Whether you type an email in your browser or type in a word processor, there are handy keyboard shortcuts that can be used in almost any application. You can copy, select or delete entire words or paragraphs with just a few keystrokes.
Some programs may not support some of these shortcuts, but most applications support the majority of them. Many are built into the standard text editing fields on Windows and other operating systems.
Work with words
We are used to the arrow, backspace and Delete keys working with a single character at a time. However, we can add the Ctrl key so that they affect the whole word or paragraph at the same time.
Ctrl + left arrow ̵1; Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous word.
Ctrl + right arrow – Move the cursor to the beginning of the next word
Ctrl + Backspace – Delete the previous word.
Ctrl + Delete – Delete the next word.
Ctrl + up arrow – Move the cursor to the beginning of the paragraph.
Ctrl + down arrow – Move the cursor to the end of the paragraph.
Mac users: Use the Option key instead of the Ctrl key.
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Move the cursor
The Ctrl key can also be combined with the home and end keys.
Home – Move the cursor to the beginning of the current line.
The end – Move the cursor to the end of the current line.
Ctrl + Hem – Move the cursor to the top of the text input field.
Ctrl + End – Move the cursor to the bottom of the text input field.
Page up – Move the cursor up a frame.
Page down – Move the cursor down in a frame.
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All of the above shortcuts can be combined with the Shift key to select text.
Shift + left or right arrow key – Select characters one at a time.
Shift + up or down arrow – Select rows one at a time.
Shift + Ctrl + left or right arrow keys – Select word – press the arrow keys to select additional words.
Shift + Ctrl + Up or Down Arrow – Select paragraphs.
Shift + home – Select the text between the cursor and the beginning of the current line.
Shift + End – Select the text between the cursor and the end of the current line.
Shift + Ctrl + Home – Select the text between the cursor and the beginning of the text entry field.
Shift + Ctrl + End – Select the text between the cursor and the end of the text entry field.
Shift + Side down – Select a text frame below the cursor.
Shift + Page up – Select a text frame above the cursor.
Ctrl + A. – Select all text.
You can use several of these shortcuts to fine-tune the selected text. For example, you can press Shift + End to select the text to the end of the current line, and then press Shift + Down to also select the row below it.
Once you have selected text, you can start typing immediately to replace the text – you do not need to press Delete first.
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You can really speed up text editing with Ctrl keyboard shortcuts for copying and pasting text.
Ctrl + C, Ctrl + Insert – Copy selected text.
Ctrl + X, Shift + Delete – Cut selected text.
Ctrl + V., Shift + Insert – Paste text at the cursor.
Ctrl + Z – Undo.
Ctrl + Y – Redo.
Formatting shortcuts only work if the program or website you are using supports text formatting. If you have selected text, the shortcut will apply the formatting to the selected text. If you have not selected text, the shortcut to the corresponding formatting options changes.
Ctrl + B – Fat.
Ctrl + I – Italics.
Ctrl + U – Underlining.
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These function keys are common to most text editing applications. If you use them in your browser, open the browser’s associated dialogs.
Ctrl + F – Find. This opens the search dialog in most applications to search for text – I’ve even seen it work in some applications that do not have a search option in their menus.
F3 – Find the next one.
Shift + F3 – Find earlier.
Ctrl + O – Open.
Ctrl + S – Save.
Ctrl + N – New document.
Ctrl + P – Print.
These keys work in most applications, but are especially useful in text editors:
Alt – Activate the program menu bar. You can use the arrow keys to select a menu item and the Enter key to activate it.
Alt + F. – Open the File menu.
Alt + E. – Open the Edit menu.
Alt + V. – Open the View menu.
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