Consider this… What if you decided it was too tedious to learn how to talk and so you just wrote everything.  Think about how much energy and time in your life that would consume!  Using the mouse is the same concept.  About 90% of the actions you do on the computer can be done without the mouse.  For example.  you might be thinking, “I am going to print this page!”.  And to print it you will reach your hand over and drag the pointer all the way up to the print button or menu and choose “File” then “Print”.  You are using a lot of energy to make that mouse travel and guide it.  Instead of doing that just hit CTRL-P now.  You just saved yourself 10 seconds!  Now imagine saving 10 seconds on every action you perform on a computer all day.  When I want to do something I just think it and my hands do it.  When you want to do something you have to navigate to that thing and click it.  Do not try to memorize all the info below at once.  Start by looking it over and learning what is there.  Then teaching yourself new keyboard habits bit by bit.  For example if you wanted to go to google you could press “Ctrl-L” then type “google” (without quotes) and press CTRL-Enter (to add the www. and .com automatically).  Then press BACKSPACE to get back here (Go back a page).  New window or tab in your browser?  Ctrl-T then Ctrl-L to tell it where to go!


Operator Keys


Operator keys are the keys you press and hold while using another key to activate a function.  For example, the most commonly known Operator key is “SHIFT”.  If you use “SHIFT-a” you get a capital “A”.  The other Operator keys are “CTRL”, “ALT”, “WIN” and “Fn”.  Hot keys are not usually case sensitive unless they include the SHIFT key.  In the below sections I have left out hotkeys that I did not feel would ever be used.

  • SHIFT – Usually used to reverse the direction of a hot key.  For example “Tab” will take you to the next input box on a form.. “SHIFT-Tab” will take you to the previous input box.
  • CTRL – Lower left (And right) corner of the keyboard.  
  • ALT – Next to your space bar
  • WIN – Also Know As the “Windows Key” is the flag key between “CTRL” and “ALT”.  This is the global windows key to access operating system features.  (Note: Some laptop keyboards are missing this key)
  • Fn – Used on Laptops usually near the CTRL key.  This gives you access to functions like volume control, brightness, WiFi etc.. Look for keys with symbols in the same color as the text on the Fn key.

Windows Global Hot Keys

These are hot keys that are watched on an Operating System level.  They take priority over Application/Program hot keys.  If you are in any program and press “WIN-E” windows Explorer (The File Browser) will/should come up.  (Hold the “WIN” key and press “E”.  Hot keys are not usually case sensitive.

Key Description
Ctrl-Shift-Esc Open Task Manager (Not CTRL-ALT-DEL people think that is the key squince for this but it is not)
Ctrl-WIN-Tab Use the arrow keys to cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Aero Flip 3-D. (Also see WIN+Tab and ALT+Tab)
WIN-Tab Cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Aero Flip 3-D. (Also see ALT-Tab or CTRL-WIN-Tab)
Alt+Tab Switch between open items (Also see WIN+Tab)
Ctrl+Alt+Tab Use the arrow keys to switch between open items (Also see Alt+Tab)
WIN-L Lock your computer or switch users.
WIN-D Display the desktop.
WIN-(Down Arrow) Minimize the window. (Or set to restore mode then again to minimize)
WIN-Up Arrow Maximize the window.
WIN-(A Number) Start (or jump to) the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number. If the program is already running, switch to that program.
WIN-E Open Explorer / My Computer / Computer
WIN-F Search for a file or folder.
WIN-Home Minimize all but the active window.
WIN-M Minimize all windows. (SHIFT-WIN-M) will restore all windows.
WIN-Pause Display the System Properties dialog box.
WIN-R Open the Run dialog box.
PRTSCRN Copy a picture of the entire screen to the clipboard. (Can be pasted into MS Word or IrfanView or some graphic editor)
ALT-PRTSCRN Copy a picture of the active dialog to the clipboard. (Can be pasted into MS Word or IrfanView or some graphic editor)

Standard Editing Hot Keys

These are hot keys that are standard to all programs (Provided they follow the standard).  For example the standard for print is “CTRL-P” and just about any program that can print will pop up a print dialog when you press those keys.

Key Description
Ctrl-X (or Shift-Delete) Cut the selected item
Ctrl-C (or Ctrl-Insert) Copy the selected item
Ctrl-Y Redo an action
Ctrl-Z Undo an action
Ctrl-A Select all items in a document or window
Ctrl-V (or Shift-Insert) Paste the selected item
Ctrl-Arrow Move the cursor to the beginning or end of the next paragraph. Looks for the first gap and moves you just before it. This is very handy when jumping through text and you want to skip to the end of a paragraph or group of text.
Ctrl-End Go to end of text on the page.  (Used with shift will highlight text to the end)  Also see Ctrl-Home
Ctrl-Home Go to beginning of the page/document.
End and Home Will go to the beginning of the line or end of the line.  Also used with Shift-Home or Shift-End will highlight from the curssor position to the start or end of the line.
Shift with an arrow key Select text (Also works with other keyboard movment operators like Ctrl-Arrow / HOME / END / Ctrl-END / etc…
F2 Rename the selected item or go into EDIT MODE
Ctrl-Z (or Ctrl-Backspace) Undo an action (step backward)
Ctrl-Y Redo an Undo (step forward)
F4 Repeat the last action I performed. Lets say in excel you just set a cell to bold. Just highight other cells and press F4 it will bold them too.
Ctrl-F (or F3) Find text or Search for a file or folder
F3 Find again in text (used same search info from last CTRL-f
Ctrl-B Make Text Bold (or Unbold if already bolded)
Ctrl-U Make Text Underline (Or normal from Underline)
Ctrl-I Make Text Italics

Standard Program/Application Hot Keys

These are hot keys that are standard to all programs (Provided they follow the standard).  For example the standard for print is “CTRL-P” and just about any program that can print will pop up a print dialog when you press those keys.

Key Description
F1 Display Help
CTRL-P Brings up the Print Dialog
Ctrl-S Save and continue (No dialog will come up)
Ctrl-O Brings up the Open File Dialog
Ctrl-N Start a New Document or New Email
Alt-F4 Exit the active program (Same as choosing File then Exit. Program should prompt you to save if there is something to save)
Ctrl-F4 Close the active document (in programs that allow you to have multiple documents open simultaneously)
Ctrl-Tab Cycle through the active Document Tabs or Document Windows. (For real tabs see Ctrl-PageUp)
Shift-F10 Display the shortcut or context menu for the selected item. (Then you can just press the key of the underlined letter of the item you want to activate)
Ctrl-PageUp/Down Cycle left or right through Tabs. This mostly works on forms. Will also work on the tabs in Google Chrome. For some reason Internet Explorer does not respect this standard although it should.
Ctrl-Mouse scroll wheel Zoom in or out. Works in Web Browsers, Icon size on yoru desktop or makes a document larger or smaller in Word and Excel
Shift-Delete Delete the selected item without moving it to the Recycle Bin first
Alt-Spacebar Open the shortcut/context menu for the active window or program. For example “Alt-Space” (note the hot keys are underlined on the menu) Then “n” will minimize.
Alt-Enter Display properties for the selected item
F10 (or Alt) Activate the menu bar in the active program
F4 Display the address bar list in Windows Explorer
CTRL-L Go to the Address Bar in a web browser to type in a new Link.
F5 (or Ctrl-R) Refresh the active window
F6 Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop
Shift when you insert a CD Prevent the CD from automatically playing
Shift with any arrow key Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text within a document
Alt-Up Arrow View the folder one level up in Windows Explorer