Computer keyboard shortcut keys

Updated: 08/16/2021 by Computer Hope
Keyboard shortcut

Shortcut keys ABCs

Shortcut keys help provide an easier and quicker method of navigating and executing commands in the computer software. Shortcut keys are performed using the Alt key (on IBM compatible computers), Command (on Apple computers), Ctrl key, or Shift key in conjunction with another key. The de facto standard for listing a shortcut is listing the modifier key, a plus symbol, and another key. In other words, "Ctrl+S" tells you to press and hold the Ctrl and then press the S simultaneously.

File menu with underlined shortcut letters

You can also find the shortcut keys in popular programs by looking for underlined letters in their menus. For example, the file menu image has an underline on the "F" in File, which means you can press the Alt key and F key to access the file menu.

Some programs require the user to press and hold Alt to see the underlined characters. In the image above, you can see that some of the standard features, such as Open (Ctrl+O) and Save (Ctrl+S), have shortcut keys assigned to them. As you begin to memorize shortcut keys, you'll notice that many applications share them. We have a list of the most commonly shared ones in the basic PC shortcut keys section.

Note

Non-English versions of Microsoft Windows may not be able to use all the shortcut keys below.

Basic PC shortcut keys

Below is a list of some of the most commonly used basic shortcut keys that work with IBM-compatible computers and software. We highly recommend all users keep a reference to these shortcut keys or try to memorize them. Doing so can dramatically increase your productivity.

Tip

Besides the special character shortcuts listed here, some are also on the number keys (below the F1 - F12 keys). You can enter these special characters by pressing the Shift key and the number key with the special character listed.

Shortcut Keys Description
Alt+F File menu options in the current program.
Alt+E Open Edit options in the current program.
Alt+Tab Switch between open programs.
F1 View help information (F1 is used by almost every Windows program to display help).
F2 Rename a selected file.
F5 Refresh the current program window.
Ctrl+D Bookmark the current page in most Internet browsers.
Ctrl+N Create a new or blank document in some software, or open a new tab in most Internet browsers.
Ctrl+O Open a file in the current software.
Ctrl+A Select all text.
Ctrl+B Change selected text to be bold.
Ctrl+I Change selected text to be in italics.
Ctrl+U Change selected text to be underlined.
Ctrl+F Open find window for current document or window.
Ctrl+S Save current document file.
Ctrl+X Cut selected item.
Shift+Del Cut selected item.
Ctrl+C Copy selected item.
Ctrl+Ins Copy selected item.
Ctrl+V Paste
Shift+Ins Paste
Ctrl+Y Redo the last action.
Ctrl+Z Undo the last action.
Ctrl+K Insert hyperlink for the selected text.
Ctrl+P Print the current page or document.
Home Go to the beginning of the current line.
Ctrl+Home Go to the beginning of the document.
End Go to the end of the current line.
Ctrl+End Go to the end of the document.
Shift+Home Highlight from the current position to the beginning of line.
Shift+End Highlight from the current position to the end of line.
Ctrl+Left arrow Move one word to the left at a time.
Ctrl+Right arrow Move one word to the right at a time.
Ctrl+Esc Open the Start menu.
Ctrl+Shift+Esc Open Windows Task Manager.
Alt+F4 Close the currently active program.
Alt+Enter Open the properties for the selected item (file, folder, shortcut, etc.).
Windows key+L Lock the computer, requiring password entry to access again.
Windows key+X Access the Power User Tasks Menu in Windows 8 and Windows 10.
Windows key+Down arrow Minimize the active program window.
Windows key+Up arrow Maximize the active program window.

PC shortcut keys for special characters

Many special characters can be created using keyboard shortcuts. Below are some of the more common and popular special characters and the keyboard shortcuts to create them.

Shortcut Keys Special Character
Alt+0224 à
Alt+0232 è
Alt+0236 ì
Alt+0242 ò
Alt+0241 ñ
Alt+0228 ä
Alt+0246 ö
Alt+0252 ü
Alt+0248 ø
Alt+0223 ß
Alt+0198 Æ
Alt+0231 ç
Alt+0191 ¿
Alt+0176 °  (degree symbol)
Alt+0177 ±  (plus/minus symbol)
Alt+0153
Alt+0169 ©
Alt+0174 ®
Alt+0128 €  (Euro currency)
Alt+0162 ¢  (Cent symbol)
Alt+0163 £  (British Pound currency)
Alt+0165 ¥  (Japanese Yen currency)