Is this you: Eat lunch at your desk because you don’t have time to go out? Can’t stop for five minutes to chat at the coffee machine? Wear your wireless headset into the restroom because conference calls and biological necessities conflict? Tired of always leaving work just five minutes too late to beat the afternoon traffic jam?
Take heart, for in this post I’m going to share with you 111 tips to help you put nine hours of productivity into an eight-hour day, or maybe just steal back a little bit of “me time” for yourself. I’ve culled the best of the Internet, along with some secret files that were delivered to me by an anonymous secret agent with a Redmond accent to bring you the best of the best for saving every little slice of time, and making your daily grind as efficient as possible.
Microsoft Support offers a ton of keyboard and mouse short-cuts designed to save you time and let you work more efficiently. You probably know some of these, but I bet there’s a trick or two in here even hard core Windows gurus don’t know. Here are some of my favorites from that Knowledge Base article:
Windows system key combinations
1. F1: Help for the currently selected item
2. CTRL+ESC: Open Start menu
3. ALT+TAB: Switch between open programs
4. ALT+F4: Quit program
5. SHIFT+DELETE: Delete item permanently
6. Windows Logo+L: Lock the computer (without using CTRL+ALT+DELETE)
7. Win+F1 : Load the Help system (it will have a generic start page so you can search help on anything + it provides a quick start guide for windows).
Mouse click/keyboard modifier combinations for shell objects
8. SHIFT+right click: Displays a shortcut menu containing alternative commands
9. SHIFT+double click: Runs the alternate default command (the second item on the menu)
10. ALT+double click: Displays properties.
General keyboard-only commands
11. F10: Activates menu bar options
12. SHIFT+F10: Opens a shortcut menu for the selected item (this is the same as right-clicking an object)
13. CTRL+ESC: Opens the Start menu (use the ARROW keys to select an item)
14. Win+F : Loads the Search for files and folders
15. CTRL+SHIFT+ESC: Opens Windows Task Manager
16. ALT+DOWN ARROW: Opens a drop-down list box
17. SHIFT: Press and hold down the SHIFT key while you insert a CD-ROM to bypass the automatic-run feature
18. ALT+SPACE: Displays the main window’s System menu
19. ALT+- (ALT+hyphen): Displays the Multiple Document Interface (MDI) child window’s System menu
20. CTRL+TAB: Switch to the next child window of a Multiple Document Interface (MDI) program
21. ALT+underlined letter in menu: Opens the menu
22. ALT+F4: Closes the current window
23. CTRL+F4: Closes the current Multiple Document Interface (MDI) window
24. ALT+F6: Switch between multiple windows in the same program.
Shell objects and general folder/Windows Explorer shortcuts
25. F2: Rename object
26. F3: Find all files
27. SHIFT+DELETE: Delete selection immediately, without moving the item to the Recycle Bin
28. ALT+ENTER: Open the properties for the selected object
29. To copy a file, press and hold down the CTRL key while you drag the file to another folder
30. To create a shortcut, press and hold down CTRL+SHIFT while you drag a file to the desktop or a folder.
General folder/shortcut control
31. F4: Selects the Go To A Different Folder box and moves down the entries in the box (if the toolbar is active in Windows Explorer)
32. F5: Refreshes the current window
33. F6: Moves among panes in Windows Explorer
34. BACKSPACE: Switchs to the parent folder
35. SHIFT+click+Close button: For folders, close the current folder plus all parent folders
36. Double-click the title bar of a window to maximize it.
Windows Explorer tree control
37. Numeric Keypad *: Expands everything under the current selection
38. Numeric Keypad +: Expands the current selection
39. Numeric Keypad -: Collapses the current selection.
40. RIGHT ARROW: Expands the current selection if it is not expanded, otherwise goes to the first child
41. LEFT ARROW: Collapses the current selection if it is expanded, otherwise goes to the parent.
42. CTRL+TAB/CTRL+SHIFT+TAB: Move through the property tabs.
43. Press SHIFT five times: Toggles StickyKeys on and off
44. Press down and hold the right SHIFT key for eight seconds: Toggles FilterKeys on and off
45. Press down and hold the NUM LOCK key for five seconds: Toggles ToggleKeys on and off
46. Left ALT+left SHIFT+NUM LOCK: Toggles MouseKeys on and off
47. Left ALT+left SHIFT+PRINT SCREEN: Toggles high contrast on and off.
Dialog box keyboard commands
48. TAB: Move to the next control in the dialog box
49. SHIFT+TAB: Move to the previous control in the dialog box
50. SPACEBAR: If the current control is a button, this clicks the button. If the current control is a check box, this toggles the check box. If the current control is an option, this selects the option.
51. ENTER: Equivalent to clicking the selected button (the button with the outline)
52. ESC: Equivalent to clicking the Cancel button
53. ALT+underlined letter in dialog box item: Move to the corresponding item.
Windows 7 shortcuts
Here’s some Windows 7 specific shortcuts that you may also find in Windows 8:
54. Win+R: Active the run dialog
55. Win+Home: Clear all but the active window
56. Win+Space: All windows become transparent so you can see through to the desktop
57. Win+Up arrow: Maximize the active window
58. Shift+Win+Up arrow: Maximize the active window vertically
59. Win+Down arrow: Minimize the window/Restore the window if it’s maximized
60. Win+Left/Right arrows: Dock the window to each side of the monitor
61. Shift+Win+Left/Right arrows: Move the window to the monitor on the left or right.
You can also interact with windows by dragging them with the mouse:
62. Drag window to the top: Maximize
63. Drag window left/right: Dock the window to fill half of the screen
64. Shake window back/forth: Minimize everything but the current window
65. Double-Click Top Window Border (edge): Maximize window vertically.
66. Win+number (1-9): Starts the application pinned to the taskbar in that position, or switches to that program
67. Shift+Win+number (1-9): Starts a new instance of the application pinned to the taskbar in that position
68. Ctrl+Win+number (1-9): Cycles through open windows for the application pinned to the taskbar in that position
69. Alt+Win+number (1-9): Opens the Jump List for the application pinned to the taskbar
70. Win+T: Focus and scroll through items on the taskbar
71. Win+B: Focuses the System Tray icons
72. Shift+Click on a taskbar button: Open a program or quickly open another instance of a program
73. Ctrl+Shift+Click on a taskbar button: Open a program as an administrator
74. Shift+Right-click on a taskbar button: Show the window menu for the program (like XP does)
75. Shift+Right-click on a grouped taskbar button: Show the window menu for the group
76. Ctrl+Click on a grouped taskbar button: Cycle through the windows of the group.
More helpful shortcuts
77. Ctrl+Shift+N: Creates a new folder in Windows Explorer
78. Alt+Up: Goes up a folder level in Windows Explorer
79. Alt+P: Toggles the preview pane in Windows Explorer
80. Shift+Right-Click on a file: Adds Copy as Path, which copies the path of a file to the clipboard
81. Shift+Right-Click on a file: Adds extra hidden items to the Send To menu
82. Shift+Right-Click on a folder: Adds Command Prompt Here, which lets you easily open a command prompt in that folder
83. Win+P: Adjust presentation settings for your display
84. Win+(+/-): Zoom in/out
85. Win+G: Cycle between the Windows Gadgets on your screen
86. Win+M: Minimize all open windows to the taskbar
87. Win+Home: Minimize all open windows to the taskbar except the active one
88. Win+E: Open Explorer
89. Win+P: Connect to an external monitor or projector and toggle through extend or duplicate modes
90. Win+Spacebar: Show your desktop by making all open windows transparent
91. Win+Shift+Left Arrow: Move the active window to the left desktop (multiple monitors only)
92. Win+Shift+Right Arrow: Move the active window to the right desktop (multiple monitors only)
93. Win++ and Win+-: If you have a keyboard with a number pad, hold the Windows key down and then press the + key to activate the screen magnifier. + will zoom in, – will zoom out
94. Win+Tab: Aero version of ALT+TAB that lets you quickly cycle through open windows.
These all get you to special locations within your file system quickly and easily. They are all used by Win+R and then typing shell: +
95. Profile: Takes you straight to your profile directory
96. Personal: Takes you straight to your Documents folder
97. SendTo: Takes you to the folder where you store “send to” shortcuts. See #109 below for more on this
98. Startup: Takes you to the Startup directory for your profile
99. Common Startup: Takes you to the Startup directory for all profiles
100. ConnectionsFolder: Takes you straight to your network connections like in the days of old
101. Programs: Takes you to your profile’s start menu entries
102. Common Programs: Takes you to all the profiles’ start menu entries
103. AppData: Takes you to the normally hidden Roaming Application Data folder
104. Local AppData: Takes you to the normally hidden Local Application Data folder
105. Cookies: Takes you to your cookies folder
106. Cache: Takes you to your Temporary Internet Files folder
107. Desktop: Takes you to the folder that is represented by your Desktop
108. Downloads: Takes you to your Downloads folder.
Make your own shortcuts
109. Use #97 above to get to your Send To folder and then add your own shortcuts to the SendTo menu. You can use drive letters, UNC paths, or shortcuts to other apps.
110. Add a folder to your Favorites by browsing to it in Explorer, and then right-clicking Favorites in the left hand pane. Then just click “Add current location to Favorites”.
111. You can right-click any program and pin it to the task bar or start menu to make it easier to launch the next time you need it.
Now I shared 111 tips with you. Some you probably already knew, but I bet everyone who reads this learned at least one new trick. There are many more out there so how about sharing your favorite if it didn’t make the cut by leaving a comment below?