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Knowing how to get by in a Windows environment is something most people have to deal with at the workplace these days. Whether you’re a fan of Windows, OS X, or even Linux, there are plenty of great ways to get any one thing done. That’s part of the draw of Microsoft Windows in a business environment. No matter what you’re doing, there are different routes you can take to get to any one function you need, making it a little easier to find your flow and get things done efficiently.

While Microsoft did add quite a lot in the way of shortcuts in Windows 8, there are plenty of them available for Windows 7. These shortcuts make it easier to manage applications, zoom, control multiple displays, search, and even open multiple instances of a given program. All of these shortcuts are available right now on Windows 7, and could make your life a little easier.

Document Editing and File Management

First, let’s take a look at some of the shortcuts Microsoft Windows 7 supports natively for document and data management. These shortcuts work within a document editor such as Microsoft Office or, but also throughout the OS in file management capacities.

For example, you can copy (or cut) a file and paste it somewhere else just as easily as you can with text, images, or other data you highlight within open Windows programs.

Here are some of these commands:

  • Ctrl+C — Copy
  • Ctrl+X — Cut
  • Ctrl+V — Paste
  • Ctrl+B — Bold
  • Ctrl+I — Italic
  • Ctrl+S — Save
  • Ctrl+U — Underline
  • Ctrl+Z — Undo
  • Ctrl+Y — Redo
  • Ctrl+A — Select All
  • Ctrl+P — Print
  • Ctrl+Right — Move Cursor to Beginning of Next Word
  • Ctrl+Left — Move Cursor to Beginning of Previous Word
  • Ctrl+Down — Move Cursor to Next Paragraph
  • Ctrl+Up — Move Cursor to Previous Paragraph
  • Shift+Delete — Delete Selected File Without Recycling

These commands can help you become more productive as you won’t have to navigate through menus or sub-menus to accomplish common tasks. For example, you could select every file in a folder and copy it with two hotkey commands, or do the same with cells inside of a spreadsheet. Without a doubt, these commands can save you time and headaches as you go through your daily grind.

Window Management

One of the coolest things about Windows is that you can have multiple programs open and sit them side-by-side to compare data, or reference as you’re getting work done. Windows 8 might take this ability away to some degree through its panel and full-screen applications, though we can still enjoy this as a primary operating system feature in Windows 7.

Here are some commands that can help you become more productive when dealing with Windows.

  • Alt+Tab — Switch Between Windows
  • Ctrl+Alt+Tab — Switch Between Windows Using Arrow Keys
  • Windows Key+Tab — Switch Between Windows Using Aero
  • Ctrl+Windows Key+Tab — Switch Between Windows Using Aero with Arrow Keys
  • Windows Key+Down — Minimize the Open Window
  • Windows Key+Up — Maximize the Open Window
  • Windows Key+Left — Snap to the Left Side of the Screen
  • Windows Key+Right — Snap to the Right Side of the Screen
  • Windows Key+Shift+Right — Move Window to Another Monitor
  • Windows Key+D — Hide Windows / Show Only the Desktop

These hotkey combinations can come in handy when using multiple monitors as they can allow you to use the Snap feature to compare two Windows against a shared wall with another monitor, something you can’t do with the mouse as it just crosses over to the other monitor instead of initiating the snap as it normally would.

General Purpose

Hotkeys can come in handy in a variety of situations, but in some cases they can just help you get things done as you need them. Whether you’re searching for a particular file or program, attempting to open another instance of a particular application, or just getting help, hotkeys can make this process a little faster, too.

Here are some general purpose hotkey commands.

  • Windows Key+F — Search for File or Folder
  • Windows Key+F1 — Help
  • Windows Key+Shift+Left-Click Taskbar Icon — Open New Instance of Application
  • Ctrl+Shift+Left-Click Taskbar Icon — Open Program as Administrator
  • Windows Key+P — Designate What Second Monitor Should Display
  • Windows Key+Plus or Minus — Zoom In or Out of Desktop
  • Ctrl+Shift+Esc — Task Manager
  • Windows Key+L — Locks Computer
  • Ctrl+Click Taskbar Icon — Cycle Between Windows of an Application

The command to open a new instance of an application only works if the application supports multiple instances. For example, most browsers are designed to support this function while programs that only really need to run in a single instance will not.

F3 will also give you the ability to search for a particular file or folder, though it may be remapped in a given open application.

These shortcuts should help you get things done a little faster, and possibly a little easier. Microsoft worked very hard to make Windows as easy to use as possible, though often the most obvious solution isn’t exactly the most efficient.

What Windows shortcuts do you use on a daily basis? Are there any you’d recommend that aren’t listed here?

Photo By: Matt Ryan

If you’re interested in more useful Windows 7 troubleshooting information, check out this free white paper featuring some of the top Windows 7 troubleshooting tips.