Hotkeys: the Best-Kept Secret for Saving Time

Hotkeys: the Best-Kept Secret for Saving Time

November 17, 2015 Blog 0

Hotkeys can be incredibly useful – but only if you know how to use them! A lot of people don’t, and are missing out on a great time-saver. And as you know, here at AVA we just love saving time! Here’s a quick rundown on hotkeys so you can start using them in a jiffy.hotkeys

First of all, what is a hotkey? Hotkeys are any key or combination of keys on your keyboard that you assign to do a specific task. For example, if you are on a Windows computer, press and hold the Alt key and the Tab key at the same time. If you hold it down, you will see a list of all the windows you have running. While still holding down Alt, press tab again to switch to a different window. This is a great way to quickly switch from (for example) a browser to a word document without your fingers leaving the keyboard. Have fun with it!

Hotkeys can do many more things though. Some open a program (WindowsKey+E opens windows explorer), one can print (Ctrl+P). Some of the most common and helpful are the cut, copy and paste hotkeys – invaluable for writing and editing because, again, you don’t even have to touch the mouse. (They’re listed below for your reference.)

If you’re really into time-saving, you can even create your own hotkeys. Using a program called “WinHotKey,” you can choose a combination of keys to do a specific task, like pasting a signature, opening a specific folder, or opening a program. Try it out!

Back to the basics. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common pre-set hotkeys on Windows. In the list “Win” means the Windows key. Get into the habit of using them and pretty soon your fingers will memorize them.

Ctrl + Escape or Win: Display start menu.

Win + E: Open Windows Explorer.

Win + M: Minimize all windows.

Win + Shift + M: Undo minimize all windows.

Win + L (XP Only): Locks keyboard.

Win + Control + F: Open Find dialog.

Win + F1: Open Windows help..

Alt + Tab: Display opened windows.

Ctrl + Alt + Delete: Gives you options to open the task manager, log off, lock, etc.

Printscreen: Copy screenshot of current screen to clipboard.

Alt + Printscreen: Copy screenshot of current active window to clipboard.

Ctrl + C: Copy.

Ctrl + X: Cut.

Ctrl + N: New… File, Tab, Entry, etc.

Ctrl + S: Save.

Ctrl + O: Open…

Ctrl + P: Print.

Ctrl + Z: Undo.

Ctrl + A: Select all.

Ctrl + F: Find…

Ctrl + Tab: Cycle through tabs/child windows. (great for web browsers!)

Ctrl + Shift + Tab: Cycle backwards through tabs/child windows.


Find an even more comprehensive list (includes hotkeys for Gmail and Firefox!) at For our Mac users, check out for a great list. Now stop wasting time and start hotkeying!

Ariel Kostrna
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