Keyboard shortcuts are one of the quickest and easiest ways to level-up your PC productivity. And, given how many different applications we use daily (each with their own shortcuts), there are probably thousands you could learn.
If you have the time and superhuman memory to learn every single keyboard shortcut available, more power to you. But most of us will be happy with the basics; the universal hacks that can help us get things done across a variety of programs.
Here are the keyboard shortcuts we think everyone should work into their daily routine:
Undo (CTRL + Z) And Redo (CTRL + Y)
You probably already use the undo/redo functions via application menus, but did you know you can access these without lifting your fingers from the keyboard?
Find (CTRL + F)
Whether you are writing an email, looking through your computer’s files, or browsing the web, CTRL+F can help you quickly locate the information you need and skip the things you don’t.
Select Multiple Items (Shift/CTRL + click)
When you want to perform the same action on multiple files or sections of text, these two keyboard shortcuts make the process much more efficient and less frustrating. When all the items you want to select are grouped together, simply click the first one, press and hold the Shift key, then click the end of the desired selection. If the items aren’t all lined up in a row, click one of the items, then hold the CTRL key while you click on each of the others.
Select Everything (CTRL + A)
On the other hand, if you want to move every file in a folder or copy the entire text of a document, CTRL + A is very useful.
Close Application (ALT + F4)
When you’re done using a program, there’s something very satisfying about quickly dismissing it with this keyboard shortcut.
MultiTasking (ALT + TAB)
If you often switch back and forth between programs, this keyboard shortcut might just be your new best friend. You can even hold the ALT key while pressing TAB multiple times until the app you want to use is highlighted in the task-switching menu.
And, if you want to take your multitasking to the next level without all the clutter, we highly recommend you learn about using multiple desktops, which we wrote about here.
Snapping Windows (Windows key + Up/Down/Left/Right)
Need to reference a document while you write an email or term paper? Or, do you want to watch Netflix while performing some repetitive work (no judgment, here)? These keyboard shortcuts will quickly snap the active window to the right or left side of the screen (Windows key + Right). You can also take this a step further. Pressing Up or Down while still holding the Windows key will place the active window in a corner, only occupying a quarter of the screen.
Task Manager (CTRL + Shift + ESC)
Is your computer running slow? This keyboard shortcut will bring up the Windows Task Manager program, which will help you identify a program that’s taking up too much computing power. Once you spot the culprit, you can then force it to close, which can be difficult to do when a program is misbehaving.
Lock Your Computer (Windows key + L)
This one is a privacy and security essential! If you need to step away from your computer while other people are in the area, just key in this shortcut to lock Windows and protect your computer from prying eyes.