Useful Keyboard Shortcuts

Microsoft Windows and Office have many keyboard shortcuts that can simplify your life: you use a few simple keystrokes instead of your mouse, so your hands don't leave the keyboard. If you're navigating your desktop, editing a Word document, composing an email, or otherwise using Windows or any Microsoft program, there are shortcut keys that can virtually eliminate use of your mouse. Memorize the shortcuts most useful to you and work them into your routine.

1. Navigating open windows

Some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts have to do with navigating your open windows. If you ever find yourself with more open windows than you can deal with, these shortcuts are for you:

ALT + F4: Closes the active window or quits the active program. (Substitutes for clicking the "X" in the upper-right corner of a window.)

ALT + TAB: Cycles through a list of icons representing your open windows. Press and hold ALT and tap TAB once to display the list. Continue tapping TAB, and release ALT when you've selected the window you want to display.

ALT + ESC: Cycles through the actual windows in the order that they were opened. Press and hold ALT and tap ESC; stop on the one you want.

CTRL + ESC: Brings up the Start Menu on top of everything else that you have open. (Especially useful if your task bar isn't visible.)

2. Manipulating icons

You can also use your keyboard when you're working with any sort of icon (i.e. a desktop shortcut, a file on your desktop or in Windows Explorer, etc):

CTRL while dragging an icon with your cursor: Copies an item and places the copy wherever you release your cursor.

CTRL + SHIFT while dragging something: Creates a shortcut to the itemand places it wherever you release your cursor.

ALT + ENTER: Same as right-clicking the icon and choosing "Properties".

3. Other useful tricks

Some keyboard shortcuts don't fit into a category because they work in so many different contexts. Some of these versatile shortcuts include:

CTRL + Z: Undoes the last operation. An "operation" can be pretty much anything, including typing a character, moving or editing an object, changing a setting, etc. Also undoes "automatic" operations such as spelling changes.

CTRL + Y: Cancels the last "undo". (Equivalent to the "redo" command; only works if you have just "undone" something.)

CTRL + A: Highlights everything in the active window. (Equivalent to the "Select All" command.) CTRL + A + C makes a copy of everything in the active window.

You've probably noticed underlined letters on buttons, commands, and in menu items. (If you're reading this in Outlook, look at the underlined letters on the message window's buttons). Pressing ALT + any underlined letter executes the associated button or command. If the button or command generates a pull-down list, you can execute an item on the list by pressing its underlined letter while you continue to hold down ALT.

This article provided courtesy of Shulman Clark Associates - Ann Arbor, MI - Providing Practical Technolgy Services For Small Business