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A few shortcut keys that are a must for anyone working with computers

This is something that I always find rather shocking. Sure, I understand that not everyone has had a chance to learn how to touch type. And much like I would rather shave my eyebrows than learn French, a lot of people would rather stare at their keyboard whilst typing than spend a few hours with a touch-type tutorial. What I can't quite get my head around however, is why a lot of people deliberately choose not to memorise a few simple shortcut keys.

Most of the times when I ask someone (who is perfectly aware of their existence) why they do not use them they come up with lame excuses such as:

  • I have not got the time to learn them.
  • They are way to complicated and built for rocket scientists.
  • Any day now my music/acting/celebrity career is going to take off and people will pay me just for being me. No more computers!

While it's not worth any of my efforts to argue against the last point, here are my counter arguments on the first two:

  1. You have not got the time to learn them because you are to busy spending all your day right clicking just to copy and paste a simple file or text paragraph.
  2. If the ability to press two keys simultaneously qualifies you as a rocket scientist man would have never made it into space.
Right, that's my pep talk done. If I have nagged at your conscience enough to reconsider learning shortcut keys, here's a list of some of the most common ones:

CTRL + C = Copy

Whenever you have highlighted any text, or selected one or more files or documents, instead of clicking your right mouse button and copying you can simply use the above combination of CTRL and C.

CTRL + X = Cut

If you are looking to cut and paste your highlighted text or documents use CTRL and X instead. Just like with cut the document will re-appear in its original location if it has not been pasted to another folder.

CTRL + V = Paste

This is the all important combination that can be used to paste items copied to your clipboard via either CTRL + C or X. This is one of those reasons why I don't see how it can be so difficult to learn shortcut keys. After all, if a human can remember any number of pointless songs word for word, surely it should be possible to learn the combination of CTRL plus the letters C, V and X!

CTRL + S = Save Changes

Shortcut keys even offer you the option of saving changes made to your documents without having to move your mouse all the way up to the toolbar and clicking on save. Out of habit I press CTRL and S at least once a minute when working on a file. The main advantage here is of course that in the case of my PC crashing I don't have to worry about whether or not the changes have been saved. If anything at worst I will have lost one or two sentences. Now compare that to someone who has been typing away for the last half an hour, and the dread that person feels when the computer crashes without the save icon having been clicked on once!

CTRL + A = Select All

To highlight all the text within a document you can simple press CTRL and A, select all so to speak. Very handy function in relation with copy and paste.

CTRL + Z = Undo

This combination performs the undo function. If you tend to make a lot of errors, or often feel the need to restart your sentences and go back to some point long lost in time, CTRL + Z is the key combination for you.

CTRL + Y = Redo

Here is the opposite to undo. Ideal if you have taken something out by mistake, and want it to come back.

CTRL + B = Bold

This one is handy on word and some other text editing applications. It changes a highlighted areas font weight to bold. Note however that depending on the language in which your applications were installed the keyword combination might be different.

CTRL + I = Italic

The I in CTRL + I stands for italic. The same as with CTRL + B a selected text area will be given an italic font style.

CTRL + U = Underline

We have had B for Bold, I for Italic, and now finally we have U for underlined!

CTRL + F = Find

This is a handy shortcut key if you are looking to search a document for a particular word or sentence. By pressing CTRL and F in most application a document search will come up into which you can type your search criteria.


There are many more shortcut keys out there. A different set for every application in fact. But the ones listed here are usually available on most programs. If you have not already I would definitely recommend you learn some of the basic ones such as copy, paste, cut and select all. It will make your working life a lot easier, and most importantly save you a lot of time!

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