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.
Each weekday, sometime during the day.
Why should you bother to learn keyboard shortcuts?
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.
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.)
There’s more precision when moving the cursor with the keyboard.
What if you don’t have a mouse or your mouse stops working? Keyboard shortcuts can save you from losing data.
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.
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.