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Handy keyboard shortcuts

Windows+Tab or Alt+Tab The Windows+Tab combination cycles through the taskbar buttons. When the program you want is selected, hit Enter to switch to that window. If more than one program is running, Alt+Tab brings up the task-switching window. Immediately releasing the keys switches you to the previous application. To jump to one of the other running programs instead, release Tab, but keep Alt held down. Each succeeding press of Tab moves the program selection box to the next application. Releasing the Alt key switches you to the selected program. If only two applications are running, Alt+Tab toggles between them

Ctrl+Esc or Windows You can use either Ctrl+Esc or Windows to open the Start menu. Use the Up and Down Arrow keys to move through the menu, and the Enter key to choose an item. The two shortcuts vary slightly depending on your version of Windows. Ctrl+Esc, Esc leaves the Start button selected but not pressed. In Windows 95, 98, and NT 4.0 (but not Windows 2000 and Me), Windows, Esc will return you to the window or desktop selection you were working with previously.

Ctrl+Esc, then Esc, followed by Tab, Arrow keys, then Enter Use this command to go to the Quick Launch toolbar and launch a program.

Windows+M or Windows+D Use Windows+M or Windows+D to minimize all open Windows and reveal the desktop. It's easy to remember this one: M for Minimize all and D for desktop. Note that Windows+D doesn't work under Windows 95, but Windows+M does.

Shift+Windows+M or repeat Windows+D Restore all Windows you previously minimized with Windows+M or (repeat) Windows+D.

Tab, then Arrow, followed by Enter Move within the Windows Desktop and select items with Tab, then Arrow, and then Enter. Once at the desktop, use the Tab key to cycle through the Start button, Quick Launch toolbar, other toolbars, taskbar button area, and icons on the desktop (and those in the system tray in Windows 2000). Use the Arrow keys to move around within any of these areas of the desktop or taskbar. Use the Enter key to select items. You must, for example, select the Start button to open the Start menu.

Cleaning up Windows

These shortcuts can help you with day-to-day housekeeping in Windows.

Windows+R Windows+R opens the Run dialog box. Mnemonic: The Windows Run dialog.

Windows+E Windows+E starts Windows Explorer. Mnemonic: Windows Explorer.

Windows+F or F3 Windows+F or F3 finds a file from the Windows desktop. Mnemonic: Windows Find file dialog box.

Windows+Break Windows+Break opens the System Properties Dialog box. Mnemonic: Windows is broken; check the system properties.

F2 F2 renames the selected object. Mnemonic: This is the same command Excel uses for editing the currently selected cell. This command and the next one work within programs, too. For example, you can use these commands when working in the File > Open dialog box in Word or Excel. Note that after you select text in Word, F2 begins the operation of moving the current selection. You then move the insertion cursor to the desired location and hit Enter.

Shift+Delete Shift+Delete deletes selected objects without sending them to the Recycle Bin. Mnemonic: A slightly shifted version of what happens when you hit Delete, which sends the objects to the Recycle Bin. Be careful with this command. Under some conditions, it will delete a file without asking for confirmation first.

Shift key Hold down the Shift key while you insert the disk to bypass the CD-ROM AutoRun feature. This is an invaluable tool when you have to remove a disk during installation (to read the CD key, for example), then reinsert the disk.

Alt+Enter Press Alt+Enter to view the Properties dialog for a selected object. This works for such disparate objects as icons on the desktop, printers, hard drives, and the taskbar.

Windows-wide shortcuts

The shortcuts in this category work not only in Windows itself, but also in most Windows applications. Some of these shortcuts relate to the windows of a particular application. Others relate to features you'll find in almost any Windows program, such as drop-down list boxes.

Alt+Spacebar, then letter key or Alt+Spacebar, then Arrow, followed by Enter Alt+Spacebar opens the System menu, which will appear on-screen even if the application window is mostly off-screen. Once the System menu is open, you can hit R to restore, M to move, S to size, N to minimize, X to maximize, or C to close the main window. You can also use the Arrow keys to manipulate the application.

Alt+hyphen, then letter key, or Alt+hyphen, then Arrow, followed by Enter To restore, move, size, minimize, maximize, or close the currently selected window within a program, use Alt+hyphen to open the menu. Then, use the letter key or the Arrow keys.

Shift+F10, then letter key, or Shift+F10, then Arrow, followed by Enter. Shift+F10, then letter key or Shift+F10, then Arrow keys, followed by Enter opens a context menu. This is particularly useful in a program like Word when, for example, you want to call up the editing context menu but don't want to take your fingers from the keys to right-click.

Alt+Down Arrow Alt+Down arrow opens a drop-down list box. Mnemonic: Down box, Down Arrow. This is especially helpful when you're filling in database forms (in Microsoft Access, for example). It's also useful when working in a dialog box.

Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+Shift+Tab Cycle through the tabs in a dialog box with Ctrl+Tab or Ctrl+Shift+Tab. Mnemonic: Control your way from tab to tab. Ctrl+Tab goes from left to right, Ctrl+Shift+Tab moves from right to left

Alt+F6 Alt+F6 switches from window to window within the same program. However, this won't work with all windows. It will, for example, toggle between a Find window and a document window in Microsoft Word, but it won't toggle between one document window and another. The command in Word for cycling through the open document windows is Ctrl+F6.

Ctrl+B, Ctrl+U, Ctrl+I Use Ctrl+B for bolded font, Ctrl+U for underlined font, and Ctrl+I for italicized font. You probably know these work in the Office programs you use, but try them in other programs as well; they may work.

Ctrl+Z Ctrl+Z undoes any action. Mnemonic: Zap that. Again, this works throughout Windows, if not in every program.

Microsoft Word shortcuts,

Word offers over 300 shortcuts as shipped, not including the menu shortcuts. This adds up to more shortcuts than any reasonable person would be willing to memorize. There are a few, however, that we've found are worth the effort.

F3 F3 expands an autotext entry. If you use autotext very often, you'll get the hang of this one. Simply type the abbreviation (such as your initials for your address) and hit F3 to replace the abbreviation with the fill entry.

Shift+F3 Shift+F3 changes the case of letters. However, the effect of this shortcut depends on the selected text. The basic behavior cycles through all caps, all lowercase, and title capitalization (the first letter of each word capitalized). If the selection includes a sentence break, the shortcut cycles through all caps, all lowercase, and capitalization of the first word in each sentence.

F7 F7 by itself performs a spell-check on the entire document. If you select a word or section first, however, F7 checks the spelling of only that word or selection. If you have the Check Spelling As You Type feature turned on, this shortcut probably won't interest you. If you find that feature distracting and keep it off, you might find this shortcut quite useful.

Shift+F7 Shift+F7 checks the thesaurus. Mnemonic: There's not really a good mnemonic, but remembering that the F7 key is associated with both spelling and thesaurus commands might help. Shift+F7 checks the thesaurus for the word the cursor is on or just past.

F9 F9 updates the fields. Mnemonic: Again, there's not really a good mnemonic. All shortcuts dealing with fields use the F9 function key, though. Remember that much and you can, at the very least, experiment with various keystroke combinations. F9 by itself updates the selected fields, if any, or just the field the cursor is in.

Shift+F9 Shift+F9 switches between the field code and field result for selected fields. Mnemonic: Shift between selected field codes and field results.

Alt+F9 Alt+F9 switches between showing all field codes and their results. Mnemonic: Show all (Alt) codes or results.

Ctrl+F9 Ctrl+F9 inserts field markers. Mnemonic: Control what goes into the field. If you know the field codes you need to enter, use Ctrl+F9 to insert both open and close markers for the field quickly, then type your codes between them. Hit F9 to calculate the field result.

Shift+Ctrl+F9 Shift+Ctrl+F9 unlinks a field. Mnemonic: Shift control from the field to the field result. This converts a calculated field result into permanent text or a permanent graphic.

Alt+Shift+D Alt+Shift+D inserts Date field. Mnemonic: Date. To insert the date as text, type Alt+Shift+D, then Backspace, followed by Ctrl+Shift+F9 again.

Alt+Shift+T Alt+Shift+T inserts Time field. Mnemonic: Time. Again, to make the insertion as text, follow the shortcut with Ctrl+Shift+F9.

Ctrl+Shift+S Ctrl+Shift+S moves you to the Style drop-down box to pick a style. Mnemonic: Take Control to shift the Style. Once you get to the Style text box, you can open the drop-down list with Alt-Down Arrow.

Ctrl++ Ctrl++ formats characters as superscript

Ctrl+= Ctrl+= formats characters as subscript. Mnemonic: Superscript is +. Subscript is the unshifted form of +.

Ctrl+Spacebar Ctrl+Spacebar returns font to the default format for the style. If you depend on styles for formatting, this is one of the most important shortcuts to learn--particularly if you collaborate with others who may not be familiar with styles.

Ctrl+Shift+* (asterisk) Ctrl+Shift+* toggles between showing and hiding nonprinting characters. This is equivalent to clicking on the Show/Hide icon in the standard toolbar.

Alt+Shift+Up Arrow Alt+Shift+Up Arrow moves the paragraph up.

Alt+Shift+Down Arrow Alt+Shift+Down Arrow moves the paragraph down. (suprise hey)This command moves the paragraph containing the cursor or selection one paragraph marker at a time.

Alt+Shift+Right (or Left) Arrow Use this command to cycle the selected paragraph through all formats in the Style list.

Ctrl+Shift+> (Greater than sign) This command increases size (by various increments, depending on the current size).

Ctrl+Shift+< (Less than sign) Use this command to decrease size (by various increments, depending on the current size).

Ctrl+] (Right square bracket) Increase size by one point with this command.

Ctrl+[ (Left square bracket) This command decreases size by one point.

Assorted shortcuts


F10 or Alt F10 or Alt toggles between the menu bar and the main window in a program.

Ctrl+Tab Switch to the next window of a multiple-document-interface program.

Alt+F4 Alt+F4 closes a program.

F3 F3 runs Find again (in many but not all Windows utilities.


Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar enters the default value for a field.

Ctrl+' (apostrophe) Ctrl+' enters the value that appears in the same field in the previous record.

Ctrl++ Ctrl++ adds a new record.

Ctr+- Ctrl+- deletes the current record.


Shift+F2 Shift+F2 edits or creates a comment in the current cell.

Esc, then Arrow keys Esc, then Arrow keys moves a comment that's being edited.

Esc, then Esc again Pressing Esc twice closes a comment that's being edited.

Ctrl+Shift+" (quotation mark) Use this command to opy the value from the cell above the current cell.

Ctrl+' (apostrophe) Ctrl+' copies the formula from the cell above the current cell.

And if you need to print this and you are using Internet Explorer CTRL P


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