Shortcut Keys for Windows Vista

For blind or visually impaired users,or for advanced sighted users of Windows Vista who prefer to use the keyboard instead of the mouse, here’s an extensive listing of keyboard accelerators (also known as keyboard shortcuts or hot keys) built into Windows Vista.

These keyboard accelerators provide a simple keyboard alternative to frequently used commands that normally require clicking with the mouse, especially annoying if dealing with repetitive tasks. Most of these keyboard shortcuts have existed since Windows 3.1 and Windows 95, but some are specific to Windows Vista.

Shortcut Key Function(s)
F1 Start Help (supported in most applications).
F2 Rename selected icon or file in Windows Explorer or on the Desktop.
F3 Open Search (in Windows Explorer or on the Desktop only).
F4 Open a drop-down list (supported in many dialog boxes). For example, press F4 in a File Open dialog to drop down the Look In list.
F5 Refresh the view in Windows Explorer, on the Desktop, in the Registry Editor, and some other applications.
F6 Move focus between panes in Windows Explorer.
F10 Send focus to the current application’s menu.

Miscellaneous Keys

Shortcut Key Function(s)
Arrow Keys Basic navigation – move through menus, reposition the text cursor (insertion point), change the file selection, and so on.
Backspace Move up one level in the folder hierarchy (Windows Explorer only).
Delete Delete selected item(s) or selected text.
Down arrow Open a drop-down listbox.
End Go to end of line when editing text, or to the end of file list.
Enter Activate highlighted choice in menu or dialog box, or insert a carriage return when editing text.
Esc Close dialog box, message window, or menu without activating any choice (usually the same as clicking Cancel).
Home Go to beginning of line (when editing text), or to the beginning of file list.
Page Down Scroll down one screen.
Page Up Scroll up one screen.
PrintScreen Copy entire screen as a bitmap to the Clipboard.
Space Bar Toggle a checkbox that is selected in a dialog box, activate the command button with the focus, or toggle the selection of files when selecting multiple files with Ctrl.
Tab Move focus to next control in a dialog box or window (hold Shift to go backward).

Alt Key Combinations

Shortcut Key Function(s)
Alt Send focus to the menu (same as F10). Also turns on the menu in applications where it is no longer used by default, such as Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer.
Alt-x Activate menu or dialog control, where letter x is underlined (if the underlines are not visible, pressing Alt will display them).
Alt-double-click (on icon) Display Properties sheet.
Alt-Enter Display Properties sheet for selected icon in Windows Explorer or on the Desktop. Also switches command prompt between windowed and full-screen display.
Alt-Esc Drop active window to bottom of pile, which, in effect, activates next open window.
Alt-F4 Close current window; if Taskbar or Desktop has the focus, exit Windows.
Alt-hyphen Open the current document’s system menu in a multiple document interface (MDI) application.
Alt-numbers When used with the numbers on the numeric keypad only, inserts special characters corresponding to their ASCII codes into many applications. For example, press the Alt key and type 0169 for the copyright symbol. Check characters map for full list of codes.
Alt-PrintScreen Copy active window as a bitmap to the Clipboard.
Alt-Shift-Tab Same as Alt-Tab, but in the opposite direction.
Alt-Space Bar Open the current window’s system menu.
Alt-Tab Switch to the next running applicationhold Alt while pressing Tab to cycle through running applications.
Alt-M When the Taskbar has the focus, minimize all windows and move focus to the Desktop.
Alt-S When the Taskbar has the focus, open the Start menu.

Ctrl Key Combinations

Shortcut Key Function(s)
Ctrl-A Select all; in Windows Explorer, selects all files in the current folder. In word processors, selects all text in the current document.
Ctrl-Alt-x User-defined accelerator for a shortcut, in which x is any key.
Ctrl-Alt-Delete Show the logon dialog when no user is currently logged on; otherwise, switch to the Windows Security dialog, which provides access to Task Manager and Log Off, as well as switching to another user, allowing you to change your password or lock the computer. Use Ctrl-Alt-Delete to access the Task Manager when Explorer crashes or your computer becomes unresponsive.
Ctrl-arrow key Scroll without moving selection.
Ctrl-click Use to select multiple, noncontiguous items in a list or in Windows Explorer.
Ctrl-drag Copy a file.
Ctrl-End Move to the end of a document (in many applications).
Ctrl-Esc Open the Start menu; press Esc and then Tab to move focus to the Taskbar, or press Tab again to move focus to the Taskbar, and then cycle through the toolbars on the Taskbar every time you press Tab.
Ctrl-F4 Close a document window in an MDI application.
Ctrl-F6 Switch between multiple documents in an MDI application. Similar to Ctrl-Tab; hold Shift to go in reverse.
Ctrl-Home Move to the beginning of a document (in many applications).
Ctrl-Space Bar Select or deselect multiple, noncontiguous items in a listbox or in Windows Explorer.
Ctrl-Tab Switch among tabs in a tabbed dialog or Internet Explorer; hold Shift to go in reverse.
Ctrl-C Copy the selected item or selected text to the Clipboard. Also interrupts some command prompt applications.
Ctrl-F Open Search (in Windows Explorer or on the Desktop only).
Ctrl-V Paste the contents of the Clipboard.
Ctrl-X Cut the selected item or selected text to the Clipboard.
Ctrl-Z Undo; for example, erases text just entered, and repeals the last file operation in Windows Explorer.

Shift Key Combinations

Shortcut Key Function(s)
Shift While inserting a CD, hold to disable AutoPlay.
Shift-arrow keys Select text or select multiple items in a listbox or in Windows Explorer.
Shift-click Select all items between currently selected item and item on which you’re clicking; also works when selecting text.
Shift-click Close button Close current folder and all parent folders (Windows Explorer in single-folder view only).
Shift-Alt-Tab Same as Alt-Tab, but in reverse.
Shift-Ctrl-Tab Same as Ctrl-Tab, but in reverse.
Shift-Ctrl-Esc Open the Task Manager.
Shift-Delete Delete a file without putting it in the Recycle Bin.
Shift-double-click Open folder in two-pane Explorer view.
Shift-Tab Same as Tab, but in reverse.

Windows Logo Key (WIN) Combinations

Shortcut Key Function(s)
WIN Open the Start menu.
WIN-Tab If the Aero interface is active, this activates Windows Flip 3D.
WIN-Pause/Break Display System Control Panel applet.
WIN-Space bar Display the Sidebar.
WIN-D Minimize all windows and move focus to Desktop.
WIN-E Start Windows Explorer.
WIN-F Launch Search.
Ctrl-WIN-F Search for a computer on your network (requires Active Directory).
WIN-L Lock computer, requiring password to regain access.
WIN-M Minimize current window.
Shift-WIN-M Undo minimize current window.
WIN-R Display Run dialog.
WIN-U Open the Ease of Access Center.


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