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keyboard tricksWe have become so addicted to the mouse that we do not realize how much it disrupts our work as we keep reaching out for it. And just how annoying does it become when your mouse is unresponsive, gets stuck or you trip it over as you try to quickly get a hold of it.

The keyboard on the other hand is far more powerful than we realize. And don’t we have our hands all over it anyways? There are a few cool keyboard tricks that can help you save time and make you more productive.

Here is a short list for the most handy Windows XP and Firefox shortcuts. Some of these may also work in other applications.

Windows XP

1. [SHIFT] + [alt] + [PrntScrn] – high contrast

A window will open, click OK or simply hit [Enter]. This will enlarge the font on all open Windows and change colors to high contrast. For example the desktop will turn black, what was black text on white background will be reversed. Clicking the same key combination again reverts the changes.

2. [Ctrl] + [alt] + [up/down/left/right arrow] – rotate screen


This won’t work on every machine as it depends on your graphics card and video drivers. However, if it does work, it will rotate your desktop.

3. [Ctrl] + select items from taskbar, right-click selected – mass control open windows

cool keyboard tricksYou need to hold the [Ctrl] key while selecting open windows from the taskbar. To open the menu seen on the left, right-click any of the selected items.

With this trick you can simultaneously close a group of applications at once or show them side by side or stacked or in a cascade.

This can save a ton of time wasted on rearranging windows.

4. [Alt] + [Tab] – switch between running programs

A little window will launch showing all open programs. Click the [Tab] key to jump to the next application, release keys to open the selected one.

5. [SHIFT] + [Del] – bypass Recycle Bin

Selecting a file and pressing the combination above will invoke a delete confirmation dialog. Clicking ‘Yes’ will delete the file without sending it to the Recycle Bin.

6. [Windows] + [D] – show desktop or restore open windows

This is the keyboard shortcut to the respective quick launch taskbar icon.

7. [Windows] + [L] – lock system

An easy way to quickly protect and lock your system. When you log back in, all programs will still be running and windows will appear just the way you left them.

8. [Ctrl] + [Z] and [Ctrl] + [Y] – undo and redo

I’m sure you all know that you can undo changes using the [Ctrl] + [Z] shortcut. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have this feature outside the computer?  Anyways, you can undo an undo, i.e. redo what you did using the [Ctrl] + [Y] key combination.

9. [Windows] + [R], type cmd, hold [Ctrl] + [SHIFT] and hit Enter – run command prompt as Administrator

The command prompt will now be run as Administrator.

10. Create your own keyboard trick!

cool keyboard tricksAre there folders or applications you need a lot?  Why not create your own keyboard shortcut to quickly access these tools?

This will only work for shortcuts located on your desktop!

First you need to create an actual desktop shortcut. Right-click on the application and select > Create Shortcut from the context menu. Make sure the shortcut sits on your desktop. Now right-click the shortcut and select > Properties. You should see a line that says “Shortcut Key: <none>”. Click that line and then click a letter ony our keyboard, for example P. A shortcut will be created, in this example [Ctrl] + [alt] + [P]. And there you go, now you have your own personal shortcut key.


1. [Ctrl] + [1] to [9] – jump to tab numbers 1 to 8 or last tab (9)

Rather than scrolling through all your open tabs, you can quickly navigate to a specific tab if you know its position. For example, clicking [Ctrl] + [4] will open to tab number 4 (from the left). With [Ctrl] + [9] you will jump to the very last tab, no matter how many you have open.

2. [Ctrl] + [Tab] or [Ctrl] + [SHIFT] + [Tab] – move up/right or down/left in tabs

Neat shortcut to move between tabs.

3. [/] or [‘] – Find As You Type Text or Link

Firefox has a neat search feature, which is Find As You Type. When you click the [/] key before starting to type your search, Firefox will only search in text. Likewise, clicking the [‘] key will only find links.

cool keyboard tricks

4. [Ctrl] + mouse wheel – change font size

With the new generation high resolution screens we often find that text on websites is way too small to read properly. Here is a little trick that can quickly increase the font size for better reading.

While you hold down the control key, move your mousewheel to increase or decrease the font size in Firefox. This will also work in other programs, for example Word.

This is also very useful for making a website fit your window size, rather than to adapt the browser window.

keyboard tricks

5. [Ctrl] + [F4] – close tab

A quick, mouseless way to close a tab.

6. [alt] + [F4] – close window

This will rapidly shut down Firefox.

7. [Ctrl] + [SHIFT] + [T] – open closed tab/s

Did you accidentally close that tab? Re-open it using this key combination.

8. [Spacebar] or [SHIFT] + [Spacebar] – scroll PageDown or PageUp

Give your mouse wheel a break and use the spacebar to move up and down a website.

9. [F7] – caret browsing

Caret browsing allows you to select and copy text from web pages using the keyboard.

keyboard tricks

10. [F11] – toggle full screen

Quickly change into full screen mode.

Find out about more shortcuts for Firefox The most Essential Keyboard Shortcuts for Firefox The most Essential Keyboard Shortcuts for Firefox Read More , Windows and more Windows.  Also find out your favourite Firefox shortcut in our Poll.

Which ones are your favorites that didn’t make it to the list above?

Image credits: thesaint

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  1. Coach
    April 12, 2017 at 12:23 am

    My Favorite is
    which once opened the DEVICE MANAGER directly
    but now opens the Win Sys screen which has DEVICE MANAGER on it.

  2. kamal singh
    May 18, 2016 at 4:26 am

    Thanku so mush for help

    March 2, 2016 at 1:09 am

    ........('(...´...´.... ¯~/'...')
    ..........''...\.......... _.·´

    • Kimberly
      March 7, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      EAT IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • ty
      June 20, 2016 at 11:23 am


      • Tina Sieber
        June 20, 2016 at 5:41 pm

        • Basher
          July 22, 2016 at 5:30 am

          Can u share me this clap...?

        • Nura
          August 5, 2016 at 1:54 pm

          nice comment

  4. erick elisante
    July 29, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Thank you for your help!
    By the way my name is alfa arthur

  5. DeniswithouttheE
    April 18, 2015 at 12:42 am

    Thank you for your help!!!!
    Plz make part 2!!!!

  6. Emma Tassier
    April 5, 2015 at 1:23 am

    Hey, is Sebrina on, and thanks MAKEUSEOF for all of the info

  7. HarryhatesStyles
    April 5, 2015 at 1:22 am

    By the way my name is Timothy Clurry

  8. Chloe-Tressebelle123
    April 5, 2015 at 1:21 am

    I love that name, Harry, or whoever you are:
    Check it: ZaynhatesMalik
    Just JKING I love 1 DIRECTION, I bet u do 2

  9. HarryhatesStyles
    April 5, 2015 at 1:18 am

    Me, i'm a GEEK and I didn't know this stuff, ITS SICK (in a good way) ITS ALSO AWWWESOMEEE

  10. Carla&GraceBFFS
    April 5, 2015 at 1:17 am

    Hi guys, has anyone found this stuff useful!

  11. Sebrina Hutsum
    April 5, 2015 at 1:16 am

    Thanks Emma, back to you!

  12. Emma Tassier
    April 5, 2015 at 1:15 am

    Yeah same with mine Sebrina, hey your name is really cool, sebrina!

  13. Sebrina Hutsum
    April 5, 2015 at 1:14 am

    Nice, only a few worked on mine but thnx anyways!

  14. FartBoy
    March 27, 2015 at 12:50 pm


  15. Sachin
    January 30, 2010 at 1:56 am

    Great Tips..:)

  16. Dvad78
    January 12, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Great article! Here is a few more that i did not see.

    In Windows Explorer
    [Ctrl] + Enter - Open Folder in new window
    [Ctrl] + E - Search
    [Ctrl] + F - Search
    [Ctrl] + R - Refresh

  17. Literati
    December 31, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    This article is great, although, I think, it should have a second part. ;)

  18. Shae
    December 29, 2009 at 11:29 am

    [Ctrl] + L in FF jumps your cursor to the address bar.

  19. Nick M
    December 19, 2009 at 8:02 am

    [CTRL] R = Read email
    [CTRL] W = Write email :)

    • Tina
      December 19, 2009 at 8:06 am

      [Ctrl] + W does something else in Thunderbird. ;)

  20. Toxic
    December 11, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    [Alt]+[1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8] or [9]

    [Alt]+[1]: Smily face
    [Alt]+[2]: Dark Smily face
    [Alt]+[3]: heart
    [Alt]+[4]: diamond
    [Alt]+[5]: club
    [Alt]+[6]: spade
    [Alt]+[7]: small dot
    [Alt]+[8]: squire with dot in the middle
    [Alt]+[9]: bigger circle

  21. MarcW
    December 7, 2009 at 10:07 am

    About 'creating your own trick" : can you also make combinations with the Windows key. When I try e.g. Windows key + z it is automatically converted into XTRL + ALT + z. Afterwards CTRL + ALT + z works but Windows key + z does not. Anyone who gets this working ?

  22. Antoine van Dinter
    December 6, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    SHIFT + Tab and you go back to a field instead of forward. Comes in handy when filling in webforms and when you see that you have made a mistake.

  23. Pharmacy Tech
    December 5, 2009 at 6:36 am

    Great post this will really help me.

  24. forex robot
    December 3, 2009 at 1:27 am

    Keep posting stuff like this i really like it.

  25. fore_xstra_tegy
    December 2, 2009 at 8:57 am

    I am definitely bookmarking this page and sharing it with my friends.


  26. Kahero
    December 2, 2009 at 4:37 am

    [alt] + [F4] should be moved to the [Windows] section as it will close almost any program.

    • Will Robinson
      December 4, 2009 at 11:27 am

      I agree. Also [ctrl]+[F4] closes any child window within most Windows apps (a single document in Word for example).

  27. Coyote
    December 1, 2009 at 10:00 am

    Wow.. that explains that. I had an issue with someone at work that flipped their screen sideways. I had no idea how they did that.

  28. Jim
    November 30, 2009 at 4:48 am

    Hey thanks for the tips - very useful.


  29. Rizky Syazuli
    November 30, 2009 at 1:43 am

    another handy Firefox shortcut is to add domain extension in the address bar without having to type it.

    [CTRL + Enter] add .com
    [CTRL + Shift + Enter] add .org
    [Shift + Enter] add .net

    really saves u the hassle of typing the complete url. btw, AFAIK these shortcuts also works on other browsers (except IE and Safari).

  30. Kevin Freeman
    November 29, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks for the helpful tips.

  31. Mark Lincoln
    November 29, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Wicked post here, thanks for these. I hate reverting to the mouse to do stuff when keyboard shortcuts can be so much quicker.

    Although that "hold Ctrl and use the mouse scroll wheel" is something I use all the time. Not for changing the font size but for zooming in and out of documents, PDFs, images etc.

  32. grog
    November 29, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Press shift when selecting thumbnails view in explorer for a non_texts_in_thumbs view... nice & useless

  33. Chauffeur Services
    November 29, 2009 at 1:09 pm


    The description for Shift+Del is wrong. It still asks you to confirm the operation–the difference is that instead of sending the file to the Recycle Bin after you click “Yes,” it deletes it permanently.

    Jordan you are right!

    • Tina
      November 30, 2009 at 4:08 am

      The mistake was corrected.

  34. Vivek Athalye
    November 29, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Win+Pause/Break = System Properties

  35. roger
    November 29, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Can I open the context menu using the keyboard as my right button is getting a bit iffy?

    • Tina
      November 29, 2009 at 1:08 pm


      yes you can! There are two possible shortcuts.

      One is [SHIFT] + [F10].
      Some keyboards have a dedicated key for the context menu. You should find it between the [ALT] and [CTRL] key on the right side of the [Spacebar].


      • roger
        November 29, 2009 at 1:45 pm

        Thank you very much, Tina, both work on my keyboard. Now all I've got to do is work out why I never had the gumption to ask before!
        Best wishes, Roger

  36. Andre Martins
    November 29, 2009 at 11:00 am

    [Shift]+DEL should be banned from Windows or any other operating system... As a IT Consultant I have seen to many people learn this little devil shortcut and loose files that really shouldn´t be deleted, giving much headache to me and possibly so many others.

    • Will Robinson
      December 4, 2009 at 11:24 am

      Not so much the fault of the OS as the user really. If they didn't use this then they'd only empty the recycle bin after they deleted it anyway, resulting in the same problem...

  37. Parvez Saudin
    November 29, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Nice one! I loved the Firefox search tip!! ;)

  38. Wis98
    November 29, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Btw, why is there an image of a mac keyboard while we talk about pc shortcuts? Lol ;)

    • Tina
      November 29, 2009 at 12:57 pm

      haha Good point! It was the coolest image and the keys are not really visible.

  39. Wis98
    November 29, 2009 at 8:42 am

    In Windows:
    alt + enter = properties of selected file(s) or folder(s)

    • Gagsy
      November 29, 2009 at 12:29 pm

      Hey good one... gonna be really useful.Thanks

  40. Ivy
    November 29, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Firefox: alt-click a link to download it.

  41. Chetroni
    November 29, 2009 at 8:02 am

    [Windows] + [F] - Search/Find files or computers

    If you have installed Yahoo Messenger, you can use:
    [Windows] + [Y] to run Yahoo Messenger.

  42. Juhi
    November 29, 2009 at 7:52 am

    I tried the second trick and pressed Ctrl+Alt+Down. It changed my resolution to 800x600! Pressing it again made no diff. When I tried to open the display properties to manually fix the resolution, my lappy started emitting a continuous high-pitched beep and a window came up saying that the driver was for an older version of windows etc. Then, icing on cake, the computer froze. I had to switch it off and on again and run in safe mode.
    Teaches me not to try out random tricks without thinking.
    I dont know if its something wid my system or what, but please put a warning up there. (I use Dell Inspiron 1525 with Win Vista)

    • Tina
      November 29, 2009 at 1:04 pm


      I'm very sorry this one messed up your system. I hope you could fix the screen resolution.

      All tricks were tested using Windows XP, as indicated. I don't know whether the shortcut is supposed to work as described on Vista or whether it is even supposed to do what you saw.

      Frankly, this shortcut doesn't do anything on my laptop (HP, ATI FireGL), but worked nicely on a Samsung netbook and a colleague's Dell desktop computer. They all run Windows XP. However, as I said it depends on the graphics card and driver.

      • Amol Nirmala Waman
        November 29, 2009 at 11:08 pm

        Actually rotating a screen works only with Intel based chipsets and Intel graphics drivers. I had tested it on VIA board, it doesn't work. But on ASUS or Intel boards it works perfect!

  43. Wis98
    November 29, 2009 at 7:23 am

    Windows + e = explorer
    ctrl + numpad+ = expand coloms listview explorer

  44. Stefan
    November 29, 2009 at 7:22 am

    [Windows]+[Pause] is opening the System window.
    [Alt]+[PrtScr] is making a screenshot of your active window, instead of the whole desktop.

    • Chetroni
      November 29, 2009 at 8:04 am

      [Alt]+[PrtScr] is making a screenshot of your active window, instead of the whole desktop.

      This in great ! Thanks !

  45. Em
    November 29, 2009 at 7:21 am

    Here is another one - F2 - rename object (file/folder).
    Works on multiple objects too.

  46. Sergio
    November 29, 2009 at 7:21 am

    [Windows] + [E] - Launches Windows Explorer

    • el7cosmos
      November 29, 2009 at 7:23 am

      everybody know this...


    • arianne
      November 29, 2009 at 8:53 am

      in vista win+E opens My Computer ;)

    • ronaloo
      December 25, 2009 at 8:20 pm

      windows + e opens up my computer.

      plus, u can substitute any of ur folder like a drive in my computer

      goto command prompt, type in

      subst [path name of dir] [new drive name:]


      subst c:\desktop\mystuff x:

      you'll have a x: drive in my computers - the mystuff folder.
      but this is temporary for the current login. put it in autoexec.bat file to make permanent

      you can also, to make your life easier, put ur most used folders in sendto list.

      in vista, just search for this folder,in the admin account,not the public one.

      put the shortcut of ur folder in this one. like mymovies etc

      so you can just send stuff from your pendrive etc to that or from anywhere

  47. waqas
    November 29, 2009 at 7:17 am

    few are common, but most are unknown

  48. JessyLing
    November 29, 2009 at 3:31 am


  49. Jordan
    November 29, 2009 at 3:13 am

    The description for Shift+Del is wrong. It still asks you to confirm the operation--the difference is that instead of sending the file to the Recycle Bin after you click "Yes," it deletes it permanently.

    • Tina
      November 29, 2009 at 12:55 pm


      thank you very much for pointing this out!

  50. milan
    November 29, 2009 at 12:24 am
  51. Craig
    November 29, 2009 at 12:17 am

    CTRL+SHIFT+ESC opens Windows Task Manager.

  52. Matt
    November 28, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    I use Ctrl + W to close tabs. A bit easier than Ctrl + F4.

    • Jaspal
      November 29, 2009 at 6:37 am

      absolutely great ! .. i use the same CTRL + W for closing a tab

    • Wouter
      November 29, 2009 at 7:18 am

      Ctrl + W is the way to go! OSX uses the same shortcut to close a window/tab. (Cmd + W of course)