Keyboard ShortCut Mania!

"I like a guy with quick fingers"

Save time with these "handy" keyboard shortcuts:

What does hitting F3, Alt, or the Windows key do? Eliminate using your mouse with these quick keyboard commands.

If you're a Microsoft Office user who touch-types, you might prefer the keyboard to the mouse for entering commands. Odds are, though, that you wind up using the mouse, because Windows and Office keyboard shortcuts are difficult to remember, and trying to find them is a little like searching for the hidden goodies in an adventure program. Once found, though, shortcuts can prove invaluable time-savers

. This is not a list of every shortcut in Windows and Office. We've concentrated on those we've found most helpful. We won't delve into the shortcuts you probably know already, such as those that copy (Ctrl+C), cut (Ctrl+X), or paste (Ctrl+V) objects.

Don't try to learn all these key combinations at once. Pick a few that fit the way you work and use them for a while until they're automatic, then try a few more. To help you remember, we've added mnemonics where we could, along with notes where appropriate. All these shortcuts work in Windows 95, 98, Me, NT 4.0, and 2000, except where noted. Some require a keyboard with a Windows key (the key with a flying Windows icon on it). Windows key shortcuts are among the most useful--and most overlooked

Shortcuts for Windows and the Desktop

Shortcuts that let you move from one window to another easily, get to the Windows desktop, or move around the desktop can speed you up considerably.

Windows+Tab or Alt+Tab The Windows+Tab combination cycles through the taskbar buttons. When the program you want is selected, hit Enter to switch to that window. If more than one program is running, Alt+Tab brings up the task-switching window. Immediately releasing the keys switches you to the previous application. To jump to one of the other running programs instead, release Tab, but keep Alt held down. Each succeeding press of Tab moves the program selection box to the next application. Releasing the Alt key switches you to the selected program. If only two applications are running, Alt+Tab toggles between them.

Ctrl+Esc or Windows You can use either Ctrl+Esc or Windows to open the Start menu. Use the Up and Down Arrow keys to move through the menu, and the Enter key to choose an item. The two shortcuts vary slightly depending on your version of Windows. Ctrl+Esc, Esc leaves the Start button selected but not pressed. In Windows 95, 98, and NT 4.0 (but not Windows 2000 and Me), Windows, Esc will return you to the window or desktop selection you were working with previously.

Ctrl+Esc, then Esc, followed by Tab, Arrow keys, then Enter Use this command to go to the Quick Launch toolbar and launch a program.

Windows+M or Windows+D Use Windows+M or Windows+D to minimize all open Windows and reveal the desktop. It's easy to remember this one: M for Minimize all and D for desktop. Note that Windows+D doesn't work under Windows 95, but Windows+M does.

Shift+Windows+M or repeat Windows+D Restore all Windows you previously minimized with Windows+M or (repeat) Windows+D.

Tab, then Arrow, followed by Enter Move within the Windows Desktop and select items with Tab, then Arrow, and then Enter. Once at the desktop, use the Tab key to cycle through the Start button, Quick Launch toolbar, other toolbars, taskbar button area, and icons on the desktop (and those in the system tray in Windows 2000). Use the Arrow keys to move around within any of these areas of the desktop or taskbar. Use the Enter key to select items. You must, for example, select the Start button to open the Start menu.


Cleaning Up Windows

These shortcuts can help you with day-to-day housekeeping in Windows.

Windows+R Windows+R opens the Run dialog box. Mnemonic: The Windows Run dialog.

Windows+E Windows+E starts Windows Explorer. Mnemonic: Windows Explorer.

Windows+F or F3 Windows+F or F3 finds a file from the Windows desktop. Mnemonic: Windows Find file dialog box.

Windows+Break Windows+Break opens the System Properties Dialog box. Mnemonic: Windows is broken; check the system properties.

F2 F2 renames the selected object.
Mnemonic: This is the same command Excel uses for editing the currently selected cell. This command and the next one work within programs, too. For example, you can use these commands when working in the File > Open dialog box in Word or Excel. Note that after you select text in Word, F2 begins the operation of moving the current selection. You then move the insertion cursor to the desired location and hit Enter.

Shift+Delete Shift+Delete deletes selected objects without sending them to the Recycle Bin. Mnemonic: A slightly shifted version of what happens when you hit Delete, which sends the objects to the Recycle Bin. Be careful with this command. Under some conditions, it will delete a file without asking for confirmation first.

Shift key Hold down the Shift key while you insert the disk to bypass the CD-ROM AutoRun feature. This is an invaluable tool when you have to remove a disk during installation (to read the CD key, for example), then reinsert the disk.

Alt+Enter Press Alt+Enter to view the Properties dialog for a selected object. This works for such disparate objects as icons on the desktop, printers, hard drives, and the taskbar.