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Windows keyboard shortcuts you never knew existed!

by Steve Wiseman on April 17, 2006 · 20 comments

in Windows


.

When you get to hang out with other experienced computer professionals you start to realize how many things you do not know. I have been working with Windows since 3.0 came out, and I still find something new all of the time. For example, I was sitting behind one of my tech friends and he was using alt-esc to tab through windows in the order they were opened – I never even knew this existed. I set out to get a comprehensive list of all the shortcuts. Here is what I have found so far:

Update (5/02/06): A few more I missed:

Correction from Tyler: Windows Button + Pause, not Windows Button + Break brings up the system properties.

From Edward @ Intel – Shift+F10 brings up the context menu

From Aaron @ TNT Software – While in a display pane (such as when viewing an Event Log, or any MMC snap-in), Ctrl+ autosizes each column to the maximum width of data in each column.

From David Jameson: Ctrl + Shift + Esc – Brings up the task manager

Email me if I have missed any others!

CTRL and A Selects all the items in the active window.
CTRL and C Copies the item or items to the Clipboard and can be pasted using CTRL and V.
CTRL and F Displays the Find all files dialog box.
CTRL and G Displays the Go to folder dialog box.
CTRL and N Displays the New dialog box.
CTRL and O Displays the Open dialog box.
CTRL and P Displays the Print dialog box.
CTRL and S Displays the Save dialog box.
CTRL and V Pastes the copied item or items from the Clipboard.
CTRL and X Cuts the item or items selected to the Clipboard.
CTRL and Z Undoes the last action.
CTRL and F4 Closes the active document window.
CTRL while dragging an item Copy the selected item
CTRL+SHIFT with arrow keys Highlight a block of text
CTRL+F4 Close the active document
CTRL+ESC Display the Start menu
CTRL and F6 Opens the next document window in the active application.
ALT+ENTER View the properties for the selected item
ALT+F4 Close the active item, or quit the active program
ALT+SPACEBAR Open the shortcut menu for the active window
ALT+TAB Switch between the open items
ALT+ESC Cycle through items in the order that they had been opened
F1 key Gives help on the active window or selected item.
F2 key Rename the selected item
F3 key Search for a file or a folder
F4 key Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer
F5 key Update the active window
F6 key Cycle through the screen elements in a window or on the desktop
F10 key Activate the menu bar in the active program
Windows Logo Display or hide the Start menu
Windows Logo+PAUSE Display the System Properties dialog box
Windows Logo+D Display the desktop
Windows Logo+M Minimize all of the windows
Windows Logo+SHIFT+M Restore the minimized windows
Windows Logo+E Open My Computer
Windows Logo+F Search for a file or a folder
CTRL+Windows Logo+F Search for computers
Windows Logo+F1 Display Windows Help
Windows Logo+ L Lock the keyboard
Windows Logo+R Open the Run dialog box
Windows Logo+U Open Utility Manager
TAB Move forward through the options
SHIFT+TAB Move backward through the options
CTRL+TAB Move forward through the tabs
CTRL+SHIFT+TAB Move backward through the tabs
ALT+Underlined letter Perform the corresponding command or select the corresponding option
ENTER Perform the command for the active option or button
SPACEBAR Select or clear the check box if the active option is a check box
F1 key Display Help
F4 key Display the items in the active list
Arrow keys Select a button if the active option is a group of option buttons
BACKSPACE Open a folder one level up if a folder is selected in the Save As or Open dialog box
END Display the bottom of the active window
HOME Display the top of the active window
NUM LOCK+Asterisk sign (*) Display all of the subfolders that are under the selected folder
NUM LOCK+Plus sign (+) Display the contents of the selected folder
NUM LOCK+Minus sign (-) Collapse the selected folder
LEFT ARROW Collapse the current selection if it is expanded, or select the parent folder
RIGHT ARROW Display the current selection if it is collapsed, or select the first subfolder

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 MACdonald October 22, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Ctrl+alt+arrow key flips screen orientation

2 Shawn November 30, 2009 at 12:45 pm

(Shift+Alt+Print Screen) brings up high contrast mode brings, which is a special display and font size for people who are visually impaired, just hit ok when the box comes up and changes will take effect. (note:use the same combination to return settings to normal)

3 Steve Wiseman November 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Thanks for the tip – that is a good one.

4 cupofgooglecaffeine January 14, 2010 at 10:04 am

(CTRL+INSERT) Copies the item or items selected to the Clipboard.
(SHIFT+INSERT) Pastes the copied item or items from the Clipboard.

Said to Work in Linux, DOS, Apple Mac and even Unix Operating systems as well.

Also one obvious one that hasn’t been mentioned is (CTRL+ALT+DELETE) which brings up task manager on home installations or windows security manager on work installations. This reboots the machine in other operating systems.

5 anshul vyas March 11, 2010 at 7:16 am

cntrl+alt+del.
task manager

6 Ronak Shah April 30, 2010 at 11:14 am

Windows + u + u = Computer Shuts down
Windows + u + s = Computer switches onto Standby Mode

7 banwari May 5, 2010 at 6:14 am

open run (window + r ) wright calc to open calculter

8 DrunkMunki August 24, 2010 at 7:36 pm

@anshul vyas: its ctrl+shift+esc

9 mahi September 24, 2010 at 7:10 am

thanks for tips

10 holyfinger September 29, 2010 at 8:29 am

I am simply facinated by the shortcut tips. If there are some more, I’d like to view. Lots of thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11 kISHORE sHARMA December 17, 2010 at 3:53 am

open RUN
typr MSG ‘computer name’
…our message…
f6

the message sent o the connected computer
[can try with 127.0.01 for current experiment..no harm ! :-) ]

on RUN type winchat..se the magic you can chat on windows !
:-)

type on RUN TELNET..can send files in bulk !

kishore.always1@gmail.com
always ready for help !

- Kishore
INDIA

12 Alex Jacubowsky February 19, 2011 at 8:26 am

Windos Logo + P -> Setup Screen (dual,Single,Projector)
Windows Logo + `+` Zoom in
Windows Logo + `-` Zoom out

13 pattyboy92 March 17, 2011 at 1:46 am

another way to bring up task manager is:
ctrl+shift+esc

14 HateWindows May 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm

How about alt+space… Can you guess what it does yet?

Urgh windows blows

15 Ayesha May 12, 2011 at 2:38 am

Thanks for all shortcut keys. i really enjoy it.

16 srinivas.devavarapu September 24, 2011 at 6:57 am

thank you for shortcut keys….
please include picture examples

17 SURAJ January 29, 2012 at 6:50 am

Thank you so much, its really so useful, saving time…

18 SURAJ January 29, 2012 at 7:21 am

Thank You, so much for sharing some good and important info.

19 TV June 21, 2012 at 3:38 pm

backspace has this feature:
-in internet explorer and firefox: works as the “left” icon (go back to previous page)
-in windows explorer: moves 1 level closer to root level of current disk

+ and – can also be used in windows explorer to open and close a folder (directory)

Shift + F10 works as Right Click (only in windows explorer ?)

And a last tip in Windows Exploer :You can select and open different files at once, this way: have one file focussed, then press and HOLD shift, press UP or DOWN, which then selects other files, then press ENTER.

20 Davak72 July 17, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Alt + Left is also back in browsers and windows explorer and

Alt + Right is forward.

Alt + Up is go up one level in windows explorer, which is very, very useful to me.

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