The three most under-utilized keyboard shortcuts

I was standing behind my wife the other day quietly watching her use her computer to write an email. The more I watched the clearer it became just how much extra work she was creating for herself by not using Windows keyboard shortcuts.

Most average users know a few keyboard shortcuts such as ^C for Copy, ^X for Cut, and ^V for Paste but here are three additional shortcuts that many folks under-utilize. If you spend a few moments learning them you’ll find them incredibly useful (Note: When I write ^C it means to press down the Ctrl key and while holding it down, press the C key. You then release both together)

The first is ^A. This selects (highlights) everything in the current window or field. So for example you want to copy this entire newsletter into a Word document, hit ^A to select everything then ^C to copy it to the clipboard. Open your Word document and then type ^V to insert it. It’s much quicker than using a mouse to do the same thing. Try ^A now, it should select the whole newsletter. Click anywhere to remove the highlighting.

^A is also really useful when you want to delete the contents of a form field or dialog box. Just hit ^A then Delete. I use it a lot to clear the address box in my browser.

The second handy shortcut is ^Home. This takes you to the top of a document or web page. Similarly ^End takes you to the bottom. It’s much faster than scrolling. Try it now.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2006-11-17: