Change Your Windows Life in 5 Steps

top hotkeys

As a Windows user you might agree, that the work experience on different devices is pretty diverse. When you need to work on your partner’s laptop, it’s freaking you out. And when your partners sits on your PC, she is calling confused. In my opinion, the main reason for that is about the mouse (or laptop trackpad if you like).

When I worked as a student in different jobs, every morning my fellow working students and I would have to pick up one laptop from a pile. So the one who comes first into the office picks up the shiny Dell with the nice trackpack, and everyone else ends up working on a crappy HP device with a horrible track pad. You could also supplement it with a greasy mouse from the helpdesk, but I had a different idea…

As keyboards usually have the same quality, I got used to do most of the “mouse actions” on the keyboard. I discovered that using hotkeys saves me time and frustration. So I more and more turned into an evangelist for hotkeys, converting my colleagues and IT training participants.

And today, dear reader, you should take advantage of my five favorite shortcuts:

1. Show Desktop: Windows + D

You may not admit it but most of us save new files on the desktop. Afterwards we minimize all windows until we actually see the file and move it to another location (or just leave it where it is).

Press the Windows key and at the same time D (for desktop) and all the windows minimize themselves as if by magic. Press the hotkey again and they are back again. Easy.

2. Open Explorer: Windows + E

If you don’t save new files on the desktop, chances are you save it in “Downloads” folder or some other default location. 

Windows 7, 8 and 10 have slightly different ways to get there. But what remains the same is Windows key + E (for explorer). You are opening a new window, and just click one of your favorites.

3. Multitask: Alt + Tab

One of the major things you are doing on your laptop is probably copying and pasting stuff from one window to another. Be it data from Excel to another Excel, from Excel to a system, or from a system to another system. Previously, in my working student job one of my tasks was copying and pasting hundreds of account ID’s from a deprecated system into a new system, as there was no direct connection between both. With Alt + Tab I can switch easily between both windows, and move data easily without touching the mouse. Try it out now!

4. Select Text: CTRL + Shift + Arrows

Selecting text, for copy/paste/deleting it, can be exhausting. Try press + hold CTRL & Shift, and use the arrow keys for selecting parts with <- left, right -> Or whole paragraphes with ^ up, v down.

5. Select All Text: CTRL + A

When selecting text from a field, one of my colleagues uses a 3-time click for selecting a whole line. And she is pretty successful with it. I tried it too, but often perform one click too much. With CRTL + A select just everything in the Excel cell or a system’s text field. Completely.

Let’s review:

Now it’s you turn, what is your favorite Hotkey? Please let me know in the comments. 

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