I’m a programmer by trade, which means that I spend an awful amount of time typing on a keyboard. I’m also a big fan of doing recurring tasks automatically, or at least as efficiently as possible. Navigating in, selecting, and editing text is a big part of my workday, and to do that without wasting any more time than necessary, I’ve learned as many keyboard shortcuts as possible.

Using keyboard shortcuts when working with text is indefinitely more efficient than using the mouse. Why? Because your hands are already on the keyboard. Moving your hand to and from the mouse takes a lot of time compared to just moving your fingers a little.

I still see people use the mouse to copy and paste text, and it makes me scream inside: Press and hold left mouse button, move selection, release left mouse button, right click selection, select copy, left click where the text should be copied to, right click, select paste.

Please, for the sake of yourself and your colleagues, learn some keyboard shortcuts!

In most cases, the shortcuts listed below are global. That means that you should be able to use them when you’re working with text in any Windows application. Make an effort and learn them by heart. Your life will become considerably more comfortable if you spend a lot of time editing text on a computer.

Mac users, you can replace CTRL with ⌘ (or Cmd or Command depending on what keyboard you are using) to make most of the keyboard shortcuts below work on your shiny Apple computer.

Text Navigation

Move the cursor to…

  • The beginning of the line: HOME
  • The end of the line: END
  • The beginning of the text input field: CTRL+HOME
  • The end of the text input field: CTRL+END
  • The beginning of the word: CTRL+Left Arrow
  • The end of the word: CTRL+Right Arrow
  • Top of the page: Page Up
  • Bottom of the page: Page Down

Selecting Text

  • Everything: CTRL+A
  • One character to the left: SHIFT+Left Arrow
  • One character to the right: SHIFT+Right Arrow

Selecting text from the cursor to the…

  • Beginning of the line: SHIFT+HOME
  • End of the line: SHIFT+END
  • Beginning of the word: SHIFT+CTRL+Left Arrow
  • End of the word: SHIFT+CTRL+Right Arrow
  • Beginning of the text: SHIFT+HOME
  • End of the text: SHIFT+END
  • Beginning of the page: SHIFT+Page Up
  • End of the page: SHIFT+Page Down
  • Same cursor position on the previous line: SHIFT+Up Arrow
  • Same cursor position on the next line: SHIFT+Down Arrow

Editing Text

  • Cut selected text: CTRL+X or SHIFT+INSERT
  • Copy selected text: CTRL+C or CTRL+INSERT
  • Paste cut or copied text: CTRL+V
  • Delete the character to the left: Backspace
  • Delete the character to the right: Del
  • Delete from the cursor to the beginning of the word: CTRL+BACKSPACE
  • Delete from the cursor to the end of the word: CTRL+DEL
  • Undo previous keystroke: CTRL+Z
  • Redo previous keystroke: SHIFT-CTRL+Z

Bonus! Mouse shortcuts!

Or: How to kill three puppies.

  • Select a word: Double click on the word
  • Select a line: Triple click on the line
  • Select text from the cursor to new cursor position: Hold down SHIFT and left-click where you want the cursor to be positioned.

Do you know any keyboard shortcuts that are not listed here? Then please let me know, I love to learn keyboard shortcuts - and other hacks - that can make me even more efficient.