Keyboard and computer shortcuts are designed to make routine computer functions quicker and easier. The only problem is that many of these have gone unnoticed by the average user. By using simple keyboard and computer shortcuts in the workplace, you can increase your productivity and cut back on the strain caused by repetitive motions.
Most shortcuts serve to eliminate additional steps that might involve your mouse or selecting extra menus. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, these shortcuts are some of the most common ones you’ll regularly use. The shortcuts below apply specifically to PC users:
General Keyboard Shortcuts
These shortcuts work across many common programs and apps, including most Microsoft Office applications.
Highlight everything in the current folder, document, or page.
- Ctrl+C / Ctrl+Insert
Copy the selected text, image, or item to the clipboard.
Cut (remove) the selected text, image, or item and move it to the clipboard.
Paste contents of the clipboard into the current program or window.
Open up a search window. In Microsoft Outlook, this forwards a message.
Save an open document, file, or webpage.
Undo the last action performed
- Ctrl + P
Print the current document or page.
- Ctrl + N
Open a new window.
- Ctrl + W
Close the current window.
Microsoft Word Keyboard Shortcuts
In addition to the general shortcuts, here are a few common shortcuts you might use for Microsoft Word:
- Ctrl + B
Bold your text
- Ctrl + U
Underline your text.
- Ctrl + I
Italicize your text.
- Ctrl + L
Left align your paragraph.
- Ctrl + E
Center align your paragraph. Hitting the hotkey twice will switch back to left alignment
- Ctrl + R
Right align your paragraph. Hitting the hotkey twice will switch back to left alignment
- Ctrl + J
Justify your paragraph. Hitting the hotkey twice will switch back to left alignment.
- Ctrl + K
Create a hyperlink.
- F7 Key
Launch the Spell Checker.
- Shift + F7 Key
Launch the Thesaurus.
Microsoft Excel Keyboard Shortcuts
In addition to the general shortcuts, here are a handful of the most useful keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Excel:
- F2 Key
Edit the active cell.
- Alt + Enter
When editing a cell, add a line break within the same cell.
- Ctrl + Space
Highlight the entire column.
- Shift + Space
Highlight the entire row.
- Ctrl + D
Use the Fill Down command. This copies the content and formatting from the topmost cell to all highlighted cells below.
Website Browser Shortcuts
In addition to the general shortcuts, here are some other shortcuts you might use in web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, or Edge. (You shouldn’t still be using Internet Explorer, but these shortcuts will work there too).
- F5 Key
Refresh the current page.
- Ctrl + (+ or -)
Zoom in or out.
- Ctrl + Tab
Switch between open browser tabs.
- Ctrl + Shift + T
Open the last tab you closed.
- Ctrl + D
Bookmark the current site.
Beyond individual apps and programs, Windows has its own set of keyboard hotkeys that can help you save time.
- Alt + Tab
Switch between open applications.
- Windows Key + D
Show/hide the desktop.
- Windows Key + L
Lock your computer. (This is a really good thing to do before stepping away, to protect your data)
- Windows Key + E
Open File Explorer.
- Ctrl + Alt + Delete
Traditionally used to stop an application or restart Windows. More recent versions of Windows will take you to a simple where you can start Log off, Shut Down, Start Task Manager, and more basic security tasks.
Most of the shortcuts we listed are Windows- or PC-centric, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other applicable shortcuts for Macs, etc. In fact, there are many more shortcuts for Windows and PCs than we’ve listed here!
While many of these shortcuts do work across multiple programs, they’re not universal. Each program requires support for shortcuts, and each piece of software may have its own unique shortcuts. Still, when there are so many available shortcuts to make our lives easier, it’s hard to complain when one or two don’t work 100% of the time. Once you discover the usefulness of all these shortcuts, it won’t take long to notice how much time you’re saving throughout the workday.
If you’re looking for other ways to make your computers and IT systems more efficient, give our IT experts a call. We’re here to help you manage your network, so you can focus on your business!