Incredible Windows XP shortcuts and tips you WISH you knew before you read this! -Part I

People say I’m a “wiz” at computers. People are amazed at how I “fly” through computer screens, dialog boxes and speed through applications. I’m often asked “How did you do that!?!” It’s pretty simple: I read the instructions. Sometimes- I even buy books about computers and read the help files. Nothing too fancy. ;)

I am going to pass on some of my “mind blowing” tips for quickly “moving around” with XP. These tips will save you time and promote incredible efficiency increases with the way that you use your PC. If any following tip is BOLDED and has an * next to it, it is a MUST MEMORIZE AND USE TIP!!!

P.S. Most of these tips work on earlier versions of Windows and many work with other applications. Try them!

Shortcut Keys:

These are keys or key combinations that you can use “out of the box” with any XP system. When you see a “plus” (+) sign it means you press the keys down in sequence HOLDING them down until they are all pressed TOGETHER, then release them as a UNIT!!!


F1 Universal Windows HELP key
F2 Rename as selected icon or file
F4 Brings up the “MY COMPUTER” listings when browsing though files or surfing
*F5 Refresh the listings of the contents of a folder or web page
*Alt + F4 Closes CURRENT open window (very useful for combating pop-ups!)
*Ctrl + F4 Closes open Window in a program
Shift + F10 Simulates the RIGHT-Click of a mouse button


*Alt + Tab Switches forward between current applications
Alt + Shift + Tab Switches backwards between current applications
Alt + Print Screen Creates a screen shot of the current application
Note: you will have to PASTE this into a valid program to see the screen shot
*Alt + F4 Closes CURRENT open window (very useful for combating pop-ups!)
Alt + E Edit menu options for current program
Alt + F File menu options for current program
Alt + any other letter Will bring up the options for whatever command line letter is underlined

UNIVERSAL KEYS: (should work with most programs)

*Ctrl + A Select all text
*Ctrl + C Copy selected item
*Ctrl + V Paste
*Ctrl + X Cut selected item

Shift + Del Cut selected item
Ctrl + Ins Copy selected item

*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

THE [tag]WINDOWS KEY[/tag]: (The fancy key with the windows logo on it (WKEY or WINKEY)

*WKEY + D Brings the desktop to the top of all other windows
*WKEY + E Open Microsoft Explorer
WKEY + F Display the Windows Search / Find feature
*WKEY + L Lock the computer
*WKEY + M Minimizes all windows
*WKEY + R Open the run window (see part 2 for more)
WKEY + U Open Utility Manager
WKEY + CTRL + F Display the search for computers window
*WKEY + SHIFT + M Undo the minimize done by WKEY + M and WKEY + D
WKEY + Tab Cycle through open programs through the taskbar
WKEY + F1 Display the Microsoft Windows help.


Click, hold, and drag Selects text from where you click and hold to the point you drag and let go
Double-click If you double-click a word it selects the complete word
Triple-click Selects the line or paragraph of the text the mouse triple-clicked
*Ctrl + Mouse wheel Zooms in and out of document.

INTERNET EXPLORER SHORTCUTS: (works with most other web browsers as well)

*Alt + Left Arrow Back a page
*Alt + Right Arrow Forward a page

*F5 Refresh current page / frame
*F11 Display the current website in full screen mode. Pressing F11 again will exit this mode
*Esc Stop page or download from loading

Ctrl + Enter Complete an internet address. For example, type jpisano in the address bar and press
CTRL + ENTER to get + it will automatically take you to the page

Ctrl + N Open New browser window
*Ctrl + P Print current page / frame

Spacebar Moves down a page at a time
Shift + Spacebar Moves up a page at a time

MS WORD SHORTCUT KEYS: (also works with most word processors and many other apps like MS [tag]Excel[/tag])

*Ctrl + A Select all contents of the page
*Ctrl + B Bold highlighted selection
*Ctrl + C Copy selected text
Ctrl + E Aligns the line or selected text to the center of the screen
Ctrl + F Open find box
*Ctrl + I Italic highlighted selection
Ctrl + K Insert link
Ctrl + L Aligns the line or selected text to the left of the screen
*Ctrl + P Open the print window
Ctrl + R Aligns the line or selected text to the right of the screen
*Ctrl + U Underline highlighted selection
*Ctrl + V Past
*Ctrl + X Cut selected text
*Ctrl + Y Redo the last action performed
*Ctrl + Z Undo last action

Ctrl + <left arrow> Moves one word to the left
Ctrl + <right arrow> Moves one word to the right
Ctrl + <up arrow> Moves to the beginning of the line or paragraph
Ctrl + <down arrow> Moves to the end of the paragraph

Ctrl + Del Deletes word to right of cursor
Ctrl + Backspace Deletes word to left of cursor
Ctrl + End Moves the cursor to the end of the document
Ctrl + Home Moves the cursor to the beginning of the document
Ctrl + Spacebar Reset highlighted text to the default font

Ctrl + 1 Single-space lines
Ctrl + 2 Double-space lines
Ctrl + 5 1.5-line spacing

F4 Repeat the last action performed
F5 Open goto window
*F7 Spell check selected text and/or document
Shift + F7 Activate the thesaurus
*F12 Save as

Shift + F12 Save
Shift + Space Soft Line Break

Alt + Shift + D Insert the current date
Alt + Shift + T Insert the current time

                               ~J. Pisano

Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D. is the creator of many education websites, a lecturer, clinician, trumpeter, and conductor. He is currently the Associate Chair of Music and Director of Bands in the Calderwood School of Arts at Grove City College in PA. He been named a TI:ME Teacher of the Year, received the JEN Jazz Educator Award and the PA Citation of Excellence. He is a past Vice President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators and the current Vice-President of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association. He also writes for DCI Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, and is the Educational Editor for In-Tune Monthly Magazine; he has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications. Find out more at his website
Print Friendly