Common Shortcut Keys

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Shortcut Keys Description
Alt + F File menu options in current program.
Alt + E Edit options in current program
F1 Universal Help in almost every Windows program.
Ctrl + A Select all text.
Ctrl + X Cut selected item.
Shift + Del Cut selected item.
Ctrl + C Copy selected item.
Ctrl + Ins Copy selected item
Ctrl + V Paste
Shift + Ins Paste
Home Goes to beginning of current line.
Ctrl + Home Goes to beginning of document.
End Goes to end of current line.
Ctrl + End Goes to end of document.
Shift + Home Highlights from current position to beginning of line.
Shift + End Highlights from current position to end of line.
Ctrl + Left arrow Moves one word to the left at a time.
Ctrl + Right arrow Moves one word to the right at a time.

Top 10 keyboard shortcuts everyone should know

Ctrl + C or Ctrl + Insert

Copy the highighted text or selected item.

Ctrl + V or Shift + Insert

Paste the text or object that’s in the clipboard.

Ctrl + Z and Ctrl + Y

Undo any change. For example, if you cut text, pressing this will undo it. This can also often be pressed multiple times to undo multiple changes. Pressing Ctrl + Y would redo the undo.

Ctrl + F

Open the Find in any program. This includes your Internet browser to find text on the current page.

Alt + Tab or Alt + Esc

Quickly switch between open programs moving forward.

Bonus Tip Press Ctrl + Tab to switch between tabs in a program.

Bonus Tip Adding the Shift Key to Alt + Tab or Ctrl + Tab will move backwards. For example, if you are pressing Alt + Tab and pass the program you want to switch to, press Alt + Shift + Tab to move backwards to that program.

Bonus Tip Windows Vista and 7 users can also press the Windows Key + Tab to switch through open programs in a full screenshot of the Window.

Ctrl + Back space and Ctrl + Left arrow / Right arrow

Pressing Ctrl + Backspace will delete a full word at a time instead of a single character.

Holding down the Ctrl key while pressing the left or right arrow will move the cursor one word at a time instead of one character at a time. If you wanted to highlight one word at a time you can hold down Ctrl + Shift and then press the left or right arrow key to move one word at a time in that direction while highlighting each word.

Ctrl + S

While working on a document or other file in almost every program pressing Ctrl + S will save that file. This shortcut key should be used frequently anytime you’re working on anything important.

Ctrl + Home / End

Move the cursor to the beginning or end of a document.

Ctrl + P

Print the page being viewed. For example, the document in Microsoft Word or the web page in your Internet browser.

Page Up / Space bar and Page Down

Pressing either the page up or page down key will move that page one page at a time in that direction. When browsing the Internet pressing the space bar will also move the page down one page at a time. If you press Shift and the Space bar the page will go up a page at a time.

F1 through F12 keys

F1

  • Almost always used as the help key, almost every program will open the help screen when this key is pressed.
  • Enter CMOS Setup.
  • Windows Key + F1 would open the Microsoft Windows help and support center.
  • Open the Task Pane.

F2

  • In Windows commonly used to rename a highlighted icon or file.
  • Alt + Ctrl + F2 opens a new document in Microsoft Word.
  • Ctrl + F2 displays the print preview window in Microsoft Word.
  • Enter CMOS Setup.

F3

  • Often opens a search feature for many programs including Microsoft Windows.
  • In MS-DOS or Windows command line F3 will repeat the last command.
  • Shift + F3 will change the text in Microsoft Word from upper to lower case or a capital letter at the beginning of every word.

F4

  • Open find window.
  • Repeat the last action performed (Word 2000+)
  • Alt + F4 will close the program currently active in Microsoft Windows.
  • Ctrl + F4 will close the open window within the current active window in Microsoft Windows.

F5

  • In all modern Internet browsers pressing F5 will refresh or reload the page or document window.
  • Open the find, replace, and go to window in Microsoft Word.
  • Starts a slideshow in PowerPoint.

F6

F7

  • Commonly used to spell check and grammar check a document in Microsoft programs such as Microsoft Word, Outlook, etc.
  • Shift + F7 runs a Thesaurus check on the word highlighted.
  • Turns on Caret browsing in Mozilla Firefox.

F8

  • Function key used to enter the Windows startup menu, commonly used to access Windows Safe Mode.

F9

  • Opens the Measurements toolbar in Quark 5.0.

F10

F11

F12

  • Open the Save as window in Microsoft Word.
  • Shift + F12 save the Microsoft Word document.
  • Ctrl + Shift + F12 prints a document in Microsoft Word.

Tip Earlier IBM computers also had F13 – F24 on the keyboards. However, because these keyboards are no longer used they are not listed on this page.

Keyboard shortcut keys

CTRL + B Moves the cursor backward one character.
CTRL + C Cancels the currently running command.
CTRL + D Logs out of the current session.
CTRL + F Moves the cursor forward one character.
CTRL + H Erase one character. Similar to pressing backspace.
CTRL + P Paste previous line(s).
CTRL + S Stops all output on screen (XOFF).
CTRL + Q Turns all output stopped on screen back on (XON).
CTRL + U Erases the complete line.
CTRL + W Deletes the last word typed in. For example, if you typed ‘mv file1 file2’ this shortcut would delete file2.
CTRL + Z Cancels current operation, moves back a directory or takes the current operation and moves it to the background. Seebg command for additional information about background.

Command line shortcuts

In addition to the below command line shortcuts, it is also helpful to use the alias command that allows you to specify a keyword for frequently used commands or mistakes.

~ Moves to the user’s home directory.
!! Repeats the line last entered at the shell. See historycommand for previous commands.
!$ Repeats the last argument for the command last used. Seehistory command for previous commands.
reset Resets the terminal if terminal screen is not displaying correctly.
shutdown -h now Remotely or locally shuts the system down.

Apple Macintosh shortcut keys

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