Moving Beyond Copy/Paste: Top 10 Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Do-It-Yourself Tech

While many computer users are now familiar with using CTRL+C
and CTRL+V to copy and paste, few realize just how many keyboard shortcuts are
built into Windows. Computers.net has compiled a lengthy list of keyboard shortcuts, along with what we feel are the top 10 most useful ones. Here’s our list:

Note: Most of these shortcuts involve pressing two or more keys on the keyboard. In this case, the
first keys must be held down while the last key is usually pressed only once. Most shortcuts are available system wide, but some may work only with
specific programs. Also, many of the shortcuts that work in
Internet Explorer will also work in other web browsers, such as Firefox.

  1. CTRL + Z = Undo last Copy/Cut/Paste action (editing) And if you Undo too
    many things, CTRL + Y will allow you to “redo” as long as you haven’t made
    any new changes.
  2. CTRL + A = Select all files/folders (Explorer) or text/image (editing)
  3. Hold CTRL + Left-click = Select multiple noncontiguous items (Desktop +
    Explorer)
  4. ALT + F4 = Close active application/window. From the Desktop this will
    shut down/power off Windows
  5. ALT + TAB = Jump to last active application/window (Desktop + Taskbar)
    Note that pressing TAB more than once while holding down ALT will cycle
    through all open programs. Releasing the keys will jump to the last
    highlighted program.
  6. SHIFT + DEL = Permanent DELETE (bypass Recycle Bin!) selected
    file(s)/folder(s)/shortcut(s)/link(s) (Desktop, Explorer + Internet
    Explorer).When editing a document this cuts selected/highlighted
    text/image (same as CTRL + X)
  7. [WINKEY] + D = Maximize (restore) or minimize all open windows to view Desktop
    [Win98/2000/ME/XP/2003 only]
  8. CTRL + ENTER = Go to incompletely typed .com URL in Internet Explorer.
    (i.e. to go to www.amazon.com, type “amazon” and press CTRL +
    ENTER)
  9. CTRL + F = Find files(s) (Explorer + Internet Explorer) or text string
    (editing) OR forwards selected
    message (Outlook or Outlook Express) (same as F3)
  10. CTRL + P = Print current file or selected/highlighted screen/image/text
    (editing) or web page (Internet Explorer)

Now, at the risk of overwhelming our readers, here is a list
of many of the standard windows shortcuts. As with many Windows features,
there is sometimes more than one shortcut to do a particular action.

CTRL + A = Select all files/folders (Explorer) or text/image (editing)
CTRL + B = Open Organize Favorites (Explorer + Internet Explorer) (same
as Ctrl + I)
CTRL + C = Copy selected/highlighted file(s)/folder(s) (Explorer) or
text/image to Clipboard memory (editing) (same as CTRL + Insert)
CTRL + D = Delete selected/highlighted file(s)/folder(s) (Explorer)
(same as DEL) OR add to Favorites
(bookmark) current URL (Internet Explorer)
CTRL + E = Open Search window (Explorer + Internet Explorer) (same as
F3)
CTRL + F = Find files(s) (Explorer + Internet Explorer) or text string
(editing) OR forwards selected
message (Outlook or Outlook Express) (same as F3)
CTRL + G = Go To URL box (Internet Explorer)
CTRL + H = Open History folder (Explorer + Internet Explorer) OR select/access installed local/remote
drive/partition (File Manager) OR
opens the Find and Replace dialog box (editing)
CTRL + I = Organize Favorites (Explorer + Internet Explorer) OR selects Inbox (Outlook or Outlook
Express) (same as Ctrl + B)
CTRL + L = Open Location dialog box (Explorer + Internet Explorer) OR toggles Folders view on/off (Outlook
or Outlook Express) (same as Ctrl + O)
CTRL + N = Open new browser window (Internet Explorer) OR compose new message (Outlook or
Outlook Express)
CTRL + O = Open Location dialog box (Explorer + Internet Explorer) (same
as Ctrl + L)
CTRL + P = Print current file or selected/highlighted screen/image/text
(editing) or web page (Internet Explorer)
CTRL + Q = Mark selected header(s) as read (Outlook or Outlook Express)
CTRL + R = Refresh/update selected/highlighted display/screen (Desktop,
Explorer + File Manager) OR reload
current URL (Internet Explorer) OR reply
to selected message (Outlook or Outlook Express) (same as F5)
CTRL + S = Save current file/image/text (editing) or web page (Internet
Explorer)
CTRL + V = Paste saved text/image from Clipboard memory (editing) (same
as SHIFT + Insert)
CTRL + W = Close foreground (active) application/window (Desktop +
Taskbar) (same as ALT + F4)
CTRL + X = Cut selected/highlighted text/image (editing) (same as SHIFT
+ DEL)
CTRL + Y = Redo last Undo action (editing) Note: You can only “redo” if
you haven’t made any new changes.
CTRL + Z = Undo last Copy/Cut/Paste action (editing)
CTRL + ESC = Display Start Menu OR minimize all open windows (same as
ALT + M)
CTRL + ENTER = Go to incompletely typed .com URL in Internet Explorer.
(i.e. to go to www.amazon.com, type “amazon” and press CTRL + ENTER)

SHIFT + ENTER
= Go to incompletely typed .net URL in Internet Explorer.
(i.e. to go to www.computers.net, type “computers” and press SHIFT + ENTER)
Hold SHIFT = Do NOT Autorun CD/DVD (a CD/DVD inserted while holding SHIFT
will not automatically start)
Left-click + Hold SHIFT + Left-click = Select
portion of text between first left-click and second left-click (editing)
SHIFT + Double-click = Open selected URL in new window
SHIFT + Close button (upper right corner X) = Close all open windows
SHIFT + DEL = Permanent DELETE (bypass Recycle Bin!) selected
file(s)/folder(s)/shortcut(s)/link(s) (Desktop, Explorer + Internet
Explorer).When editing a document this cuts selected/highlighted text/image
(same as CTRL + X)
SHIFT + Insert = Paste saved text/image from Clipboard memory
(editing) (same as CTRL + V)

ESC
= Close the active application/window OR cancel/stop current action (if supported)
HOME = Go to top of current file/folder/item/shortcut/link (Desktop,
Dialog box, Explorer + File Manager) or web page (Internet Explorer)
END = Go to bottom of current file/folder/item/shortcut/link (Desktop,
Dialog box, Explorer + File Manager) or web page (Internet Explorer)
DEL = Delete selected/highlighted file(s)/folder(s)/shortcut(s)/link(s)
(Explorer, File Manager + Internet Explorer)
ENTER = Run/open selected item
Page Up = Scroll up one screen/page at a time (Explorer +
Internet Explorer)
Page Down or SPACE = Scroll down one screen/page at a time (Explorer +
Internet Explorer)
BACK Space = Go up (backwards) one level (Explorer + File Manager) OR back to previous web page (Internet
Explorer)
TAB = Cycle forwards among drives/partitions/folders/files/items
(Desktop, Explorer + File Manager) or links/pages/frames (Internet Explorer)
SHIFT + TAB = Cycle backwards among drives/partitions/folders/files/items
(Desktop, Explorer + File Manager) or links/pages/frames (Internet Explorer)
Type FIRST letter = Select the first
file/folder/item/shortcut/link starting with that letter (Desktop, Dialog box,
Explorer + File Manager)

Hold CTRL
= Do NOT Autorun CD/DVD OR
launch Startup folder shortcut(s)/executable(s) (Windows startup or insert
CD/DVD) OR copy instead of move selected file(s)/folder(s) while
dragging it/them OR close parent
folder(s) while closing selected subfolder (Explorer, Internet Explorer + File
Manager)
Hold CTRL + Left-click + Right-click + Close button = Close all selected
(depressed buttons) open windows (Taskbar)
Hold CTRL + Left-click = Select multiple noncontiguous items (Desktop +
Explorer)
Hold CTRL + SHIFT = Create shortcut while dragging file/folder/shortcut
(Desktop + Explorer)
CTRL + TAB = Cycle forward among pages/tabs/items (Dialog box +
Explorer) or links/pages/frames (Internet Explorer)
CTRL + SHIFT + TAB = Cycle backwards among pages/tabs/items (Dialog box
+ Explorer) or links/pages/frames (Internet Explorer)
CTRL + DRIVE letter = Select/access installed local/remote
drive/partition (File Manager)
CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + F4 = Close all open windows

ALT + LEFT Arrow = Go Back to previous URL (Internet
Explorer)
ALT + RIGHT Arrow = Go Forward to previous URL (Internet Explorer)
ALT + F4 = Close active application/window. From the Desktop this will
shut down/power off Windows
ALT + ESC = Cycle forward through ALL open (top level) windows (Desktop
+ Taskbar)
ALT + SHIFT + ESC = Cycle backwards through ALL open (top level) windows
(Desktop + Taskbar)
ALT + TAB = Jump to last active application/window (Desktop + Taskbar)
Note that pressing TAB more than once while holding down ALT will cycle through
all open programs. Releasing the keys will jump to the last highlighted
program.
ALT + Backspace = Undo last Copy/Cut/Paste action (editing) (same as
CTRL + Z)

Function Keys:

F1 = Open Help Menu
F2 = rename selected/highlighted Desktop/Start Menu shortcut or
file(s)/folder(s) (Explorer)
F3 = Find files(s) (Explorer) or text string (editing) (same as CTRL +
F) or open Search window (Explorer + Internet Explorer) (same as CTRL + E)
F4 = Open Desktop/drive/folder (Explorer) or Go To URL address (Internet
Explorer) command line box/history list
F5 = Refresh/update selected/highlighted display/screen (Desktop,
Explorer + File Manager) or reload current URL (Internet Explorer) (same as
CTRL + R)
F6 = Cycle forward among drives/folders/files/items (Desktop, Explorer +
File Manager) or links/pages/frames (Internet Explorer) (same as ALT + D)
F10 = Menu mode
F11 = Toggle between full screen without Menu (kiosk mode) and windowed
screen with Menu (Internet Explorer)

Finally, here is a list of useful WinKey (MS Windows logo keys) shortcuts.
Note that some may not be available, and/or some may take different actions,
depending on specific MS Windows 32/64-bit (Win32/Win64) OS builds and/or
installed software:

[WINKEY] = Open Start Menu
[WINKEY] + D = Maximize (restore) or minimize all open windows to
view Desktop [Win98/2000/ME/XP/2003 only]
[WINKEY] + E = Start Windows Explorer
[WINKEY] + F = Start Find Files/Folders dialog box
[WINKEY] + L = Start Welcome screen [WinXP + Fast User Switch XP
Power Toy only] OR Lock Workstation [Win2000/XP/2003 only]
[WINKEY] + M = Minimize all open windows
[WINKEY] + R = Start Run dialog box
[WINKEY] + F1 = Start Help Menu and Support Center
[Win98/2000/ME/XP/2003 only]
[WINKEY] + Tab = Cycle and select (press Enter) through all open
apps/games Taskbar buttons
[WINKEY] + Ctrl + Tab = Cycle through all open apps/games Taskbar
buttons, Tray icons, Start Menu and Quick Launch toolbars (press Right or Left
arrows to cycle through Toolbar and Tray items)
[WINKEY] + Pause/Break = Start Systems Properties Control Panel
applet
[WINKEY] + Ctrl + F = Start Find Computer dialog box
[WINKEY] + Shift + M = Undo Minimize (restore) all open windows

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