Keyboard Shortcuts

Intro | Command | Navigation

A brief introduction

Why Should I Use These Shortcuts?

If nothing else, keyboard shortcuts greatly increase your speed and efficiency at the computer by cutting down on the number of times you need to take your hands from the keys to use the mouse.  They’re especially helpful in word processing.  From navigating and selecting to cutting and pasting, keyboard shortcuts will make your computer time more productive and more fun!  Besides, they look cool as all get out.


Keyboard Shortcuts

Where Can I Use These Shortcuts?

Many of these commands work the same in Windows as they do in applications like Word or Photoshop.  That is, you can select files and/or folders and use Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V to Cut, Copy and Paste them just as you would text in a document.


About The Abbreviations

Throughout this text you’ll see some abbreviations like “Ctrl+X,” which means “while holding down the Control key, press X.”  Most keyboard shortcuts for commands use the Control key.  There are also shortcuts that activate the menu bar, which use the Alt key.  For example, in most Windows applications, Alt+F will drop down the File menu.  Then, all of the options on the File menu can also be selected from the keyboard.  As a very useful example, try “Alt+F, A”, which means “while holding down the Alt key, press F – then, press A.”  The result of this is “Save As,” something you should practice frequently.  (And once you’ve done your “Save As,” which tells you exactly where you are saving your file, you can just do “Ctrl+S” for Save.)

File Menu

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Keyboard Command Shortcuts

in Windows and Windows applications

Keyboard
Action

Command

Result

“Edit” Commands
Ctrl+X
Cut
Removes selected text (or object) and places it on the Clipboard
Ctrl+C
Copy
Duplicates selected text (or object) and places it on the Clipboard
Ctrl+V
Paste
Inserts text (or object) into document or folder
Ctrl+A
Select All
Selects everything in the current document
Ctrl+Z
Undo
Reverses a recent action, as if it hadn’t happened
“File” Commands
Ctrl+N
New
Creates a new file in the current application
Ctrl+O
Open
Opens an existing file
Ctrl+P
Print
Opens the Print dialog box to print a copy of what you’re working on

What is the Clipboard?

The “Clipboard” is an area of computer memory that contains something that has just been copied or cut, and is to be pasted somewhere.  That something may be a number or formula being duplicated in an Excel spreadsheet, a paragraph being moved within a Word document, (or from one document to another) or files being copied to another folder or another drive in Windows.  Whenever you select something and cut or copy it, it goes to the “Clipboard.”

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Keyboard Navigation Shortcuts

in Windows and Windows applications

Keyboard
Action

Result

Home
Brings the cursor to the beginning of the current line
End
Brings the cursor to the end of the current line
Ctrl+Home
Brings the cursor to the beginning of the document
Ctrl+End
Brings the cursor to the end of the document
Arrow Keys
Left and Right Arrow move through your text one character at a time; Up and Down go one line at a time
Ctrl+Arrow
The Control key speeds up your arrow key so that Left and Right move from one word to the next; Up and Down from one paragraph to the next (generally)

Keys for navigation

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Navigating and Selecting from the Keyboard

in Windows and Windows applications

Many of these concepts are useful in applications like Excel and others, but the best way to illustrate navigating and selecting from the keyboard is in word processing

Try out the Keyboard Navigation Shortcuts on the enclosed chart.  You can use any document you have of one or two pages, with a few paragraphs to play with.  Don’t forget to save an extra copy before you chop one up.  (Use “Alt+F, A”!)

Then, after you’ve had some fun with Keyboard Navigation, you can practice shift-selecting from the keyboard, because you know the Secret Meaning of the Shift key—

Holding down the Shift key means:
“Wherever I go, select.”

You can try this out with the mouse first if you like.  Click somewhere in your document, hold down the Shift key and then click somewhere else.  Everything between the first click and the shift-click will be selected.  Then, try using Shift with some other key combinations, like Shift+Ctrl+Arrow to select a word or two or three, or Shift+Home to select the whole line (very useful if you don’t like what you just typed).

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