Keyboard shortcuts in Windows

November 20, 2023

Shortcut keys ABCs

Shortcut keys help provide an easier and quicker method of navigating and executing commands in the computer software. Shortcut keys are performed using the Alt key (on IBM compatible computers), Command (on Apple computers), Ctrl key, or Shift key in conjunction with another key. The de facto standard for listing a shortcut is listing the modifier key, a plus symbol, and another key. In other words, “Ctrl+S” tells you to press and hold the Ctrl and then press the S simultaneously.

File menu with underlined shortcut letters

You can also find the shortcut keys in popular programs by looking for underlined letters in their menus. For example, the file menu image has an underline on the “F” in File, which means you can press the Alt key and F key to access the file menu.

Some programs require the user to press and hold Alt to see the underlined characters. In the image above, you can see that some of the standard features, such as Open (Ctrl+O) and Save (Ctrl+S), have shortcut keys assigned to them. As you begin to memorize shortcut keys, you’ll notice that many applications share them. We have a list of the most commonly shared ones in the basic PC shortcut keys section.

Shortcut KeysDescription
Alt+FFile menu options in the current program.
Alt+EOpen Edit options in the current program.
Alt+TabSwitch between open programs.
F1View help information (F1 is used by almost every Windows program to display help).
F2Rename a selected file.
F5Refresh the current program window.
Ctrl+DBookmark the current page in most Internet browsers.
Ctrl+NCreate a new or blank document in some software, or open a new tab in most Internet browsers.
Ctrl+OOpen a file in the current software.
Ctrl+ASelect all text.
Ctrl+BChange selected text to be bold.
Ctrl+IChange selected text to be in italics.
Ctrl+UChange selected text to be underlined.
Ctrl+FOpen find window for current document or window.
Ctrl+SSave current document file.
Ctrl+XCut selected item.
Shift+DelCut selected item.
Ctrl+CCopy selected item.
Ctrl+InsCopy selected item.
Ctrl+YRedo the last action.
Ctrl+ZUndo the last action.
Ctrl+KInsert hyperlink for the selected text.
Ctrl+PPrint the current page or document.
HomeGo to the beginning of the current line.
Ctrl+HomeGo to the beginning of the document.
EndGo to the end of the current line.
Ctrl+EndGo to the end of the document.
Shift+HomeHighlight from the current position to the beginning of line.
Shift+EndHighlight from the current position to the end of line.
Ctrl+Left arrowMove one word to the left at a time.
Ctrl+Right arrowMove one word to the right at a time.
Ctrl+EscOpen the Start menu.
Ctrl+Shift+EscOpen Windows Task Manager.
Alt+F4Close the currently active program.
Alt+EnterOpen the properties for the selected item (file, folder, shortcut, etc.).
Windows key+LLock the computer, requiring password entry to access again.
Windows key+XAccess the Power User Tasks Menu in Windows 8 and Windows 10.
Windows key+Down arrowMinimize the active program window.
Windows key+Up arrowMaximize the active program window.

PC shortcut keys for special characters

Many special characters can be created using keyboard shortcuts. Below are some of the more common and popular special characters and the keyboard shortcuts to create them.

Shortcut KeysSpecial Character
Alt+0176°  (degree symbol)
Alt+0177±  (plus/minus symbol)
Alt+0128€  (Euro currency)
Alt+0162¢  (Cent symbol)
Alt+0163£  (British Pound currency)
Alt+0165¥  (Japanese Yen currency)

Keyboard shortcuts are keys or combinations of keys that provide an alternative way to do something that you’d typically do with a mouse. Click an option below, and it’ll open to display a table of related shortcuts:

Copy, paste, and other general keyboard shortcuts

Press this keyTo do this
Ctrl + XCut the selected item.
Ctrl + C (or Ctrl + Insert)Copy the selected item.
Ctrl + V (or Shift + Insert)Paste the selected item.
Ctrl + ZUndo an action.
Alt + TabSwitch between open apps.
Alt + F4Close the active item, or exit the active app.
Windows logo key  + LLock your PC.
Windows logo key  + DDisplay and hide the desktop.
F2Rename the selected item.
F3Search for a file or folder in File Explorer.
F4Display the address bar list in File Explorer.
F5Refresh the active window.
F6Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop.
F10Activate the Menu bar in the active app.
Alt + F8Show your password on the sign-in screen.
Alt + EscCycle through items in the order in which they were opened.
Alt + underlined letterPerform the command for that letter.
Alt + EnterDisplay properties for the selected item.
Alt + SpacebarOpen the shortcut menu for the active window.
Alt + Left arrowGo back.
Alt + Right arrowGo forward.
Alt + Page UpMove up one screen.
Alt + Page DownMove down one screen.
Ctrl + F4Close the active document (in apps that are full-screen and let you have multiple documents open at the same time).
Ctrl + ASelect all items in a document or window.
Ctrl + D (or Delete)Delete the selected item and move it to the Recycle Bin.
Ctrl + R (or F5)Refresh the active window.
Ctrl + YRedo an action.
Ctrl + Right arrowMove the cursor to the beginning of the next word.
Ctrl + Left arrowMove the cursor to the beginning of the previous word.
Ctrl + Down arrowMove the cursor to the beginning of the next paragraph.
Ctrl + Up arrowMove the cursor to the beginning of the previous paragraph.
Ctrl + Alt + TabUse the arrow keys to switch between all open apps.
Alt + Shift + arrow keysWhen a group or tile is in focus on the Start menu, move it in the direction specified.
Ctrl + Shift + arrow keysWhen a tile is in focus on the Start menu, move it into another tile to create a folder.
Ctrl + arrow keysResize the Start menu when it’s open.
Ctrl + arrow key (to move to an item) + SpacebarSelect multiple individual items in a window or on the desktop.
Ctrl + Shift with an arrow keySelect a block of text.
Ctrl + EscOpen Start.
Ctrl + Shift + EscOpen Task Manager.
Ctrl + ShiftSwitch the keyboard layout when multiple keyboard layouts are available.
Ctrl + SpacebarTurn the Chinese input method editor (IME) on or off.
Shift + F10Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.
Shift with any arrow keySelect more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text in a document.
Shift + DeleteDelete the selected item without moving it to the Recycle Bin first.
Right arrowOpen the next menu to the right, or open a submenu.
Left arrowOpen the next menu to the left, or close a submenu.
EscStop or leave the current task.
PrtScnTake a screenshot of your whole screen and copy it to the clipboard. NoteYou can change this shortcut so it also opens  screen snipping, which lets you edit your screenshot. Select Start  Settings Ease of Access Keyboard, and turn on the toggle under Print Screen shortcut.
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