Quick ReferenceStart - Reference Cards

Shortcuts which work System-Wide

Some tips & tricks: this page presents a selection of the more useful windows shortcuts - about 77 - still to many to memorize all of them. However, the pre-selection, which ones to consider, corrolates closely with the users habits.

The shortcuts have been tested with Windows 7, and are thus most likely usable with the successor versions (e.g. Windows 8). Concerning the predecessor version as Windows XP, there are some known failures.

The shortcuts presented in this collection, cover the following functional areas:

List of useful Windows Shortcuts

Many of the listed shortcuts rely on the following keys:


Manage Actions & Programs


Open or close the Start menu

[Windows] + [E]

Start Windows Explorer; path "Computer"

[Windows] + [R]

Open the "Run" command dialog box

[Windows] + [Pause]

Display the System Properties

[Windows] + [L]

Lock the keyboard / computer



Arrange & Select & Move Windows

[Windows] + [D]

Display the desktop (and go back to application)

[Windows] + [M]

Minimize all windows (+ [Shift] = restore)

[Windows] + [←] / [→]

Minimize window / dock window to left / right

[Windows] + [↑] / [↓]

Maximize / minimize window

[Windows] + [1] .. [9]

Activates window number 1 . 9 of the task bar (+ [Shift] = new instance)

[Windows] + [T]

Cycle through programs on the taskbar (+ [Shift] backward)

[Windows] + [B]

Activates the taskbar

Left mouse button + [Shift]

Starts a new instance of the program in the taskbar

Left mouse button + [Shift] + [Ctrl]

... in administrator mode



Magnifying Glass www.system-overload.org

[Windows] + [+]

Activates the magnifier (= display utility)

[Windows] + [Esc]

De-activates the magnifier



Access Menu Bar


Activates the menu bar of the program

[Alt] + underlined letter

Perform the menu item / command



Select running Programs / Applications

[Alt] + [Tab]

Switch between open tasks / programs (+ [Shift] backwards)

[Alt] + [Esc]

See above, but cycles directly through running programs (+ [Shift] backward)



Copy & Paste (C&P)

[Ctrl] + [C]

Copy a selected item

[Ctrl] + [X]

Cut (Move) a selected Item

[Ctrl] + [V]

Paste a selected item (from the clipboard)

[Ctrl] + [A]

Select all (= everything)



Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, ...) & Internet Browser

[Ctrl] + [Home]

Go to the top of a document / page

[Ctrl] + [End]

Go to the bottom of a document / page

... + [Shift]

Select from current position to top / bottom

[Ctrl] + [Z]

Undo last change / action

[Ctrl] + [Y]

Redo last change / action

[Ctrl] + [S]

Save document


Save as new file

[Ctrl] + [N]

Create a new document / window (WORD, EXCEL, ..., IE

[Ctrl] + [T]

Create a new tab (Browser)

[Ctrl] + [O]

Open an existing file

[Ctrl] + [P]

Print current file

[Ctrl] + [W]

Close current tab / window

[Ctrl] + [F]

Select the search box (Office, Internet Explorer, ...)

[Ctrl] + [Alt] + [V]

Paste Special (= Paste Options)

[Ctrl] + [Mouse scroll wheel]

Change the size and appearance (= zoom: increase / decrease view)



Position Cursor / Select Text (Items)

[Ctrl] + [←] / [→]

Position cursor at the start of the previous / next word

[Ctrl] + [↑] / [↓]

Position cursor at the start of the previous / next paragraph or section

[Ctrl] + [Shift] + Arrows

. simultaneous selection (highlight)

[Ctrl] + ([Shift]) + [↑] / [↓]

Cursor to first / last filled cell; with [End] instead of arrow keys, it works over several columns



Close Programs / Tabs

[Ctrl] + [Tab]

Switch (move) forward between tabs / index cards (+ [Shift] backwards)

[Ctrl] + [F4]

Close active document / tab / subroutine

[Alt] + [F4]

Exit the active program



Microsoft Windows System Shortcuts

[Shift] + [F10]

Open shortcut menu (= right mouse click)


Cancel current task

[Space Bar]

Single left mouse click (check box)


Display Windows internal Help


Refresh (Explorer, Browser)


Rename the selected item (in Excel = edit cell)


Press during Startup: Boot into the Safe Mode


Activate / Deactivate Menu Bar


Full-Screen mode (presentation mode) On / Off


Drag & Drop (D&D): changes to ,copy' (instead of move)

[Ctrl] + [Shift] + [Esc]

Open Task Manager directly

[Shift] + [Alt]

Switches between different language settings of the keyboard, e.g. from QWERTZ to QWERTY. Only if the keyboard layout for different languages is enabled (via "Control Panel" and tab "Clock, Language, and Region" activate "Language bar")



[Alt] + [Druck]

Screenshot of the active window


Screenshot of the whole monitor



Windows Explorer & Desktop

[Alt] + [Return]

Property dialog box for the selected item

[←] / [→]

Explorer-Navigations-Pane: collapse / expand folder structure

[Ctrl] + [Shift] + [N]

Create New Folder

[Ctrl] + [N]

Open new explorer window (with identical path)

[Alt] + [↑]

Go up one level (folder hierarchy)


Go down one level (folder hierarchy)

[Alt] + [←] / [→]

Go Back / Go Forward (= blue arrows)

Shift] + [right mouse button] on selected file

Adds e.g. the item 'Copy as Path' to the context menu

[Shift] + [right mouse button] on selected folder

Adds e.g. the item 'Open Command Window here' to the context menu

[Alt] + [A] + [L] / [I] / [D]

Changes the Explorer view options to Large Icons / Content / Details

[Alt] + [A] + [O]

Arrange files in Explorer via "Sort by ."

[Alt] + [A] + [M]

Explorer Command "Open with ."

[Shift] + [Entf]

Delete item directly (without recycle bin) - Not recommended these days!



How to use

There are several 100 shortcuts for the operation system Windows and its programs. Ever since the almighty Copy & Paste shortcuts conquered the minds and fingertips of computer user, a plethora of new shortcuts evolved every year - and, equally, a number of them felt into oblivion. The problem is: how to remember this deluge of letters, numbers and special signs? The use of shortcuts can profoundly speed up the work, however there are some stipulations:

  1. There should not be to many
  2. They should be used (almost) daily — a shortcut for a specific action, which is employed once a month, is superfluous
  3. They should work ubiquitously — that is system-wide and / or across programs. This feature enhances the expedience to a new altitude

Tips & Tricks - Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows

Windows Shortcuts (Hotkeys)

The mostly system-wide usable Windows Keyboard Shortcuts - Tips & Tricks. from this page can be downloaded as a PDF (Cheat Sheet). To the left is a screenshot (fragment only) to provide an impression of how is looks like (a click will enlarge the image).
For those with an insatiable lust for knowledge, there is the internet search engine of your choice. In addition, the official Microsoft documentation is quite concise and easy to access:
use F1 within the Explorer, type "shortcuts" into the search box, and you are done.