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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, then this blog will definitely increase your productivity. Compiled below is an exclusive list of windows keyboard 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.

If you think I have missed out your favorite ones, do hit me up in the comments section.

The Basic Shortcuts

In case you haven’t known these, let’s start with the most basic shortcuts first.

1. Ctrl+Z : Undo

Irrespective of what you are doing, or where you are doing 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. P.S. not all function keys wear capes.

2. Ctrl + A : Select All

Again, irrespective of which program you are running, this shortcut key selects all the text, files or folders or elements in the program depending on what you are using.

No need to drag the mouse everywhere now. It is useful more than you actually think.

3. Ctrl + C : Copy

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

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

4. Ctrl + V : Paste

Paste easily all that you have copied. It could be text, file, image or folder. A very useful feature to bring every thing together.

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

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

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

6. Alt + Tab : Switch Screen/Tabs

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

While holding on to the Alt button and tapping on Tab let’s you choose between multiple screens. Talk about multi-tasking!

7. Ctrl + Alt + Del : Start Task Manager

What happens when an application starts to lag or stops responding or just 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 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!

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8. Alt + F4 : Close App

This shortcut has been around for decades now! Simply press alt plus the function F4 key and you will see the application that you are on closes.

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

Typed in something that you cannot find? Or simply you are looking for a particular keyword on 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 that keyword.

10. Ctrl +H : Find & Replace

You not only want to find some keywords, but also replace them? Not a problem at all. The Ctrl + H shortcut comes in handy.

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

11. Ctrl + E : Select the search box

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. Just go ahead and try it now!

12. Ctrl + N : Open a new window

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

13. Ctrl + Mouse Scroll Wheel

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

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

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The above round up the basic keys that you ought to be using while operating windows. Most of them work on browsers or any other custom software you might be using.

Advanced Shortcut Keys for Windows Navigation

14. Win+L: Lock Screen

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

It 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 and allows you to access files/application in a couple of clicks.

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

Very close 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

Fan of Voice? Use Cortana extensively? You can simply summon her by using the Win + C shortcut and then ask away what you need to know.

18. Win + Prtscn : Save Screenshot

While Prtscn allows you to take a screenshot, pressing the windows button along side 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

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 and you can open up the settings menu for windows.

20. Win + S : Search for Windows

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

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

21. Fn + F2 : Rename

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

22. Fn + F5 : Refresh

Your PC stuck is stuck and the processor can’t keep up? Refresh is a good old 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

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

If you have configure notifications and alerts on your systems, this shortcut will help you easily toggle through all of them. Extremely useful for people who are loaded with notifications.

25. Win + Ctrl + B : Open app that displayed a notification

You’re working and a notification pops up that needs your attention. Well just 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 them 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 on it. (But honestly you will be using a handful of them.)

Carefully select 7-10 shortcuts from the list apart from the ones that you already use and make the keyboard work for you.

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 December 10, 2019

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.

So how to stay motivated most of the time? Here are 5 simple yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:

1. Find Your Good Reasons

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first but, if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons.

Even when you set goals, there needs to be reasons behind these goals. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

  • A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all.
  • Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way.
  • A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.
  • A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

2. Make It Fun

When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it.

Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

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Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some. Yet many others love the idea!

They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How can I enjoy this task?
  • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
  • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

As long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable, you will start to feel motivated.

Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. You’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.

However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

3. Change Your Approach And Don’t Give Up

When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for the task.

You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

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That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common — if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal.

My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.

4. Recognize Your Progress

Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different:

Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

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You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages, this information will have little meaning.

Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete.

For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made. This is how your motivation can sustain in long term.

5. Reward Yourself

This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone.

Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do.

For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself a dessert.

For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

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Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating but, take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good.

The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

Mix and Match

Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

Pick one of the techniques and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for the best results.

Just think about it: Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to helping you feel better; and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

Or, if you plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that, agree on rewarding yourself as you go; this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.

More to Boost Your Motivation

Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

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