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The main keyboard shortcuts on Windows

If you want to look like an expert using your computer, or simply save time by using only your keyboard without the need a mouse, in this article we have prepared a list of the most common keyboard shortcuts.

These keyboard shortcuts only work on devices running Windows.

The purpose of these shortcuts, as the name suggests, is to save time without having to use the right-click of the mouse. They work with an AZERTY or a QWERTY keyboard (just read the first 6 letters of the top line of the keyboard), whether the keyboard is configured for French, English or Spanish.

Keyboard shortcuts for Windows computers

These tips are for all versions of Windows, it does not concern devices that are under iOS or Ubuntu. They concern the shortcuts present by default, because it is possible to set a combination of keys on the keyboard according to our use.

They are very practical when using word processing softwares such as Word, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, or even video editing or graphics software such as Photoshop.

The time saving seems to be very small for a single manipulation, but in the long run it becomes significant.

How does it work?

Most of these shortcuts are combinations of two keys. There is one main key, which can usually be combined with several other secondary keys. The main key must remain pressed when the secondary key is pressed. The technique is the same as that used to capitalize a letter. You must hold down the shift key and then press the desired letter. Among these keys are those marked with an abbreviation:

  • ctrl (control)

  • Fn (fonction)

  • Alt (alternative)

  • Alt gr (graphic alternative)

  • ⊞ Win (Windows key)

There are among all the possible shortcuts in computing, combinations of keys using 3 different keys. There are also combinations that use the mouse wheel or the right or left click as well as a keyboard key. For our article we will just focus on the 2-key combinations. At first, practising these shortcuts may seem like a waste of time, as you search for the location of the special keys. With practice the shortcuts will become automatic.

Shortcuts with the Ctrl key

These are among the most commonly used shortcuts:

  • ctrl + A: allows you to select all the elements (often text and images) of a page

  • ctrl + C: allows you to copy the selected text

  • ctrl + X: cuts the selected element

  • ctrl + V: allows you to paste the last elements that have been "copied" or "cut"

  • ctrl + S: allows to save the file

  • ctrl + P: allows to open the launch page of the printing

  • ctrl + Z: it will cancel the action that you have just done. Very useful in data processing software such as Excel or graphics software such as Photoshop.

  • ctrl + Y: it restores the last action that was cancelled with the '' ctrl + Z ''.

  • ctrl + N: this combination will open a new window, it can be a web page or a new file of its word processor

  • ctrl + T: it will open a new tab as on Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge

  • ctrl + F: it will launch the search tool

  • ctrl + H: it will open the history page on the internet browsers

  • ctrl + O: it will open a new file

The choice of letters is often linked to the function you want to do. For example ctrl + S for Save or ctrl + P for Print.

Shortcuts with the ⊞ Win key

This is a short list of shortcuts that are useful for using the Windows system:

  • ⊞ Win + D: it will show or hide the Desktop

  • ⊞ Win + E: it will open the file explorer

  • ⊞ Win + I: it will open the settings window

  • ⊞ Win + V: it will open the search tool of the computer

  • ⊞ Win + '';'' (semicolon): it will open a window to use emoticons

  • ⊞ Win + TAB: it will open the task view

Shortcuts with the Alt key

  • Alt + Tab: it will switch from an open window to another

  • Alt + F4: closes the active window

  • Alt + Escape: navigates from one window to another

The Alt key allows with keyboards that have a numeric pad (the numbers that are usually on the right side of the keyboard) to insert a special character.

  • Alt + 3: ♥ (heart)