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16 Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows Users

Simple keyboard tricks to do everything faster

spinner image ctrl c and ctrl v keys, which are used for copy and paste, on a yellow background

The next time you sit down at your computer keyboard, think about what you can do to get more done in less time. This doesn’t mean increasing your typing speed but instead taking advantage of handy keyboard shortcuts built into Windows and Mac.

These shortcuts can be faster than using a mouse, whether you’re looking to highlight text, copy and paste content or find where you left off while browsing the web. They’re also fun and can be more accurate than maneuvering a mouse. To get you started, we’ve assembled 16 Windows shortcuts here. Mac users have their own set of 16 shortcuts, too.

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Note: We use a (+) to identify a combination of keys to hold down for an action to take place, for example, CTRL + (and) another key.

Windows shortcuts

 The Control (CTRL) key on Windows is your gateway to productivity. It, along with ALT and the Windows key, make formatting and other actions simple and easy.

1. CTRL + B: Bold

2. CTRL + I: Italic

3. CTRL + U: Underline

Not only can you quickly format words to bold (CTRL B), italic (CTRL I) and underline (CTRL U), but applying the same combinations removes the bold, italic and underlined text.

4. CTRL + A: Select all items

If you’re looking to select all content in a word document or a group of documents in a folder, there’s no need to drag the cursor over the entire screen. Instead, press CTRL + A and it will immediately select everything in one fell swoop. You can then cut and paste it somewhere else, copy everything or format the content using the bold, italic and underline tricks above.

5. CTRL + C: Copy

6. CTRL + V: Paste

7. CTRL + X: Cut

If you’re looking to duplicate information somewhere else, once you’ve selected and highlighted text on the screen, you can copy that information using CTRL + C. Then paste the information to your desired location using CTRL + V. This keeps the original content intact.

Alternatively, if you want to remove content from one place altogether, you can delete content using CTRL + X. If you want to use that information in another location, use CTRL + V to paste it.

8. CTRL + F: Search for text

When you’re looking for a specific word in a document or on a website, Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint deck, rather than manually combing through all the text, press CTRL + F as a shortcut to find a word or series of words. Type in what you’re looking for and press Enter to begin the search.

9. CTRL + S: Save

10. CTRL + P: Print

If you haven’t set up your computer to save your work automatically, save your progress periodically by pressing CTRL + S. If you’re looking to print a document or image on your screen quickly, press CTRL + P.

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11. CTRL + Z: Undo

12. CTRL + Y: Redo

If you mistakenly delete a bunch of text or paste the wrong information into your document, press CTRL + Z to undo what you just did. Similarly, if you want to redo the previous action, such as restore deleted text, press CTRL + Y, which reverses the undo command.

13. Windows + Arrow: Windows snap

For duo screen viewing, you can “snap” open windows (apps/programs) into place to split the screen evenly between two or even four applications.

Select the window you want to snap and press the Windows Logo Key + Left Arrow or the Windows Logo Key + Right Arrow to snap the window to either side of the screen, respectively. By snapping (or locking) these into place, you’ll have a clean look with no overlapping windows. Similarly, press Windows + Up Arrow or Windows + Down Arrow after you snap it to the left or right and it will move the screen into the corner.

14. ALT + Arrow: Move forward or backward in a web browser

If you’re browsing the web and want to go back to the previous screen, press ALT + Left Arrow to find that page. This works in any web browser, such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari. To move forward, press ALT + Right Arrow.

15. Windows + L: Lock your PC

If you need to step away from your computer and want to lock it, press Windows + L. When you return, type in your PIN or password, or scan your face or finger, to resume.

16. Windows + Period (.): Insert emojis

Want to quickly add an emoji into something you’re typing on your PC? Press the Windows + Period (.) at the same time to pull up emojis and other special characters.

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