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10 Incredibly Useful Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows

Added by Edan Barak in Software (productivity, windows, PC, computer) on May 26, 2014
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With computer usage constantly on the rise, and with over 91% of personal and business PCs using the Windows operating system, knowing the most time-saving keyboard shortcuts and how to use them effectively can speed up your access to information, improve your online experience, and even give you the edge at work.

We've compiled a list of our favorite shortcuts and when to use them. Your fingers will thank us later.

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Copy with CTRL+C, Cut with CTRL+X, Paste with CTRL+V

If you've been using a PC for any reasonable amount of time, you probably already know this. So for you beginners out there - this is the most useful keyboard shortcut you'll ever learn. To copy some text, a website address, or even a file on your computer, simply highlight it with your mouse and hit CTRL+C. If you want to cut it, meaning copy it elsewhere and have it deleted from the original location, hit CTRL+X instead. To paste, place your mouse's cursor on the place where you want the copied data to go, and hit CTRL+V.

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Cancel tasks, close dialogs: Escape Key

Although you can easily do the same with your mouse, getting into the habit of using the Escape key to cancel tasks or close dialogs you're not interested in (or that pop up sometimes, especially when browsing the web) will save you tons of time, and, more importantly, help keep your train of thought. Gone are the days of the click-wars with those irritating popups, at the end of which you've usually forgotten whatever it was you were doing in the first place.

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Select everything: CTRL+A

Instead of tediously highlighting a long piece of text, or a URL in your browser, simply hit CTRL+A to highlight everything. You can then combine the shortcut CTRL+C and CTRL+P to copy and paste whatever you highlighted quickly, and with minimal use of the mouse.

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Save your work more often: CTRL+S

It's tedious to save our work in programs like Excel or Word, but it's very important. You never know when there might be a power outage, or your computer will try to reboot itself for no apparent reason. You could use your mouse, click on File->Save. It's even kinda fast. But when you need to do it every few minutes, or even seconds if you really value your work, you'll be glad you can simply hit CTRL+S and continue working. Leave the mouse outta this, it's definitely a keyboard-only task.

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Quickly open 'My Computer': Windows Key+E

This handy shortcut gives you quick access to your hard-disks, CD and DVD drives, and any other devices which are currently connected to your PC. This is really the gateway to your PC, and from here you can navigate to pretty much any important files you might need, and a whole lot more.

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Switch between windows quickly: Alt+Tab

Note: Tab is usually the button to the left of the 'Q' on your keyboard
How many times do you find yourself needing to switch back and forth between programs, grappling with your mouse to hit the minimize button, search for the program you want in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen, over and over? Have you ever thought, "there must be a better way."? Well, there is. Hit Alt+Tab to show a quick summary of all the currently open programs. Let go of the Tab button (but keep pressing Alt) and then hit the Tab over and over to cycle through the different programs. Once you let go of both Alt and Tab the program you've highlighted will pop up.

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Lock your PC screen or restart your PC when it freezes: CTRL+Alt+Delete

Especially useful for work environment or when you're using your PC in public, the CTRL+Alt+Delete trio quickly opens up the Task Management screen where you can hit Enter to lock the PC (requiring your password to start using it again), and a number of other useful tasks like switching users, logging off the PC, and more. Beware of hitting the trio more then once, though, as this can lead to your PC rebooting itself, which can be useful if your computer freezes up.

Bonus: Hit Windows+L to instantly lock your PC.

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Minimize all open windows: Windows Key+D

This shortcut acts as a sort of super-fast spring cleaning for your desktop, minimizing all open programs and showing the desktop instantly.

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Quick document search: CTRL+F

When reading a document or internet webpage, you're often searching for a specific word or topic. Instead of skimming the page, why not hit CTRL+F and open up the search feature? Now type in the word or phrase you're searching for, and you'll be taken directly to the first result. Keep hitting enter until you reach the paragraph you're looking for.

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Undo with CTRL+Z, Redo with CTRL+Y

Your computer stores everything you do so you can easily go back and undo mistakes. Simply hit CTRL + Z to undo just about anything, from deleting a line of text you want back, to mistakenly messing up your amazing photoshop drawing, to anything else. You can even take back your undo by hitting CTRL + Y.

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