The Guide to Keyboard Shortcuts Every Windows User Needs

The Guide to Keyboard Shortcuts Every Windows User Needs

In movies, hackers always look so excellent typing away on a keyboard like it’s a magic wand. No mouse or touchpad is needed. In this article, you’ll see a guide to keyboard shortcuts that every Windows user needs.

Well, you can be as cool as a TV hacker. You don’t need to move the cursor to get Windows to do what you want — shortcut and use a combination on the keyboard.

You probably know all the essential Windows shortcuts like Ctrl + Z to undo the last action if something goes wrong or Ctrl + Alt +Del to start the Task Manager if everything goes wrong. But there are hundreds of keyboard shortcuts to manipulate your system, as well as specific apps.

In this article, you’ll find a few different shortcut lists based on their area of use.

What Is a Keyboard Shortcut?Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

A keyboard shortcut, or hotkeys, is a combination of any two or more keys, usually a modifier key, such as Ctrl or Shift, and a letter or number. There are several types of keys:

  • Modifier: Shift, Ctrl, Alt, Windows logo, Fn
  • Navigation: ←, ↑, →, Home, End, Page Up, Page Down, Esc, and Menu
  • Function: F1 – F9
  • Editing: Tab, Space, Enter, Insert, Backspace, Delete
  • Letters: A – Z
  • Numbers: 1 – 9, 0

Some keyboards are smaller and don’t fit some of the keys, especially on smaller laptops. So instead, you’ll find the Fn button that makes it possible to double-act some buttons.

What Are the Basic Keyboard Shortcuts?

You can apply several hotkeys to almost any app on Windows, in a browser, and to Windows itself, such as copying files or a piece of text or switching between tabs. Here are thirteen shortcuts you might need regularly:

  • Undo action: Ctrl + Z
  • Select all: Ctrl + A
  • Copy: Ctrl + C
  • Paste: Ctrl + V
  • Cut: Ctrl + X
  • Switch screen: Ctrl + Tab
  • Switch tabs: Alt + Tab
  • Close tab: Ctrl + W
  • Close window: Alt + F4
  • Find: Ctrl + F
  • Find and replace: Ctrl + H (text editors only)
  • Zoom in/out: Ctrl + +/–
  • Save screenshot: Windows logo + PrtScn

Note: When you save a screenshot with the combination above, they appear in the Pictures folder on your computer.

30+ In-App Keyboard Shortcuts

Aside from the basic hotkeys, many combinations are specific to certain apps. Let’s go over some popular web apps, such as browsers, Gmail, YouTube, Facebook, and WordPress, and how you can cut corners to trigger specific actions.

How to quickly manipulate your browser

Whether you like to keep the count of tabs to a minimum or go all out, hotkeys can help you look for information quicker. Chances are, most of the time you spend on your computer is browsing, here is another thirteen combinations to help you along:

  • Open new window: Crtl + N
  • Secondly, Open new tab: Ctrl + T
  • Open the last closed tab: Crtl + Shift + T
  • Switch to the first Tab: Ctrl + 1
  • Switch to the last Tab: Ctrl + 9
  • Go fullscreen: F11
  • In addition, Go back in a tab: Alt/Backspace + →
  • Go forward in a tab: Alt + ←
  • Stop loading a page: Esc
  • Print page: Ctrl + P
  • Go to browser history: Ctrl + H
  • Add a page to bookmarks: Ctrl + D
  • Go to address bar: Ctrl + L

How to ace Gmail: Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

The hotkey combination in Gmail, to start with, is the question mark. Typing? While in a Gmail tab will open its keyboard shortcut cheat sheet. While you’re there, scroll down and see if all shortcuts are enabled.

Note: if you’re using an email client, it might have its hotkey combinations instead of the Gmail ones. However, in Mailbird, you can enable Gmail shortcuts, which are particularly useful if you’ve got used to them.

But the cheat sheet is just a list you can peek into from time to time. It doesn’t save you much effort. So, here are several key combinations that can help you in the long run and are easy to learn:

  • Go to inbox: G + I
  • Compose new email: C
  • Archive an email: E
  • Mark as unread: Shift + U
  • Reply: R
  • Reply all: A
  • Add CC: Ctrl + Shift + C
  • Add BCC: Ctrl + Shift + B

YouTube hotkeys you probably didn’t know about

Aside from the Spacebar for pausing and playing videos or up and down arrows to change volume — those work on pretty much any video player — YouTube has a few other shortcuts:

  • Firstly, pause/play video when the player isn’t in focus: K
  • Secondly, restart video: 0 or Home
  • Skip to the end: End
  • Enter/exit full screen: F/Esc
  • Turn captions on and off: C
  • Finally, go to the YouTube search field: /

Facebook for easier use: Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Facebook also has a few shortcuts to help you browse the feed and posts. You can open the complete list at any time via Facebook menu > Display & Accessibility > Keyboard > See All Keyboard Shortcuts. But here are a few that would be handy to learn:

  • Firstly, go up and down the Feed stories: J/K
  • Secondly, search: /
  • In addition, like/unlike a story: I
  • Share a tale: S
  • Add a comment: C
  • Finally, ipdate status: P

WordPress hotkeys to post like a pro

WordPress has a cheat sheet of shortcuts that opens with a question mark button, but it doesn’t have a hotkey to bypass the button. So here are a few shortcuts that would be useful to learn:

  • Format as heading 2, 3, 4 where the cursor is: Ctrl + 2, 3, 4
  • Insert a link: Alt + Shift + A
  • Insert an image: Alt + Shift + M
  • Add bullet point/numbered list: Alt + Shift + U/O

Can You Cheat the Shortcut Cheat Sheet?

Hotkeys are said to make your life easier, save time, and boost productivity. Though, in reality, this change is slight, keyboard shortcuts can make it more convenient to use your PC.

That is if you can remember them all. However, there are a few apps to ease the learning curve, custom set your preferred keyboard shortcuts, and find any combination for the numerous apps you use. Here’s an example per each category:

Windows Mouse and Keyboard Center – custom-set shortcuts

If you don’t have the app already, you can download and install it from the Microsoft support center. This free Windows accessory helps you:

  • Reassign keyboard shortcuts in a way that’s more convenient for you.
  • Reassign mouse button functions.

ShortcutWorld – database of hotkeys

ShortcutWorld is a free database of hotkeys for different programs. It works like a wikipedia, where you can add pages – missing apps and their shortcut keys. With this app you can:

  • Find any shortcut with a search bar or by browsing the apps database.
  • Create pages, add bookmarks, and get updates if you register.

What’s Your Favorite Keyboard Shortcut?

Claiming that keyboard shortcuts save time might sound like an over exaggeration. But once you learn a few combinations of actions you do everyday, they do seem like a productivity booster. Two or three keys pressed simultaneously instead of the constant clicking? Sign me up!

Apps such Gmail, Facebook, YouTube and WordPress have their specific shortcuts to make your use of them simpler or quicker. And the ones you didn’t find on this list can easily search for in a database such as ShortcutWorld.

You can even customize Windows actions to your liking in the Mouse and Keyboard Center. Change language with a Shift + Alt combination instead of Shift + Ctrl, or something more outrageous? Why not.

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