Tutorial Windows: Take Ctrl of Windows: Useful Hotkey Tips

People have been controlling the computer with the mouse and keyboard alone for some time now, but they’re not becoming obsolete, even if more advanced methods are already available on the market. But who needs other input devices when the keyboard gives almost unlimited ways to handle your windows?

There’s a high chance you discovered hotkeys by accident when navigating in Windows. If curiosity struck, you found out that buttons on your keyboard can be used in different combinations, with results that save you a lot of time, even if most operations are not that complicated.

Windows comes with a rich amount of predefined hotkey commands, which you can use in almost all areas of expertise, and not just OS-related features. Most common button combinations use special keys like Ctrl, which we are going to explore in this article.

Windows hotkeys with Ctrl

Ctrl from A to Z
With the letters alone covering 26 buttons, and a regular keyboard being equipped with around 100 buttons, just imagine the possibilities of combining two of them, let alone more. Here’s what happens when you hold down Ctrl and press alphabetical characters:
Ctrl + A Select all (text or files)
Ctrl + B Bold text selection
Ctrl + C Copy (text or files)
Ctrl + D Open Font window (text editors)/Add to Bookmarks (web browsers)
Ctrl + E Align text to center (text editors)
Ctrl + F Find/Search
Ctrl + G Go to (specific text line)
Ctrl + H Replace selection (text editors)/Access History (web browsers)
Ctrl + I Italic text selection (text)/Incremental search

Using Ctrl with an alphabetical character is pretty intuitive, because it is usually the first letter of a specific command. These can have different results, depending on the application or area they’re used in.

For instance, selecting all items is done by pressing Ctrl + A, and this can mean selecting files, all text inside a field, or items on a list. With everything selected, Ctrl + C stores items in the clipboard.

Using Ctrl + D can have two meanings, because pressed inside a word processor brings up the font options menu, while it Bookmarks the current page when in a web browser.

Regardless of the area you’re in, searching for something is done via Ctrl + F. It’s pretty sad that there’s no such thing in real life, but given the evolution in technology and reality enhancement sets, this can only be a matter of time.

Ctrl + J Justify text selection
Ctrl + K Insert hyperlink on selected text
Ctrl + L Create list/Align text selection left
Ctrl + M Increase margin by 1/2 inch
Ctrl + N New window, document, etc.
Ctrl + O Open file
Ctrl + P Print function
Ctrl + Q Quit program
Ctrl + R Align text selection right (text editors)/Refresh page (web browsers)

The Internet is a big place, and it’s really frustrating to search for a specific term or page when reading something. Luckily, this can be solved by inserting a hyperlink to a specific location. It’s done by selecting the words, pressing Ctrl + K, and pasting the link.

Navigation is further enhanced if you quickly open new windows or documents with Ctrl + O. What’s more, you can have content delivered on a sheet of paper through the Ctrl + P command, which can also be applied in web browsers.

To refresh the content of a page, or align the whole text to the right, you can use Ctrl + R. It’s also possible to justify paragraphs by pressing Ctrl + J, and even increasing margins by half an inch, with Ctrl + M. Whenever you feel like quitting, hit Ctrl + Q.

Ctrl + S Save function
Ctrl + T Open a new tab
Ctrl + U Underline text selection
Ctrl + V Paste clipboard content
Ctrl + W Close active window or tab
Ctrl + X Cut selected text or files
Ctrl + Y Redo last action
Ctrl + Z Undo last action

Don’t forget to press Ctrl + S every now and then to save your work and prevent data loss. It’s also a good idea to do this before pasting (Ctrl + V) or cutting (Ctrl + C) something. On the other hand, small steps can be undone (Ctrl + Z) or even done again (Ctrl + Y).

Ctrl and the rest of the keyboard
Needless to say that Ctrl can be used in combination with the rest of the buttons as well. Even if not all of them do something, those that do can greatly boost navigation and save you a lot of time.
Ctrl + Shift + Z Redo last action
Ctrl + [ Decrease font size
Ctrl + ] Increase font size
Ctrl + = Toggle font subscript
Ctrl + Shift + = Toggle font superscript
Ctrl + End Jump to bottom of document or window
Ctrl + Home Jump to top of document or window
Ctrl + Insert Copy selection
Ctrl + Page Down (PgDn) Next tab
Ctrl + Page Up (PgUn) Previous tab
Ctrl + Tab Next window or tab
Ctrl + Shift + Tab Previous window or tab

If you don’t want to stretch your finger all the way to Y to redo an operation, there’s the Ctrl + Shift + Z alternative. It’s pretty helpful, considering Z is also used to undo a mistake or action.

Writing doesn’t have to involve the mouse at all. For instance, decreasing and increasing font size is done faster with Ctrl + [and respectively Ctrl + ] rather than moving the mouse to press toolbar buttons.

Web navigation also benefits from hotkeys, with Ctrl + Page Down and Ctrl + Page Up quickly scrolling through opened tabs, or Ctrl + Tab and Ctrl + Shift + Tab as an alternative or for File Explorer windows.

Ctrl + ← (Left Arrow) Previous word
Ctrl + → (Right Arrow) Next word
Ctrl + Delete Delete next word
Ctrl + Backspace Delete previous word
Ctrl + Alt + ↑ (Up Arrow) Rotate screen right-side up
Ctrl + Alt + ↓ (Down Arrow) Rotate screen upside down
Ctrl + Alt + ← (Left Arrow) Rotate screen left
Ctrl + Alt + → (Right Arrow) Rotate screen right
Ctrl + Shift + Esc Open Task Manager
Ctrl + Alt + Del Open session options

To be honest, we got inspired to write this article from a simple action than makes navigation inside a document a walk in the park. For instance, having a rich document open and using the mouse to move around is one thing, but not having to take your hand off the keyboard is even better.

As such, you’ll find that using Ctrl with the Arrow Keys lets you jump whole words, without repeatedly pressing arrow keys. Not only this, but entire words can be deleted by using Ctrl + Delete and Ctrl + Backspace.

If you decide to also press Alt along with Ctrl and Arrow Keys, you’re in for a surprise. Doing so rotates the screen in the direction of the arrow key you pressed. It’s not a useless command, especially if you decide to stick your monitor to the ceiling and can’t rotate it from its support.

Ctrl and the Mouse
If the keyboard seems so useful, it doesn’t mean the mouse should be replaced. What’s more, hotkeys can mean a button from the keyboard, and one from the mouse, and this is what Ctrl does if used in different areas.
Ctrl + Left Button (LMB) Select multiple files or words
Ctrl + LMB (drag selected text or file) Create a copy
Ctrl + Double-click title bar Enter fullscreen mode
Ctrl + Shift + LMB (while dragging a file) Create shortcut
Ctrl + Wheel Zoom in or out
Ctrl + Right Button (RMB) Folder or desktop context menu. Can be pressed on a file with the same result.

Although not as many combinations are available when used with the mouse, navigation can still be upgraded. Holding down Ctrl and Shift while dragging a file creates its shortcut once the left mouse button is released.

In case there’s a large piece of text you want to read in a comfortable environment, just hold Ctrl and double-click the titlebar to enter fullscreen (F11 to toggle), and zoom in or out by using the wheel as long as Ctrl is pressed.

There can also be the case where you need to access the general context menu, but you can’t find an empty space because of the abundance of icons. Don’t worry, pressing the right mouse button along with Ctrl solves this problem.

In conclusion

It’s only a shame not to know and use global hotkeys, given that they make computer use so much easier, and are usually the same for different types of programs. Hotkeys save a lot of time in any activity, and it’s really neat to know that these can also be manually assigned to some actions, even to quickly launch shortcuts.

Wagiman Wiryosukiro

Petani Sistem Informasi, tukang las plugin & themes Wordpress. Co-Founder SistemInformasi.biz. Saat ini aktif sebagai Developer & kontributor di OpenMandriva Linux.

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