Yesterday I went to a friend’s house to help her add pictures to a Word project, but while showing her what to do first – oh the frustration of trying to use a mouse that needed surgery (all body parts removed & replaced I think). It reminded me how much we rely on the mouse these days and I was very thankful for my background in DOS, when we didn’t have a mouse at all!

Many of those old keyboard shortcuts are handy to know, even if you don’t use them often, so I thought I’d share the ones I find most useful with you today.

Windows Shortcuts

  • CTRL+C / CTRL+V: This one is obvious and probably the most used keyboard shortcut in the world. CTRL+C copies whatever is currently marked and CTRL+V pastes the contents again. (C for Copy, V for Verbose)
  • CTRL+X: Cut – Copies the text for pasting, but removes it from original place (for moving text)
  • CTRL+A: Select All – The copy and paste shortcuts work well with this one
  • CTRL+Z: Undo the last action
  • CTRL+ESC: Displays/hides the Windows Start Menu
  • ALT+F4: Closes the active window
  • ALT+TAB: Switches between open applications.
  • CTRL+P: Opens the Print Screen dialog.
  • F1: Help with the current program
  • F2: Rename the active item
  • F3: Opens the Windows Search
  • SHIFT+DEL: Deletes the item immediately without moving it into the trashbin
  • TAB: Move to the next control, excellent for forms.
  • Spacebar: Checks a checkbox, presses a button if on a button, selects an option if on an option
  • ESC: Cancels the current task.

Windows Key
The Windows Key (next to Ctrl and Alt keys, usually has the Windows logo on it) is very handy for shortcuts, pressing it will display/hide the Start menu.

  • Windows+E: Open My Computer
  • Windows+F: Search for a file or a folder

To Open Programs when you can’t click the start button
Press the Windows key or Ctrl+Esc then use your down arrow key to get to Programs, Enter, then use up, down, left & right arrow keys to navigate to the program you want, then press Enter.

No mouse – Moving Up and Down Directory Levels in Windows Explorer
To go one directory deeper, use the RIGHT Arrow. To back out one directory level, use the LEFT Arrow

Automatically Adjusting Right-Panel Column Widths in Windows Explorer
The column widths in the right hand panel of the Explorer might not be the correct sizes to display all the file information. To automatically adjust all the columns at once to show all the information, Click somewhere on the right-hand panel, then simply press Ctrl+ (Ctrl and the plus key). The Name, Size, Type and Modified columns will automatically adjust themselves to display all their information.

Browsers – Firefox or Internet Explorer – Scroll Through Web Pages
The spacebar will scroll down a page; Shift+spacebar will scroll up a page.

These are just the ones I use the most – for a full list, go to

The following are related to the work I was doing with my friend yesterday, so thought I might add them, too.

Windows – Getting Screen Shots
If you want to save what you have on your screen but you don’t have a screen capture program, you can use Windows built-in capture as follows:

Hit the Print Screen key. This copies a bitmap of the full screen into the Windows clipboard. To capture only the active window, use Alt+Print Screen

Start up a graphics editor (or Word) and paste it in (Edit, paste OR Ctrl-V). If you only want a small part of the screen, use the programme’s cropping tool.

I prepared a small document to help my friend cropping her images in Word; if you’d like a copy, send an email to [email protected] with “Word Cropping file” in the subject line & I ‘ll email it to you.

MS Word – Selecting Columns
Selections in MS Word are usually lines or paragraphs. To make a selection for a column across lines or blocks just press Alt key while you select your text. You will see that the selection does not select all of the line. It just selects the block or the area. This is really useful sometimes.

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