Hardware

Poll: Do you regularly use keyboard shortcuts?

Navigating with the keyboard can be faster than the mouse if you know the right key combinations, and can be the only option if the mouse is absent or not working. Take this quick poll, and let us know if you regularly use keyboard shortcuts.

Navigating without a mouse is a forgotten skill among many users and even some IT pros. But when Dr. Engelbart's venerable rodent is ill or absent, the keyboard can be your only option. Also, using the keyboard can be faster than the mouse if you know the right key combinations. In an IT Dojo video, I demonstrate some of the best keyboard shortcuts for Windows Vista.

Take the following quick poll and let us know if you regularly use keyboard shortcuts.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

73 comments
Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

as they are two of the few that work everywhere, most of the others can vary between applications and lead to trouble

MrLich
MrLich

I never did until I became an IT Pro. Now I use them all the time for the speed factor.

kate.fisher
kate.fisher

I'm with "Half the keyboard"! Only one that I haven't seen mentioned (unless I missed it) is F12 Save As

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Not to mention one of our tools has an insert before (ctrl shift foo) and insert after (ctrl foo)...I'm wearing out my left ctrl key ;-)

Tink!
Tink!

Ctrl-C Ctrl-X Ctrl-V Ctrl-D Ctrl-S Ctrl-P Ctrl-A Ctrl-F Ctrl-O Ctrl-N (Ctrl-Shift-N = new from Clipboard) Ctrl-I Ctrl-B Ctrl-U Ctrl-Z Ctrl-Y (Redo) [i]ok is that the whole alphabet yet? lol[/i] CTRL-' CTRL-; Alt-Tab (plus Alt-Shift-Tab) Ctrl-Tab F5 Alt-F4 Ctrl-F4 F2 Alt-F1 (for everytime I miss F2 and hit F1) Ctrl-Enter Shift-Enter Ctrl-Home Ctrl-End Ctrl-Arrows Shift-Ctrl-Arrows Ctrl-PageUp/Down And my customs in Excel to run my macros Ctrl-R Ctrl-T Ctrl-H Ctrl-Shift-I Ctrl-Shift-D Ctrl-Shift-N Ctrl-Q Ctrl-Shift-Q (to undo the Ctrl-Q) Ctrl-W Ctrl-Shift-W (to undo the Ctrl-W) The ALT key is my friend. I use it ALL the time to navigate menus and commands. [edited several times for the ones I forgot until I used them]

simon.child
simon.child

How can you get by on the windows OS without ctrl + shift + esc to bring up the process tab and kill that app that?s not responding. how?s about holding the ctrl key and using the left or right arrow keys when navigating text. This will skip word by word through the document or thereabouts anyway. Add a shift onto that and you can highlight text word by word ready to unleash your Hadouken Ctrl + c ctrl + v combo on that texts ass! f7 for spell check in office apps and i like ctrl + enter to send mails in outlook.

jdclyde
jdclyde

a lot of them using the windows key, when on a windows box. +e for explorer and + pause/break to pull up the System screen. other than those two, ya, it would be ctrl+ x/c/v oh, in web browsers ctrl+t for a new tab is highly used by me. oh yeah, another HIGHLY used one on windows box is the three finger salute. ctrl+alt+del

john3347
john3347

I use the Ctrl-c, Ctrl-v, Ctrl-p, and CTRL-scroll wheel frequently. My feeble brain can't keep up with too many of these shortcuts and it is not much of a shortcut if you have to reach up and pull out the list of shortcuts and find the one you are looking for from the list. It is good to have the list handy for when the cat enters the room and the mouse runs to hide.

mkathiravan
mkathiravan

Ms Word TIPS CTRL + SHIFT + ">" --> To increase the font size CTRL + SHIFT + "

MGP2
MGP2

The one tip that I think has provided the most joy to users is simply hitting the first letter of the file you're looking for in a directory. I'll be at a user's desk and they either start dragging their scrolll bar or using the page down button. I'll say, "You're looking for the 'tickets' file? Hit T."

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I use Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, Ctrl-X, Ctrl-P, Ctrl-W, Ctrl-Y, and Ctrl-Z, not to mention Alt-Tab, Alt-F4, Win-E, Win-R, Win-D, F5 and many others too numerous to mention. Edit: Forgot one! Ctrl-F12, used in Firefox with TabMix Plus to undo a closed tab.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I'd wager that Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V are two of the most-used keyboard shortcuts. I use them all the time. What are your favorites?

apotheon
apotheon

Be careful with Ctrl+C. For some programs and some environments, that key combination will actually kill the program.

apotheon
apotheon

Not to mention one of our tools has an insert before (ctrl shift foo) and insert after (ctrl foo)...I'm wearing out my left ctrl key That sounds a bit like when I use <Shift>+<P> and <P>, respectively, in Vim's command mode.

Tink!
Tink!

That made me look at mine and there is indeed a nice smooth worn area on my Left Ctrl Key, but it is also on my Right Ctrl Key (from navigating with Ctrl-Arrows, Home and End). I do notice however, that I must only use the left ALT key as my right Alt key looks untouched.

Virtual Victoria
Virtual Victoria

> (Ctrl-Shift-N = new from Clipboard) Sounded awesome, but didn't work for me in MS Word...

rajesh_raja_in_2000
rajesh_raja_in_2000

Alt + space + n = minimise a window Alt + space + x = maximise a window Alt + space + r = restore window to previous size. Alt + Enter key = File properties Win + D = Minimise all windows Tab = Focus cursor on next link/input box on browser (Shift + Tab = the other way round). Win + R - Then type the location you want to open, e.g., c:/, Desktop, Documents, etc. Copy the file/folder, paste its shortcut in c:/windows/system32/ - rename this shortcut to the best you can define it to remember. Then use Win + R and type this filename and press enter key.

MJGunther
MJGunther

Just ran across this poll, months after its original post. As a professional tech trainer, I'd say the most useful keystroke shortcuts are the ones that help you with your own work. And the more programs a shortcut applies to, the more useful: Ctrl+c, v, x, z, s etc. are Microsoft conventions, usable in (almost) all MS programs, to the extent that they have been adopted by other software. In training end-users, mostly typists, I point out that keeping fingers on the keyboard is simply more productive than reaching for the mouse. So I advise students that if they find themselves going to a menu repeatedly for the same feature, LOOK FOR THE KEYSTROKE SHORTCUT and commit it to memory (Post-Its on the monitor for a few days will usually do it). And of course, I distribute sources for keystroke shortcuts. And I train using "official" terminology, which I hope gives them a clue what to look for. (Digression -- half the challenge is terminology. When a user thinks "highlight", they're not going to know to look for "Select"!) For an odd reason, I need to Change Case in MS Word often, so I use Shift+F3 a lot. And Ctrl+H for Replace, Ctrl+Y (Repeat Last Action), Windows+M to Minimize All.

Willie11
Willie11

If I could remember the keyboard shortcuts I would probably use them. Except for the few (like Ctrl C and Ctrl V) that I use all the time I have a tendency to forget the shortcuts. Since I can't remember I have to grab the rodent instead. Of course if I had a good memory I would be an Electrical Engineer too! C'est La Vie!

wsteinbr
wsteinbr

Shift- F10 => Right Click In Notepad, Wordpad, or Word CTRL-SHIFT-END Highlights to end of file CTRL-SHIFT-END Delete Deletes to end of file SHIFT-DownArrow Highlights one line (If at the beginning of the line)

GoboSlayer
GoboSlayer

I write a lot of code. - Page Up, Page Down (+ SHIFT with these to highlight large sections) - CTRL+X: highlighted section to cut. CTRL+X with your cursor anywhere on a line to cut the whole line. - CTRL+V:Obvious companion to CTRL+X and CTRL+C) - SHIFT Plus arrows to select text - CTRL+F5, CTRL+SHIFT+F5 (various debug operations in VS) I also like the Windows key combinations: - [WINKEY]+L to lock the desktop - [WINKEY]+D to show the desktop (Many many more)

Virtual Victoria
Virtual Victoria

I cannot function w/o shortcuts! Windows shortcuts that I use most (many folks mentioned these already): -- Ctrl + C, X, V (for both text and file mgt via Windows Explorer) -- Ctrl + A to select all (again, both text & file mgt) -- Ctrl + P to print -- Ctrl + F to find text -- Ctrl + H to replace text -- Ctrl + S to save -- Ctrl + N in Office apps to create new docs, files, appts, e-mail, etc. -- Ctrl + O to open doc -- Ctrl + Home / Ctrl + End / Ctrl + arrow keys --> navigate Office docs -- Ctrl + Shift + other nav key to highlight text in Office docs -- Ctrl + Z to undo

steve
steve

in addition to Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V I use Windows+D to minimize all open windows Windows+F to open the search dialog Windows+E to open Windows Explorer Windows+R to open the Run dialog

kiper
kiper

Are you never using this combo or is it not accepted as a keyboard shortcut? One of the most useful combinations if you ask me. :) Keyboard shortcuts ROCK!

t3sos
t3sos

I use keyboard shortcuts everyday! It's the first thing I look for when learning a new program. My favorites in Windows and Word are: Alt + F4 Windows + M Ctrl C, V, A and Z Shift F3 and Ctrl + S are "Must knows".... F4 in Word is a luxury I wish Adobe would pickup on.... Ctrl+Alt+Del is imperative to know (I use it at least once every day....) I also regularly use ASCII codes to create special characters such as a degree sign. In FrameMaker: Alt F9 (Transpose) is my favorite Alt I+F+I (to insert the formats from another document file) I'm constantly programming in keyboard shortcuts for Styles in Word, FrameMaker and In-Design. When You type over 100+ words a minute, using the keyboard is must more efficient.

jpesadilla
jpesadilla

Since I have been working with computers since before Microsoft was around I am well versed in the use of Keyboard shortcuts. And since I have had the occasional mouse die on me I do see the need to be able to navigate the windows environment sans mouse. As to my fav shortcuts... Windows-L to lock my PC. Ctrl-Prntscrn, very useful to image the error codes. And to mess up the shoulder surfers... Windows+downArrow to invert my screen when not using my computer.

DelbertPGH
DelbertPGH

Whatever that key between the CTRL and ALT keys is, with Bill Gates' flag flying on it; I call it the Windows key. Win-D is especially cool, because it minimizes all windows and brings up the desktop. A second Win-D puts them all back up. So long as you type nothing in between, that is. I don't much like mousing along. I alt-tab and shift-alt-tab to change windows. Ctrl-Ins and Shift-Ins (instead of ctrl-C/ctrl-V) to copy/paste. Any shortcut within an app, chances are I've tried it. I'd rather lean back in the chair and use my right hand to scratch my head, instead of grab the mouse with it.

salim.shaikh
salim.shaikh

Ctrl+D> to minimise all windows on the desktop and Ctrl+E> open Windows Explorer, And Ofcourse Ctrl+c, v..all time fav.

apotheon
apotheon

I like <lAlt>+<number> to switch workspaces. I like <rAlt>+<something> <something else> for compose key combinations. I like <Ctrl>+<Alt>+<U> to start a new rxvt-unicode client window. That's just one of many custom keyboard combinations I have set the configuration file for my window manager, AHWM. I like a whole lot of keyboard combinations in Vim, of course. I used to like <Ctrl>+<C> and <Ctrl>+<V> for copy/paste, but then I started using the X Window System, and now I find that highlighting and middle-clicking is a much more convenient way to copy/paste outside of Vim, especially on a ThinkPad where I don't even have to remove my hands from home row to work with the mouse. <Alt>+<F4> produces an xmessage dialog that says "This isn't Windows, fool!" That one's kind of amusing.

VAR1016
VAR1016

Ctrl X of course, but also F4 is brilliant in Word or Excel. And F5 is essential - even though my keyboard has a "refresh" button. Paul

ilia.imerlishvili
ilia.imerlishvili

Of course the most frequently I use Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V. Other shortcuts which I use frequently are: Win + D - to show desktop Win + R - to open Run dialog box Ctrl + F - for finding something Alt + Tab - for navigating in opened windows Alt + F4 - for closing current window Alt + PrintScreen - to take a snapshot of active window Ctrl + S - to save opened document etc. I love keyboard shortcuts, I prever to do everything with keyboard, because everything are being done faster and easier when I use these keys.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Cut and Paste, Undo and Redo are my most common, doing graphic work mainly. I also use the C&V shortcuts on TR all the time, three or four windows open to research info and Cut and Paste into TR posts. Oh and I use Windows key + pause/break to shortcut into system properties when working on other people's machines.

JimInPA
JimInPA

Ctrl + C Ctrl + V Ctrl + A Ctrl + X Windows Key + M Windows Key + L Alt + Tab In Oultlook I always do Alt + S instead of clicking send When editing in Notepad Alt - f - s and so on and so on.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

is ctrl + c/v, however I also often use ctrl -- alt -- shift -- print scrn and other screen capture combos, along with others mentioned here already

santeewelding
santeewelding

That's out of the question for me. Ctrl C & V are the only ones I know, and they are in tandem. There is no "other" for comparison of function and denumeration of magnitude.

jerry~Beans
jerry~Beans

sorry about the pun. anybody else remember [Alt]+[Tab] and [Alt]+[F4]? and i probably use [Ctrl]+X more than +C, but that is mostly because i think backward most of the time, and end up having to reorder everything i write.

VAR1016
VAR1016

Apparently I need Wordpress 2.3. What is it? Paul

VAR1016
VAR1016

Certainly Ctrl C and V of course, but Ctrl A, Ctrl D, Ctrl H, Ctrl F and quite often Ctrl Z as well! Shift F3 is hand in Word sometimes. And because my French keyboard is on the blink, I use some Alt ANSI codes to get e.g '?' or '?' Paul

Pringles86
Pringles86

"Windows + r" for Run prompt "Windows + e" for Explorer "Windows + pause" for System Properties Those are the ones I use most, other than the really common ones.

IC-IT
IC-IT

6 out of 6 voters say yes for a whooping 117% ;-) :-)

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Apparently, left alt is the only alt I know, it's worn thin, but the right alt looks like it's never been touched ;-) I must also only space with my left thumb and it looks like I use WASD too often...

Tink!
Tink!

It works in Corel and, if I remember correctly, in Adobe Photoshop too. Very handy for copying a picture from somewhere and then bringing it into the photo-editing software to touch up.

Virtual Victoria
Virtual Victoria

What does this do? (In MS Word, seems to delete previous graph?) Feels familiar, like I should know it, but not ringing any bells...

luther7
luther7

I like the Cntrl+Shift+escape to bring up the Task Manager , it skips a step. Plus the Cntrl+A/C/V are among my favorites. Lastly, if a URL is known to bee a dot com and you've never gone to that particular address before just typing in the main body, say for instance msn and hitting Contrl+Enter gets you right there.

VAR1016
VAR1016

Sounds great but it "doesn't do what it says on the tin..." In fact in web pages such as this one all it does is give a gentle scroll down. Paul

VAR1016
VAR1016

Doesn't do anything on my computer (XP-Pro) Paul

Animal13
Animal13

I followed your link to to the MS list of XP shortcuts. Great summary!

elnRTanalog
elnRTanalog

Cut, Copy, and Paste, Undo and [Alt]+[Tab] are my most common, then: ctrl+alt+del every time to login to locked screen & T for Task Mgr and k to lock. ctrl+F ctrl+H ctrl+P Select All in Notepad & ... Then there are the VMS: ctrl+A, ctrl+E, ctrl+H, ...

Virtual Victoria
Virtual Victoria

> When editing in Notepad Alt - f - s To do massive search/replace in Notepad, first do a Ctrl+H, type in your parameters, then do a Ctrl+A...

paul.goldberg
paul.goldberg

Found a great list of all Word, Excel and Powerpoint shortcuts. One of my favorites is F4 (repeat last command).

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I use Ctrl-C constantly but almost never use Ctrl-V! I use Shift-Insert instead.

zekeporter
zekeporter

I only use Ctrl+X & Ctrl+V when I can't use Shift+Delete & Shift+Insert. That's so much easier because I'm left-handed and use the mouse accordingly. Some programs only support the Ctrl trio functions, and explorer has an entirely different function for Shift+Delete (and no, I have never made that fatal mistake ;-) ). In those cases I use the Ctrl trio, but everywhere else I use the Shift pair.

Animal13
Animal13

I can't believe people are not picking up on the Ctrl-X. CUT, Copy and Paste. They are a trio... I also put a lot of programs on my desktop and use Windows-D to clear the desktop. Its really the only 'windows key' shortcut I use.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

Ctrl+A, Ctrl+V, and Ctrl+Z mostly and a lot, to answer the question. edit: left out the one I use most! Ctrl+S. Saved my butt a few times over, that one.

VAR1016
VAR1016

If you are lumbered with a French keyboard, then Alt Gr is jolly useful, since for incomprehensible reasons, amongst the insane arrangements on the French "clavier", the @ sign requires either ctrl+alt+key or quicker, alt Gr+key. Paul

apotheon
apotheon

I configured rAlt as my Compose key, and the lAlt is the only one I use for <Alt> hotkeys.

jpesadilla
jpesadilla

I will have to investigate further. Using onboard graphics with an ASUS P5GC-MX/1333 I have noted that it does not work on all machines. My monitor is an I-INC iC194D. My graphics driver is Intel.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Perhaps it is a graphics card thing??? Intel or ATI? Got an NVidia on this machine, so that can't be it.

VAR1016
VAR1016

I gives me a shorter scroll than Windows+down arrow... Paul

jpesadilla
jpesadilla

Not Windows+DownArrow I meant to say Ctrl+Alt+DownArrow It SHOULD flip you screen upsidedown.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I believe he meant Windows+D and Windows+E. Hey, they're next to each other on the keyboard, it's easy to get confused... ;)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The six shortcuts you list have been standard in word processors since at least WordStar and I vaguely remember using them in PeachText.

Skypilot2
Skypilot2

to copy and paste into Word so I have it for reference! Like others, [ctrl] X, V and C are used often. Also use [ctrl] B, I and U in Word and Excel (prob works elsewhere as well). The list will be well used!

apotheon
apotheon

I use the hell out of the period key in Vim's command mode. It repeats the last edit, too.

Virtual Victoria
Virtual Victoria

...but I don't usually mix up MS Word & old DOS-based apps! ;-)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Unless you also know that Ctrl+Z is Undo. In most older text editors, Ctrl+Y deletes a line...

Virtual Victoria
Virtual Victoria

> One of my favorites is F4 > (repeat last command)... If you touch type, and don't want to leave the "home" keys, try Ctrl+Y to do the same thing... (well, *I* have to leave home key, b/c my fingers are pretty darn short!)

santeewelding
santeewelding

It's like sherry. I can't do just a little. I have to drink the whole thing.

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