I don’t work in the IT department, but I’m tech-savvy enough to know more about computer stuff than a lot of my coworkers.  Because I’ve worked so much with software programs and strive to always find the most efficient way to complete tasks, I’ve realized there are shortcuts I’ve taken for granted that everyone using a computer knows.

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But not everyone knows all the incredibly useful shortcuts that could save them loads of time when working on just about anything that requires a keyboard.  You may even have these shortcuts printed on the front side of the keys on your keyboard (“Oh, that’s what those are for!”)

So here is my list of useful keyboard shortcuts everyone should know :

NOTE: you do not need to type the “+” in these.

  1. Ctrl + a – select all.  This is handy if you want to select the entire contents of a document or website and would usually click and hold the mouse button, scrolling down the page and hoping you didn’t miss anything.
  2. Ctrl + c – copy whatever you have highlighted.  Instead of clicking Edit – copy (or however your method may be depending on your program), two buttons, when pressed together do the work for you.
  3. Ctrl + x – cut whatever you have highlighted.  If you want to remove words or an image, but keep it on your “clipboard” for later use, this would be the option for you.  Just don’t wait too long and forget that it’s waiting there to be pasted or you might copy or cut something else and lose it.
  4. Ctrl + v – paste whatever you’ve copied or cut.  Just click where you want it to go, press the magic keys and you’re in business!  Just remember that while it may seem logical to use Ctrl + p for pasting (that’s reserved for printing), notice that x, c and v are lined up across your keyboard, so sequentially, it makes sense.
  5. Ctrl + p – as we just learned, this is for print, not paste.  If you’re on a website and only want to print a selection, highlight the section you want to print, press Ctrl + p and when the print window pops up, make sure “Selection” is selected as the Page Range.  Otherwise you will print the whole page.
  6. Ctrl + s – save whatever you’re working on.  If you are neurotic as I am about making sure you don’t lose your work, this should be well-programmed into your brain.  I also set the auto save to 2 or 3 minutes, down from the default of 10 minutes (hey, I can type a lot in 10 minutes!) but if I’ve done some exceptionally detailed work, I often use this shortcut just to ensure I’ve saved my work.  This will also bring up a save dialog box in case you haven’t selected a filename and save location already.
  7. Ctrl + b – bolds the highlighted text or if no text is highlighted, bolds subsequent typed text.
  8. Ctrl + u – underlines the highlighted or subsequently typed text.
  9. Ctrl + I – italicizes highlighted or subsequently typed text.
  10. Ctrl + f – brings up a search box to find text within a document or web page.
  11. Ctrl + h – find’s ultra-helpful older brother who will find text then replace it with text you specify.  Very helpful if you find out you’re misspelled a name or referred to an incorrect location multiple times in a document and want to be sure you’ve fixed all occurrences.
  12. Ctrl + n – usually creates a new document or workbook.  To create a new slide in PowerPoint, use ctrl + m.
  13. F2 – allows editing in an Excel cell or when text is highlighted.  It’s a bit difficult to explain the awesome functionality of this, but here goes: especially when working in Excel, if you copy a cell, then paste in a document or elsewhere, you may notice a box around the text or strange box characters at the end of the pasted text.  You may also find that if you are editing a cell, sometimes all the contents get highlighted and you write over it.  By pressing F2 while on a highlighted cell, you can easily edit without writing over the text already in the cell.

Once you learn these shortcuts, you will find you are saving loads of time and working much more efficiently.  You can even often create your own shortcuts and learn even more not listed here that will help speed up your work.

Click here for more Microsoft Office shortcuts