The Best Keyboard Shortcuts in Default Windows Programs

Ben Stegner 18-02-2016

Every good program makes use of keyboard shortcuts.


We’ve shown you the essential Microsoft Office keyboard shortcuts 60 Essential Microsoft Office Keyboard Shortcuts for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Hundreds of keyboard shortcuts are available in Office, but these are the most important ones you should know because they will save you a lot of time. Read More , and even compiled an ultimate keyboard shortcut guide Windows Keyboard Shortcuts 101: The Ultimate Guide Keyboard shortcuts can save you hours of time. Master the universal Windows keyboard shortcuts, keyboard tricks for specific programs, and a few other tips to speed up your work. Read More with hundreds of the most popular combinations.

What we haven’t covered yet, are default Windows programs. Today, we’ll remedy that by taking a look at some keyboard shortcuts that will save you time in these tried-and-true applications.

A few notes, as always:

  • Keys appear in bold and keyboard combinations appear in bold, italic font.
  • Control is abbreviated as CTRL.
  • Keyboard shortcuts that need to be pressed at the same time will use a + symbol (e.g. CTRL + S).
  • Combinations that need to be pressed one after another will use a > (e.g. CTRL > T).

Microsoft Paint

Though you probably use a more powerful alternative Paint.NET: The Best Image Editor Available That You Should Download We all edit images to some degree. Whether it’s a simple crop or resize, or maybe just adding some text, it’s nice to have an image editor that is reliable, fast, easy to navigate and... Read More , Microsoft Paint provides a decent way to edit screenshots How to Edit and Enhance Screenshots Using MS Paint Here's how to edit a screenshot using Microsoft Paint so you can edit screenshots on Windows 10 without extra software. Read More . Next time you’re editing or just messing around, here are some keyboard shortcuts to make you more productive in Paint.

Like most programs, you can use CTRL + N to create a new file, CTRL + O to open an existing image, or CTRL + S to save the current image.


You’re probably used to these ones, too, but in Paint they’re extra useful: use CTRL + Z to undo your last action and CTRL + Y to redo that change.

When you need to manipulate large chunks of an image, use CTRL + A to select the whole canvas. CTRL + C will copy a selection, while CTRL + X cuts the selection. After either of these actions, use CTRL + V to paste it to a new location.

Paint doesn’t have any tools for aligning images, and it can be tough to do this with the mouse. Instead, select an area and use the Right, Left, Up, and Down arrow keys to move a selection by one pixel at a time. This allows you fine-tuned control.

You’ll often be working with selections of the canvas in Paint. After you’ve selected some space, you can press ESC to cancel the selection or DEL to delete it right away.


Paint offers various brushes 6 Best Sites To Download Free Photoshop Brushes Read More for your drawing delight; try pressing CTRL (+) + or CTRL (+) – to increase or decrease the width of a brush, line, or shape outline by one pixel respectively.

Since the shortcuts combos that usually zoom in and out are used for line weight in Paint, you can use CTRL + Page Up or CTRL + Page Down to zoom in or out of the canvas.

There a couple of dialogue boxes available in Paint you can easily open with shortcuts. To open Image Properties, where you can change the size of the canvas, press CTRL + E. CTRL + W opens the Resize and Skew dialogue where you can further mess with your image 10 Easy-to-Use Photo Editing Programs for Newbie Photographers If Adobe Lightroom seems too complex for you, check out these easy-to-use photo editing programs for beginners. Read More or selection.

CTRL + R toggles the on-screen ruler for making exact measurements, and its buddy CTRL + G will enable or disable the gridlines.


If you’re still shaky on grabbing screenshots in the first place, find out how to easily capture what you see on your screen Multiple Ways To Capture Or Print What You See On Your Screen Print Screen is a term that lost its original meaning decades ago. Today, actually printing a screenshot takes several steps. Combined with shortcuts and software, you have a powerful 21st century tool at your fingertips. Read More .

Windows Calculator

The Windows Calculator is one of the most underappreciated features of Windows 6 Underappreciated Features of the Windows Operating System There are plenty of Windows features you use every day, but some you might not have ever seen. Let's give these underrated tools some credit. Read More . It’s much more than it seems at first glance, and packs a ton of punch for such a small program 10 Neglected Windows Calculator Features That Are Super Useful The Calculator app for Windows 10 has lots of cool uses. Here are the best Windows calculator functions you should know. Read More . Though there are calculator alternatives 5 Free Calculator Apps If You Aren't Happy With The Windows Calculator Read More , learning some keyboard shortcuts for the default one could make it even more useful for you.

The Calculator has several different modes, if you didn’t know Windows Can Do THIS? 15 Surprising Features You Had No Clue About Windows can do a lot more than you may think. Even if you're a veteran Windows user, I bet you'll discover a feature in our list that you never knew existed. Read More . Use ALT + 1 to use Standard mode, ALT + 2 to switch to the Scientific calculator, ALT + 3 for Programmer mode, and ALT + 4 if you want the Statistics calculator.

Press CTRL + E to open the date calculation window, CTRL + U for the unit conversion window, and CTRL + F4 to hide either of these windows.


To keep a list of calculations you’ve run, press CTRL + H to toggle calculation history. To clear it, press CTRL + SHIFT + D. If you’d like to go back and edit a past calculation, press F2; you can use the Up and Down arrows to navigate through the history. ESC will cancel out of editing and you can press ENTER to re-run an edited history item.

There are many more shortcuts you can use in the calculator that correspond to specific buttons on the screen, but reviewing them all would be tedious. Since there are so many of these, especially in the Scientific calculator, I’ll only list a sampling here; check the full listing if you need more for your favorite mode.

In the Standard view, press F9 to toggle the +/- button. Use R to utilize the 1/x function, and @ to calculate the square root.

For the Scientific calculator, ; will press the Int button, S is the shortcut for sin, O triggers cos, and T presses tan. P will press the pi button, while X presses the Exp button. Q runs the x^2 calculation and Y runs x^y.

Also in Scientific mode, you can press F3 to select Degrees, F4 for Radians, and F5 for Grads.

In the Programmer calculator, pressing F5 will select Hex, F6 will choose Dec, F7 corresponds to Oct mode, and F8 selects Bin. You can also press Space to toggle individual bit values. ^ corresponds to Xor, ~ is for Not, while & corresponds to And.

In Statistics view, press S to calculate the sum, CTRL + S for Sum Sq, T for the S.D. button, and D for the CAD button. CTRL + T will trigger Inv S.D.

Windows Magnifier

The Windows Magnifier makes your screen easier to read Are You Nearsighted or Farsighted? Tips to Make Windows More Accessible for Young & Old Computers use print that's too small, your eyesight changes, you get headaches, and the computer gets called a lot of dirty names. Consult this guide to Windows Accessibility tools for some stress relief! Read More with several modes. While there are only a few shortcuts for it, they can make navigating with the magnifier much easier.

Instead of struggling with the mouse while zoomed in, just press WIN (+) + or WIN (+) – to zoom in or out.

When using full screen mode, CTRL + ALT + Space lets you preview the full screen (essentially just lets you see where you’re zoomed at in relation to the whole screen).

You can switch between modes with shortcuts. Use CTRL + ALT + F to switch to full-screen mode; CTRL + ALT + L switches to Lens mode, and CTRL + ALT + D enables Docked mode.

CTRL + ALT + I will invert all colors on the screen (this looks pretty wild, but can be used to make nighttime reading easier on your eyes 5 Ways To Make Websites Easier To Read Reading websites can be bliss, but it isn't always comfortable. Noisy webpages assail your eyes and after a while, the almighty LCD takes its toll. With bleary eyes, it's time to call it a day.... Read More !)

CTRL + ALT + R will enter the lens resizing mode (when you’re using the lens), where you can move the mouse to change the size and layout of the lens. This is useful if you’re reading a lot of horizontal text, for instance.

If you get stuck in the magnifier and don’t know what to do, simply press WIN + ESC to exit!

Taking Shortcuts

Now you have plenty of ways to whiz around your favorite Windows applications. There are even more shortcuts for programs like WordPad, but that isn’t used as often as these. Don’t forget you can press F1 at any time to open the Help dialogue in most programs and find even more shortcuts!

Are you an Office junkie? Find out how you can get all the Office shortcuts you’ll ever need How to Find Every Microsoft Office Keyboard Shortcut You Could Ever Need Finding a complete list of keyboard shortcuts can be a chore. Let Word automatically generate a list of all of its shortcuts! You'll find keyboard shortcuts for other Office applications, too. Read More .

What default Windows programs do you utilize shortcuts in? Were any of these a surprise to you? Let us know how you use shortcuts in the comments below!

Related topics: Calculator, Keyboard Shortcuts.

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  1. Al in SoCal
    February 23, 2016 at 12:07 am

    At work to lock computer (time saver): Windows + L

    • Ben Stegner
      February 23, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      This is a good shortcut and one I wrote about in our ultimate Windows shortcut guide! But for this post I was focused on shortcuts inside default programs, not the OS itself :)

  2. J Wesley Hardin
    February 22, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    But what is the short cut to open Calculator on Win 7?

    There isn't one. But just find "Calculator" in the Start menu (under "Accessories") and right-click on it, which will give you a menu that includes "Properties." Open that window, and you'll see a space to enter your shortcut keyboard sequence. "Apply" it and you're automated!

    • Ben Stegner
      February 23, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks for letting him know this! I missed the question and appreciate you answering it.

  3. Squalle
    February 20, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Are there people that actually still use MS Paint??

    • Ben Stegner
      February 22, 2016 at 4:09 am

      I'm sure there are some! Sometimes it's good for a quick editing job :)

  4. Suleiman
    February 19, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Great article! That useless looking calculator can do those thing? I leaned a lot indeed. But what is the short cut to open Calculator on Win 7?

    I have one cool short cut under my sleeves that i use when needed and it works like a charm. I have no patience when I am reading something online to find info about certain things, but I have a way to beat it up. When I am on the page, I hit CTRL+ F and a small search window opens. I type the clue word or name that I am looking for and hit ENTER. I will see that particular name or word highlighted with background color in different sentences if it exists in that article. If the article is too long, keep hitting ENTER till the end of it. If do not find the name, I will forget about that article and find some other article. It saves me time and I get what I want :)