Computer Basics: Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

You can access many functions in Windows from your keyboard. Here is a “cheat sheet” of general Windows keyboard shortcuts and their results. These functions work in most Windows programs that use the standard Windows interface. Exact functionality varies from one application to another as needs differ.

Windows Level Functions

Alt-Tab Move from one open program to another. Repeatedly pressing Alt-Tab cycles through all open programs.
Alt-Esc Move to the next program running as an icon or a window.
Ctrl-Esc Opens Windows Start menu.

Dialog Box & Window Functions

Arrow keys Move between icons, menus, lists, dialog box fields, and more, within the current element or field.
Tab Move forward between window elements or fields (especially in dialog boxes).
Shift-Tab Move backward between window elements or fields (especially in dialog boxes).
Enter Select the currently active screen element. For example, select a currently highlighted item or button.
ESC Closes the current dialog box or menu.
F1 Get help for the active window.
Move between windows within the current program.
Ctrl+F4 Close the active window within the current program (but not the program).
Alt+F4 Close the current program.
Alt-Space Bar Open the Control menu of the current program.

Clipboard & Editing Functions

Copy the selected text or other highlighted item to the Clipboard.
Cut the selected text or other highlighted item and copy it to the Clipboard.
Paste the item on the Clipboard into the active window at the cursor point.
Del Deletes the selected text or other highlighted item, not sending it to the Clipboard.
Print Screen Copy the full screen image to the Clipboard.
Alt+Print Screen Copy the image of the active window to the Clipboard.

Text Functions

Ctrl+a Select all text or items in the active window.
Ctrl+b Boldface highlighted text.
Ctrl+i Italicize highlighted text.
Ctrl+f Find a specified string in the current document.
Ctrl+h Find a specified string in the current document and replace it with another string.
Undo the most recent edit.

File Functions

Ctrl+n Create a new file.
Ctrl+o Open a file.
Ctrl+s Save the currently active document or data item.
Ctrl+p Print.

These keyboard shortcuts work in most applications that use the standard Windows interface, including Windows Explorer and Notepad. Personal Knowbase uses these standard functions to help reduce the learning curve when you’re starting out with the software.

For more information about standard Windows menu and dialog box shortcuts that work in most programs, see our previous post Personal Knowbase Keyboard Shortcuts.