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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 March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

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Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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