About this blog

What?

This blog provides brief articles about Windows keyboard shortcuts, for you to use to help improve your productivity.

By “Windows shortcut,” I mean a keyboard shortcut for either Microsoft Windows or a popular program running on Microsoft Windows. I’ll include shortcuts for Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook, Notepad, and other applications.

Note that these shortcuts are valid for Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows ME, and Windows XP. They may also be valid for Windows Vista, but I am not testing or using Windows Vista, so no guarantees.

Depending on your configuration, your keyboard, what programs you’ve installed, and how you’ve customized your menus, some of these keyboard shortcuts may not work for you. Sorry! I try to be universal, but there are a lot of PCs out in the world. Leave me a comment with your results and I’ll try to respond.

If you have feedback, submissions or suggestions, feel free to e-mail me at zeigen.com (user name estephen) or leave a comment below. I do have a huge list of keyboard shortcuts that I’ve picked up and compiled over the years; bear with me as I publish them here, one at a time.

When?

Each weekday, sometime during the day.

Why?

Why should you bother to learn keyboard shortcuts?

  • Faster!
    Increase your efficiency – save time! Keyboard shortcuts are faster. You don’t have to switch your hands from the keyboard to the mouse and back. Keystrokes are also faster for repetitive actions.
  • Safer!
    Reduce your risk of Repetitive Strain Injury or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. For many people, it’s the mouse movements that cause an issue, not the keyboard use. (Although you should definitely consider an ergonomic review of your work habits, how you sit, and make sure to take frequent breaks from typing.)
  • Better!
    There’s more precision when moving the cursor with the keyboard.
  • Flexible!
    What if you don’t have a mouse or your mouse stops working? Keyboard shortcuts can save you from losing data.

Who?

The author is E. Stephen Mack, a former software trainer, current Silicon Valley employee, and frequent keyboard user. You can learn more about Stephen by reading his personal blog.

How?

The best way to learn keyboard shortcuts is practice.

  • Practice, practice, practice. You won’t learn them if you don’t use them.
  • Focus on using one keyboard shortcut a day — all day. Set up this blog to send you an e-mail reminder.
  • Make cheat sheets — write yourself sticky notes, print out references and have them around for reference.
  • Leverage visual cues on-screen (such as the reminders in menus).
  • Disconnect your mouse for a while. Force yourself to use the keyboard.
  • Ask! If you see someone using a keyboard shortcut, it looks almost like magic, and you often can’t see what was pressed. So ask them how they did it.
  • Be patient. It takes time to unlearn mouse movements and learn to use the keyboard instead. But the payoff is worth it.

Don’t be intimidated by the fact that there are multiple ways to do things. For example, there are at least three ways to exit from a program using the keyboard (aside from the mouse methods such as clicking the X button in the upper right). You could press Alt+F4. You could press Alt+F, then X. You could press Alt+Space bar, then C. Pick one that works for you and stick with it.

13 thoughts on “About this blog”

  1. People at my workplace actually use the mouse to highlight text, then use the mouse to click on Edit at the top menu bar, then copy, then they use the mouse to go the the place, or the spreadsheet/document they need to, and go to the top of the screen and click on paste. This type of behaviour will continue until the end of time, because physical hours spent in the office is viewed as much more important than actual work quality an efficiency.

    Amazing!

  2. Great Site, I’ll be linking to you later.

    Also, I have a shortcut for you. On some system, like at school, Ctrl+Alt+Del doesn’t open the task manager. However, Ctrl+Shift+Esc does.

  3. As my touchscreen has expired on my (ancient) handheld PC running WIndows CE, is there any way of simulating double clicking…

    I can run most applications using just the keyboard, but the Calendar (Outlook) is impossible as I cannot find any keyboard way of highlighting an appointment already made to edit or delete it.

    Any suggestions? I can’t find anything on the Microsoft knowledge base.

  4. Jake, great shortcut, I’ll add that to my master lst.

    Adrian, I’ve never used Windows CE, but in Outlook, you could try the “Active Appointments” view and then use the arrow keys to select an item and Enter to open it.

  5. Great idea for a blog! Thanks in advance for all the mousing you will help me do away with.

    Do you have a request line? I haven’t really looked for one, but I would love a keyboard shortcut to minimize the current application.

  6. You can leave requests here in comments.

    Windows key+D (or Windows key+M), covered today, minimizes all applications.

    To minimize the current application, press Alt+Space, N. (We’ll cover that one in more detail in the future.)

  7. hi . how can i make a shortcut key of my email address ? i use my email as my user name on alot of sites . im running win xp pro , IE7

  8. So you want to be able to press a key and have it paste in your e-mail address?

    There’s no built-in way to do that.

    You have two choices:
    1. Get a programmable keyboard (such as this one), or
    2. Get a macro program (such as this one)

    I don’t endorse either of those examples, by the way — and I haven’t tried either one. I’m just including them as examples of what I have in mind.

  9. Hello, I cannot get into my computer, is there a way to overide my password as it keeps telling me that I cannot change my password as I am not admin.

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Windows keystrokes and keyboard tricks and tips that you can use to save time