23 Window Keyboard Shortcuts: A Cheat Sheet

Once you know these Windows keyboard shortcuts, you'll be able to get all your tasks done in a snap.

Windows hotkeys—when you press two or more keys at once to tell your computer to do something specific—are your, well, key to saving time when you’re at your computer. Once you have them memorized, you’ll find that this process is faster than using your mouse to go into a menu and select a command.

Microsoft Windows has certain keyboard shortcuts that can make switching between applications, taking screenshots, opening certain programs, and more, faster using hotkeys. Here are the ones you need to know.

Basic Window commands

These basic PC keyboard shortcuts will work on all applications, browsers, and programs, as well as Windows 10 and earlier versions including Windows 8.

Note: To make any hotkey work, you need to press the indicated keys at the same time.

COMMAND ACTION
CTRL + Z Undo your last action, such as typing the wrong word or accidentally deleting a file (Note: This doesn’t work to reopen closed windows.)
Alt + Tab Switch between your open applications
Alt + Print Screen Take a screenshot
CTRL + Alt + Delete (Del) Open the Windows Task Manager application
CTRL + W Close a browser tab, window, or open file
F5 Instantly refresh the current page in your browser
F12 Open the Save As… window when you’re in a word processor application like Microsoft Word. Here’s a list of what all the computer F keys do
Alt + F4 Close an open window
Shift + F10 Right-click on a selected item
CTRL + A Select all
Shift + Delete Select the file, then press to delete
CTRL + C Copy something you have selected
CTRL + V Paste the selection you copied
CTRL + X Cut (delete and copy) a selection
CTRL + B Start typing in bold. Hit the hotkey again for regular text
CTRL + I Start typing in italics. Hit again for regular text
CTRL + U Start typing words that are underlined. Hit again for regular text

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Navigating Windows shortcuts

Many Windows keyboard shortcuts involve tapping the Windows key. What is the Windows key? It is a key specific to PC computer keyboards (basically the PC version of Apple’s command key) and can be identified by the Windows logo. It is typically found next to the Alt key.

Here are some Windows key commands and what they do:

COMMAND ACTION
Windows key (Win) Opens the Start menu on your computer
Windows button + Tab Switch your view from one open window to the next. For example, you can go from your browser to Photoshop and back simply by tapping this combination of hotkeys
Windows key + D Make the desktop pop up on the screen
Windows key + left arrow key To organize two windows that you want to look at side-by-side, open one window and tap this hotkey to “snap” the second window to the left side of the screen. Then, open the other window and tap the Windows key + right arrow to snap the second window to the right. This works on Windows 7 and up
Windows key + L Lock your computer quickly
Windows key + I Open your Windows settings application

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Anyone who also works on an Apple computer will also want to know these Mac keyboard shortcuts.

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Alina Bradford
Alina Bradford is an award-winning writer of tech, health and science topics. Her work has been featured by CBS, CNET, MTV, USA Today and many more. Vistit her website at alinabradford.com.