Prioritization Matrix When Every Task is #1

                                                    It takes being productive to get things done correctly and on time. So how do you know which tasks are essential and which can wait? The answer is in the Prioritization Matrix, also known as the Eisenhower Matrix.

                                                    The matrix took its name after Dwight David Eisenhower.

                                                    Eisenhower was a general in the US army and the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. As a five-star general and a Supreme Commander in the US Army, he drafted the strategy for an Allied invasion of Europe.[1]

                                                    Eisenhower had to make tough decisions every time about which tasks to prioritize out of many he needed to focus on daily. So, he came up with the famous Eisenhower Matrix, or the Prioritization Matrix.

                                                    What Is the Prioritization Matrix?

                                                    The Prioritization Matrix is a tool for rating your tasks based on urgency. It helps you know the critical activities and those tasks that you should bypass and can be useful in project management, small businesses, or personal tasks.

                                                    Eisenhower famously said of the matrix:

                                                    “Most tasks that are urgent are not important, and most tasks that are important are not urgent.”

                                                    This quote became the maxim for Eisenhower in managing his time.

                                                    There are four quadrants in the Prioritization Matrix, which help in comparing choices of what to do first and last, allowing you to prioritize projects and create strategic plan[2].

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                                                    Eisenhower Matrix Template

                                                      The quadrants are:

                                                      • Do
                                                      • Schedule
                                                      • Delegate
                                                      • Eliminate

                                                      Do

                                                      Do is the first quadrant in the Prioritization Matrix, and it incorporates important activities. That is, those tasks you need to carry out urgently — crises, deadlines, and issues that need your urgent attention and are highly relevant to your life mission.

                                                      Hw do you know which task falls into this quadrant?

                                                      Start by analyzing your priorities, and then establish if it falls within the ‘do it now’ criteria. If the task is achievable within a day, or within 24 to 48 hours, it’s urgent.

                                                      Another approach you can adopt in prioritizing tasks in this category is to adopt the “eat the frog” principle by Mark Twain. This principle recommends that you do the most urgent activities as soon as you wake up.

                                                      Here’s a practical example.

                                                      Let’s say you need to draft a content strategy and submit a report to your manager. It’s Saturday, and the deadline for submission is Monday. Can we say the activity is urgent? Definitely!

                                                      Schedule

                                                      The second quadrant of the prioritization matrix is Schedule. The Prioritization Matrix classifies tasks in this category as important but not that urgent.

                                                      They are long-term objectives and tasks with no immediate deadline. Those tasks could include meditation, journaling, studying, family time, and exercising.

                                                      You can plan out activities in this quadrant for some other period. For instance, you should exercise for good health, but you can allocate time to do it.

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                                                      Schedule these activities in such a way that they don’t transfer to the “Do” or “Urgent” quadrant. Ensure you have sufficient time to carry them out.

                                                      Delegate

                                                      The third quadrant of the prioritization matrix is Delegate.

                                                      These tasks are not important to you but are quite urgent for others. This is where teamwork comes into play.

                                                      You can technically perform tasks in this category, but it makes sense to delegate them. Delegating tasks will ensure you have more time to pursue activities in your first two quadrants.

                                                      You should also monitor the tasks you have delegated. It will only amount to a sheer waste of time if you don’t have a tracking system for delegated tasks.

                                                      Eliminate

                                                      The last quadrant highlights your productivity killers. They are tasks that are not important to your goals and not urgent. The only way to boost your productivity is to eliminate them.

                                                      Some examples are constantly checking your phone, watching movies, or playing video games.

                                                      They could also be bad habits that you need to identify and delete from your daily and weekly schedule.

                                                      Successful people have learned how to prioritize and stick to what’s important. They have learned to find a better person for a task or eliminate less significant tasks.

                                                      Let’s consider two inspiring personalities that have designed their prioritization system.

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                                                      Warren Buffet developed a two-list prioritization model to determine which task deserves his best attention. The bottom line is bypassing things that are important and useful but not top of the priorities.

                                                      Mark Ford, a business advisor, marketer, self-made millionaire, and author devised his strategy:

                                                      “Start work on the most crucial priority, take a break, work on the second most important task, take a break, then sort out the less important activities and any tasks he received from other individuals by afternoon.” [3]

                                                      How to Use The Prioritization Matrix

                                                      Using the Prioritization Matrix can be tricky if you’re new at it, but by following a few simple steps, you can learn to utilize it in the best way possible.

                                                      1. List and Rank Your Priorities

                                                      Highlight all the tasks you need to carry out in a day. Then, classify them with weighted criteria based on urgency and importance.

                                                      Identify any activity that requires prompt action. I’m referring to a task that if you don’t complete that day, it could produce a grave consequence. For instance, if you don’t submit your content strategy, other content writers cannot work. It means you need to check for high-priority dependencies.

                                                      2. Define the Value

                                                      The next step is to examine the importance and assess which of them impacts your business or organization the most. As a rule of thumb, you can check which tasks possess higher priority over others. For instance, you need to attend to client’s requirements before you take care of any internal work.

                                                      You can also estimate value by examining how the task impacts the people and customers in the organization. In a nutshell, the more impact a task has on people or the organization, the higher the priority.

                                                      3. Take out the Most Challenging Task

                                                      Procrastination is not a symptom of laziness, but avoidance is. The truth is that you will typically avoid tasks you don’t want to do. The former CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, once said he would take out the most dreaded task first thing when he got to the office.

                                                      Brian Tracy called these tasks the frogs you need to eat. That will remove the nagging dread, which mounts pressure on you when you postpone necessary tasks[4]. This is where the Prioritization Matrix can help; eat the “Do” frogs immediately.

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                                                      If you need help overcoming procrastination, check out this article.

                                                      4. Know What’s Important to You

                                                      As long as you are in this cosmos, you will always encounter different choices that may be contradictory to your goals. For instance, a fantastic promotion that requires excessive travel will isolate you from important relationships. If you are not priority-conscious, you may accept it, even though your family is your priority.

                                                      Therefore, it makes sense to identify what is important to you and to prepare yourself not to compromise those important things for immediate pleasure or gain.

                                                      Yogi Berra captioned it this way:

                                                      “If you do not know your destination, you might end up somewhere else.”

                                                      5. Establish Regular “No Work” Time

                                                      YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki established a rule not to check her emails between 6 pm and 9 pm. According to a CNN Business report, she was the first woman to request maternity leave when Google just got started. She prioritizes dinner time with her family despite being the CEO of YouTube[5].

                                                      Is it possible to cut out time for our relationships and interests outside of work?

                                                      Of course, and that’s why you need to set out your “no work” time. This approach will enable you to renew your energy levels for the next task. Also, you will be in the best position to introspect as you are not in your usual work zone.

                                                      6. Know When to Stop

                                                      You can achieve everything on your list sometimes. After you have prioritized your workload and assessed your estimates, remove the remaining tasks from your priority list and focus on your most urgent and important tasks.

                                                      Conclusion

                                                      It’s not enough to be successful at work. Ensure you make out time for your family and an important relationship in your life.

                                                      Getting started and finding time may be tricky, but with some practice using the Prioritization Matrix, you’ll find that you are more productive and better able to divide your time between the things that are important to you.

                                                      More Tips on Prioritizing

                                                      Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

                                                      Reference

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