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10 Common Time Saving Keyboard Commands

It’s all about the keys…

It’s all about the keys…

The Windows operating system and the programs designed for it can be a complex web of menus and lists that can be time consuming to navigate. Here are some keyboard shortcuts that can increase your computing efficiency.

Let’s start off by defining some of the keys that we are going to be using, all references to the location are taken from a standard keyboard. The ‘Esc’ key is located in the upper left corner of the keyboard. ‘Alt’, ‘Ctrl’, and ‘Shift’ keys that are located in the lower left or right corners of the keyboard. The ‘Tab’ key is located above ‘Caps Lock’ to the left. ‘Insert’, ‘Home’, ‘Delete’, and ‘End’, are located to the right, just above the directional keys. The ‘Windows Logo’ key is located in between the ‘Ctrl’ and ‘Alt’ keys at the lower left corner of the keyboard. The ‘properties’ key is located in the lower right corner.

Tip #1 – Open Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer is the program that allows you to navigate through all of the drives (Local and Network) that are attached to your computer.

This shortcut will open the same window as when you double-click on ‘My Computer.” This is a very useful shortcut when you are working with a cluttered desktop and do not want to minimize all your windows to be able to access the contents of ‘My Computer.’

Shortcut Command: Windows Logo Key + E

Tip #2 – Opening the Run Command

The Run dialogue box allows quick access to programs, utilities, and drives

Shortcut Command: Windows Logo Key + R

Tip #3 – Locking Your Workstation

This command is used to quickly lock your workstation so that it cannot be accessed by anyone without your password (An administrator can also log in with their password if needed).

Shortcut Command: Windows Logo Key + L

Tip #4 – Opening the Windows Task Manager

This command will open the Windows Task Manager. The Task Manager is used to monitor the activity on a system or to assist in shutting down hung programs.

Shortcut Command: CTRL + SHIFT + ESC

Tip #5 – Selecting Multiple Items on One Line

These commands will allow you to quickly highlight a line. If you use the SHIFT + END command you will highlight everything from the cursor position to the end of the line. The SHIFT + HOME command will select everything from the cursor position to the beginning of the line.

Shortcut Command: SHIFT + END

Shortcut Command: SHIFT + HOME

Tip #6 – Selecting Multiple Items in a List

This command comes in two flavors:

Selecting Items Between Two Points

First select your starting point

Then hold SHIFT

Select your ending point

Everything from starting point to end point should be highlighted

Selecting Multiple Items Individually

Select your first item


Select all remaining items

Only the items you specifically click on for selection will be highlighted

Tip #7 – Using the Find/Search Functions

In most programs (Windows, Internet Browsers, MS Office Programs, etc…) you can use the ctrl + F to bring up the Find or Search Functions. If you are not in any specific program and use the command the Windows Search feature will launch. If you use the command in a program like Firefox or Word you will be brought to the find functions that will allow you to specify a character string (letters, words, numbers, symbols, or any combination of them) to search for within the current document.

Shortcut Command: CTRL + F

Tip #8 – Minimizing All Open Windows

This command will quickly minimize all open windows to the taskbar, showing the desktop and all its icons. If you push the key command again it will restore your windows.

Shortcut Command: Windows Logo Key + D

Tip #9 – Switching Between Programs

If you want to quickly move between open applications this command is useful. Some programs that run full screen may not react to well to being minimized to the task bar. You should test this out with your programs before you rely on it regularly. Hit the tab key to move through the available windows. [image]

Shortcut Command: ALT + TAB

Tip #10 – Opening the Context Menu

Although this isn’t necessarily a ‘Shortcut’ so to speak, it is useful to know about. On newer keyboards there is a key that is below the right hand SHIFT, this key is commonly called the ‘properties’ key. If you hit this key while you have a shortcut or file selected you will be given the context menu that you are used to seeing when you R-Click with the mouse. This key is useful if you happen to be working without a mouse.