How the heck do I find and learn keyboard shortcuts in Windows?

Kim Bolte May 29, 2010

I met a guy at Starbucks and he told me that if I learned keyboard shortcuts I could speed up my computing time a lot. Control “v” is great for pasting and Control “f” for finding something in an article is good too. What are the others? Do I make them and if so how?

  1. Johan Klos
    June 11, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    or just make shortcuts and bind them to hotkeys... or use something like

    but yeah, shortcuts like WIN-R, WIN-E, WIN-F and most especially at work WIN-L are very handy :D

  2. Jane
    June 5, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Disconnect your mouse! Seriously, I worked in a high school and was amazed how one of the students knew all the shortcuts; he told me his mouse was broken and he was force to learn the shortcuts for all the programs he used. He found it so much quicker, he never got another mouse!

    • Underyx
      June 6, 2010 at 9:00 am

      Now, that's can't be always true. For example, moving a file from one explorer window to another is much faster by drag'n'drop than selecting the file with the keyboard, Ctrl-X, Alt-Tab, Ctrl-V.

      So I think the quickest way is using a mouse with one hand, and the keyboard with the other, and of course, knowing which is the fastest way for each task.

      • Jack Cola
        June 6, 2010 at 9:22 am

        Drag and drop doesn't always work for moving a file. If the file is on an external source such as a USB flash Drive or an External hard drive, the default setting is to copy, to you have to drag with the right click and select move.

        Sometimes drag and drop isn't always available. If you want to move a file up one folder, it is quicker to Control+x click the up button and Control+V then to open a new window.

        Sometimes using keyboard shortcuts are good, other times not so good - so don't always rely on one method.

        • Underyx
          June 6, 2010 at 9:27 am

          Yep, that's what I was trying to say :P
          And by the way, even when it would copy by default, you can hold down shift and drag & drop to force moving the file. It works the other way around too, with control, to force copying.

        • Jack Cola
          June 12, 2010 at 2:14 am

          Oh, I did not know that. Thanks Underyx

    • Mrkimb
      June 11, 2010 at 11:17 am

      Thanks Jane but I think that's a little too radical for me. Giving up the mouse entirely would be almost as traumatic as giving up coffee. But maybe I could cut back a cup or two ;-)

    • Johan Klos
      June 11, 2010 at 8:29 pm

      I'd like to see how that student managed to draw something on his computer ;)

  3. John
    June 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    There are some free quick guides for many popular applications and operating systems, both Microsoft and Apple, available here:

    • Mrkimb
      June 11, 2010 at 11:33 am

      Thanks John, this is really a great reference site.

  4. Jack Cola
    June 5, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Hi Kim,
    I have just been going through our CheatSheets and found one about Windows Shortcuts.


    I even learned that the F2 key renames the selected file. Well worth the read.
    It also has shortcuts on Microsoft Office too.

    • Mrkimb
      June 11, 2010 at 11:26 am

      This is great Jack. I learned what the "END" key is there for and how to use it. There's a good chance that all these keys have a function...go figure LOL

      • Jack Cola
        June 12, 2010 at 2:13 am

        No worries - I am happy to help

  5. Anonymous
    May 30, 2010 at 5:44 pm


    I believe the best way to speed up your work with shortcuts is not by knowing all of them but by choosing only few commands that you use most. Aside from few basic popular shortcuts (copy, paste, find, replace, print, etc), each application comes with their own customized shortcuts, and they actually tells you what those shortcuts are.

    Start paying attention to the menu, the available shortcuts are written next to the menu. For example: "File - New" menu in most app always have the shortcut written next to it: Ctrl + N

    The key is use the shortcuts often and your body will remember. Not all, but the ones that you use most.

    • MrKimB
      June 2, 2010 at 5:57 pm

      thurana, I've been using computers since 1995 and I promise you I never noticed the shortcuts in the program menus.
      Thanks for the great tips...what an eye opener! Really.

  6. Jack Cola
    May 30, 2010 at 12:08 am
    • MrKimB
      June 2, 2010 at 5:51 pm

      Dang....I guess it is true....Ask and you shall receive.

      Thank you very much.

  7. Steve Campbell
    May 29, 2010 at 6:42 pm


    You can Google 'keyboard shortcuts' or 'windows hotkeys' to find lists of all the available shortcuts. I don't know what operating system you're using, but here is a list of all shortcuts in Windows XP:

    • MrKimB
      June 2, 2010 at 5:50 pm

      After all these great answers, I think my question should have been how do I find things using Google. :-) I did search on Google but I don't remember the keywords I used but I didn't find what I was looking for at the time. But I just searched for keyword shortcuts and there they are right at the top.
      Thanks for taking the time to educate me.

  8. Underyx
    May 29, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Windows shortcuts are pre-defined, and there is a list of them here for Windows 98, XP and Vista:
    If you are looking for the shortcuts of Windows 7, you can find a list of them here:

    Even though the keyboard shortcuts can't be changed for system actions, you can set shortcuts to launch certain files, or programs. To do this, right-click on the existing shortcut of something (I mean the shortcuts you find on your desktop or start menu, with an icon), select 'Properties', click in the text box at 'Shortcut key', press the keys you would like to assign to that program or file, and press 'OK'.

    Hope I could help.

    • MrKimB
      June 2, 2010 at 5:42 pm

      Thanks for your speedy and knowledgeable answer. This helps a lot.

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