I was trained in computers before the mouse had established itself as the PC navigational tool. As such, keyboard controls have always been the most comfortable way for me to navigate the computer environment. However, many people only know the mouse and find themselves in a constant hand shuffle from keyboard to mouse and back again. Through the use of the Shift, Ctrl, Alt and Windows keys, you can navigate most any Windows application without taking your hand from the keyboard. Among the keyboard shortcuts I use the most frequently and are virtually universal among Windows applications:
The Shift key: If you thought it was only to shift between lower and upper case letters, then think again. Hold down the shift key and use one of the directional keys below to highlight a file name or section of text.
Shift-Right Arrow: Press the Right Arrow key one time to highlight one character to the right of the cursor. Hold the Right Arrow key down and it continues highlighting more characters to the right, until you lift your finger off the key.
Shift-Down Arrow: Press the Down Arrow key one time to highlight the the current row of text of the the item on which the cursor is resting. Hold the Right Arrow key down and it continues highlighting more rows until you lift your finger off the key.
Of course, once I highlight a section of text or a list of files, what to do with them. One way to think of it is that once they are highlighted, I control them. Think of the Control Key (Ctrl) as the name implies, because it allows for highlighted items (text or files) be be controlled based on which key is pressed along with it. Hold down Ctrl key and try these combinations.
Ctrl-p: When I'm ready to print a document or section of text that I've highlighted.
Ctrl-x: Any text or files highlighted are copied to the computer's clipboard memory and erased from the place they had been.
Ctrl-c: Any text or files highlighted will be “copied” to the computer's clipboard memory and will stay there until you copy something else into the clipboard.
Ctrl-v: If I've copied something to the clipboard memory, then I can paste it where I want it with this command, as often as I want.
Ctrl-z: The “Do Over” combo let's me recover from what I call a Homer Simpson. Delete something by mistake or copy something to many times and Ctrl-Z gets rid of the mistake.
The Windows key is also called the Start button and is found between Ctrl and Alt
Windows-e: A favorite of mine, the little e has one very important function. It opens a window of Windows Explorer, to allow me to navigate the directory trees of my computer. Important note to remember is not to hold down the e key, or risk opening a whole lot of copies of Windows Explorer.
Windows-m: If my desktop gets to clutter, but I not ready to close any applications, this combo minimizes all the applications into the tool bar at the bottom of screen. Now I need open only the application I want to work with for the moment. or if someone walks into the room and you want to quickly close what you are working on (or playing with).
The Alt key: I mention only one function for this key. If you've recently installed Internet Explorer 7.0 or plan to do so in the near future, be aware that by default, the Menu Bar traditionally found at the top of the screen is now hidden.
Alt-v: Reveals the tool bar option in most applications, including Internet Explorer. From here, select the Tool Bars and check off Menu Bar to get it to stay visible
While this is not a complete list of commands, it does constitute my top 10 list. Try exploring a few combinations on your own. The Menu Bar will show several combinations as you browse through the drop down lists.