TechPoint: Keystrokes to improve productivity

Tech Point

By Terry Koehl

“Stop, how did you do that?!” Often, as I work on a client’s computer they will be looking over my shoulder and stop me to ask how I did something. Usually this inquiry comes right after I use a keystroke to copy, cut or paste text or files along with other common tasks that can be done with simple keyboard commands.

While there are many commands available, there are a few that almost every computer user can put to use to increase productivity. These keystrokes are often two keys pressed together.

An example might be CTRL+V, which means to hold the CTRL key down and press the V key while continuing to press the CTRL key. Then release both keys immediately.

Users of Apple computers can press the Command key to achieve the same results. The following are a few of the most common keyboard shortcuts.

CTRL+S saves the current document you are working on depending upon the software you are using.

CTRL+C copies text or files to a temporary storage. The files or text can then be pasted to another location.

CTRL+V pastes the text or files to the currently selected location.

CTRL+X cuts the files or text from their current location to be pasted to another location. This can effectively be viewed as a move command.

CTRL+A will select all text or files in the document or current folder.

To bold, italicize or underline text in a document, press the CTRL key and B, I or U respectively to perform the required action.

CTRL+P will open the print dialog box, allowing you to set your print options before printing.

Windows Key+D will minimize all open windows and display the desktop.

ALT+TAB allows you to switch between open programs without having to close them or use the mouse to click the minimize button.

To quickly quit an application, simply press ALT+F4.

Windows Key+L will lock the computer, displaying the user logon screen. This is a great shortcut for users in a business environment where it is necessary to secure the computer while you step away for a short length of time.

Oops, you just made a mistake. Press the CTRL+Z combination to quickly undo your mistake. Depending on the situation, this will work for more than just text. Try it out the next time you accidentally delete an e-mail or file.

One of my favorites involves the keyboard and mouse. It’s a neat little trick, but unless you are aware of it can also be very annoying as it affects the zoom factor on your screen. Simple press the CTRL key while rolling the mouse wheel in either direction. This will cause your screen to either zoom in or out depending on the direction you rolled the wheel. Some programs will allow you to reset to normal zoom by pressing CTRL+0, while others require you to set the zoom back yourself.

Practice using these keystrokes and you’ll soon realize their value, especially for students working on their school papers this school year.

Terry Koehl, a Ramona resident, owns AccuTech Support, a computer and repair business. Have a question you’d like answered in TechPoint? Contact him at 760-239-9001 or



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