Computer keyboard shortcut keys

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Shortcut keys ABCs

Shortcut keys help provide an easier and usually quicker method of navigating and using computer software programs. Shortcut keys are commonly accessed by using the Alt key (on IBM compatible computers), command key (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, "ALT+S" is telling you to press the Alt key and while continuing to hold the Alt key, press the S key to perform the shortcut.

In addition to the shortcuts listed on this page, users can find the shortcut keys to their most popular program by looking for underlined letters in their menus. For example, the picture to the right has an underline on the "F" in File, which means you can press the Alt key and F to access the File menu.

Note: Some programs require the user to press and hold Alt to see the underlined characters. Finally, as can also be seen, some of the common 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 the same shortcut keys. We have the most commonly shared shortcut keys in the below basic PC shortcut keys section.

Tip: Users outside the United States or users using a foreign copy of a Microsoft Windows or Microsoft application may not be able to get all the below shortcut keys to perform the function listed.

Basic PC shortcut keys

Below is a list of some of the most commonly used basic shortcut keys that will work with almost all IBM compatible computers and software programs. It is highly recommended that all users keep a good reference of these shortcut keys or try to memorize them. Doing so will dramatically increase your productivity.

Shortcut Keys Description
Alt + F File menu options in current program.
Alt + E Edit options in current program
Alt + Tab Switch between open programs
F1 Universal Help in almost every Windows program.
F2 Rename a selected file
F5 Refresh the current program window
Ctrl + N Create a new, blank document in some software programs
Ctrl + O Open a file in current software program
Ctrl + A Select all text.
Ctrl + B Change selected text to be Bold
Ctrl + I Change selected text to be in Italics
Ctrl + U Change selected text to be Underlined
Ctrl + F Open find window for current document or window.
Ctrl + S Save current document file.
Ctrl + X Cut selected item.
Shift + Del Cut selected item.
Ctrl + C Copy selected item.
Ctrl + Ins Copy selected item
Ctrl + V Paste
Shift + Ins Paste
Ctrl + K Insert hyperlink for selected text
Ctrl + P Print the current page or document.
Home Goes to beginning of current line.
Ctrl + Home Goes to beginning of document.
End Goes to end of current line.
Ctrl + End Goes to end of document.
Shift + Home Highlights from current position to beginning of line.
Shift + End Highlights from current position to end of line.
Ctrl + Left arrow Moves one word to the left at a time.
Ctrl + Right arrow Moves one word to the right at a time.
Ctrl + Esc Opens the START menu
Ctrl + Shift + Esc Opens Windows Task Manager
Alt + F4 Close the currently active program
Alt + Enter Open the Properties for the selected item (file, folder, shortcut, etc.)

PC shortcut keys for Special Characters

There are many special characters that 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 Keys Special Character
Alt + 0224 à
Alt + 0232 è
Alt + 0236 ì
Alt + 0242 ò
Alt + 0241 ñ
Alt + 0228 ä
Alt + 0246 ö
Alt + 0252 ü
Alt + 0248 ø
Alt + 0223 ß
Alt + 0198 Æ
Alt + 0231 ç
Alt + 0191 ¿
Alt + 0176 °  (degree symbol)
Alt + 0177 ±  (plus/minus symbol)
Alt + 0153
Alt + 0169 ©
Alt + 0174 ®
Alt + 0128 €  (Euro currency)
Alt + 0162 ¢  (Cent symbol)
Alt + 0163 £  (British Pound currency)
Alt + 0165 ¥  (Japanese Yen currency)