My top favourite keyboard shortcuts. They will change your life!

01st October 2020

I was talking to a college of mine the other day and managed to teach him a new keyboard shortcut he didn't know about. I figured that if a tech-savvy guru like himself didn't know about it, then you might not either. I find that most use basic keyboard shortcuts such as CTRL+X to cut and CTRL+V to paste, but you might not know some of the most helpful hotkeys that your PC has to offer. I have put together a list of my favourite keyboard shortcuts. If you learn these they will seriously change your life! As a hot tip for Mac users, nearly all of these work, for mac too, just use "Command" instead of "CTRL".  

CTRL + F - Search for Text

You're reading a laptop review on the Internet and want to see if the article mentions "USB Type-C." You're editing a report in Word and want to find the section where the author mentions"revenue." Hitting "CTRL" and "F" at the same time in just about any program that involves reading - web browsers, word processors, spreadsheet apps and PDF readers - lets you search for a specific text string. 

CTRL +A - Select All Items

If you want to select all of the content in a given window, whether it's a document, a picture in an image editor, a folder full of files or even a web page, you don't have to hold down your mouse button and drag the highlight down the screen. Just hit "CTRL" and "A" at the same time and you can select everything in one stroke.

CTRL + Click OR Shift + Click - Select Multiple Items

Whether you're selecting rows in an Excel spreadsheet, blocks of text in Word, or files in File Explorer, you may want to highlight a number of different items. If the times are all next to each other for example, rows 10 to 30 in the worksheet, you can simply press and hold "Shift" and click the first one and then click the last one then release "Shift". But you might want to select two or more items not next to each other at the same time. To do this press and hold "CTRL" and click all the items you want, then release "CTRL". If you click without "CTRL" being pressed down, you'll lose all the previous selections.

Shift + Arrow - Highlight Text

I hate using trackpads, and so if I want to highlight the text I hold down "Shift" a and move the cursor with the arrow keys. Here's one that even pros miss, also hold down "CTRL" and you can highlight whole words rather than individual characters with each arrow press.

CTRL + Shift + V - Paste as Plain Text

It happens from time to time. You're composing an email or editing an online document in your browser, and you decide to paste in a snippet of text from a web page or a Word doc. You highlight the text, copy it and paste it, only to see all kinds of wacky fonts and unwanted formatting in your destination document. Fortunately, there's an easy solution in Chrome. Press "CTRL" and "Shift" and "V" simultaneously and the contents of your clipboard will paste into your browser as plain text.

Alt + F4 - Close Any Window

Most people close programs by rolling the mouse pointer to the upper right corner of their windows and clicking the X button. But that's a lot of lunging and swiping, especially if you want to close several programs at once. Pressing "ALT" and "F4" together will close all programs in Windows.

CTRL + SHIFT + T - Restore Closed Browser Tab

Ever realise that you just closed a browser tab with an important Facebook post you were going to share. Just press "CTRL" "Shift" and "T" at the same time in your web browser to restore the last tab you closed.

CTRL + P - Print Out 

Sure you could go looking for where to find the print button within many menus. But why bother when you can just hit "CTRL" and "P" together to bring up the print dialog box. From there, you can choose a printer or save as a PDF.

Windows Key + P - Send to External Monitor

This is a common problem, many people fish around in control panel for ages looking for how to get their laptop to send an image to a projector, or connected display. You can choose to do that easily by hitting "Windows Key"  and "P" together. When you get to the display menu, you can choose between duplicating (making an exact copy) your screen or extending it so that you have a second desktop.

F5 - Refresh Web Page

Perhaps you're viewing a frequently-updated web page like a forum or breaking news site and you need to reload in order to see the latest content. Or maybe the web tool you're using is stuck in some way and you just need to start over. Either way, you can hit "F5" to refresh the page. 

CTRL + L Snap Your Cursor to the Address Bar 

Inc Chrome instead of having to take your hands away from the keyboard to move the mouse to the search bar, use this shortcut to instantly bring you to the address/search bar to Google something or type in a URL.

Hopefully, these help you be a bit more productive. If you need more help with this kind of stuff we offer lessons at King IT where we can show you stacks more! Feel free to pop in and see us.