Keyboard Shortcuts - My Favorites for Microsoft Users


By Tina Frysinger

Since the flood of mouse use in the 1980s, PC users have drifted further away from using the keyboard for common tasks. As a fan of shortcuts for most of my professional life, I can’t express the value they add to PC-heavy professions. Taking time to learn some of these simple shortcuts will not only lead to efficiencies, but will also make you appear a bit tech-savvy too.

There are literally hundreds of shortcuts. Shortcuts are available within operating systems, but there are also unique shortcuts built into applications. Researching keyboard shortcuts for the applications used in your daily life can take you to the next level of proficiency. Check the help menu (F1) or complete a Google search to find the shortcuts that are available.

Disclaimer: The list below includes some of my favorite Microsoft shortcuts. Similar lists can be found online for Apple users.

  • CTRL + S → Save
    • Ever work on an Excel file or Word document only to have your system crash and lose everything? Short of changing your auto save settings, this shortcut is easy to do quickly and often.
  • CTRL + A → Select All
    • This quickly highlights an entire document or an entire web page or all files in Windows Explorer.
  • CTRL + C → Copy
  • CTRL + X → Cut
  • CTRL + V → Paste
    • Some applications will not let you right-click and copy, cut, or paste. Use these shortcuts and see if they work!
  • CTRL + Z → Undo
  • CTRL + Y → Redo
    • We all are thankful that the undo and redo features are available!
  • CTRL + P → Print
    • Easy access for printing documents or web pages-particularly useful since Office 2007, when the print function went to a three click process. (Note: If desired, the print function can be added to the quick access toolbar.)
  • Shift + Directional Key (Up, down, left, right) → Highlight selection
  • CTRL + Directional Key → Jump to end of section, column or row
  • CTRL + Shift + Directional Key → Print
    • Highlight paragraph, column or row, jumping to end of section.
      These shortcuts allow you to zip around Excel tables like nobody’s business. They can also be used when in MS Word or when selecting files in Windows Explorer.
  • F1 → Help!
    • Find Help in most applications.
  • Shift + Tab → Reverse Tab
    • Tab too far?  Use this shortcut to go in backwards.
  • Alt + Tab → Move between applications
    • This is another favorite. Definitely a must-know! Really helps move around a PC.

Play around with shortcuts and find which ones work best for you. Once you start, you won’t want to stop!

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