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General Computer Tips and Tricks

A great way to speed up your work during the day is by using common Windows hotkeys. Hotkeys are combinations of keyboard presses that do various things that normally would require several mouse clicks or actions. By learning these combinations and using them during your work, you can save a surprising amount of time. There will be two kinds of hotkeys in this article; ones that are defined by Microsoft Windows, and ones that are defined by the program that is currently active. Luckily, program authors generally stick to standards on what combinations do.

Common Program Hotkeys

These combinations can be used in almost all programs on the Windows operating systems and even some Linux distributions.

Three very commonly used hotkeys are:

  • Ctrl-C which copies the currently selected text
  • Ctrl-X which cuts the currently selected text
  • Ctrl-V which does a paste
  • Ctrl-Z and ctrl-Y will Undo and Redo respectively
  • Ctrl-N will create a new document (or whatever the program you are in is working with)
  • Ctrl-X will exit the active program

Microsoft Windows Hotkeys

Many of these keys utilize the widows key (the key with a flag on it).

  • Windows Key-D shows the desktop, minimizing all windows
  • Windows Key-E opens an Explorer window
  • Windows Key-L Locks your computer. You will need to type your password to log back in
  • Alt-Tab will swap between running programs
  • Alt-F4 will close the active window