Master These Universal Keyboard Shortcuts For Text Editing

Dave LeClair 09-08-2012

text editing keyboard shortcutsAfter months of practicing, you have finally boosted your typing speed above that of a snail. You have finally got the hang of not looking at the keyboard for each character. You are no longer “hunting and pecking” to find the keys you need. Good, these are important steps in your journey towards becoming a computer master. However, there is much more to learn, and I am here to show you a way to speed up your typing efficiency by a huge margin.


One thing that slows people down while writing in any application is taking their hands off the keyboard and navigating around the screen with their mouse. There is a better way! There are lots of keyboard shortcuts designed to help you keep your hands on the keyboard and the words flowing. If you learn these shortcuts, you will be able to focus more on writing and less on navigating with your mouse.

Selecting Text

One of the most useful things you can do with text editing keyboard shortcuts is selecting bits of text. It speeds things along a great deal when writing.

text editing keyboard shortcuts

Select one character at a time. – Shift+Left or Right Arrow

Select one line at a time. – Shift+Up or Down Arrow Keys


Select one word with each arrow press. – Shift+Ctrl+Left or Right Arrow

Select current paragraph. – Shift+Ctrl+Up or Down Arrow

Select text between the cursor and the end of the current line. – Shift+Home

Select text between the cursor and the end of the current line. – Shift+End


Select all text. – Ctrl+A

Editing Text

Once you have all those text bits selected, you need to do something with them. That is where these handy editing bits come into play.

keyboard text editing keys

Copy selected text. – Ctrl+C or Ctrl+Insert


Cut selected text. – Ctrl+X or Shift+Delete

Paste text at the cursor. – Ctrl+V or Shift+Insert

Undo last action. – Ctrl+Z

Redo last action. – Ctrl+Y


Formatting Text

Another useful thing you can do with keyboard shortcuts is format your text. You can make it italicized, bold and more with just a couple of buttons on the keyboard.

keyboard text editing keys

Make text bold. – Ctrl+B

Make text italicized. – Ctrl+I

Underline selected text. – Ctrl+U

Moving the Cursor

You can move your cursor all around your text document without ever placing your hands on the mouse. This allows you to keep your hands on the keyboard and the productivity flowing.

keyboard text editing keys

Move to beginning of current line. – Home

Move to end of current line. – End

Move to top of text entry field. – Ctrl+Home

Move to bottom of the text entry field. – Ctrl+End

Move up one frame. – Page Up

Move down one frame. – Page Down

Move to beginning of paragraph. – Ctrl+Up Arrow

Move to end of paragraph. – Ctrl+Down Arrow

Working With Whole Words

Deleting text one letter at a time is not the quickest way to do the job. If you need to delete and mess with full words, these keyboard shortcuts are just what you need.

text editing keyboard shortcuts

Move to start of previous word. – Ctrl+Left Arrow

Move to start of next word. – Ctrl+Right Arrow

Delete previous word. – Ctrl+Backspace

Delete next word – Ctrl+Delete


With these keyboard shortcuts, you will be able to increase your writing efficiency substantially. Think of all the time you will save not switching over from your keyboard to your mouse constantly.

For Mac users, most of these shortcuts will work if you just swap CTRL with Command (Cmd).

Are there any text editing keyboard shortcuts we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: 3d computer keyboard via Shutterstock

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  1. Faisal Ahmed
    August 28, 2012 at 4:48 am

    I am personally shortcut maniac and used to most of these...t

    • Dave LeClair
      August 31, 2012 at 3:09 am

      Shortcuts make the world go round!

  2. James Gillespie
    August 16, 2012 at 7:27 am

    some very useful shortcuts i didnt know about :)

  3. llambal
    August 15, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    great tips on this page, I was hoping to find some new ones which I didn't.. but still very well done you covered everything and many people will find this very usefull.

  4. Andrew
    August 15, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    My favourite keyboard shortcut that no-one seems to use is Shift+F3.

    If you've inadvertently left the Caps Lock button on you can highlight the text and the Shift+F3 shortcut will cycle through all lower case, all caps, capitalise the start of the sentence.

  5. michelle
    August 15, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Use Ctrl+ left or right square bracket (brackets to the right of "p") to increase font size of selected text one Point at a time.

  6. Kylee Kanavas
    August 15, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Thats really helpful. I feel more educated now, thats what I want from this website. You have done your job. :D

  7. Artur Rzhiskiy
    August 15, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Very useful, thank you.

  8. Kieran Colfer
    August 15, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Another on which is useful for Outlook, Thunderbird, Word etc is ctrl+shift+v, which does a "plain-text paste". Sometimes if you're copying/pasting from a web page, word doc etc the paste copies the formatting (bold, size, color etc) of the text as well, which you may not always want. ctrl_shift+v strips off all formatting and just pastes the text itself.

  9. Kaashif Haja
    August 15, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Shift + Insert doesn't work for me. ctrl + v is working..
    Any suggestion?

  10. Sandip
    August 15, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Type This --> + + + +
    & Hit Enter..

    You will see a table...... :)

    ( Hit plus sign then Space or Tab. Works in MS Word)

  11. Nancy B
    August 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks for the great article. Most I already knew and use but a few I didn't know.

    There are still lots of keys on the keyboard I don't use like most of the F keys and hope you follow up with an article on them.
    I know many keyboards are different I tend to always buy Logictech ones but never think of using the F7 to print or F2 to go to a word document.
    Just a suggestion~ :D

  12. samsher
    August 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Nice information, i was unaware about the some of the shortcuts

  13. Ellen
    August 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Thanks! I use most of these already w/o even thinking about it, but there are a few that are new to me. Very useful article.

  14. Adjei Kofi
    August 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I knew some of them. Not all though...thanks :)

  15. ArunSathiya1995
    August 12, 2012 at 8:35 am

    To be frank, I am really an expert with the keyboard. I know all these shortcuts!

  16. Alibaba
    August 11, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    More than 100 million computer users know these short cuts, then why come here and say "I know these already" ? This tutorial is meant for beginners, starting to learn computers, and for them its very difficult unless they know how to edit documents, emails etc. For them this article is like "Swiss Key", which saves them lot of time and makes them work comfortably and proficiently.

    Thanks to Dave LeClair, for his good effort, easy narration, explanations and for posting such an useful article for the benefit of everyone.

    • Dave LeClair
      August 31, 2012 at 3:09 am

      Thanks for backing me up!

  17. tarzan2001
    August 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Great article! :D

  18. tarzan2001
    August 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Great article! :D

  19. VS Vishnu
    August 11, 2012 at 6:21 am

    i know these already..!

  20. Saurabh Kumar
    August 10, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Thanking for sharing this knowledge. I need this always and would be of great importance to me. Thank You very much

  21. Elijah Swartz
    August 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    I knew all of these except some of the alternatives such as shift+delete to cut instead of ctrl+x. It's kind of fascinating that typing and using shortcuts has become such a natural part of using a computer.

    I'm not really sure what universal means exactly, as not all of these work in every application, but some other shortcuts for editing text in text editing programs in Windows at least would be ctrl+shift+> for a larger font and ctrl+shift+< to make the font smaller. There are also text alignment shortcuts such as ctrl+l (align text to the left), ctrl+r (align text to the right), ctrl+e (align text to the center), and ctrl+j (to justify text). Ctrl+y lets you redo a change. Ctrl+shift+a makes all of the selected text in capitals.

  22. Yang Yang Li
    August 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    "One thing that slows people down while writing in any application is taking their hands off the keyboard and navigating around the screen with their mouse."
    -The trackstick in the middle of my keyboard solves this problem :-D
    I also have left and right click buttons right under my space bar. They save me time when I type. I do not have to look down at my keyboard to move my cursor where I want it.

  23. Elaheh Sadegh
    August 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    It's extremely useful when the Computer speed is so slow ;) using keyboard rather than mouse is more profession and fast.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    great post..i would like to share... :D

    • Dave LeClair
      August 31, 2012 at 3:08 am

      please do!

    August 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    So interesting.. could u please tell where insert key is located i cant see that in my keyboard.........

    • BMor
      August 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      It is usually above the arrow keys in the group of the 6 keys that also contain Home, End, Delete, Page Up, and Page Down, but it might be relocated or need you to press the FN key if you are on a laptop or condensed keyboard. In that case check you hardware documentation. (The key may only say INS not insert. If you find it on your keyboard in Blue then you'll need to use the FN key on your keyboard. If that is the case then instead of Ctrl+Ins you would need to press Ctrl+Fn+Ins)

  26. Bruce Thomas
    August 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you for the quick tutorial. A reminder of features is always appreciated.

  27. Catherine McCrum
    August 9, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    yes, yes, yes - shortcuts really do make my keyboarding more functional

  28. tueksta
    August 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Here is some more:

    Ctrl+Shift+End - mark everything from cursor to the end of the document
    Ctrl+Shift+Home - mark everything from cursor to the beginning of the document
    Shift+PageDown - mark everything from cursor to next page (if not end of file)
    Shift+PageUp - mark everything from cursor to previous page (if not beginning of file)

    • Dave LeClair
      August 31, 2012 at 3:08 am

      Thanks for the extra tips. Our readers will appreciate it!

  29. echantrea
    August 9, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Good shortcut for typing

  30. Leanna
    August 9, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Very useful article and I was glad to see actual shots of the reaches.
    I tell my students that another reason we learn these shortcuts is for better ergonomics. It alleviates the hands holding the same positions all the time, especially of the mouse, for editing.

    • Dave LeClair
      August 31, 2012 at 3:08 am

      Very good point

  31. Josh Burkhart
    August 9, 2012 at 8:35 am

    A few in there that I didn't know, most I did A most excellent guide to editing shortcut keys. Thanks Dave.

    • Dave LeClair
      August 31, 2012 at 3:07 am

      You're welcome!

  32. Aditya Roy
    August 9, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Yay me... I knew them already! :)

  33. kevin gnanaraj
    August 9, 2012 at 6:00 am

    Some of these are so obvious but I never think of them, Ctrl + u, for instance, but once you start using them, they become natural.

  34. Aaron Couch
    August 9, 2012 at 3:12 am

    Great article here! I use these without even thinking of them, which is the thing I love about keyboard shortcuts — eventually, they just become a natural, more efficient part of your computer experience.

  35. achyut reddy
    August 9, 2012 at 2:58 am

    Good job at compiling all the useful shortcuts

    • Dave LeClair
      August 31, 2012 at 3:07 am

      Glad you found it helpful!

  36. Lee
    August 9, 2012 at 2:14 am

    Actually, in OS X, the Home and End keys don't work the same way (from my experience). To achieve the same effect, use Command+Left/Right arrows. Using the Home and End keys jumps to the start and end of the document.