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Published on October 5, 2018

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 February 18, 2019

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

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Encourage Your Employees

When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

Offer Rewards

Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

Give Autonomy

Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

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Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

A To Do Scheduling System

Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

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I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

“The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

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Ask If They like What They’re Doing

If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

The Bottom Line

Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

More Resources About Team Management

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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