Save Time with Keyboard Shortcuts 

 February 28, 2021

By  Jennifer Anastasi

When you're an expert at what you do, you probably create content to show the world your expertise. Between blog posts, social media content, emails, there are LOTS of opportunities to save time when you sit down at your computer.

When I use my computer, I want to sit down and get back up as soon as possible. The goal is to be as efficient as possible because I’ve got stuff to do and people to see!

One of the biggest time savers I’ve found is using Windows keyboard shortcuts. They allow me to save time instead of clicking around with a mouse.

Moving your hand to your mouse and back to the keyboard might not seem like a big deal, but when you do it over and over again that time adds up. Shortcuts let you keep your hands on your keyboard and saves you boatloads of time.

Ever since I’ve started using shortcuts, I’ve been able to sit down at my computer and get back up much faster. It’s helped me save time as a parent so I can do more of the things I love with my daughter.
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When it comes to keyboard shortcuts, a lot of people feel as though they are too technical. Unless you spend all day on your computer, how could they help?

I use my personal laptop for more than just blogging. I use it for online shopping, emails, and doing things like managing my personal digital photographs.

Learning how to use Windows keyboard shortcuts then has saved me a lot of time. And that time adds up when you think of how much screen time we use.

I’ve created a Windows Keyboard Shortcuts cheat sheet for you. Print it out and hang it next to your computer. Then as you are using your computer, you can look over and remind yourself of the shortcuts.

I’ll also walk through them here.

Basic shortcuts

These shortcuts will save SO MUCH TIME if you learn how to use them consistently. A lot of it turns into muscle memory, so the best way to learn them is one at a time and practicing over and over.

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First, let’s talk about copy and paste. One of the biggest time savers of computers is that if you type something once, or find something you’re looking for online, you can copy it and paste it somewhere else.

This can make writing emails, doing research, writing papers or blog posts, or really anything easier. These are my most used shortcuts.

The time saved isn’t the only benefit. You also can be more confident in what you are copying.

If you are trying to enter a password for example, it helps a lot to copy it exactly. I trust the computer to not make a mistake over my typing sometimes!

To use copy and paste (and cut which removes the text after it copies it), you are going to use the control key. That’s the key at the bottom of the keyboard with the letters “Ctrl”.

To copy, you’re going to use Ctrl + C. To be clear, you’re going to press them both at the same time. I like to hit the Ctrl key first and then while I’m holding it press the C key.

To paste, it’s similar. Instead of Ctrl + C, you’re going to use Ctrl + V. The letters are right next to each other so it’s easy to remember! To cut something, the shortcut is Ctrl + X.

My recommendation is to start with these shortcuts. Use them all the time. Rather than clicking with your mouse, get used to hitting Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V.

When you’re writing things like a blog post, or paper, or email, it’s best to save often. But it can get annoying to keep having to go to File and then find save.

Make your life easier and save more. All you have to do is click the Ctrl + S.

When it comes to selecting text, you can use the shift key. If you use Shift + Right arrow, you will start to highlight the text. Also if you want to highlight the whole line, Shift + End will do the same thing.

Maybe you want to start from the end of the line. If you use Shift + Left arrow, will move the highlight back. Also if you want to highlight the whole line from the end, Shift + Home will do the same thing.

Undo and Redo

Once you’ve got that programmed into your brain, it’s time to move on to some other useful shortcuts.

Let’s say your doing pretty much anything on your computer and you make a mistake. Maybe you deleted something you shouldn’t have or changed a color to something and you hate it immediately.

For most programs, there’s an undo shortcut. It’s Ctrl + Z. If you press these two keys together, it will undo the latest action.

If you accidentally undo too much, you can always hit Ctrl + Y to redo.

Some programs don’t have undo or redo, but most at this point have this feature so it’s worth learning!

File Folder System

If you’re in the file system, there are some fantastic shortcuts that make it a lot easy to move around. This works really well while you’re doing things like moving around digital photos.

First, if you want to delete a file and send it to the recycle bin, you can hit the Delete button (not the backspace; these are two separate keys).

But what if you don’t want it to go to the recycle bin? Then add the Shift key to the mix and Shift + Delete will remove it completely from your computer.

Do you want to select everything in the folder you’re looking at? Or maybe all the text on a page? That one is Ctrl + A. Remember, A is for All!

What if you want to rename something? For example, if you’re renaming a bunch of photos or a folder, using a mouse can be time consuming. Renaming is easy: just press the F2 button!

The function keys run along the top of your keyboard. If you’re on a laptop, sometimes they are hidden with the “Function” keys, so you have to press a key with Fn on it and then click the function key. Usually you know this is the case if you have a different color on some of the letters on your keyboard.

Maybe you’re done with a program you’re using and you want to shut it down. Rather than finding the familiar red X, you can do so easily using Ctrl + W. Not only can you close a file or program this way, but this works on closing tabs in most browsers too.

Browsers – The Internet

Speaking of browsers, maybe you accidentally close a tab before you’re ready. I do this all the time!

The Ctrl + Shift + T shortcut is a LIFE saver in this case! It’s three keys so it’s a bit more cumbersome, but completely worth it if you do it all the time.

And maybe you’re like me and usually have a bunch of tabs open. It’s not the best time management practice (remember, multitasking is bad!) but often I’ll have tabs up for reference. To switch between tabs, you can use Ctrl + Tab to rotate through and save yourself time.

What do you do when you want to refresh a page? Are you waiting for tickets to go on sale so you need to keep refreshing to see if you can get a coveted ticket to see your favorite popular artist?

F5 is your best friend in this situation. It’s a lot faster to hit F5 over and over again to see the latest version of the page you’re on. Who knows, it may help you get that concert ticket!

F5 is your best friend in this situation. It’s a lot faster to hit F5 over and over again to see the latest version of the page you’re on. Who knows, it may help you get that concert ticket!

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And do you ever accidentally find yourself in full screen mode? It’s happened to me. A lot. F11 is your friend. It can get you into and out of full screen.

Finally, every now and then you want to save exactly what you see on your screen. There are tools that can help with that, but if you don’t care about cropping or are in a time crunch, you can use the Win + PrtScn keys.

PrtScn could also be Print Screen; it all depends on how much space you have on your keyboard.

Key Takeaways

  • Ctrl + C : Copy
  • Ctrl + V: Paste
  • Ctrl + X: Cut
  • Ctrl + S: Save
  • Shift + Right arrow: Highlight to the right
  • Shift + End: Highlight to the end of the row
  • Shift + Left arrow: Highlight to the left
  • Shift + Home: Highlight to the start of the row
  • Ctrl + Z: Undo
  • Ctrl + Y: Redo
  • Delete: Delete a file
  • Shift + Delete: Delete a file without sending it to the Recycle Bin
  • Ctrl + A: Select all
  • F2: Rename
  • Ctrl + W: Close program
  • Ctrl + Shift + T: Reopen a closed browser tab
  • Ctrl + Tab: Switch Tabs in a browser
  •  F5: Refresh
  • F11: Full Screen or exit full screen
  • Windows + PrntScrn: Take a screenshot

So hopefully I’ve convinced you that it’s worth taking the time to learn some of these shortcuts.

Jennifer Anastasi

I’m Jennifer Anastasi, an Engineer turned Brand Strategist. I empower other service-based businesses to find that clear brand and online presence using my background in tech mixed with creativity (I'm a lifelong creative after all). Unlike courses or group programs, I focus on each business as a unique entity and break down complex and intimidating concepts into easy-to-understand ideas for custom results.

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  1. Hey Jennifer, thank you for this very comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts. I could use alot of these when creating articles and stuff for my website. Hopefully I can speed things up a little bit and be more productive!

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