Improve Your Productivity with Useful Keyboard Shortcuts

Today, the two most popular computer input devices are the mouse and keyboard (though touchscreens are becoming increasingly popular). Most people exclusively use the mouse for clicking and selecting items, while the keyboard is dedicated almost completely to text input. While this arrangement is fine for most people, learning how to use simple keyboard shortcuts can drastically improve your overall efficiency and productivity on a computer.

Disclaimer: The keyboard shortcuts listed below are for PCs (not Macs), unless noted otherwise. However, the corresponding keyboard shortcuts for Mac computers are often very similar. For example, you can often substitute the Command key on a Mac, for the CTRL key on a Windows computer.

Also remember, keyboard shortcuts utilizing multiple keystrokes denote holding down the first key while pressing the second, unless otherwise stated.

Global Shortcuts

By global, I mean that these shortcuts can be used in almost any program/application. In other words, they’re pretty much universal.

  • CTRL + A (By the way, CTRL is an abbreviation for CONTROL. It may be labeled either way, depending on your particular keyboard model)
    • Select All. Allows you to select all instances of text/images/items on a page/document.
  • CTRL + C
    • Copy. Used to copy text/images/items.
  • CTRL + X
    • Cut
  • CTRL + V
    • Paste. Often used in association with the copy/cut commands.
  • CTRL + Z
    • Undo. Useful if you make a mistake in a text/image/video editing program.
  • CTRL + Y
    • Redo. Basically the exact opposite of ‘Undo’.
  • CTRL + P
    • Print. Used to print the current document/item.
  • CTRL + S
    • Save. Used to save the current document/item.
  • CTRL + N
    • Used to create a new document.
  • CTRL + F
    • Find. Often used to search for text in documents/web pages.

Sidenote: If you have no idea what the Copy, Cut, and Paste commands do, take a look HERE

Text Formatting

  • CTRL + B
    • Used to ‘bold’ text.
  • CTRL + U
    • Used to ‘underline’ text.
  • CTRL + I
    • Used to italicize text.

Windows Shortcuts

  • ALT + F4
    • Close the current window/program.
  • ALT + TAB
    • Used to switch between running programs/applications.
  • Windows Key (Looks like this )
    • Open/close the Windows ‘Start Menu’
  • Windows Key + TAB (For Windows Vista/7)
    •  Switch between open Windows in ‘Flip 3D’ view.
  • Windows Key + D
    • Show Desktop. Hides all currently open windows and reveals the Windows Desktop. Press again to show the previously hidden windows.
    • Note: Windows 7 users, try using Windows Key + Space instead.
  • Windows Key + E
    • Opens Windows Explorer
  • Windows Key + F
    • Search for files/folders on your computer.
  • Windows Key + M
    • Minimizes all currently open windows.
  • Windows Key + Shift + M
    • Restores all previously minimized windows.
  • Windows Key + R
    • Opens the ‘Run’ dialog box.
  • Windows Key + L
    • ‘Lock’ your computer or switch between users.
  • Windows Key + Up Arrow Key
    • Maximizes the current window
  • Windows Key + Down Arrow Key
    • Minimizes the current window
  • Windows Key + Right Arrow Key
    • Maximizes the current window to the right side of your screen
  • Windows Key + Left Arrow Key
    • Maximizes the current window to the left side of your screen

Function Key Shortcuts

  • F1
    • Displays ‘help’ for the current program/application.
  • F2
    • Rename a selected file.
  • F3
    • Search for a file/folder/text. Press repeatedly to search for the next instance of your search query.
  • F5
    • Refresh the current document/web page.


  • Print Screen
  • ALT + Print Screen
    • Takes a ‘screenshot‘ of the currently selected window.


While this isn’t exactly an exhaustive list (though it could be quite ‘exhausting’ if you tried memorizing it all at once), it does contain some of the more useful keyboard shortcuts currently available. Take it step by step, and learn a couple keyboard shortcuts a day. Make a conscious effort to use them on a regular basis in your daily computing routine, and in no time you’ll be on your way to becoming a keyboard shortcut kung-fu master.
This helpful computing guide is brought to you by Northbridge Computer Services, “…bridging the gap between technology and you.” Contact us today at 403-542-6255 for all your computer service needs, or visit us online at

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