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Important Windows’ shortcuts you should know about

Greg Devine


Close up white computer keyboard

You may use Windows every day, but did you know of these shortcuts and their uses? Shortcuts can save you time, and some may even help your computer if it appears to be frozen or broken.

ALT + Tab

One of the most common shortcuts, this combination provides an easy way to switch between the different programs you have open on your computer. It’s often much quicker than using your mouse to select programs from the start menu.

Ctrl + B / Ctrl + I / Ctrl + U

Particularly useful for those who regularly use Word, these commands will quickly toggle the use of bold, italics and underline. Simply use Ctrl and the corresponding letter for the style you wish to use. Performing the command again will toggle the style off.

Ctrl + C / Ctrl + V / Ctrl + X

I’m sure you’ll be aware that Ctrl + C is used to copy and Ctrl + V is used to paste, but did you know that you can use Ctrl + X to use the cut feature?

Ctrl + S

Please use this one, and often. There’s nothing worse than losing unsaved work because your computer has crashed, or you’ve experienced a loss of power. By regularly saving your work, you limit the amount of data you would lose should such an unfortunate incident occur.

Ctrl + A

This will allow you to select everything. And I mean, everything. Should you use it in a Word document, it will select everything in that document; use it in a folder and it will select everything within that folder.

Ctrl + Z / Ctrl + Y

These are incredibly useful when you’ve made a mistake. Ctrl + Z will perform the ‘undo’ command and Ctrl + Y will instigate a ‘redo’. This is a lot quicker than using the buttons on your screen, and they can also be used in places where the buttons do not exist. Next time you accidently delete something or make a mistake, try Ctrl + Z and maybe it will fix it/bring the data back.

Close up black computer keyboard

Close up black computer keyboard

The following will prove useful if your PC experiences technical issues…

Alt + F4

This closes the window you’re currently using. This is probably most useful when the program has failed to respond or is frozen. Make sure you don’t inadvertently activate this command, however, as it will shut your program down without asking for confirmation.

Ctrl + Alt + Delete

Another common command, but do you know the name of the screen it brings up? This is called the Windows Security Screen. It presents many different options, including ‘restart’ and ‘task manager’; the latter could prove very useful if your PC is not working as intended.

Win + Ctrl + Shift + B

If your PC’s screen is flickering, frozen or blank, this combination may provide the solution. Behind the scenes, your computer uses drivers to connect software to hardware. Essentially, these drivers provide the instructions your computer needs to understand how to work. Sometimes, though, they can become confused and stop working. Using this command will reset your graphics driver and fix what may appear to be a frozen computer. It won’t always be the right solution, but it’s worth a try before the obligatory ‘turn it off and on again’.

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