Main key combinations and shortcuts for Windows

Windows shortcutsEven if everything on the PC is now done with the mouse, some operations can become twice as fast if you use the keyboard instead of the mouse. In the end it’s just a matter of getting used to but, especially if you’re doing repetitive tasks, using the keyboard is much easier and faster, you just need to know which keys to press.

In addition, keyboard shortcuts are a great way to prevent those annoying wrist pains of prolonged use of the mouse known as Work-related upper limb disorder, which in the long run could also become disabling.

For those unfamiliar with keyboard shortcuts in the following guide we will show you the main keyboard combinations on Windows. By reading how simple these shortcuts are, you can then appreciate their effectiveness during work and study, so as to minimize the use of the mouse.

READ ALSO -> Keyboard shortcuts on Chrome, Edge and Firefox

Keys used for shortcuts

The keys that are mostly used for shortcuts are CTRL e ALT, but on new operating systems we also find the WIN (or Windows) key as a reference point for the most useful shortcuts.

Using only one hand without removing the other from the mouse, you can use, for example, the left or right little finger, to hold down the CTRL and press the other key with the index finger. We can press the keys as we please but this is the best solution and, after some practice, you will realize that it is also the easiest way to press two or more keys together without becoming a contortionist.

Most used shortcuts

To start by starting with i commands to navigate on Windows and the internet, to be learned by heart from the first use of the computer. The most famous shortcuts are:

  • Ctrl + T opens a new tab in all major web browsers (Edge, Firefox, Chrome).
  • Alt + Tab shows currently open programs. If you also press Shift, they scroll backwards.
  • Ctrl + Tab is used to scroll through the web browser tabs.
  • Ctrl + W The Ctrl + F4 closes the current window or internet tab.
  • Ctrl + Maiusc + T reopens, on browsers, the last tab that was closed.
  • F5 updates the folder or web page you are on.
  • Alt + D select the address bar in your web browser or in an Explorer folder to write an internet address or search path to your computer. Even faster, the same thing is achieved by pressing F6.

Alongside these we add the most used shortcuts ever, i.e. those assigned to copy and paste files, text and links:

  • Ctrl + C it is used to copy text, a selected link, a file or a folder.
  • Ctrl + X it is used to cut the content, which will then become transparent (in the case of files) and ready to be moved to another place. The text instead will be cut immediately but will remain on the clipboard, ready to be used.
  • Ctrl + V instead it is the shortcut for pasting the copied or cut text, link, file or folder.

In such cases, you can use to select the text Ctrl + A to select it all or, with the key Shift pressed, use the back and forth arrows to select text. The button Fine, goes to the end of a line while the diagonal arrow key (Start) goes to the beginning of a line of text.

Windows clipboard manager

On Windows 11 we can take advantage of a special clipboard history, very useful if we copy multiple codes or portions of text and want to retrieve them later. To activate the clipboard manager we reward Win+V on the keyboard to display the clipboard manager, so that we can also retrieve what we copied earlier.

Before the arrival of this manager it was necessary to install a program for managing the notes, such as those visible in the guide to programs to manage the copy, cut and paste clipboard in Windows.

Shortcuts for cursor, undo and zoom

The copy and paste is the main operation that is done on any Windows PC, doing it from the keyboard instead of the mouse is much faster and less tiring. Other useful shortcuts are:

  • Ctrl + Right Arrow (or left arrow) is also very useful for passing the cursor at the end of each word; much faster than using just the arrow. Holding down Shift you can also select text
  • Ctrl + Z undo the last action (the one that in Word is the back arrow) and it works with everything but web browsers
  • Ctrl + wheel mouse button is used to zoom in or zoom out. This works in almost any type of program and is mainly used to increase or decrease the size of characters in written text, whether on the internet or in a spreadsheet.

These shortcuts are less used but still important, as they can speed up some operations.

Virtual desktop management

On Windows 11 and Windows 10 we can manage virtual desktops using keyboard shortcuts to switch between desktops without having to use the key Activity view. The shortcuts we can use are:

  • Windows + Ctrl + D allows you to create a new virtual desktop and switch to it.
  • Windows + Ctrl + F4 this shortcut closes the current virtual desktop.
  • Windows + Ctrl + Left / Right allows you to switch to the virtual desktop on the left or right.

Using these shortcuts it becomes much easier to use virtual desktops, as also seen in the guide on how use Virtual Desktops on Windows 11 and 10.

Automatically fit windows

On Windows 11 and Windows 10 we can use the Window Snapping functionality to fill the screen with windows in a completely automatic way, using shortcuts assigned to the Windows key.

  • Windows + Left Arrow: Move the current window to the left side of the screen.
  • Windows + Right Arrow: Move the current window to the right side of the screen.
  • Windows + Down Arrow: Moves the current window to the bottom edge of the screen.
  • Windows + Up arrow: Moves the current window to the top edge of the screen.

If we have too many programs open and a FullHD or 4K monitor of at least 26 inches, these shortcuts become very useful for maximizing the available screen space.

Special shortcuts with Windows key

For the more experienced and advanced users it is worth learning the other shortcuts assigned to the Windows logo key, the one with the flag next to Ctrl and Alt. The Windows key, by itself, opens the Start menu from which, pressing any key, opens the program whose name begins with the letter pressed.

  • Windows + L locks the computer immediately and quickly, with a possible request for a password.
  • Windows + D serves to show the desktop; then it is useless to look for the icon “Show desktop around, to hide all open windows and programs, just press Win – D and everything disappears from view.
    The same thing can be done with Win – M which minimizes all windows.
  • Windows + R opens the program launch window, the one called “Run”.
  • Windows + T, select apps on the taskbar.
  • Windows + Number (0 to 9) opens one of the programs that are on the sidebar, the icons next to the start menu. If you press the number 1, the first from the left opens, 5 the fifth and so on. If the program is already open, you will switch to that window.
  • Shift + Windows + Number opens a new instance of the chosen program, even if it was already open (where possible).
  • Win + Tab shows, where supported, the windows of open programs.
  • Win + Shift + Arrow left, only if using dual monitors, moves the current window to the left screen; the right arrow moves it to the right monitor.
  • Windows key + arrows they move the window to the right, to the left or make it disappear by iconizing it or appearing in full screen, maximizing it.
  • Windows + B brings up hidden icons in the taskbar.
  • Windows + . brings up emoticons to be able to write them in any text.
  • Windows + I: Opens the Windows Settings.
  • Windows + X to use the Windows 10 Start options menu.

These sooner or later become useful so it is definitely worth remembering the ones we use most often, so as to be able to speed up many operations.

Lesser known shortcuts

Other less known shortcut keys, sometimes not even useful but which, out of curiosity, it may be interesting to know are:

  • Ctrl + Shift + left mouse button pressed on a program icon in the Start menu, it starts it with administrator privileges, bypassing user control.
  • We hold down Shift while inserting a CD or DVD into your computer to avoid automatic loading.
  • Alt + Left Shift + PRINT activates the high contrast on the monitor and is useful if you see little.
  • Ctrl + Maiusc + Esc opens the Task Manager so you do not need to press Ctrl + Alt + Del to start the task manager, you do this first.
  • Ctrl + Alt + Canc instead it is useful when you freeze your computer and intend to restart it.
  • The infamous key Ins is used to write, deleting the letters that are to the right of the cursor. Very often, you press it without realizing it and, writing to the computer, you discover after a while that what you write cancels the existing one.
  • The button Stamp by itself it “copies” the image that appears on the screen which can then be pasted into Word or an image editor.
  • Win – E opens the computer explorer window.
  • Ctrl – Esc opens the start menu.
  • Alt – Space opens the menu for minimizing, moving or maximizing a window and is useful if the window commands disappear from the screen.

Some of these shortcuts are used at least once in their life in front of the PC and are featured in many guides to troubleshoot Windows problems.


Windows shortcuts allow you to work or write on the computer at a high speed, since many functions can be performed without ever touching the mouse. In fact, more experienced users or bloggers use the mouse very little, relying on the shortcuts seen in the guide when writing.

We can also read our guides on shortcuts New and important key combinations in Windows 10 and Windows 11 and Main uses of function keys on Windows (F1, F2 etc.).

In other articles we can use gods programs to customize keyboard commands and manually configure them for whatever, as is possible remap keys, disable them or change their function.


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