The Top 20 Keyboard Shortcuts in Microsoft Windows you probably aren’t using.


What is the most annoying thing you encounter whilst writing your project report, or even preparing a presentation for the Board Room? For me, it is the time-frame I have, to complete the task. It happens every so often when we have to prepare for an unscheduled meeting in a limited timeframe and here we are wasting valuable time trying to select the entire text using the mouse scroller, this being the main reason why I started using keyboard shortcuts.

The most commonly used keyboard shortcuts are CTRL+X & CTRL+V for cut / paste, however, I was always unaware that there are more useful shortcuts that Windows has to offer. After doing detailed research on the internet, here’s my list of the top 20 keyboard shortcuts:-


1. CTRL + R (Refresh webpage in any browser)

If you’re viewing a web page which is frequently being updated such as a page displaying the live scores of a cricket match or a football championship, and you need to reload the page for an update of the latest score, just hit CTRL + R in any browser to refresh the page.

2.     CTRL + SHIFT + T (Refresh browser tab previously closed)

This is essentially useful when you realize that you have erroneously closed your browser tab which had an important email from your associate or a tab which had a site displaying important research material for your next project just hit CTRL + SHIFT + T and your last tab will be restored.

3.  LEFT ARROW or ALT + RIGHT ARROW (Navigate to the previous screen of the web browser)

The back button in a web browser is probably the most commonly used button as we often want to go back to the previous web page we were on.  A quick way to accomplish this would be to proactively just reach out the ALT + Left Arrow key and viola, you’re heading back.  The same way, if you want to go back to the page you were viewing before you clicked ALT + Left Arrow, hit with ALT + Right Arrow and you’re back to the original page.

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4.  CTRL + D (Bookmark a web page)

There have been many instances where I come across interesting web pages containing articles of my inclination, but I am short of time & can’t finish reading it.  In this case there is absolutely no need to select a ‘star’ icon or to select ‘Bookmark’ in the ‘Favorites’ menu, just simply hit CTRL + D in any of the popular browsers & you will be popped a box allowing you to choose the name of the ‘Bookmark’ & the folder in which you want to store it.

5.  CTRL + SHIFT + B / O (Displays your Bookmarks menu)

Currently I have approximately 850 bookmarks stored & it isn’t easy to access them.  I often used to stumble around trying to find them.  It was a relief when I learnt of the magic keys (which I’ll never forget, my core mantra! J) CTRL + SHIFT + O (this hotkey is only working in Chrome) or CTRL + SHIFT + B which is the universal hotkey for all browsers.  It sure has made my search a lot easier.

6.   SHIFT + ARROW (Direction of your choice): Highlight Text

Let us assume that you want to copy text from a Microsoft word document or even a web article for the matter, you would probably end up pointing your mouse cursor at the start and dragging it all the way till the last word with a few erroneous-clicks on the way, thus forcing you to restart the whole process.

The quickest & more accurate way is to place your marker at the beginning of the text, simply hold down the SHIFT key and press the RIGHT ARROW KEY, this shall highlight all the text towards the right of your starting point.  Similarly, you could hold down the SHIFT key and press the DOWN ARROW key to highlight the full sentences or you could press SHIFT + CTRL + DOWN ARROW to select the full paragraphs.

7.  ALT + F4 (Close any Windows App)

It isn’t uncommon to close your open application on Windows by pointing the mouse cursor to the upper right corner & simply clicking ‘X’.  For me that’s too much effort, simply hit ALT + F4 & it will instantaneously perform the same task as clicking on ‘X’ would.

8.  CTRL + SHIFT + V (Paste as Plain Text)

The level of irritation one goes through; while copy pasting a snippet pulled from a Microsoft word document or an online web page & ending up with a pasted piece of text with weird characters; is just preposterous. This happens frequently when you’re writing an email or editing an online document in your browser.  So what do we do in this case? It’s simple, after copying the matter required, just click on CTRL + SHIFT + V in your browser to paste it as plain text.

9.  Windows Key + Arrow (any direction): Aero Snap

This is by far my most favourite features of Windows 10, which is the ability to dock open windows next to each other between two to four open applications.  Of course, this is possible with the mouse, wherein you, just click the title bar of a window and drag the window all the way to either the left side or the right side of the screen.  Repeat the same tedious process for other windows.  Yes, it was also tedious reading the process let alone follow it.

10.  CTRL + F (Search for Text)

I often find myself drooling over thousands of words of matter trying to find that one word and spend a lot of time trying to locate it, for example, in an excel sheet trying to locate a cell containing my account number amidst hundreds of rows of data.  That is hours of scrolling.  To accomplish the search mission, simply hit CTRL + F & you shall be greeted by a pop-up box where you could simply enter the word(s) you need to look-up. It’s as simple as this!

11.  SHIFT + F7 (Look-up thesaurus in Microsoft Word)

I would term this shortcut as a ‘blessing in disguise’ for writers who constantly look for fresh synonyms to keep their articles fresh & abuzz. This is one of the most respected features in Microsoft Word.  You do not have to visit an online thesaurus to look up.  All you have to do is hit SHIFT + F7 after selecting the word for which you are looking a synonym for.  Do note that in some versions of Word SHIFT + F7 may not work; in this case hit on FN + SHIFT + F7 & this should open a list of options on the right pane.

12.  WINDOWS KEY + M (Minimize all windows)

Some of us are so wonderful at multi-tasking on a Windows PC that we tend to open many folders & files at the same time.  This keeps a lot of windows open on the Desktop & hence sometimes the desktop clutter really clutters up your concentration.  The best thing to do when you have plenty of windows open is to minimize them.  Just swipe on the WINDOWS KEY + M & viola all your open windows are systematically minimized.  Your desktop is now clearly visible to you.

13.  WINDOWS KEY + L (Lock your Computer)

Security is always a primary concern to anybody owning a computer / laptop or any smart device.  Which is why locking your device / laptop or any digital gadget is the first step to ensure security.  The conventional way to lock your laptop is by using your mouse to click on the windows button followed by another 3 clicks to lock it.  An easier way to do it is just hit on WINDOWS + L & your device will be locked. Simple & easy!!

14.  ALT + S (Send an email)

Say you have to impede an urgent dispatch in progress & that too in the nick of time.  In this case just don’t let your fingers away from the keyboard & hit on ALT + S & fire away your email to the recipient.

15.  CTRL + R (Reply to an email)

In almost all the major email clients clicking CTRL + R would take you to the reply screen. To be honest, I don’t use this as I enjoy going the more conventional way by using my mouse to hit the ‘Reply’ button.  I prefer it this way!

16.  CTRL + P (Take a print)


Almost all the users of a PC take a print using the ‘PRINT’ option available from the menu.  Instead, why not use CTRL + P, it’ll take you to the print box.  Again, I have to say this keyboard shortcut is most probably the most popularly used too.

17.  F2 (Rename Files)

This is the shortcut I have probably used the most in my entire lifespan.  I have the responsibility of creating & maintain regular backups of all the smartphones in my family.  Every member uses at least 2 smartphones, each, so that makes a total of 8 devices to back up.  Moreover, the backup mainly includes creating backup copies of the images and documents.

To rename a single file simply select the same & hit F2.  To rename multiple files just select them all & hit F2. Enter the new filename & hit ENTER.  You will notice that all the files will have the same name with the subsequent number in parens.

18.  WINDOWS KEY + E (Launch File Explorer)

We all know that ‘File Explorer’ is the heart of the entire PC.  It provides your pathway into the Windows system.  Rather than clicking on ‘My Computer’ just hit on WINDOWS KEY + E & File Explorer will open up on your Desktop in a jiffy.

19.  CTRL + SHIFT + ESC (Task Manager)

There have been may times, when either our laptop has just hung, or an open application freezes & there is no response, the immediate solution would be to open Task Manager & stop the frozen application. Viola, just hit CTRL + SHIFT + ESC & you’ll see Task Manager open in a jiff.

20.  SHIFT + DEL (Deletes any file(s) or selected object(s) without chucking it into the ‘Recycle Bin’)

This is a very useful shortcut to save the task of clicking away to deletion.  Another one of the most commonly used shortcuts in Windows.  The unique feature of this shortcut is that, it deletes whatever you have selected without placing a copy of it in the recycle bin.  In other words permanent elimination of the file or object.

There are plenty of websites on the internet which will show you more shortcuts, but I found this page at Wikipedia very informative to use.

Table for General Shortcuts:

Move the cursor after one or more undos, and further undos will be redos.Ctrl+rCtrl+Alt+K via KDE KeyboardCtrl+\ Configure desired keypress inKeyboard and Mouse Preferences,Keyboard ShortcutsSelect the next source in Input menu.⇧ Shift+Alt in GNOME

Action Windows Mac OS KDE / GNOME Emacs Vim
File menu Alt+F, or F10 Ctrl, then F Alt Meta, then f Alt+f (gvim)
(requires full keyboard access active; or Ctrl+e (vim + NERDTree)
> System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts > Full Keyboard Access > All Controls.
Alternatively use Ctrl+F7 to toggle this setting.)
Edit menu Alt+E Ctrl+F2, then E Alt+E Meta+`, then e Alt+e (gvim)
View menu Alt+V Ctrl+F2, then V Alt+V Undo the last operation Ctrl+Z, or ⌘ Cmd+Z Ctrl+Z Ctrl+x, then u or u Alt+Backspace Ctrl+/ or Ctrl+_ or Undo Redo the last operation Ctrl+Y, orShift+Alt+Backspace ⇧ Shift+⌘ Cmd+Z ⇧ Shift+Ctrl+Z, or Ctrl+Y Same as undo, when undo is exhausted, it redoes. Cut the selection and store it in the clipboard Ctrl+X ⌘ Cmd+X Ctrl+X Ctrl+w x or “ax to cut in register “a” or “+x to cut in system clipboard Copy the selection into the clipboard Ctrl+C, or Ctrl+Ins ⌘ Cmd+C Ctrl+C Meta+w, or Ctrl+Ins y or “ay or “+y Paste contents of clipboard at cursor Ctrl+V,or ⇧ Shift+Ins ⌘ Cmd+V Ctrl+V Ctrl+y, or ⇧ Shift+Ins p or “ap to paste the content of the “a” register or “+p to paste the content of the system clipboard Paste special Ctrl+Alt+V Shift+Opt+Cmd+V Ctrl+⇧ Shift+V Meta+y Select all in focused control or window Ctrl+A ⌘ Cmd+A Ctrl+A Ctrl+x, then h ggVG, unlikely ever needed as most command take an optional range parameter.% means “all in focused windows” here so e.g. to copy all the text, use :%y Cycle through installed keyboard languages / input methods ⇧ Shift+Alt, or⊞ Win+Space Cmd+Space (not MBR) The latter displays a menu with the currently selected input method highlighted, and debuted in Windows 8.

Table Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_keyboard_shortcuts


  1. Thanks dude! I didn’t even know half these shortcuts were available. Crazy stuff eh!

    • Cheers bro! Make sure you take the shortcuts to trial 😉. Do stay tuned for some more exciting stuff here….

  2. There are so many more shortcuts. But these are the more important ones. Very nice.

    • Cheers mate! I did try and list the more useful ones. I generally post about what’s tried and tested.

  3. This is so good. I did not know that some of these even existed. It’s so much fun using these. Have actually printed the list and pasted it on my board for reference. Thanks Suraj!

    • Avantika, it’s always a learning process for all of us. I am really glad that you found it useful & are using it. Do keep checking on here for the latest in tech & other categories.

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