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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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Published on April 16, 2019

How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life

How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life

When was the last time you did something for yourself?

Whether it was deciding to treat yourself with a little something or travel for some R&R, how often do you practice self-care?

Well, as good as above sounds, there’s a common misconception that many of us have about self-care: that it’s only about indulgence and enjoyment.

However, self-care goes far beyond indulgence. It’s actually about respecting your mind and body, understanding its limits, and being able to take care of every part of yourself, in a holistic way.

And, you really don’t have to go to extreme measures or do anything specific–like meditating or following a plant based diet–in order to practice self-care. You just have to make sure that what you’re doing is in your best interests.

So how can you make that happen?

Below are a few proven methods that will help you become a better version of you. Follow through with these regularly and you’ll be well on your way to living your very best life.

Listen to Yourself

The bulk of self-care is knowing yourself.

This means knowing your body’s limitations, and being in tune with your feelings, emotions and thoughts. So it’s important, then, to know who you are and what you want to do in life, in order to truly say that you know yourself. 

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What is your purpose?

Have you ever thought about this question?

Your purpose doesn’t have to remain the same throughout your life. What you found a purpose in at age 19 would likely be different at age 49.

In your current situation, think about the different roles that you have – as a working professional, a spouse, a partner, a parent, etc.

Do you feel like you are fulfilling your purpose through any of these roles?

All you have to do is ensure that what you’re chasing is meaningful to you; this will bring focus and motivation as you strive to achieve your goals.

If you have your purpose defined, then that’s awesome! You know what drives you and why.

But, if you don’t feel like you have a purpose nailed down, it’s good to start by asking why.

For example, why are you working in your particular job or industry? If the reason is vague or unclear, then your motivational energy will be the same. In which case, you may find yourself not having a direction for where you’re headed in life.

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If you’d like to learn more about finding your purpose, then I recommend you check out this article:

How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

Seek Out Continuous Education

Now, this may seem less common when you think of self-care, but lifelong learning is incredibly useful and an important component of taking care of yourself.

It’s Super Practical

Lifelong learning is extremely practical these days and does not require as much effort as it may have in the past. Long gone are the days when you could only find information on something by visiting a library. In this day of the internet, anything you can imagine is at your fingertips.

You don’t need to physically go to a learning institution to learn. You can watch Youtube videos to learn new skills, take online courses to earn a degree, and scroll through an endless amount of articles, books and journals from reputable news and informative sites.

When you’re constantly pushing yourself to learn and take up new things, your mental health also improves. Research shows that an active and engaged mind is responsible for diminishing age-related memory loss and improves overall cognitive abilities.

Your Confidence Will Skyrocket

You’ll also have improved self worth as it teaches you to step outside of your comfort zone, which will undoubtedly improve your confidence.

You’ll also connect better with others by expanding your knowledge base. Learning exposes you to a multitude of new ideas and perspectives that you may have otherwise never considered. This also increases your adaptability. Whether it’s at work or just wanting to adapt to society, your peers, and loved ones, life long learning prepares you to take on new challenges.

You’ll Be More Desired in the Job Market

Another obvious reason for continuous education, is that your employability will also increase.

With the ever changing economy, and huge influences from technology, social media, science etc., job descriptions today are moving targets. Assignments and roles change so quickly in response to changing business demands, it becomes a Herculean task to keep a job description database current.

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In years past, stability was a characteristic of the world of work. Procedures, information, jobs, and organizations were established and provided continuity. Education was completed in the first 14 to 22 years of one’s life, followed by a long career occasionally punctuated by short-term job training.

Today, however, jobs, companies, and technology are disappearing and being created simultaneously. To remain current and maintain a competitive advantage in the human capital marketplace, an individual is challenged to continually learn.

People return to school at every age to enrich their skills and knowledge for their current positions. Some even prepare themselves for new jobs or career changes, moving them forward into new opportunities and technology.

We can be assured that we will be challenged to continue to learn new tasks and information throughout our lives. Successful careers belong to flexible, curious learners who are prepared for opportunities because they know themselves and where they make their best contribution. As Peter Drucker, the father of modern management stated,

“Knowledge is choice.”

Lifelong learning also increases social awareness and perspective. To genuinely understand and empathize with others, increase social awareness, and foster strong interpersonal relationships, it’s important to seek out new perspectives. Enhancing the skills that positively impact emotional intelligence can bring even greater happiness and success, both personally and at work; and, this is all part of self-care.

Improve Your Habits (Both at Work and at Home)

Now, the last piece of advice I want to introduce to your self-care regimen, is to improve your habits.

Habits define who you are, and are built up over time. You are what you eat is a great example of this. If you make it a habit to eat foods that nourish your body, rather than make your body feel bad, then you will be much healthier overall.

Good Habits Allow You to Reach Your Goals

Since habits dictate your days and nights, such as waking up every morning to get to work before a certain time, or brushing your teeth before bedtime every night, they play a major role in whether we do or do not reach our goals.

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When you form habits that allow you to progress towards your goals, you’re automatically living a purposeful day, everyday.

Habits Make Your Time a Priority

How do you spend your free time? Do you opt to lounge on the couch watching Netflix passively, or do you engage in activities that support your purpose in life?

It’s natural to waste a lot of time during the day, but fostering good habits will make you set a pattern for how you spend your time and give you the choice of what you choose to spend your time on. By improving your habits, you’ll find that you can be a LOT more productive. When you create good habits, you become more efficient with your time and a lot less is wasted.

This in essence creates an overall positive influence on your life, allowing you to treat your mind and body well, which is why improving your habits are so important to self-care.

Your Well Being Comes First

We live in such a fast-paced society, where we are often so caught up in our work, families, maintaining our social lives, our studies and everything in between. It’s an understatement to say that life can get a little overwhelming at times.

If you’ve ever watched the safety video onboard a plane, you’ll know that they always ask for a parent or adult to put on the safety mask first, before tending to the child. This may sound selfish, but the fact is that if you truly want to ensure the child’s safety, then your safety needs to come first so that you can protect and care for the child without complications from your end.

The same goes for self-care. We need to ensure that our well being is priority, so that we can be the best for the people around us.

Listening to yourself, practicing lifelong learning and improving your habits are steps that you can take to ensure you’re constantly in the best state of mind, alongside the indulgence and rest that you reward yourself with.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Raychan on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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