Sometimes there simply is not enough time in the workday to accomplish everything we need to get done. Sad to say, there is no miracle cure that we can provide to squeeze more time in a day. However, there are a few simple ways to make the most of your time on a computer by using keyboard shortcuts.
Make sure to bookmark this page so you can reference it when you forget what they are.
Below, we’ll share the Windows key shortcuts, general shortcuts to use in common programs, and lastly, we’ll survey your shortcut options in your email (Outlook and Gmail). Let’s get started with the windows key.
Windows Key Shortcuts
The Rocket IT office uses Windows 10 across the office, and we’re all fond of our keyboard shortcuts. We’ve put together a useful Windows 10 cheat sheet of shortcuts to pass along below. Scan through the list to discover which would accelerate your daily computer activities.
- = Open and close the start menu.
- + 1, +2, etc… Switch to the desktop and launch the nth application in the taskbar. For example, +1 launches whichever application is first in the list, numbered from left to right.
- + A = Open the action center.
- + B = Highlight the notification area.
- + C = Launch Cortana into listening mode. Users can begin to speak to Cortana immediately.
- + D = Switch between Show Desktop (hides/shows any applications and other windows) and the previous state.
- + E = Switch to the desktop and launch File Explorer with the Quick Access tab displayed.
- + H = Start Dictation.
- + I = Open settings.
- + J = Set focus to a Windows tip, when one is available.
- + K = Open the Connect pane to connect to Bluetooth, wireless displays, and audio devices.
- + L = Lock your PC or switch accounts.
- +M = Minimize all windows.
- + O = Lock device orientation.
- + P = Open the Project pane and choose a presentation display mode.
- + Ctrl + Q = Open Quick Assist.
- + R = Open the Run dialog box.
- + S = Start a Windows search.
- + Shift + S = Take a screenshot of part of your screen.
- + T = Cycle through the apps on the taskbar.
- + U = Open Ease of Access Center
- + V = Open the clipboard
- + Shift + V = Cycle through notifications
- + X = Open the quick link menu.
- + Z = Show the commands available in an app in full-screen mode.
- + CTRL+ Enter = Turn on narrator.
- + Spacebar = Switch the keyboard input language.
- + CTRL + Spacebar = Change to a previously selected input.
- + Tab = Open task view.
- + period (.) or semicolon (;) = Open emoji panel.
- + comma (,) = Temporarily peek at the desktop.
- + Pause = Display the System Properties dialog box.
- + CTRL + F = Search for PCs (on a network).
- + Shift + M = Restore the minimized windows on the desktop.
- + Up arrow = Maximize the window.
- + Down arrow = Remove the current window from the screen or minimize the desktop window.
- + Left arrow = Maximize the app or desktop window to the left of the screen.
- + Right arrow = Maximize the app or desktop window to the right side of the screen.
- + Home = Minimize all except the active desktop window (restores all windows on the second stroke).
- + Shift + Up arrow = Stretch the desktop window to the top and bottom of the screen.
- + Shift + Down arrow = Restore/minimize active desktop windows vertically, maintaining width.
- + Shift + Left or Right arrow = Move an app or window in the desktop from one monitor to another.
- + Plus (+) = Open magnifier.
- + forward slash (/) = Begin IME reconversion.
- + CTRL + V = Open shoulder taps.
- + CTRL + Shift + B = Wake PC from a blank or black screen.
If you’re not familiar, you’ll quickly notice at least a few shortcuts that will make your life easier.
Copy, Paste, & Other General Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts save valuable time by not having to fumble around with the mouse. While the entire list can feel overwhelming, we recommend you pick one of the following tips, to begin with. Once you master that, then go ahead and try another one.
- Ctrl + X = Cut the selected item (“X” looks like you’ve crossed something out.).
- Ctrl + C = Copy the selected item (“C” stands for copy.).
- Ctrl + V = Paste the selected item (“V” looks like the insertion symbol.).
- Ctrl + Z = Undo your last action.
- Alt + Tab = Switch between your apps (“Alt” stands for the alternative program and then you will “Tab” to the desired program.).
- Alt + F4 = Close the active application.
- Esc = Stop or leave the current task.
Keyboard Shortcuts For Your Email Inbox
In addition to general and windows key shortcuts, email shortcuts are one of those effective productivity tools we all have access to. A lot of your time as a professional is spent in the email inbox, and email applications should work with you, not against you. If you want to be more efficient and cut down your time in Outlook and Gmail, check out these shortcuts for streamlining your email actions.
Outlook (for Macs, replace Ctrl with Command or ⌘)
The following keyboard shortcuts will streamline your Microsoft Outlook experience.
- Ctrl + N = New mail message
- Alt + S = Send (sends the email because “S” stands for send.)
- Alt + H, then AF = Insert file in a message
- Ctrl + K = Insert link in a message
- Ctrl + R = Reply (replies to an email because “R” stands for reply.)
- Ctrl + Shift + R = Reply All (replies to all because “Shift” means you are adjusting from the original person and “R” stands for reply.)
- Ctrl + F = Forward (forwards an email because “F” stands for forward.)
- Alt + H, then N1 = Create an appointment
- Ctrl + Shift + Q = Create a meeting request
- F3 or Ctrl + E = Go to the Search box
- Ctrl + Alt + A = Expand the search to include all items
- Ctrl + 1 = Switch to Mail
- Ctrl + 2 = Switch to Calendar
- Ctrl + 3 = Switch to Contacts
- Ctrl + 4 = Switch to Tasks
- Ctrl + Shift + L = Add Bullets
So again, try one of these out. Once you have mastered it, move on to another one.
Watch to see how much time you will get back in one day just by implementing these simple shortcuts.
Gmail (for Macs, replace Ctrl with Command or ⌘)
To utilize Gmail keyboard shortcuts, you need to enable this feature by going into your Gmail Inbox settings using the gear symbol in the upper right corner. Once you do, the following shortcuts are just available to your active fingertips.
- C = New mail message
- Ctrl + Enter = Send
- Ctrl + K = Insert a link
- R = Reply
- A = Reply All
- F = Forward
- ] or [ = Archive conversation
- / = Go to search bar
- Shift + T = Add conversation to tasks
- G + I = Switch to Mail
- G + C = Switch to Contacts
- G + K = Switch to Tasks
- G + T = Switch to Sent Messages
- G + D = Switch to Drafts
- Ctrl + Shift and (–) = Decrease text size in a message
- Ctrl + Shift and (+) = Increase text size in a message
- Ctrl + Shift + 8 = Add Bullets
- Ctrl + Shift + 7 = Add numbered list
- Ctrl + Shift + 9 = Add quote
- Ctrl + (\) = Remove formatting
You may not have the need to use all of these shortcuts, but they’re pretty handy to know. And, if there’s anything you don’t see here, you can find more at the links below. Save some time and try them out!
Other Windows Resources
- Windows – http://windows.microsoft.com
- Work Smart by Microsoft IT – http://aka.ms/customerworksmart
- Microsoft IT Showcase – http://microsoft.com/itshowcase
About the Authors –
Emily Connolly is the Project Coordinator at Rocket IT. She graduated from Auburn University and has extensive project management. Emily works directly with our vCIO and the Projects team to provide key strategic insight to our clients.
Matt Hyatt is the Founder and CEO of Rocket IT, the IT department for all kinds of organizations around Gwinnett. His award-winning firm provides both the strategy and support needed to help businesses thrive.
Matt currently serves on the Executive Board of the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce as the Vice Chair of Entrepreneurship & Small Business, is an active supporter of Gwinnett County Public Schools, and is a member of several peer groups (like Entrepreneurs’ Organization) in addition to cofounding two of his own. In 2014, Matt was awarded the Pinnacle Small Business Person of the Year.
Outside of work, Matt enjoys spending time with his wife, Maureen, and their two teenage children pursuing their shared passions for photography, travel, and food. He also regularly runs with a team in ultra-long distance relay races.
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