Six Keyboard Shortcuts Every Computer User Should Know

According to a statistic published in The Atlantic, 90 per cent of computer users don't know what Ctrl + F can do. As a result, we've put together a list of common, handy shortcuts and tricks that every computer user should know. If you have a friend or family member who could use a lesson or refresher, send this post along.

Before we get started, let's tackle some basics. The CTRL is an abbreviation for Control, and it's the main key on your Windows PC that you use for keyboard shortcuts. If you have a Mac, you also have a Control key, but your primary keyboard shortcut key is Command. Like Alt/Option and Shift, these are modifier keys. When you press them, nothing obvious happens. When you press them along with another letter or number, however, you can make your computer do things faster. We're going to talk about some handy shortcuts you can use with these keys.

Control + F (or Command + F on Mac)

Obviously we have to begin with Control + F since the statistic is begging for it. Control + F, or Command + F on a Mac, is the keyboard shortcut for the Find command. If you're in a web browser and want to search text on a web page, pressing Control+F will bring up a search box. Just type in that search box and it'll locate the text you're typing on the page. Control+F may work in other applications, too, when you need to find something. For example, Microsoft Word and other word processing applications use this keyboard shortcut.

Control + N (or Command + N on Mac)

Pressing Control + N, or Command + N on a Mac, is the command for creating something new. In a web browser, this will make a new window. In a word processing, image editing, or other document-based application this keyboard shortcut will create a new document.

Control+S (or Command+S on Mac)

Now that you know how to create a new document with your keyboard, you should also know how to save one. Control + S, or Command + S on a Mac is the keyboard shortcut for saving a document. If this is the first time you've saved the document you'll be presented with a new window that'll ask you what to name it and where you want to save it. If you've already saved it once before, this keyboard shortcut will simply save your changes.

Control + P (or Command + P on Mac)

If you want to print the document you just made, Control+P, or Command+P on a Mac, is the keyboard shortcut that will open the print window. From there you'll be able to check your settings, choose a printer, etc. When you're ready, just click print and your document will be printed. This keyboard shortcut works in pretty much any application with printable content, including your web browser.

Control + Q (or Command + Q on Mac)

Control + Q, or Command + Q on a Mac, is the keyboard shortcut for quitting the current application. In Windows it will be the currently open that's in focus on the screen. On a Mac this is also generally the case, but sometimes it's not as clear. To know which application is going to quit when you perform this keyboard command, just look in the upper left corner to see it's name.

Enter (or Return on Mac)

The enter key, or return key on a Mac, is useful for a lot of things. When a dialog window pops up and asks you to press OK or cancel, you can usually just press Enter instead of clicking OK. In Windows you can tell which button will respond to enter because it'll have a dotted box inside of it. On a Mac the button will be blue instead of grey. Enter can also be used for other things, like submitting forms on web pages from any text field in that form.

Crazy: 90 per cent of People Don't Know How to Use CTRL+F [The Atlantic via Boing Boing]


    ctrl/cmd F and S images are swapped on the article.

      Which is where Ctrl + Z would be helpful... :)

    Ctrl + F, S and N are all ones I use often. Don't print often enough to need a shortcut and tend to use Alt + F4 in Windows rather than Ctrl + Q (habit). Here are a few more I couldn't do without:
    Ctrl + A (select all)
    Ctrl + C/X/V (copy, cut, paste)
    Ctrl + T (new tab in almost every browser)
    Ctrl + Shift + T (restore last closed tab in Firefox and Chrome)
    Using Tab is great for speed with web forms but it amazes me how many people don't use it etc


      Also give the Home, End, Page Up and Page Down keys some love. Surprisingly useful.

        especially useful in combination with the shift key ...

          oh and those too... +1

    Don't forget the handy web browsing keyboard shortcuts too!!

    Ctrl + W = Close current window
    Ctrl + Tab = Change to next right tab
    And also, Ctrl + Shift + Tab = Change to the left tab.

    I suppose you could end up printing up the whole shortcuts list with the amount of suggestions you'd get, but these ones I use all the time whilst browsing, because it minimizes the amount of time using the damn trackpad on my laptop & I already have my hands over the keyboard from typing up a reply such as this. :P

    CTRL + Z is something I use all the time. It reverts the last thing you did. Always find myself using it these days. Works in pretty much every program.

      And if you change your mind, CTRL-Y to put back what you just used CTRL-Z to get rid of - also useful for repeating an action.

        Ah amazing. Learn something new every day!

    Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V are two of the most important omissions from this list. Copying and pasting is a fundamental skill that many older computer users have never heard of. I thought this to my mother-in-law the other day and she was amazed. She never knew you could move text around in an email or get text from another document!

    I wouldn't be able to live without Alt+Tab for quickly changing applications

    ctrl+shift+esc to get to task manager directly.

    imperative for any windows user.

      Second only to Ctrl + Alt + Del - By far the most important command on Windows

      Or just holding down the power button and counting to 10

    everyone knows tab goes to the next field. did you know that shift+tab goes to the previous field? kinda handy

      You'd be surprised how many people don't even know that.

    To get full screen on IE or Safari on Windows PC I use F14 but can't find what keys to use for full screen on Safari on my MacBook Pro. Can anyone help please?

    Ctrl+Q? I'm a massive keyboard shortcut key, never heard of it. Alt+F4.

    Also, anyone else hear a certain 90s pop song in their head when they read "Return on Mac"?

      I thought the same! Ive been listening to a remix of that song lately too

    Oh, here's a really obscure one that I seem to be the only person that knows. Say you're using two monitors on Windows, and for some reason an application is completely off screen (happens sometimes when you unplug one monitor). How do you get it back?

    1) Alt-tab to the application (the window is now focused, off screen)
    2) Alt+space
    3) M
    4) Any arrow key
    5) Now move the mouse around until you see the window on screen (you don't need to click).

    Crazy, but it works. And I don't know a better way.

    Something I use often on Windows computers is alt-f4 (close). When I found out about it, I didn't think I'd use it much. But somehow it seems so convenient.

    Win+D minimizes all windows. Win+D again restores the windows. Great for a quick peek especially if you have Rainmeter and some cool plugins or just have some gadgets or information running or just want to get to a file stored on the desktop.

    Win+L is a quick lock combination when leaving your desk.

    A good one in Win7 is:
    Ctrl+Shift+N = New folder in Explorer (or incognito window in Chrome)
    In Excel, there's loads, but I use:
    Ctrl+Shift+DownArrow = highlights all occupied cells in a column
    Ctrl+Home = goes back to cell A1
    Ctrl+D = copy data down a pre-selected group of cells
    Ctrl+Shift+Plus (+) = insert row/column (select the column to the left of where you want it to go)
    Ctrl+Minus = delete selected row/column.

    Sorry, got a little off on a tangent there!

    Ctrl plus to zoom in and ctrl minus to zoom out when you're viewing something in a web browser is one us folk with bad eyesight use

      Ctrl + the mousewheel does this too.

    ctrl+shift+esc = task manager on win7 ;)

    Well if you are using Xiosis Scribe, you just need the middle mouse button because it is probably the only writing tool that supports mouse gestures.

    Oh you also can try ctrl+q (move up) and ctrl w (move down) to move selections around the document without cutting and pasting

    ctrl+shift+t => re opens a previously closed tab on chrome

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