Put The Alt, Shift and Ctrl Key To Some Good Use On Your Keyboard [Windows Keyboard Tips]

The default Windows keyboard is full of keys which people seldom use, previously we had told users how to use Windows key to make you productive, it’s time to give you some hints on using the Alt, Shift and Ctrl key more often, believe us that using can make you more productive, that is why we always stress on shortcut keys in our posts.

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Application Switcher

By far the most common use for the Alt Key is the use of Alt + Tab key combination, this shortcut allows you to switch between open applications with ease.


Menu Shortcut Key

So you are in a application and want to access the menu item, just press the Alt key and you can use another keyboard key to open up the menu item, the second keyboard key will be highlighted with a underline.


It will take you some time to adjust to using this feature, but once you start using it, you will be using shortcut keys without even thinking about them.

Some applications like Internet Explorer hide their menu from users by default, however you can still launch the menu by using a Alt + charactershortcut key, see hints for more info.

Hint: Alt + F will open the File menu in most of the applications, Alt + E will open the Edit menu. Follow the above tips and you will save yourself a lot of time for sure with more Alt shortcuts, it’s easy to master isn’t it ;-)

Select Entire Words, Sentences, Paragraphs or Documents

A problem many users see while selecting content in text or document editors while using the keyboard, is the ability to select a large set of data, that’s the reason a mouse is more efficient, however a little know secret is that you can put the Alt, Ctrl and Shift key to good use while copying entire words, sentences or paragraphs. How? Look below.

Selecting a Word

You can use the Shift + Alt shortcut to copy a full word.

Selecting A Sentence

Use the Ctrl + End key to select the entire sentence, if you are at end of the sentence, use Ctrl + Home to do it. Are you in between a sentence? Use the Home key to go to the start or use End key to go to the end, and then use the other shortcut keys to copy the entire sentence.

Selecting a Paragraph

You wrote a paragraph and want to delete it, what would you do use the mouse as usual? Well hold on there are some shortcut keys that will help you here.

If you want to copy a entire paragraph, place your cursor at the top of the paragraph and use the Ctrl + Shift + Down arrow key on your keyboard.

If you are at end of the paragraph, no problem use the Ctrl + Shift + Up Arrow Key to select the paragraph above you.

Selecting the Entire Document

To select the entire document, file or browser window, you can use the shortcut key Ctrl + A, this works in almost everything you come across.

Go To The End Or Start Of The Screen In A Text/Document Editor or Webpage

If you want to go to the start or the end of a document or text file you can easily do it without having to scroll the page, just use Ctrl + End to go to the end of the document or Ctrl + Home to go to the top of the document.

This is also applicable while browsing webpages using a Internet browser.

Capitalizing Characters Without the Caps Lock Key

There are many times when you need to capitalize only certain characters, turning the Caps lock key on and off can waste a lot of time, if you just want to capitalize only certain characters, press and hold the Shift key and type the character you want to capitalize.

Opening Windows Task Manager

If you want to open the Windows Task Manager, you can easily do that by using the shortcut key Ctrl + Shift + Esc.

Closing Windows and Tabs

In many text editors the Ctrl + W keys will allow you to close individual tabs, if you are looking to close the entire application window you can use Alt + F4 shortcut key.

Permanently Deleting Files / Skipping Recycle Bin

If you want to permanently delete files without sending them to the recycle bin, hold the Shift key and press delete, this will delete the file permanently.

Selecting Files In Sequence or Selectively

If you want to select files in a sequence, you can hold the Shift key and use the up or down arrow keys to select files, using the right and left arrow keys will select files in the adjacent or previous rows when you are in list mode.

To selectively select files, press and hold the Ctrl key, use the up and down arrow key to move around, whenever you want to select a file just click on the spacebar button to select it.

A solution for Missing or Broken Keyboard keys

If any keys are not working on your keyboard you can still output them by using the Alt key, there are several character you can type out using the Alt key, for more details and reference visit our earlier post, useful shortcuts when your keyboard stop working.

Common Functions: Copy, Cut, Paste, Undo

The most common use of Ctrl key is to copy, cut and paste text and files. Use Ctrl + C to copy text, Ctrl + X to cut text, Ctrl + P to paste files and Ctrl + Z to undo things.

Navigating History in Your Browser [Previous/Next Page]

Every browser provides users with the previous and next page button to navigate the history, you can also do it with the keyboard, using the Alt + <- (left arrow key) to go the previous page and Alt + > (right arrow key) to go to the next page.

Refreshing Webpages from the Server

Pressing the F5 key usually does not refresh the webpage from the server, to force a server reload of the webpage, you can use the Ctrl + F5 shortcut key.

View Source Code In Browsers

If you want to view source code in browsers, the Ctrl + U shortcut key can be used in , , and Safari for Internet Explorer use Alt + V + C

Are there any other uses of these keys we missed? Drop a comment to let us know and we will include it here, also don’t forget to give us your feedback.

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Keith Dsouza

I am the editor-in-chief and owner of Techie Buzz. I love coding and have contributed to several open source projects in the past. You can know more about me and my projects by visiting my Personal Website. I am also a social networking enthusiast and can be found active on twitter, you can follow Keith on twitter @keithdsouza. You can click on my name to visit my Google+ profile.