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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

More by this author

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 June 13, 2019

10 Best Success Books You Need to Read to Be Great at Business

10 Best Success Books You Need to Read to Be Great at Business

Take a minute and think about some of the most successful people you know.

I’d bet they’re great with people, are super-productive, and think differently than most. After all, that’s how they got to be where they are today.

Jealous of them? You don’t have to be.

You can learn these same skills by studying some of the best business and success books that can help you take your game to the next level. Here’re 10 of my favorites:

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

    Dale Carnegie’s best-selling book that helped to launch a personal growth empire should be required reading for everyone who wants to learn how to build and nurture relationships for a lifetime.

    Read this book and you’ll learn some simple advice than can help you build popularity points within your current network and just as important, expand it to others.

    Get the book here!

    2. Focal Point by Brian Tracy

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      Got a lot on your to-do list? Of course you do. But what separates productive people from others is their ability to focus on a singular task at a time, and getting it done before moving on to the next one.

      Sounds simple in theory, but this can be extremely difficult in practice. In Focal Point Brian Tracy offers tips to help build discipline and organization into your day so you can get more stuff done.

      Get the book here!

      3. Purple Cow by Seth Godin

        Creating a “me-too” product can be easy at the start but can doom you to business failure. That’s why marketing maverick Seth Godin recommends creating a product that is truly different from anything already available in the marketplace.

        In essence by making the product different you’ll be building the marketing into the actual product development…which just makes your actual marketing a helluva lot easier.

        Get the book here!

        4. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

          If you’ve struggled with procrastination or small thinking, this is the book for you. In it Schwartz offers practical advice that can help you get inspired and motivated to create a bigger life for yourself. And with it can be a more lucrative and rewarding career.

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          Get the book here!

          5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankel

            It can be difficult for lots of people to keep things in perspective, especially when working on high priority and urgent projects at work.

            Man’s Search for Meaning can be a life-changing book in the sense that it can open your eyes to a first-hand experience of one of the greatest atrocities in the history of mankind, while also teaching a valuable lesson about having purpose.

            Get the book here!

            6. The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

              Solo-entrepreneurs can learn a ton from the guy who made lifestyle design popular. But guess what? The 4HWW isn’t just for guys and girls who want to start a small online business.

              Smart moves like outsourcing, following the 80/20 rule, and automating processes should be made by entry-level workers and established executives alike.

              Get the book here!

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              7. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

                I remember sitting on a couch and opening this book on a Saturday morning, thinking I’d get through a chapter and then get on with my day. Instead, about 12 hours later, I was finished with the book. The concepts in it were mind-blowing to me.

                To think that thoughts can create your reality sounded a little far-fetched at first. But after going through the book and understanding that your thoughts create your beliefs, which lead to actions, which then lead to habits….well you can get where I’m going with this.

                If you focus your thoughts on success, achieving it will be much more likely than thinking about obstacles, failures and everything else that can get in your way.

                Get the book here!

                8. The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard

                  If you’re going to read one management book in your life, this should be it. It’s simple. You can read it in an afternoon. And the advice works.

                  Get the book here!

                  9. The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries

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                    Before you create any sort of business you’ll want to give Lean Start-Up a read through. Doing so can save you money, time and other resources you could have potentially wasted otherwise.

                    Get the book here!

                    10. The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar

                      The story Randy Komisar shares in the Monk and the Riddle offers advice about not just about how you need to think when starting a new business, but also about how to build a life you’re passionate about.

                      Understanding the technical aspects of launching a start-up is great, but if you don’t have the staying power to stick with it when the going gets tough then it’s not likely to work.

                      This book can help you understand this lesson before you spend blood, sweat and tears on a project that you’re heart isn’t into.

                      Get the book here!

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