Keyboard shortcuts can speed up your productivity on a computer significantly. They usually replace multiple operations that are performed with the mouse with a set of keys that you need to press more or less simultaneously.
Take the opening of the Windows Task Manager for instance. If you use the keyboard, you simply use the shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Esc to open the task manager on the system. Without the shortcut, you would have to search for the task manager (for instance in the start menu) to load it from there.
The following list highlights twenty important keyboard shortcuts that computer users should be familiar with.
Ctrl-a highlights everything in a folder or document.
Ctrl-c copies the selected item or text to the clipboard.
Ctrl-v pastes the contents of the clipboard into the active program.
Ctrl-f opens the search in many programs. All web browsers and the majority of Office applications for instance support this. F3 may work sometimes as well.
Ctlr-s saves a document or web page in many programs, including Office and web browsers.
Ctrl-z undos the last action.
Ctrl-left arrow moves the cursor to the beginning of the previous word, while Ctrl-right arrow to the beginning of the next word.
Ctrl-Shift-left arrow or right arrow highlights the full previous or next word.
Ctrl-Backspace deletes the word on the left of the cursor.
Ctrl-Home moves the cursor to the top of the document, while Ctrl-End to the end of it.
Esc cancels the current task.
Ctrl-Shift-Esc opens the Windows Task Manager. (Windows 7 and newer)
Ctrl-Shift-click on a taskbar icon to open the program with administrative privileges.(Windows 7 and newer)
Shift-click on a taskbar icon to launch another instance of the program
Alt-Tab lets you switch between open programs and windows, Alt-Shift-Tab walks through the listing backwards.
Alt-F4 closes the active item or exits the active program
Alt-Esc cycles through the list of open programs in the order they have been opened.
Windows-d displays the desktop, while Windows-m minimizes all windows to show the desktop, and Windows-Shift-m restores the windows to their original position.
Windows-e opens My Computer in Windows Explorer
Windows-r opens the run box to start programs from there.
You find a full list of keyboard shortcuts for Windows at the Microsoft Products website. Shortcuts are listed here for all recent operating systems and other Microsoft products such as Office or Internet Explorer.
Have another shortcut that you make use of all the time? Let us know about it in the comments.