Friday Donut tip: useful keyboard shortcuts

By: Imanuel Votteler

Date: 23 March 2012

Useful keyboard shortcutsEvery Friday afternoon we bring you a great business IT tip. From nuggets that make repetitive tasks easier to simple ways to banish business tech annoyances, we're here to help.

If there's something you'd like our help with, send an email to [email protected] or just leave a comment on this post. We'll try and cover it in a future IT Donut tip.

Be more efficient with useful keyboard shortcuts

The layout of a standard keyboard is a hangover from the days of typewriters. As the story goes, the keys are ordered in a way designed to reduce typing speed, to stop old-fashioned typewriters jamming so often.

But even if the keyboard you use every day is an anachronism, knowing some useful keyboard shortcuts can make you much more efficient.

Keyboard shortcuts let you perform tasks by pressing particular combinations of keys, instead of moving the mouse to click buttons or select from menus. It doesn't take long for them to become second nature, so here are our most useful keyboard shortcuts.

These all work in recent versions of Microsoft Windows. However, Mac and Linux users will find many keyboard shortcuts are identical or similar. Remember, when we say ‘CTRL+C', it means you should hold down the CTRL key and tap C on your keyboard.

Useful shortcuts when working with text

These useful keyboard shortcuts will have you copying, pasting and moving text with ease.

  • CTRL+C copies whatever text is selected on to your computer's virtual clipboard
  • CTRL+X cuts text from the screen and moves it to your clipboard
  • CTRL+V pastes the text on the clipboard into your document
  • CTRL+A selects all the text in a window
  • CTRL+Z undoes whatever you just did. Often you can step back through recent edits
  • CTRL+Y redoes your edits. Use with CTRL+Z to move back and forth through changes
  • CTRL+P will print your document
  • CTRL+B turns selected text bold
  • CTRL+I makes selected text italic
  • CTRL+U underlines selected text

Most of these shortcuts will work in other situations too. For instance, if you're editing an image you can cut out a portion using CTRL+X.

Useful shortcuts when navigating Windows

These useful keyboard shortcuts are designed to help when working with files, folders and your desktop. The Windows key is the one with the little Microsoft Windows flag on it.

  • WINDOWS+D minimises every window on your screen, so you can see your desktop
  • WINDOWS+L locks your desktop – great if you're popping away from your PC
  • WINDOWS+E opens a new Explorer window so you can navigate to files
  • WINDOWS+TAB lets you jump between open applications. Keep tapping tab to find what you want, then release both keys to jump to that program.
  • If you have a file selected on your screen, just hit F2 to rename it

Which useful keyboard shortcuts do you use most? Leave a comment to let us know.

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