As an IT consultant for small businesses, I spend a lot of time at the computer and most of that time is spent typing. Whether I’m answering email, drafting a client proposal, or authoring a client status report I try to be as efficient as possible when I’m sitting in front of a keyboard. One of the ways I save time is with keyboard shortcuts. It sounds silly but the less time I have to spend using my mouse the more time I’m actually getting work done.
There are many types of computers used in small businesses today but statistically the most common operating system is still Microsoft Windows so these lists are built for Windows-based PCs. That said, we don’t want our Mac users to feel left out so I’ve found the current list of Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcuts also. Without further ado, in no particular order here are my favorite time-saving keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Windows:
Microsoft Windows Keyboard Shortcuts
- Alt + Tab: Hold Alt and tap Tab to cycle through all open applications. When you land on the one you’d like to switch to, release Alt.
- Alt + Shift + Tab: Same as above except the rotation is “backwards.”
- Ctrl + Arrow: Hold Ctrl and tap the left or right arrow key to move through text a word at a time. Handy for fixing a spelling a error a few words back as you type.
- Shift + Arrow: Hold Shift to highlight text as you move through a document with the arrow keys. If used with the left or right arrow key you will highlight one character at a time. If used with the up or down arrow key you will highlight an entire line at a time.
- Ctrl + Shift + Arrow: Same as above except text will be highlighted. Handy for copying or deleting entire sections of text. Keep in mind that you can use paste (Ctrl+C) in conjunction with the highlight function to replace text. Use of Delete and backspace is not necessary.
- Windows + L: Lock your PC.
- Windows + F: Open the Windows “Search” dialog box.
- Windows + R: Open the Windows “Run” dialog box.
- Windows + D: Immediately minimize all windows and show your Desktop.
- Alt + F4: Closes the selected program.
Web Browser Keyboard Shortcuts
- Tab: When navigating a web form, Tab will move forward one field.
- Shift + Tab: When navigating a web form, Shift + Tab will move backwards one field.
- Ctrl + Tab: Cycles through the tabs of a single instance of most popular web browsers. Works similar to Alt + Tab for applications.
- Ctrl + Shift + Tab: Same as above except the rotation is “backwards.”
- Alt + Arrow Key: Equivalent to using the “Forward” or “Back” buttons in your web browser.
- Ctrl + D: Add Bookmark.
- Ctrl + T: New Tab.
- Ctrl + F: Find text within the currently-displayed webpage.
- Ctrl + +/-: Holding Ctrl and tapping+ will “Zoom in” to a webpage (make the text larger) while holding Ctrl and tapping– will “Zoom Out” (make the text smaller).
- F5: Refresh the current webpage. Equivalent to clicking your browser’s reload button.
We realize this is a lot of keyboard shortcuts to learn but if you can integrate them into your daily routine they really will save you some time. I suggest you bookmark this page or print it and keep a copy somewhere near your computer. If you can learn one new shortcut a week you’ll have learned all of them in just a few months!
Have we left out any important shortcuts? Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know, and don’t forget to click in the boxes to the right to Like us on Facebook and add us to your circles on Google+!