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Common Keyboard Shortcuts

It's hard to remember all the keyboard shortcuts out there. But luckily, most programs adopt conventions (like Ctrl+S, which always saves what you're working on). Even better, programmers typically choose keyboard shortcuts mnemonically (again, like Ctrl+S for Save) to make it easier for us to remember.

Below are some of the most common keyboard shortcuts out there, grouped by task. We've also included some common scenarios to show how keyboard shortcuts can be practically used. It's a long list, but remember to start small: memorize just 3 keyboard shortcuts that you'll use the most.

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Web Browsers

Keyboard Shortcuts

Ctrl+NOpen a new window
Ctrl+TOpen a new tab (if your browser supports tabs)
Ctrl+WClose the current window/tab
Ctrl+RRefresh
EscStop
Alt+Back
Alt+Forward
PageUpMove up a page
PageDownMove down a page
Alt+HomeGo to your homepage
Alt+DMove focus to the address bar to type in a URL
Ctrl+EnterAdd "http://www." and ".com" around an address
MiddleClickMiddle-clicking a tab will close it, even if it's not the active tab

Scenario: Open a website in a new window

  1. Ctrl+N to open a new window
  2. Alt+D to bring you to the address bar
  3. Type the address without the "http://www." or the ".com" (for example, "microsoft" instead of "http://www.microsoft.com"
  4. Press Ctrl+Enter to add in the "http://www." and the ".com"

Editing Text

Keyboard Shortcuts

Ctrl+BBold the selected text bold
Ctrl+IItalicize the selected text italic
Ctrl+UUnderline the selected text
Ctrl+BackspaceDelete the previous word
Ctrl+DelDelete the next word
Ctrl+FFind some text in the current document
Ctrl+ZUndo your last action

Scenario: Bold some text you are about to type

  1. Ctrl+B to turn on the bold feature
  2. Type the text you want to be bold
  3. Ctrl+B to turn off the bold feature

Moving the Cursor and Selecting Text

Pay close attention to these! These keyboard shortcuts can be used in almost all text editors, like Notepad, your instant messaging program, and any text input dialog boxes in Windows.

Moving the Cursor

PageUpMove the cursor up a page
PageDownMove the cursor down a page
HomeMove the cursor to the beginning of the line
EndMove the cursor to the end of the line
Ctrl+HomeMove the cursor to the beginning of the document
Ctrl+EndMove the cursor to the end of the document
Ctrl+Move the cursor left one word
Ctrl+Move the cursor right one word

The keyboard shortcuts for selecting text are directly related to those that move the cursor around. Just add a Shift:

Selecting Text

Shift+PageUpSelect everything between the cursor and a page previous
Shift+PageDownSelect everything between the cursor and a page after
Shift+HomeSelect everything between the cursor and the beginning of the line
Shift+EndSelect everything between the cursor and the end of the line
Shift+Ctrl+HomeSelect everything betweeen the cursor and the beginning of the document
Shift+Ctrl+EndSelect everything between the cursor and the end of the document
Shift+Ctrl+Select the word to the left
Shift+Ctrl+Select the word to the right

Scenario: Selecting A Line Of Text

  1. Home to move the cursor to the beginning of the line
  2. Shift-End to move the cursor to the end of the line and select everything alonig the way

Using the Clipboard

Ctrl+CCopy what's selected
Ctrl+XCut what's selected
Ctrl+VPaste what you last copied or cut
Ctrl+ASelect all

Documents and Files

Ctrl+NCreate a new document
Ctrl+OOpen an existing document
Ctrl+WClose the current document
Ctrl+SSaves the current document
Ctrl+PPrint the current document

Windows

Alt+F4Exit the active window
Alt+TabSwitch to the previous active window
Alt+EscCycle through all open windows
Win+DShow desktop (hit it again to show windows)

Conclusion

There are a huge amount of keyboard shortcuts to take advantage of. Take it slow and learn 3 of these every few days. I recommend learning Ctrl+S to save files, Ctrl+C to copy what's selected, and Alt+Tab to switch between windows.

-Ben

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