Some Cool Keyboard Tricks That Few People Know About

KeyboardTricks03   Some Cool Keyboard Tricks That Few People Know AboutWe 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

KeyboardTricks01   Some Cool Keyboard Tricks That Few People Know AboutYou 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!

KeyboardTricks02   Some Cool Keyboard Tricks That Few People Know AboutAre 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.

Firefox

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.

KeyboardTricks06   Some Cool Keyboard Tricks That Few People Know About

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.

KeyboardTricks05   Some Cool Keyboard Tricks That Few People Know About

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.

KeyboardTricks04   Some Cool Keyboard Tricks That Few People Know About

10. [F11] – toggle full screen

Quickly change into full screen mode.

Find out about more shortcuts for Firefox, 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

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

55 Comments -

0 votes

Matt

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

0 votes

Jaspal

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

0 votes

Wouter

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

0 votes

Craig

CTRL+SHIFT+ESC opens Windows Task Manager.

0 votes

milan

0 votes

Jordan

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.

0 votes

Tina

Jordan,

thank you very much for pointing this out!

0 votes

JessyLing

Good!

0 votes

waqas

few are common, but most are unknown

0 votes

Sergio

[Windows] + [E] – Launches Windows Explorer

0 votes

el7cosmos

everybody know this…

:(

0 votes

arianne

in vista win+E opens My Computer ;)

0 votes

ronaloo

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:]

eg:

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.
appdata->roaming->microsoft->windows->sendto

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

0 votes

Em

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

0 votes

Stefan

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

0 votes

Chetroni

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

This in great ! Thanks !

0 votes

Wis98

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

0 votes

Juhi

I tried the second trick and pressed Ctrl+Alt+Down. It changed my resolution to 800×600! 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)

0 votes

Tina

Juhi,

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.

0 votes

Amol Nirmala Waman

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!

0 votes

Chetroni

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

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

0 votes

Ivy

Firefox: alt-click a link to download it.

0 votes

Wis98

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

0 votes

Gagsy

Hey good one… gonna be really useful.Thanks

0 votes

Wis98

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

0 votes

Tina

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

0 votes

Parvez Saudin

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

0 votes

Andre Martins

[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.

0 votes

Will Robinson

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…

0 votes

roger

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

0 votes

Tina

Roger,

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].

Enjoy!

0 votes

roger

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

0 votes

Vivek Athalye

Win+Pause/Break = System Properties

0 votes

Chauffeur Services

Jordan

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!

0 votes

Tina

The mistake was corrected.

0 votes

grog

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

0 votes

Mark Lincoln

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.

0 votes

Kevin Freeman

Thanks for the helpful tips.

0 votes

Rizky Syazuli

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).

0 votes

Jim

Hey thanks for the tips – very useful.

Jim

0 votes

Coyote

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.

0 votes

Kahero

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

0 votes

Will Robinson

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

0 votes

fore_xstra_tegy

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

:)

0 votes

forex robot

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it.

0 votes

Pharmacy Tech

Great post this will really help me.

0 votes

Antoine van Dinter

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.

0 votes

MarcW

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 ?

0 votes

Toxic

[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

0 votes

Nick M

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

0 votes

Tina

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

0 votes

Shae

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

0 votes

Literati

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

0 votes

Dvad78

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

0 votes

Sachin

Great Tips..:)