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Handy Keyboard

Listed are shortcuts that you may find useful

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 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.  I've concentrated on those I've found most helpful.  I won't delve into shortcuts you probably already know, such as those 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, I've added mnemonics where I 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.

Moving Around 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.

Switch among applications:  Windows+Tab or Alt+Tab.

The Windows+Tab combination cycles through the taskbar buttons.  When the program you want is selected, press 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 key held down.  Each succeeding presses of Tab key 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.

Open the Start menu:  Ctrl+Esc or Windows.

Either shortcut will 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), Esc will return you to the window or desktop selection you were working with previously.

Go to the Quick Launch toolbar and launch a program: Ctrl+Esc, Esc, Tab, select with Arrow keys, Enter.

Minimize all open Windows and reveal the desktop:  Windows+M or Windows+D.

Mnemonics:  This one's easy to remember; M for Minimize all and D for desktop. 
Note that Windows+D doesn't work under Windows 95, but Windows+M does.

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

Move within the Windows Desktop and select items: Tab, Arrow, 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.

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

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

Start Windows Explorer: Windows+E.
Mnemonic:  Opens Windows Explorer.

Find A File (from the Windows desktop): Windows+F or F3
Mnemonic:  Opens the Windows Find File dialog box.

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

Rename the selected object:  F2
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 press Enter.

Delete selected objects without sending them to the Recycle Bin: Shift+Delete
Mnemonic:  A slightly shifted version of what happens when you press 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.

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

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

Windows-Wide Shortcuts
The shortcuts in this category work not only in Windows itself, but also in most Windows applications. Some of these shortcuts relate to the window of a particular application. Others relate to features you'll find in almost any Windows program, such as a drop down list box.

Open a context menu: Shift+F10, letter key, or Shift+F10, Arrow, Enter
This is particularly useful in a program like Word, when, for example, you want to call up the editing context menu but don't want to take your fingers from the keys to right-click.

Open a drop-down list box: Alt+Down Arrow
Mnemonic:  Down box, Down Arrow. This is helpful when you're filling a database forms (in Microsoft Access, for example). It's also useful when working in a dialog box.

Cycle through the tabs in a dialog box: Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+Shift+Tab
Mnemonic:  Control your way from tab to tab. Ctrl+Tab goes from left to right, Ctrl+Shift+Tab moves from right to left.

Switch from window to window within the same program: Alt+F6
Mnemonic:  This won't work with all windows. It will, for example, toggle between a Find window and a document window in Microsoft Word, but it won't toggle between one document window and another. The command in Word for cycling through the open document windows is Ctrl+F6

Basic font formatting for bold, underline, italic: Ctrl+B, Ctrl+U, Ctrl+I
You probably know thes work in the Office programs you use, but try them in other programs as well; they may work.

Undo: Ctrl+Z
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